SEO is Dead, Long Live Paid Search!

SEO is Dead, Long Live Paid Search!

In 2010, businesses spent big dollars to rank number one on an organic google search. Just eight years later, while businesses still spend money on SEO — the results hardly compare. Thanks to Google’s new ad-friendly search format, the top organic result on a competitive search finds itself buried under several paid and geographic results. Counting down from the top of the page, with four ads, a map ad and three map listings, the top organic result ranks number nine on the page … yup, ninth.

So, this begs the question –– how much should you spend to be number nine on Google? Google continues to aggressively push businesses to use paid search. With everyone using Google, playing by their rules seems obvious. The writing is on the wall: unless you have a strong map listings presence, ads remain your only option to rank in the top results.

Returns from SEO are decreasing: The numbers clearly support the notion that SEO continues to offer low returns. Once the dominant force for page results, here is today’s reality:

  1. Organic now accounts for just 15% of above-the-fold results
  2. The top organic listing, averages less than 10% of all clicks
  3. Nine out of ten users click on paid and map results before organic

Paid Search and Organic results are blurring:  You also may have noticed that the difference between paid and organic results continues to Look more and more alike with:

  1. Nearly half of searchers cannot distinguish between an ad and an organic result
  2. Three results — which are in most cases paid results — receive 41% of all clicks

The punchline: SEO cannot survive for long.

If sponsored ads on competitive commercial keywords take up 85% of above-the-fold spots, what’s the future for SEO? For businesses, the short answer is: very bleak. While SEO remains an effective tool for informational and question searches — such as, ‘how do I cook a thanksgiving turkey — most of these rearches are not directly commercial in nature.

Our Point of View:  Paid search and SEO continue to change and develop as time passes. Currently, paid search reigns supreme. As a business owner, continuing to spend money on organic search eventually will result in less phone calls, customers and sales.

For more information about SEO vs. paid search from the experts at LegalDirect, please contact us here or call us directly at 616.206.3783