As you know we recently ran an informal survey regarding how people use Google.
It was sparked when we ran our numbers end of the year number. What we found plays right in to Googles game plan and might be surprising.
First, like many companies we spend many hours a week working on out site optimization, this study only includes the website and things like content, on-page markup, blogs, socials etc. Also like many business we run Google AdWords from time to time. What we found out really surprised us and I think it will interest you too.
We added up what I spend in man hours and salary working and re-working the optimization of the web site. While we were messing around with the site (big mistake) we decided to run Google AdWords to keep in place.
Turns out AdWords costs just a fraction of what was spent on the manual optimization.
So my question is I think, how much weight does a user (potential shopper) put in the difference between an organic listing and a paid ad?
If I can maintain a guaranteed top of the page position for a fraction of the cost who cares where the actual organic listing is. Plus, I have the ability to change the ads to fit my needs at will, I can match different ads to target keywords and even geo locations.
Now what I have noticed with my sites is even when we had the organic listing we always did better with the ads (more on this later). So that brings me back to the weight question.
So in my mind:
- I can have guaranteed top positioning for a fraction of the cost.
- I can concentrate on making the site more of a human sales tool rather than make compromises for the search engines.
- Did I mention the savings in time and cost is incredible?
- It gives me some major flexibility.
But it all comes back down to the ‘weight’ question.
My thoughts on that:
- I think Google is the new ‘Yellow Pages’. But by this I mean it adds legitimacy to your business like a yellow page ad did back in the day. Remember the “Find me in the yellow pages” decals on everything. That printed ad separated you it legitimized you. You were a big enough company to buy an ad.
- I think the same is now true with Google. I think it has now evolved to that point, it’s the go to for everything. The paid ad shows that you are a legitimate active business.
- Old phone book statistics show that when shopping people browsed the listings but when it came time to buy the called a display ad.
No remember that this was informal an informal polling.
As a consumer, do you put more weight in organic listings or the paid ads? Across all the places and groups we queried we received 31 responses.
Organic listing: 18, paid ads: 13
As a business owner, if you get the results do you care where the hits come from? Across all the places and groups we queried we received 22 responses.
Care where the hits come from: 4, don’t care: 18
Seems like a contradiction until the last question.
As a consumer, when you are ready to purchase, do you click on an organic listing or a paid ad. This one was interesting because it swung completely opposite question one and we received 21 responses.
When it finally came time to make a decision, organic listing: 16, paid ads: 5
To sum it up it seems that people are using the same habits with Google as they used to use with the old Yellow Pages except now their fingers are walking across a keyboards. Bottom line was this, you get more hits with organic listing but you get more sales from the ads.
Another interesting side note is that many of the people using Google are not old enough to remember the Yellow Page hay days so maybe it is a behavioral pattern.