Is the Future of Google Organic Search Not So Bright?

Have you noticed that some search results yield way too many paid search ads and local map listings above the fold? Take a look at the search results for the search phrase hong kong hotels. Note that the presence of paid search ads and Google Maps listings took almost all of the valuable browser property above the fold.

hongkong-hotels-search-resu

Traditionally, 70% of search result space has been devoted to organic search results,

While this is not yet happening on most search queries, this phenomenon applies to the more generic terms (say hotels) that imply local listings (hong kong hotels). Organic search results for these terms are pushed towards the bottom of the page, effectively losing its prominence.

The reason for asking whether the future of organic search isn’t so bright is that, as a marketing channel, organic search performance is ultimately measured through the number of conversions, more than traffic or branding purposes. So if we invest on optimizing for natural search only to find out that it lost its inherent advantage of getting bulk of the traffic — due to its unparalleled prominence in search results — maybe it becomes less convincing to proceed using this approach or at least prioritize it. Instead, businesses and advertisers are now going to shift towards paid search, which drives traffic quickly, is more targeted and is much more flexible than organic search. And now prominence. And Google’s happy about it.

With this perceived new layout coming off competitive terms, it’s not enough to be listed in the first page. That’s because with the same layout as the image above, search engine users have to scroll down to see your listings; if you’re on top you get all the attention for organic results.

Hat tip to SEO Book