Earlier this year Google started rolling out updated SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) with a new layout. The new layout typically displays four paid ads above the organic listings, with PLA (product listing ads) now prominently featured in the upper right corner. After the paid ads you will often see local results (like if you are searching for a restaurant in your area) and then, finally, you will begin to see the organic listings.
For those of us that believe in organic optimization as a means to generate traffic to our sites, this change has decreased the amount of organic traffic coming to your site…especially if your site is not well-optimized. If you held the top-spot in organic Search, then your #1 listing is now likely the 5th item visible on the page which means it is very close to the fold on large monitors and almost definitely below the fold on smaller monitors. It also means your listing is almost invisible on mobile.
So why should you invest in SEO if Google is devoting less visible space to organic results?
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about data relevancy and data relevancy impacts PPC and PLA’s performance.Paid ads benefit from high quality landing pages that clearly and authentically tell the world what they are about. Having highly relevant content on landing pages increases the quality scores that Google assigns to a page which results in better bid prices in the ad auctions for both PLA and text ads.
- Website content is now “syndicated” via data feeds to marketplaces and Google Shopping.When a brand sells product on marketplaces like Amazon, Jet.com, Wayfair, Target.com, NewEgg.com, etc. then having well-optimized content helps the customer on those sites because the content is relevant to the items those customers are searching for on those sites.
- Catalog mailings stimulate searches in Google and Bing for products and services.Closely aligning catalog content with your web page content will increase the likelihood that customers and prospects will find the product(s) they are interested in when they search the web.
Also read some of the articles about Google’s SERP changes from Search Engine Land, Moz.com, and Wordstream.