Why no consumer outrage? 40% UK consumers confuse Google Ads with organic search results

The Telegraph of  July  11, 2013 is reporting that  research by Bunnyfoot suggests that 81 % of UK Internet users clicked on Google Ads instead of the organic results although the Google AdWords Ads were clearly identified. Over half of those i.e. 41% did not know which results were Ads and which were organic results based on SEO efforts of the website. So why no consumer outrage? But first the difference between Ads and organic results.

Flowers keyword Ads and Organic results-StratoServeIf you searched for “flowers” – the keyword, your search history and advertisers Google Adwords campaigns will trigger  “Ads related to flowers”that appear below the  Google  Search Bar in the screenshot. The organic results  appear after.

Why are consumers not outraged and abandon Google? Also why are businesses so caught up with SEO when people do not care to differentiate between ads and organic results? Here are some thoughts  why:

  1. Top ranked Ads are relevant to keyword and search intent:  If your website has nothing to do with “flowers” just paying more for keywords like “flowers” will not help with your paid AdWords campaign or your SEO.  Google wants first to make its searchers happy and they’ll show the Ads and when they see that people click  , go to your website and then leave (bounce) in disgust,  your keyword starts getting a poor quality score. The Ads are not even shown unless you increase your keyword price to ridiculous levels. And when you see that after paying $10 for a click your visitor bounces, you will need to review your strategy and your Ad price will keep going up as the Google algorithm tries to avoid your irrelevant Ad just so that the searcher is happy . Even $10 a click from you that results in unhappy searchers does not help Google.  In the old world media the newspaper and TV station would tell you if  your Ad was not relevant to its audience but if you insisted and paid … they’d keep quiet. After all,  consumers could fast forward recorded TV or simply flip the newspaper page and not think poorly about the TV station for putting out a boring,irrelevant Ad. Not so on the Internet, when someone searches Google,Yahoo or Bing they really want the best results that speak to the underlying search intent.
  2. SEO-Ad landing page-keywords are related: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) , Ad landing page after clicking on an ad and the keyword that triggered the paid Ad or showed your page on top of the organic results are related concepts. If you have a clear and useful response to the search keyword/s you are ahead in SEO. So if you have lots of flower pictures that are properly tagged, you have text  content that are the “last word” on that type of flower you are ahead in organic results. Just try out the detailed content of  organic results for “flowers”  or any other item in your own location.

The bottom line is that so long as consumers get great search results a large majority do not seem to notice the difference between paid ads and the organic SEO results- they are not outraged. Because the quality of top ranked Ads,landing pages with respect to searched keywords are well aligned – and quite comparable to organic search results. For organizations, great products and services must be supported by relevant web content that makes life easier for searchers and search engines for top paid Ad ranking and SEO ranking.About StratoServe Digital Marketing Services.