A variety of activities fall under the category of digital marketing, which all aim to increase a website’s traffic and leads. Online marketing terms such as SEO and Google AdWords are well-known even to those outside the industry. There is no doubt in the minds of those in this industry that there is a difference between the two. Mixx can assist you with Instagram marketing. There are differences between SEO and Google Ads, however, and we get a lot of questions about it. Lets these digital marketing startegies.
This is THE big upheaval with regard to Google, which took place just a few days ago: the Californian engine has decided to stop the display of AdWords ads on the side column of results pages, and to allow four locations in head of these same pages… A revolution even deeper than one can imagine!
Finally, AdWords is not dead for everyone …
The big news is that AdWords is not dead yet . In any case, not for everyone! But the great trend towards the impoverishment of inventories that we imagined a year and a half ago is well on its way!
Let’s quickly summarize the update that took place this weekend. From a search results page with 8-10 sponsored links, Google has moved to a model capping at 7 AdWords links per page. This is already 3 less for those who want to ensure a display on the first page.
But it is above all the distribution of these advertising links that is changing. The display now goes from 3 to 4 premium positions (the famous listing heads) and relegates the next 3 sponsored links to the bottom of the page. It is in fact all the right column which disappears.
Very practical, this column made it possible above all to consider a presence in the first part of the page for a lower bid . If these locations had already been abused by the Knowledge Graph and Google My Business (see the capture above, dated August 2015) , they remained tactically interesting. A slightly popular brand and a slightly clever ad writing (price, promotion, etc.) made it possible to envisage quite reasonable click volumes for a CPC which was ultimately quite low . Without constantly attempting the top 1, audience acquisition strategies via a 5th or 6th position could easily be envisaged until now.
Today, with the changes that Google is making to its results pages, this kind of strategy can simply be abandoned. Google returns to a more mathematical classification of its advertisements which will very naturally play into the game of large budgets. If the optimizations of Quality Score and click-through rate still make it possible to play on the CPC in the medium term, the sequence of 4 paid ads is ultimately the game of the advertisers who have the most resources , especially in the short-tale. So, to speak simply of Travel, players such as Booking, Expedia and Odigeo should take full advantage of this system to strengthen their dominant presence in the sector. With one caveat …
If the market allows only 4 visible ads instead of 6 or 7 on the most exposed keywords, the CPC war for these first 4 places will inevitably rage. This will not necessarily result in a bidding war for the first position – not to mention an agreement, positions are generally fixed by sector, due to budgets and acquisition costs – but rather increased pressure on positions 3 and 4 , precisely those which were not very accessible to actors of modest size… A sort of ” race for the screen “.
In short, the AdWords revolution of last weekend plays in favor of the biggest (Priceline, Expedia, Odigeo …) and will force themeans to think quickly.
The issue of direct products, the backdrop for Google’s strategy.
But what is at stake with this upheaval in the AdWords display is also the future of Google’s own products . With the disappearance of the right column, the two flagship products of the Travel portal (Flight Search, Hotel Finder) benefit from an undeniable tunnel effect .
Google now assumes the linearity of its results page , and requires Internet users to browse these results sequentially. It is therefore impossible to ignore the flight lists or the mapping of hotels in the results page . Especially since in a “classic” resolution, these tools now occupy the bottom of the first screen. They therefore appear in an essential way for all visitors.
This is not however THE big offensive that we expected. Flight Search is not yet natural in its use and is therefore not pushed to the top of the page, even if it is gaining presence. This is undoubtedly a sign that Google is not “yet” ready to deprive itself of AdWords revenues from the main OTAs in order to sell Airlines directly. The same goes for hoteliers where the system is similar.
Consequently, what strategy to adopt on these tools? They will be preponderant in the months to come, there is no doubt about it, and the reflection of the investment on these platforms must arise more than ever . However, Google will probably not push desktop display in their favor before the end of the year. The operations of setting up Trip Planer in January show rather that it is on mobile that Google intends to make the switch. And we can easily imagine the rapid booking of flights or hotels on Google on a smartphone rather than on a computer.Think about it, phone screens generally only allow the display of a single AdWords ad: the screen’s financial balance (understanding the Advertising / Direct Distribution revenue balance) is not the same! Expect the near end of Adwords mobile for the most transactional keywords (brands, Hotel + City, Origin-Destination…)!
The end of SEO in the travel industry?
Last impact, and not the least, that on natural referencing strategies … With 4 AdWords ads and ubiquitous own tools, natural results are regularly pushed to the second part of the page on the most strategic requests (brands, Hotel + City , Origin-Destination… again). The result should be a logical drop in SEO audiences towards brand queries , home pages and certain destination and establishment presentation sheets. From there to screaming the death of Natural SEO, there is only one step!
It is a fact, the promotion of AdWords will change the game, and reduce efforts on certain SEO strategies. The promotion of its pure products for example will leave the spectrum of SEO in the medium term to move towards a pure distribution strategy (once again Flight Search or Hotel Finder).
As a result, SEO will regain a real role in communication and inbound marketing . It will be a question of working on editorial strategies intended to attract the customer on ultra-generic terms (destination, travel guides) and to capitalize on this visit by retargeting to ensure a sale in attribution.Travel SEO, in the coming months, will not be able to do without a solid editorial approach, a sustained content production capacity and above all an extremely clear vision of the customer journey. We have been talking for almost a year about Content Factory strategies and content platformization : basically, if audience access for your own website becomes so complicated and expensive, is it still useful to have a website and isn’t it better to rely on third-party platforms for its distribution? The question takes on a new meaning with this new emphasis on Google AdWords: access to the brand audience and to the “product” audience will become more and more expensive, andthe simple highlighting of its inventories on AdWords distribution platforms (OTAs, or in the long term GAFA …) may in the short term be of obvious financial interest . In this perspective where the website is no longer a merchant, it becomes a source of inspiration and content for Internet users , a kind of inspirational brand platform, in line with this highlighting of the emotion we were talking about this week. last. So what is SEO for? Highlighting a medium that carries long-term business… Technically, it may not change much to the approach, but on strategic issues it is a complete turnaround!
SEO is still far from dead, on the other hand it has just undergone a serious change!
Beyond their impact on Search Marketing strategies, the changes made to the Google AdWords display are also changing the way of approaching its overall marketing mix. And that, we discuss it in a second article to read here!
Google Flight Search
Google Hotel Finder
About François Houste 418 Articles
Digital Guardian Angel Former journalist and product manager in digital hosting. Today Consulting Director within a marketing agency. François works with his clients to better understand the digital revolution and its impact on everyday life. Technophile, enthusiastic, fed on the web, fun and music.