One of our clients asked us to pause the AdWords ads for some their keywords because his website was already first in the Google organic search results.
The client’s logic was simple: if his site was already first on the page, why spend additional money on advertising?
The truth, though, is that eliminating ads can lead to the loss of many potential buyers.
In this article, we’ll tell you why it may be important to spend money on ads even if your site appears first in the Google organic search results.
We also tell how to make sure that ads won’t cannibalize your website’s organic traffic, so you can be sure that running an ad campaign won’t do any harm.
Why Run AdWords Campaigns Even If Your Website Is First in the Google Organic Search Results
– Your website can still be hidden by competitors’ ads and may remain unnoticed
For example, even if your site is in first place in the organic search results, in a competitive niche it would actually be fifth on the page, since the first four places would be occupied by ads. If your website is in the second position in the organic search results, it would actually be sixth due to competitive ads.
The fact is that most users only open the first few links when searching. What if these links belong to competitors?
Let’s say a user enters a query and opens the first five links from the search. In this case, on a page where the first four results are paid ads, a user will open four advertising links and one (the very first) from the organic results. Thus, you will simply lose potential customers even if your site takes the second position in organic results.
Here are the first four results.
You should be interested in your site appearing as high as possible in the list, and this applies to almost all niches with more or less active competition.
There is also another type of user, however: the user who doesn’t click any ads generally and visits websites only through organic search results. They will still visit your website if your link is first in the organic results.
Thus, an ad campaign won’t affect users of the second type, but will allow you to get potential customers from the users of the first type. Otherwise, they will go to your competitor.
- Organic search positions are unstable
Search results in Google are now individualized: the positions of results vary from one user to another.
Search results also differ by country. If your business is multinational, then in one country your website may be at the top, while in another, it may not even be on the first page.
If we were to stop running ads for keywords based on them displaying generically at the top of the organic results, we would have to constantly monitor positions in different regions and pause and unpause ads. This would be tedious to do manually or require the creation of automatic scripts.
How to Make Sure That Your Site Won’t Lose Organic Traffic Once You Launch an AdWords Campaign
However, there is a way to ensure that advertising does not cannibalize organic traffic. Let’s do everything step by step.
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1. Open Google Search Console
Enter “google webmaster tools” in Google search and go to the first link.
Then click here.
Now let’s work with the tool.
2. Go to “Search Analytics”
This button is located on the left side of the program interface.
3. Click the “Pages” button
This button is in the middle of the screen.
Now select one of your website’s landing pages.
Then click here:
This button will give you queries people used find that landing page.
Do not forget to set this parameter:
This parameter is necessary to make the queries appear in order from the most popular to least.
4. Choose queries where you are in first place in Google search results
Just select one or two of the most popular queries through which people find your page.
5. Run ad campaigns with these queries for the same webpage
Create ad campaigns for one or two queries that you chose earlier.
After you have started the campaign and it gives result for analysis, go to the next step.
6. Go to Google Analytics
Here you will find a list of all your landing pages.
Select the landing page where you were advertising and click here:
Change the segment you will use to analyze the impact of ad campaigns on organic traffic.
Then select this parameter:
It will appear in the list of segments.
7. Check if there are any changes in organic traffic
Now everything is ready for analysis.
You will see a graph showing all the changes in organic traffic coming to your landing page.
Most likely, it will look something like this.
If the graph looks more or less stable with no abrupt changes, you can safely run ads without fear that they will cannibalize some of your organic traffic.
You can’t assume that just because your site is first in organic search results that you do not need to run AdWords campaigns for some keywords that people use to find your website. In fact, you can lose a lot of potential customers to your competitors.
The truth is that it may be important to spend money on ads even if your site is shown first in the Google organic search results.
If you are afraid of ads cannibalizing your organic traffic, making you pay for clicks that you could have received for free, there is a simple way to check:
- Use Google Search Console and choose some queries where you are in first place in Google search results.
- Run ad campaigns with these queries for the same landing pages.
- Analyze the results and check if there are any changes in organic traffic.
What would you do if your website was in first place in Google organic search results, but still appeared below your competitors’ ads?
*The article is prepared (structured and formatted) by Roman Davydov.