The Future Of Search Engines If Paid Search Is Given More Importance Than Organic Search

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The search industry thrives because of the search engines, the searchers(Users) and the people who work behind the content of every form of web resource which gets ranked on the search engines. i.e the web designers and developers, the SEOs, the PPC campaign managers and ofcourse the think tank behind the search engines.

People have been searching since time immemorial. Let us not go the stone age of Flinstones , though the activity of search was prevalent even at that time but the needs were basic so the search was for food. But as the civilization took place and people got educated searching for food for thought has been an ongoing activity for research and development.

In early days people visited libraries for reading books and writing notes which took a lot of time, effort and patience from the person who was in pursuit of finding something. Then the digital data was available on CDs which was like a mini search engine limited to what was stored on the CD. With the internet reaching every nook and corner of the globe and now of course with high speed broad band connectivity and search engines with sophisticated algorithm and indexing architecture search is faster, simpler, easier and offers many options.

Search engines when they started had the main focus on quality results. Undoubtedly, today also the focus remains on quality but the focus today on quality is getting blurred by the proposition of making money out of search. Earning profits is a good thing and is very much needed as only when you have the propensity to pay only then you can have satisfied employees and you can innovate and offer high quality services but when the focus gets biased on profits alone and especially when it comes to the search scene the whole purpose of search engines gets defeated.

From the search engines perspective if paid search gets more importance than organic search the creative and technical work force gets diverted for such activity though you have an increasing bank balance somewhere in the future you tend to lose out quality thinking staff and end up as a media company alone rather than a technical company. Now that is a scary thought for any company who establishes its identity and gets its importance because of the technology developed by them.

From the User’s Perspective

Now from the user’s perspective or from the perspective of a searcher. Firstly, due to the speed factor and social media interaction the patience levels of the people are diminishing and people who used to surf at least the first 2-3 pages a few years ago are now not going beyond the first few results. And if the real estate of the first few results is occupied by paid results, then the corporates who can pay for the display of their business on search engines are going to benefit maximum from the search engines as their CTR is going to be the maximum and if the first few results of organic search are from Wikipedia and other portals because of the umpteen no. of inbound links they have, the SMEs and other companies who have worked on their sites to rank high have already lost the battle for having a global reach via search engines.

As the result of these developments the SEOs and online marketers try to work out other options for web presence and visibility for their websites, that indicates a shift from the search engines to other media where the user can find what he is looking for. Lately according to statistics and the blogosphere posts Facebook is giving serious competition to Google as Facebook has the social media feature along with the feature of search which is ever evolving and the members increasing in volumes. Twitter a micro-blogging site is not far behind and is trying to enrich its features keeping the user in mind.

Hence, if the search engines balance the display of paid and organic search results along with offering the other search options then the search engines will continue to have their prime place in search lest other sites offering social media features along with search shall be the next place where the netizens will be rushing to find what they are looking for.

Google Instant

Well, every change or evolution brings with itself the questions and the answers too. When Google switched to Google Instant for the display of results the main objectives were fast and fluid results as well as an importance and priority to paid results. But again I have a strong feeling that once the net is mobile in a big way and people surf and search more with their smart phones the touch screen devices shall overcome the drawback which Google Instant has given to the sites which heavily bank on SEO. As it is not possible to have every site in the first 3 rankings for all the keywords targeted by that site.

This is just a temporary jolt to the sites as regards rankings. But being a strong advocate of organic search as I firmly believe that if search results are dominated by paid results then the search engines lose their identity of being sites dedicated to search. They get reduced to any online paid directory, the only difference is that the search is not category based. The search engines should not become a platform for only those who can afford big online marketing budgets but should also offer an equal platform for the SMEs and other small entrepreneurs who rely on search engines heavily for global exposure but have limited budgets but are working continuously to make their website qualitative in terms of content and functionality.

During my training sessions for SEO I always tell the participants that the search engine is the only place where a multi-national company having huge infra-structure and a local company with a very modest set up can have the possibility of equal business opportunity. But if search engines give undue importance to the display of paid results then this whole purpose is defeated .

We all know that for getting listed under sponsored listings you just need the propensity to pay but if you want your site to be ranked high for organic search you have to enrich the site with the best possible web aspects and quality inbound links ensuring the fitness of the site just as a balanced diet rich in all the nutrients in right quantities offers to a person . I am sure everyone wants a WWW which will have fit websites rather than just clutter and chaos.

