Visibility of paid ads in SERPs: why you need to invest in AdWords

Antoni Saurina

Written by Antoni Saurina

Until relatively recently, it was enough to be well positioned in the natural search results to receive a significant number of visits. The investment in advertising to appear in the search engine was a secondary contribution, a support rather than a necessity. Nowadays the reality is quite different, as over time the importance of ads is growing within Google to such an extent that, sometimes, it is difficult to find organic results within the SERPs.

Every day Google AdWords ads occupy a more prominent place in the search results.

The strategy of“I run campaigns until I get my site ranked and then I stop them” is no longer valid, since, by stopping the campaigns, we will lose a lot of visibility on which a large part of the income that a website provides may depend.

To visualize more clearly the importance of campaigns, let’s look at some examples that will add value to the main argument. The first analyzed results have been displayed on a generous 23″ screen. In the screenshots you can see the results that appear when searching without the need to scroll vertically. The most interesting parts to be discussed are highlighted in red boxes.

Search for a service in a city

In the following example we are going to analyze the results of the search “divorce lawyer in Madrid”.

abogado divorcios en Madrid - Buscar con Google 2015-12-15 13-00-28

As can be seen, up to nine Google AdWords ads, a map and two Google Places addresses appear, but no organic links appear. Not appearing in the ads would mean a very significant loss of visibility. Taking all the results into account, there would be up to eleven competing companies that have a much better chance of getting the customer than a company that does not advertise.

Search for a product

In this case the search is about a product, I feel the term chosen is “buy nike sneakers”.

Example ad buy nike shoes

In this example, the results shown are not as extreme as in the previous case, since it presents text ads, ads with images (Shopping) and organic results. Even so, if we analyze the results that stand out the most, these are undoubtedly the Shopping ads, due to the high visibility provided by the images. In addition, the information displayed in these ads is very rich, indicating the title of the product, the price and the store where it is sold. With this, the user can get a precise idea of what is being offered in the ad and know if he/she is interested or not.

Shopping ads usually stand out from other search results and contain highly relevant information.

Search with low competition

Granted, in competitive searches, ads occupy a large part of the results, but what happens if there are fewer competitors? In the following screenshot there is an example of a not very competitive search such as “liposuccion castellon”.

example of liposuction advertisement in castellon

As can be seen in this screenshot, most of the results are organic. In this case, an ad and an organic result of the same company have been marked with a red box. AdWords ads give the opportunity, in addition to appearing in the first position, to have two or more links for the user to find your website. In this example, the former appears in the ads and the latter in the organic results, providing extra visibility and thus an advantage over competitors who only appear once.

AdWords ads allow you to appear more than once in the search results.

Search on a mobile device

The above examples have been visualized on a desktop computer. What happens if the searches are performed through a cell phone?
The screenshot below shows the search results for the terms “plumber albacete” on a mobile device.

example of b'suqeuda plumber Albacente

This will probably be the most extreme case sincethe results will only show ads if you do not scroll vertically. In addition, they are very specialized and have the possibility of calling the advertisers directly, so it is very easy for the client to end up contracting the service from one of these three advertisers.

We must not forget the importance of searches through mobile devices and that, today, more searches are already performed on mobile devices than on computers. It is therefore of vital importance to appear in a good position in this type of devices.

Searches performed on mobile devices already exceed those on desktop computers

So, is it useful to optimize a website to improve the positioning in the natural results?

The answer is a resounding YES. Natural results will always be important because they appear consistently in the search results and offer the user quality results. It also provides websites with free visits from users searching for information related to web content.

Also, don’t forget that there are many users who don’t like advertising, so their behavior is to scroll past the ads and go directly to the organic results. Other users cannot see the ads at all, due to ad blockers installed in web browsers.

Search engine optimization continues and will continue to play an important role in online marketing strategies.

So which strategy is the right one?

There is no one right strategy for all websites, but in general, it can be said that a good user acquisition strategy is usually one that combines the acquisition of users through various channels, such as natural positioning, advertising campaigns, social networks, etc. In this way, in addition to appearing in various media and obtaining notable visibility, we will not depend on any specific channel. Since it does not depend on any catchment source, it will not be an extremely serious problem not to have any of them available from time to time.

Obviously, each website is different and it will be necessary to adapt this strategy depending on each project in order to achieve the best possible results.

Do you believe in the importance of Google AdWords campaigns? Do not hesitate to add your opinions in the comments area.


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Antoni Saurina
Antoni Saurina
Former Head of the Online Advertising Department at Human Level. Graduated in Technical Engineering in Computer Management. Specialist in web development and PPC/SEM with certification in Google AdWords and Bing Ads.

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