“But I have great SEO and it’s FREE”

Why pay for search when you can get it for free just by optimizing your website?

You’ve been a good webmaster and consistently posted fresh, unique content loaded with keywords, you’ve made sure all the appropriate Meta Tags are populated, and you’ve garnered some backlinks from reputable websites all to get that top SEO spot. But there’s change a-brewin’. Sometime in the late-summer of 2016 we experienced a paradigm shift. Don’t blame yourself for not noticing, it was barely perceptible, yet quite significant. According to the 2017 Industry Trends Report by Hitwise, three of the four major Home & Garden categories — Furniture, Appliances, DIY and Garden — saw clicks from paid searches overtake clicks from organic searches in 2016. They go on to say: “All top five furniture players pulled over half their traffic from paid search this year (May 2017 compared to May 2016), up dramatically from 2016. It appears that paid search has become the most pivotal channel for staying competitive in furniture sales.”

First organic result 1This shift is perhaps by necessity. If you’ve searched Google for a “furniture store” in most areas with a decent number of competitors, you’ll notice the first non-map-based, organic search response is the seventh actual result on the page. Depending on the searcher’s screen settings, this can place your site several scrolls down from the top and certainly places it unfortunately “below the fold.” That’s not a great position, despite technically being in the top organic spot.

Of particular importance to the independent furniture store “Amazon also more than doubled their paid clicks since May of last year. Their organic rate (along with Walmart’s) remains higher than niche brands like Wayfair and Hayneedle. This suggests
broader retailers may have an organic leg-up against more specific brands.” While more specific brands have trouble competing organically, they can win the top spot on paid search by localizing their campaign with geo-targeting. Need help setting up your campaign’s geo-targeting or other aspects of paid search? Reach out to us.

An interesting side note from the report: “Youtube’s traffic remains almost wholly organic.” Consider what this says about the importance of video.

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