Recently I read an awesome article by Aires Loutsaris, head of SEO at seo.co.uk and he has pretty much put it all on the table so I have decided to summarise some of the great points.
Be careful about lowering your adwords budget!
eBay was spending a fortune on their adwords campaign and had enough data so they decided to look into their organic search strategy. With all the data they had they were able to come up with a plan which had them improve their organic presence on Google. They then decided that it was time to lower their adwords budget as they were starting to rank really well organically – makes sense. A few months later, Panda update and then eBay gets hit resulting organic traffic drops by over 75%! Coincidence?
Google authorship was taking away too many clicks from paid search
Google authorship allowed many webmasters to take up a piece of the real estate of the SERP’s and allowed their link, to get more attention compared to other websites without an authorship photo. In doing this, organic traffic for most websites rose significantly meaning that there was less ad clicks which equals less money for Google. So what did they do? Everyone knows. They simply removed authorship which immediately saw organic traffic to those websites drop as well as rankings.
What I love about this point is the fact that I held the exact same view once authorship was gone. This article I am referring to has been written recently but I actually got into a bit of a debate with some Google fan-boy over this 2 months ago. He seemed to clearly think that Google done this to focus on the user experience rather than their own revnue! See the conversation below:
Paid ads to consume what we see above the fold in the search engine results top page
Google, well more Matt Cutts (who is currently enjoying his extended leave and there are talks that he will not return) has always told us “content! Create good content that will benefit the users and you will earn the links you need naturally, then results will follow” Ok, cool! That’s what people started doing, and they have been doing it well! However, it is becoming even harder now since what we see right away on the SERP’s, in many cases, is a bunch of ads that are driving more revenue for Google. It’s not about being on page one anymore, it’s about being number one and being shared around all the places you want to be. In saying that we need to create super content, Goku like content that everyone will love, talk about, share and link to. I know the CTR by looking at the latest curve but how accurate is this? Especially when the user is hit with a bunch of ad’s after their search. If anyone has an updated one, or one that takes into consideration a range of different factors please send it across.
Great! So how can we increase our organic visibility?
If PPC and SEO teams were working together from the start of a campaign Google will not be losing any money to begin with as they were not making that money in the first place. Or, instead of drastically lowering daily budgets, really pay more attention and invest more in your SEO campaigns so you have a chance to also get more organic clicks, spend less on your PPC and not lower your daily budget. This applies more to larger organisations.
If you are throwing hundreds of thousands or millions into your PPC spend and then one day you decide to lower your budget by a significant amount, Google will know about it. When a group of blue chip businesses also engage in this strategy then Google will definitely know about it and before you can even say “wow we had great organic results all year round” boom, the Panda’s and Penguin’s are released.
Daniel, a colleague of mine mentioned “Create great content, so Google can learn what people like to view, and tailor its ads”. I really like this statement and there is really no better way to put it. However, at the end of the day, Google is a business and it is 100% normal for them to aim to maximise profits just like any company would want. Also if they were not constantly making changes then I doubt most of us will still be employed as SEO Analysts. We need to stay on top of trends and come up with new strategies and that is the beauty of the job, evolve or get left behind. And yes, I will say this again, SEO and PPC teams must work together!
Big kudos to Aires, find his article here