Earlier this week, Google launched Search Plus Your World, a change to its search engine results page that adds Google + data to your search results, often at the expense of more relevant content.
The impact of this change to the average Googler may not be felt immediately, and as with any Google change it is likely to change ten times over or disappear altogether before many folks even notice it. However, it is the latest to a long line of SERP changes Google has rolled out that remind us why having a strong paid search presence is so important. Universal search, real-time results, local, and personalization have made the challenge of getting first page rankings harder than ever, and Search Plus Your World takes it a step further.
To that end, this really makes paid search more critical than ever. Having a handle on what terms are the best traffic and conversion drivers for you, and then developing a strong and consistent paid search presence on those terms is critical.
One of the strengths of paid has always been the fact it is guaranteed, and that asset is now at the peak of its value. So while it is tempting to try and cut back on your paid spend and hope to rely more on organic traffic, it is simply not a recommended strategy. While all of these changes occur in the organic listings, paid remains very consistent in terms of its presentation and visibility. By reducing your paid spend, you are taking away the one element of your search marketing mix you have the most control over.
So feel free to pare down your keyword list to eliminate non-performers, and feel free to place more emphasis on metrics so that you know what terms are working. But now more than ever it is important to embrace the safety that paid search offers your marketing strategy.