Everyone in the home improvement industry is trying to get better organic rankings for their Web site. But I can tell you from experience, that’s really hard to do.
Are you doing something wrong? Well, maybe, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. It’s more likely that you’re doing just fine, but are getting crowded out by paid advertisements.
First, a quick refresher. Paid listings are pretty much what they sound like, and they generally show up at the very top and the right-hand side of a search. I’m talking Google here, but you’ll find that Bing, Yahoo and other search engines use a similar layout. Here’s a search for “home improvement” on Google.
Everything not highlighted on that screenshot is an organic search result – that is, it came from good old-fashioned content and keyword placement. That’s the kind of stuff you can control, and the kind of stuff you strive to improve.
If it looks like those ads are taking up an inordinate amount of space, it’s not just your eyes playing tricks on you. Search engines have given ads more and more space over the years. It’s a natural evolution considering that 96% of Google’s revenue comes from ads.
Ads are getting more text, more links, and more screen space. They’re big, they’re prominent, and it’s growing increasingly likely that users will click on them instead of on an organic search that’s getting crowded down to the bottom of the screen. Just look at a search for “home improvement” on Ask.com.
There are no organic results on the screen. First there are ads, then suggestions for other searches, and then a couple of sites about the TV show. If you keep scrolling down you’ll see organic results, but many users won’t bother with that when large, convincing looking ads are right in front of them.
This problem isn’t going to go away. If anything, organic searches will continue to be crowded out. It’s almost like an arms race – search engines want advertisers, and advertisers will give their money to the engine that promises it the most space.
Now, I can’t answer the question of whether you should give paid ads a try – I know they work and it’s what my company specializes in. Your budget and your business goals may tell you to stick with an organic strategy. But one way or another, all home improvement companies are going to have to adjust to the fact that ads are getting more time in the limelight. Just going a few spaces down the ranking can hurt your traffic significantly. Don’t dismiss this as a small change, and come up with a plan to adapt. Your traffic will thank you later.