Google has been doing something lately, little by little. For example, if I were to Google the phrase ‘SEO’ on a mobile device, I would only be able to see two ads occupying the screen real estate. No organic searches are visible. If I were to scroll down the screen, I would see that the person who has purchased the number three advert on the screen, which isn’t visible without scrolling, is basically wasting his money. Only after we pass the Wikipedia entry do we see the Google Maps Places entry.
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Why is this significant you ask? Because Google has been confirmed as testing four ads on the top of desktop. Organic has already begun disappearing from many searches from mobile devices. If you are getting a lot of mobile, you might want to consider buying an ad, as the top of the desktop searches are becoming too crowded.
Should you focus on a Featured Snippet or Featured Answer? A new tactic you may consider is Google Places. Google ranks you based on popularity, i.e. how many visitors your site attracts, and ranks you in Google Places accordingly.
One of our clients has been doing AdWords for years. They have strong organic traffic and a huge jump in paid traffic in recent months. You need to optimise your Google Places, and one of the ways to do this is to ensure you receive a minimum of five stars for reviews. Ask customers or clients, if they don’t mind leaving a review as the more reviews you receive, the higher your ranking in Google Places.
A lot of mobile device traffic is coming in through ads, so I recommend looking at your organic traffic. This is where Google is heading. If four adverts are being placed at the top of the desktop, you should think about adjusting your SEO strategy.
Especially with the rise of mobile, should you be doing AdWords for the searches you want to appear in? Today’s searches are all about a fast user experience. That means having a clear message and matching the search to the relevance of your ad. Google AdWords traffic on mobile devices is ever increasing and is certainly the way Google is heading for 2016.
Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.