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A More ‘Organic’ Experience Part II

It has been about 7 months since my previous post looking at how the PPC environment has changed over the years.  I thought it might be a good time to take a look again, since there have been quite a few changes that have further changed the search landscape and blended the paid and organic listings since February 2011.

Here is a list of noted changes in the last few months:

1.  Product Listing Ads are sometimes shown horizontally in top placement real estate instead of just on the right rail.  These resemble the ‘Shopping results for…’ organic section below the paid ads.

Also, a few weeks ago we would occasionally see vertical PLAs labeled as “Shopping results for…”, the same text as the organic product listings:

2.  Six Sitelinks. The addition of 2 more visible sitelinks pushes the natural listings down the page even farther. Notice how much space the JCPenney ad is taking up in the image below, especially if you expand the Local PlusBox:


3.  Landing page text pulled into copy. Talk about a marriage between SEO and SEM! Let’s see if this is rolled out on more SERPs in the future.


4.  Google Offer Ads Extension. This is a beta product that features an offer extension in the top placement paid ads on both desktop and mobile devices. The offers extension not only allows for more space on the page, it can also (more importantly) help measure online to store spill-over for users that take advantage of the ‘print offer’ option in the expanded ad.

5.  +1 Button in Ads. The +1 feature is shown in both organic and PPC listings now. The addition of user-recommended ads is another play to help lift a ‘preferred’ ad’s CTR.  (Note: As of now, +1s do not impact an ad’s quality score.)


6.  Display URLs are now featured below the headline, like natural listings. So, in addition to being lowercase, with ‘www.’ preceding the advertiser’s domain, the placement of the display URLs helps blend the paid and organic landscape.

7.  Display Domain URL in headline. For select ads in top placements, the display URLs are featured without the ‘www.’ prefix and are separated from the ad text with a vertical bar. Even with this addition, the ad’s display URL (mentioned in point 6) is still featured below the headline.

Notice the ‘LEGO.com’ domain in the headline and the appearance of the lowercase display URL below the headline:


8.  Extensions and Seller Ratings can serve together now, which should allow more ads to enjoy both the CTR advantage of extensions and CTR benefit of seller ratings.  In cases where there is another ad extension, Seller Ratings will appear on the display URL line, below the headline. (See JCPenney screen shot above.) Previously, ad seller ratings and extensions were not served at the same time.

It’ll be interesting to see how the PPC ad appearance will change as we head into Q4.  Google is certainly keeping us on our toes!

Comments
5 Responses to “A More ‘Organic’ Experience Part II”
  1. Andreas Daun says:

    Hi Joy,

    Really liked the posts on organic seach experience. Missed this before but stumbled over them by chance.

    I must say I am getting a bit worried the wy things are developing now with organic search and paid search closing in in terms of look and feel and search functionality. Also, Google today annnounced that they will strip all organic search queries from the search results for ligged in users. It does not make sense to me. What do you think?

    Also, would you like to connect on Twitter? My name is andreas_daun.

  2. Joy Barberio Joy Barberio says:

    Andreas – Yes. The two arenas are definitely blending more now. As for the organic query stripping, this is happening less than 10% of the time. Google rolled this out to answer privacy concerns. Interesting though – for now, we still have visibility into the PPC search logs, which is helpful for campaign optimization (phrase and negative opportunities). We’ll have to wait and see if the stripping moves to the paid space though.

    I am behind the times, I guess — I do not have a twitter account. :)

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