Many hoteliers have experienced a similar trend with their organic traffic from Google: it is decreasing. Over the last several years, Google has drastically changed the way they present websites on their result pages. Here, we will walk through some of the recent changes from Google’s Result Pages, how they might be impacting organic search experience and a possible solution to help mitigate some of the negative impacts that websites might be experiencing.
Around 2012 – Back in the glory days of search engines, the organic search results were displayed right up at the top, very easy for the searcher to find. Google had ads above those, and some on the sidebar, but they were more easily distinguished from the Organic Search Results and the top organic result could rely on as much as 33% of the overall clicks on the page.
2015 – By this year, Google had made some serious changes to their result pages. You can see the local map pack becomes more prominent, ads now take up multiple lines with several links available to click on and you cannot even see the 1st organic results unless you scroll further down, they are “below the fold”. The difference between this result page and the one from 2012 illustrate how much Google’s page has changed in those years. There seems to be no priority to display organic results at the top and the page seems very ad heavy.
2017 – The biggest difference between here and 2015 is that there are no longer ads being displayed on the sidebar. However, we have increased the number of ads above the local pack to a total of 4. As we scroll down, we see 2 organic search results, news results, and then more organic. As of today, most of what is being displayed on the first page are not organic results, but either ads or information that Google has deemed relevant to the searcher are shown instead. While the first organic search result still receives a vast majority of the clicks on the page, the rest of the organic results listed get a markedly lower number of clicks in comparison to the past.
Changes in Google’s Search Result Page have resulted in some drastic changes to the way people interact with Search Engines. As we mentioned above, interaction and CTRs with organic results outside of the first position have declined. With the reduction in the number of ads on the front-page, the demand for that ad space has increased significantly, which results in an increase of as much as 60% in Brand CPCs.