Is Search Dead for Bloggers?

Google has increased the number of display ads on its search results pages to the point that most bloggers stand no chance of getting any new traffic to their blog. Google is under more and more pressure to keep revenue high. With internet search competition coming form Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other sites, Google is trying to squeeze out more profit from less searches.

Their strategy is to place more paid ads on every search result page (called the SERPs — search engine results pages). That means that blogger may have a harder time getting any traffic from organic searches. Be afraid of mistake, Getting a Pardon Possible from Google for Penalties is getting harder! Check out my blog post on this.

Bloggers depend on people finding them via search. With Google being the biggest search engine, bloggers may be in trouble. Bloggers blog, to try to get readers — sound obvious. But what might not be so obvious is, with 158 million blogs estimated back in 2011, bloggers compete for readers. And the blogosphere has only gotten more crowed since then. The bloggers compete via social media, links from other blogs and Google search.

The results for SERPs are staggering. Sites that shows up on page one during a search compete for 30% of the click throughs. The second page gets 15% with the third getting 7%. So being on the first page is useful. But the numbers were higher in 2013 when Google ran less ads. Back then the rate was double.

In 2013, 60% of searchers clicked on a organic site on page one — with only 10% clicking on a paid ad.

In 2014, that number is cut in half with 30% clicking a non-paid ad on page one, with 20% clicking on an ad.

Page two results follow the same pattern.

As ads take up more space, they get more clicks. When blogs get shoved on lower pages, they get less visitors. And visitors are what growing an audience is all about.

While organic or non-paid search was how Google became popular, and grew. Now a huge company, the need for revenue and growth are pushing the company to place more ads. This is because, for the first time Google has competition — from other platforms like Facebook. A lot of people search Facebook, or Twitter first. If looking for books, they search Amazon directly. Or Yelp to find a restaurant. This puts Google in the uncomfortable position of loosing search traffic. And that means less searchers to deliver ads to.

Lower searchers and a growing company translate into less revenue unless they can squeeze more from less. And that’s why search pages are getting filled with paid ads. … Google needs the money.

Facebook ads are much lower in cost, and their ad revenue is growing. More ad money moving to other platforms, means Google is feeling the pinch.

All this means that bloggers may need to depend on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to get new readers.

This fundamentally changes how the internet has worked for over a decade. When blogs came on the scene in 2005, bloggers posted useful content. That drove people to use search to find content. The search engines were happy because they got traffic. The bloggers were happy because they got traffic. Even the advertisers were happy because … you guessed it … the got traffic.

With Google placing so many ads on the SERPs, a lot of searchers are not so happy. And choosing to search elsewhere, which makes everyone unhappy. But bloggers often lack the advertising budget to buy ad space. And so search may become the space of corporate sites only. Or at least, corporate interests may dominate search.

That leaves blog owners with a conundrum, pay or be relegated to the unfound — the 100th page of Google search. For now, Facebook and others offers lower cost advertising.

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