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If you’ve followed our blog for any amount of time, you’ve certainly heard some of our comments about Google.

One of those you hear over and over again is to “remember Google is a profit-making corporation.” As of February 23rd, 2016, they are the second largest company in the United States, with a market capitalization of $495.1 billion. In 2015, they had $15.83 billion in net income.

That puts them right behind Apple ($534.8 billion), and well ahead of Microsoft ($416.4 billion).

So that context helps the rest of this story to make sense.

The big story is that now more Google searches look like this:

Google Snippet

In the past, you’d get 2-3 paid ads at the top and a whole bunch running down the right in place of that empty box.

So Why Would Google Do This?

Most SEOs were upset and irritated with this move from Google. But honestly, they shouldn’t be surprised. Google’s publicly traded. They exist to make a profit. Talk has been fluttering about because this has happened on a smaller scale for a few months already.

The reason Google did this? Most likely to increase their profits. They’ve been testing the optimal layout of their PPC ads, and this drove the most revenue.

Also, you can’t see this on the screenshot up there, but you now get 3 paid ads at the bottom of each page too.

Why are SEOs so bothered? It pushes down the organic search results. When you search “free insurance quote,” for example, you can only see just one organic search result without scrolling down.

So, that makes the need, and competition for, the top search result much more intense. Clients will have to pay more money. And SEOs don’t like to have that conversation with their clients.

Which is Better, SEO or PPC?

Even given that Google made this move, you don’t necessarily need to panic and throw all kinds of money at paid search. A search strategy that combines both organic SEO and paid search often causes the best results.

While you can get more immediate results with PPC, organic searchers trust the top 10 natural results more, and you get a greater long-term ROI with those.

So don’t get too worried by this. Keep chipping away at your organic search results. Continue working on optimizing your PPC campaigns.

Remember, Google has to make searchers happy. While searchers like PPC ads, they trust organic results more. And if Google loses too much searcher trust, people will go to another search engine.

If you haven’t in a while, now may be a good time to have a chat with your SEO agency, just to make sure all’s going well.

 

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