Google's New Layout | Organic VS Paid Results
Google's New Layout | Organic VS Paid Results
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Google’s New Layout: Organic vs. Paid


16 Oct Google’s New Layout: Organic vs. Paid

Google is an ever-evolving search engine that makes hundreds of updates to its algorithms every single year, keeping us webmasters on our toes to work out their next move. Even though Google’s ranking factors have changed significantly over the past 15 years, their core principle stays the same. Their main aim is to provide the best user-experience possible, and return the most relevant results for the searcher’s query.

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”Google

With this said, over the past twelve months Google’s search results pages have had a drastic makeover, and here’s what we’ve noticed…

Google Ads have more prominence in search results

Google are giving a lot more prominence to Google Ads before organic search results. Take a look at the snippet we’ve taken from a recent Google search. When we search for ‘Web Design Darlington’, these are the first set of results that are returned.web des search snippet

The first set of results that are presented to the user are paid Google Ads and local search results from Google Maps. This means that the user has to scroll at least half way down the results page before finding the organic search results. Whereas if we take a look back in time to this SERP from 2010, things look a lot different and there was a lot less of ‘organic vs paid results’ competition.

2010 serp

Image credit: Search Engine Watch


This snippet may have only been taken five years ago, but in the world of SEO and search marketing, five years is more like a light year! So what’s changed?

Well, in 2010 a search results page consisted of just ten organic results. Not very attractive or user friendly, right? Fast forward to 2015, and your average results page is far more dynamic with varied results depending on your query. From Ads and local results to videos and even social media profiles.

The layout of local rankings have also been spruced up. Google used to show seven local search results whereas now they only show three. This goes back to their core principle, to provide the most relevant websites and information to their users.

In short, the further your business from the searcher’s location, the harder it will be for your website to rank in local search results. From where we’re sitting, it seems as though Google is making it harder for free organic search results to gain visibility in SERPs. Could this be because they want to make more money through Google Ads? We think it’s highly likely!

So what does this mean for organic SEO?

Well the answer is simple. A lack of visibility in SERPs could result in a decrease in rankings and ultimately traffic from organic search. A multitude of web users browse the internet in the hope they will find what they are looking for instantly. Meaning they will often click on the first few results they come across. It just so happens that those first few results are PPC and local, meaning some organic links won’t get a look in!

So is organic SEO still important?

Yes, absolutely! Not everyone requires a super speedy result. Many people like to take their time to sift through the SERPs and pick out a website that matches their query exactly. The likelihood is, that if a visitor has taken their time to select your website from a choice of around twenty results, then they will be more valuable to your business. And they could be more likely to enquire or make a sale than someone who landed on your site because it was the first link they could see.

The figures speak for themselves. The average click through rate of the first paid advert in desktop SERPs is just 19.3%, whereas the average click through rate of the first organic result in desktop SERPs is a staggering 219.3%.

Need some help from the professionals?

Want to find out more about how SEO and PPC can help your business? Speak to the professionals at Geonet. Give us a call on 01325 361729 or pop in for a coffee. We’d be more than happy to help!

Becca Bray