I was reading a blog the other day talking about Google gesticulating to it’s advertisers that it values paid search (PPC) more highly than natural organic search (SEO).
The reasons are fairly clear for a seasoned cynic like me – Google rakes in revenue directly from PPC where it doesn’t get anything from SEO.
However, are they losing sight of why they exist in the first place and potentially shooting themselves in the foot in the process.
Google (and all the other search engines for that matter) are there to provide Joe Bloggs with the information that they are after as quickly as possible, hence their regular updates to refine what results they serve up to us.
Many of us (bar my parents) have been using search engines long enough as well to differentiate between paid and organic results – indeed; Sponsored Link Blindness (or SLB) is a well-recognised condition (that I made up the name for, but run with me on this one), with around 80% of people suffering from this dreadful affliction.
Sufferers of SLB don’t look or more importantly, click on paid for search results for various reasons, lack of trust perhaps that they will give them the info they need.
Humans generally will always react with a certain amount of cynicism towards any form of advertising.
I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of people saying, “Advertising doesn’t work on me” – whilst drinking a Coca-Cola, wearing a pair of Nike trainers, with their Ford Focus parked of the driveway of their Barratt Home.
Of course advertising works, but people don’t always want to believe that it doesn’t influence their decisions.
So, with this in mind, in the long run if Google continue to push the value of paid search more and more, the 80% of SLB suffers may start to use another engine perhaps to find what they need.
The key to Google’s success is its’ focus on providing it’s users with the information that it is looking for with the minimum of fuss, made up of a mixture of paid and organic results.
At the end of the day, 90% of people in the world who use Google, don’t do it because of some great affinity for the company, they do it because they are the best at delivering the information that they need.
If they were to move towards paid search even more, then I can’t see how it wouldn’t be to the detriment of the results.
In turn alienating users and pushing them away to pastures new.
There’s no doubt that PPC campaigns work great, I’ve seen enough examples of it to know for sure.
However, businesses shouldn’t just put all their eggs in one basket, PPC should form part of a wider advertising strategy which does as many as possible, SEO, display advertising, PPC, radio/TV, social media etc. etc.
In my view, Google needs to share that same pragmatic approach and give the user as much, varied information as possible and not just push paid search at us too much.