Bharati Ahuja
+Bharati Ahuja is founder WebPro Technologies India, SEO Trainer and Speaker, Web Entrepreneur, Blog Writer, Internet Marketing Consultant. Follow her on twitter @webprotech
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  • Suresh Khanal

    Welldone Bharati. It was an excellent post and lovely reading.

    James Joyce once said regarding his power to create and develop character in his fiction – he is the writer, he can create whatever character he wishes, develops them but can he do anything to his characters? Will they survive among readers if he plays with characters with unjustice?

    Search engines can and might get tempted with huge monetary benefits to include as much sponsored results than organic. But the theory of natural selection will throw the 'new directories' out and welcome the born of some new service that quenches thirs of information quest. Who knows what will Google, Bing, Yahoo become tomorrow. They will balance and adapt to the change or will become dinosaures.

    Aah! the instant search and touch screens! God solve the riddle sooner!

    • WebPro Technologies

      Thanks @Suresh .

      Yes it is the survival of the fittest and in this case one who can balance both the types of results so that there is a mutual benefit.

  • Alex Arthur

    Your arguments are well placed, however, it seems the search engines are aware that they cannot lose focus on the user's organic search experience. Obviously, the search engines' revenue comes from the paid side. But the eyeballs come from the organic side, and without them, there is no revenue.

    Google, for one, seems to weigh the balance between paid and organic seriously. The extent to which Google makes marketers jump through hoops for the honor of paying them for traffic is significant. Suggesting that they have no intention, for today at least, of favoring paid search in their development efforts.

    Google Instant is another example of a favoring the organic search experience over paid search in terms of product development.

    • WebPro Technologies

      Yes. organic search is what gives the true identity to the search engines and they are aware of that .

      As mentioned the user too has benefitted by Google Instant. I totally agree Google is a search engine which has offered SEO resources like no other search engine.

      This is about the future IF PPC gets more importance.

  • Wasim Ismail

    Hey Bharti

    Interesting points, also agree with you as mentioned above “it is the survival of the fittest and in this case one who can balance both the types of results so that there is a mutual benefit.”

    • WebPro Technologies

      Thanks Wasim.

  • Steve Jobs

    Haha… it seems Google is desperate to give good results to their paid listings. To tell the truth, nobody ever pay attention on the paid listings. Paid listings on a searcher only mean one thing, it is an advertisement and I won’t see what I am looking for in there. It is better to be on the top ten than pay to on top of the list.

    • WebPro Technologies

      Yes organic search results are more likey to be clicked by the user. Thanks.

  • icanewfriend

    Unfortunately, most of us live in a supply and demand, capitalistic society. Running businesses cost lots of money and there are only two places that the money generally comes from — B2B sales or B2C sales. PERIOD.

    Just imagine how many library buildings it would take to archive all of the information found on the Web? And, consider how many librarians and other archival staff would be needed to maintain these huge and numerous libraries? All of these people would need to be paid. Actual libraries pay their staffs using taxpayers dollars, supplemented by individual membership fees (more taxpayer dollars) and some grants – if they are lucky.

    Search engine companies generally receive no grants and can't channel money from taxpayers. They have major operational expenses. So, something has to give. The bottom line is they do provide a mass critical service to us all. If we want the best the search engines can offer, we have to somehow foot the bill. The advertisers and/or the users. More likely, the advertisers because they budget for marketing and expect a financial ROI.

    Good article. Enjoyed it.

    Marc LeVine

    Director of Social Media

    RiaEnjolie, Inc.

    Follow on Twitter: @RiaEnjolie

    • WebPro Technologies

      Thanks for voicing your opinion.

  • SEO Essex

    Google is designed to provide the most useful and relevant information for its users. Google instant is an example that organic is more important – a clear commitment by Google to say organic is more important. This doesn't mean that PPC is insignificant, anyone can run a PPC campaign. Without a doubt, Google run a very profitable system with paid marketing but at the end of the day, good, relevant and useful content is primary to search engine users. Interesting points raised all the same.
    Thanks for posting!

  • PayrollOutsourcing

    If paid search is given more importance than organic search, this might result in lower quality search results when it becomes profit driven rather than focusing on the accuracy of search results. Since more users will click on organic search, it is important that organic search will be given the same importance as paid search.

    If a revenue is given more importance than accuracy of search results, it will result in the loss of user experience.