30 second recap:
- Google is always testing new page spots for SERP components
- In simple terms, position no. 1 in organic or paid ads does not guarantee that your paid ad listing will be viewable without scrolling
- The organic position n. 1 reported by Google Search Console is not the actual position 1 on the page
- Many anomalies and assumptions affect paid and organic clicks – is there a smart way to counter this?
- Leading Consultant and Performance Marketing Expert Prasanna Dhungel Unveils Four Key Insights to Maximize Performance Marketing Initiatives in 2023
Over the past two decades, Google’s search engine results page (SERP) has evolved a lot. Google’s SERP, which once only had organic listings, now also features paid dynamic ads and other organic SERP components.
Currently, Google SERP has many organic features such as:
- People also ask (PAA),
- popular products,
- close-up fragments,
- Google Maps,
- image packs,
- Tweets and many more that I think we are only scratching the surface of
The paid features currently displayed on Google SERP are:
- commercial ads,
- text ads e
- MAP local search ads
These are some paid features that advertisers shouldn’t ignore if they want to build better advertising and content strategies for maximum search marketing ROI.
Google varies their SERP composition by keyword, geography, time of day, and device. Google is testing new spots on the page for SERP components. What does all of this mean, you might ask? In simple terms, position no. 1 in organic or paid ads does not guarantee that your ad will be visible without scrolling. It means that an organic position n. 1 reported by Google Search Console is not the actual 1 position on the page. So, you have a much lower CTR than you expect and all of this affects your paid and organic clicks.
With this dynamic nature of the SERP, search marketers need to understand the SERP landscape and the true positioning of their brand on Google relative to the competition. This view will enable search marketers to implement the right paid and SEO tactics to maximize exposure and clicks.
Based on my experience and understanding of dynamic SERPs, here are four key insights marketers should focus on to maximize their performance marketing initiatives.
1. Analyze the composition of the SERP for your keywords
Marketers need to understand the visible SERP features for their keywords. The chart below suggests that, along with organic, SERP Features like PAA and popular products are taking up significant space for the keywords ‘apparel’ and ‘accessories’. Search marketers who don’t target these components will miss out on acquiring customers at different stages of their buying journey who are clicking People are also asking.
2. Monitor emerging and shrinking SERP Features
Marketers need to understand the new SERP Features that have appeared and are becoming popular for their keyword traffic. This helps develop a long-term advertising and content plan that targets popular SERP features.
In the last quarter, we identified Map Local Search Ads and App Install SERP Features (in mobile) appearing under the keywords ‘apparel’ and ‘accessories’. We have seen a growth in the popularity of PAAs and popular products across many keyword groups.
3. Track SERP Features above the fold
Understanding the SERP features visible in above-the-fold real estate is crucial. This information will help marketers understand the dynamics of click-through rates rising and falling in the SERPs. You might wonder why clicks are decreasing even though your average rank on Google Reports is improving. You can answer those questions with your ad’s real position in the SERP.
As shown in the chart below, the usual organic component in this keyword landscape has lower above-the-fold reach than SERP features like PAAs and popular products.
Insights like these help marketers understand the fastest gateway to first page above the fold. Marketers can create a holistic search strategy to properly allocate their search marketing budget between organic and paid SERP features.
4. Monitor your competition through SERP Features
Google is an ultra competitive channel. You have many domains showing up on the Google SERP, from aggregators to publishers to actual competitors of your business model. To build the right marketing tactics, it is imperative to understand the top domains by SERP features, their competitive tactics, and the SERP landscape changes.
From planning link building to acquiring secondary traffic, improving your authority score, crafting advertising and content strategies – SERP-driven insights like these help you maximize your search advertising performance.
In addition, tracking the tactics of key emerging competitors in SERP formats allows you to timely optimize your advertising campaigns. As shown in the chart below, from May to July 2022, Amazon significantly improved its voice share of Google Shopping ads.
When brands like this advertise heavily in one category, marketers will need to advertise products in categories that Amazon isn’t aggressively pushing and come back when Amazon’s advertising slows down.
Google shares less and less data. Google’s ad data doesn’t show advertisers what low impressions might appear and raise your CPCs slightly. Google Search Console data doesn’t show true rank, and shared organic rank isn’t representative of your actual position on the page.
Moving into 2023, it’s imperative for search marketers to use SERP-driven insights to gain an edge in their performance marketing campaigns.
Prasanna Dhungel co-founded and runs GrowByData, which powers performance marketing for leading brands like Crocs and major agencies like Merkle. GrowByData offers marketing insights for product research, market and management to drive new revenue, increase marketing performance and manage brand compliance.
Prasanna also advises executives, boards and investors on data, growth and product strategy. You have assisted leading companies such as Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation, Athena Health and Apellis Pharma.
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