You Might Be Losing Organic Clicks. Here’s Why.

Posted by on November 24, 2017

You Might Be Losing Organic Clicks. Here’s Why.

As a CMO or marketing decision-maker, you’ve got to know how many clicks you’re generating—but more than that, you’ve got to know where those clicks are coming from. Hint: It’s not always where you think they’re coming from.

A recent SEO Moz article offers some salient points here: “Over the last two years, the total share of organic clicks on page one of our e-commerce SERPs has dropped 25 percent on desktop and 55 percent on mobile,” the article states. “For the ad-heavy non-local SERPs that we work in, paid ads are likely now earning nearly the same percentage of clicks as organic results — a staggering change from most of the history of Google.”

Evaluating the Data

Now obviously, there’s a lot here to unpack. One of the most important takeaways is the much larger drop in mobile, which is significant because of the big traffic shifts we’ve seen over the past couple of years, which have really favored mobile. Also note: The decrease in clicks plays out most acutely among the top four SERP positions.

A data set like this begs the question: Why is this taking place? There are several issues that are likely in play here, including:

  • Ads are served on more queries;
  • There are more ads per query;
  • There are now larger ads, taking up more SERP real estate;
  • Google Shopping shows up on more queries and takes up more SERP real estate;
  • Ad labeling is a little subtler than it used to be.

Of these factors, Google Shopping warrants a special mention, particularly for its role in voice search queries; according to the research from SEO Moz, the overall share of Google Shopping for voice searches has increased by almost 60 percent, just in the last year.

As for the other factors, note that Google is now displaying four PPC ads for most commercial search terms, on top of Google Shopping results. And since ads are taking up more space—especially on mobile devices—it’s often impossible to see anything except ads without doing some scrolling. Finally, while ads are getting bigger, they also look less and less obviously like ads. Their labeling is getting more oblique and camouflaged, to the point that many search engine users can’t readily tell ads from organic listings.

Evaluating the Data

Implications for CMOs

Now we come to another important question: What exactly can you do about all this? What does it mean for the future of SEO?

First, note some happy news: While the share of organic clicks is decreasing, the total numbers of clicks is holding strong. What this means is that customers are still there; they’re just finding products through different avenues. In fact, many companies will notice these changes through very small losses or anemic growth in their organic clicks.

Of course, it is more important than ever to have a robust, integrative search strategy that encompasses both organic SEO and paid search. That’s really nothing new. A holistic approach has always been preferable.

Going forward, though, many CMOs will need to rebalance some of their online spending, while also doing more to ensure that their organic and paid outreach strategies are working together in tandem.

That’s something we can help you with. We are a leading SEO and PPC firm in Orange County, California, and we take a holistic, data-backed approach to deliver big results to our clients. To learn more, contact EverythingOnline today.