Understanding the Search Engines

Over the past ten years the way the search engines work has changed significantly; especially with the introduction of the Google map listings (Google My Business) to the search results for local search. A majority of the landscape companies that we talk with are confused about how the search engines work and the differences between the map listings, organic listings & the PPC - Pay-Per-Click listings.In this section we wanted to take a few minutes to DEMISTIFY the search engines and break down the anatomy of the search engine results page(SERPs). By understanding how each component works, you can formulate a strategy to maximize the results of each.There are 3 core components of the search engines results page:

  1. Paid/PPC Listings
  2. Map Listings
  3. Organic Listings
landscaper search results page

Paid / PPC Listings
In the paid section of the search engines you are able to select the keywords that are relevant to you and then pay to be listed in this area. The reason it is referred to PPC or Pay-Per-Click is because rather than paying a flat monthly or daily fee for placement, you simply pay each time someone clicks on the link. The PPC platform is based on a bidding system and the advertiser that bids the highest gets the best placement. Landscapers who invest in pay per click advertising are able to make real-time improvements to campaigns and evaluate their success using a variety of metrics. These metrics, which can be found using tools such as Google AdWords, Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics can be used to optimize each campaign, test new ideas, and more efficiently use each adverting dollar.
Map Listings
The map listings have become very important because it is the first thing that comes up in the search results for most locally based searches. If some­one searches "Landscaper+ your city" chances are the map listings will be the first thing they look at. Unlike the paid section of the search engine, you can't buy your way into the map listings ( at least not yet) you have to earn it, and once you do, there is no per click cost associated with being in this sec­tion of the search engine. We Will share our Google My Business (formerly Google My Business) optimization strategy with you later in this guide and show you exactly what needs to be done to obtain page one placement in the map section of the search results.
Organic Listings
The organic/ natural section of the search engine results page appears di­rectly beneath the map listings in many local searches, but appears directly beneath the paid listings in the absence of the map listings (the map section only shows up in specific local searches).

Now that you understand the 3 major components of the search engine results and the differences between paid listings, map listings & organic listings you might wonder ... "What section is most important?"

The fact is that all three components are important and each should have a place in your online marketing program because you want to show up as often as possible when someone is searching for your landscaping services in your market area. With that said, assuming you are operating on a limited budget and need to make each marketing dollar count; you need to focus your investment on the sections that are going to drive the strongest return on investment.Research indicates that a vast majority of the population look directly at the organic & map listings when searching and their eyes simply glance over the paid listings.Note: Map listings Update. For some time, Google showed the top seven listings in the maps. They now only show the top three. So, those that were not in the top three of the seven are not showing up now. However, Google has added a "More" button under the third listing. Clicking this button will open up all listings on the Goggle map. In most cases, someone will not take this extra step and will click on one of the top three listings. This is where you want to be! It's important to monitor your listings to and be in the top 3. Number 1 should be your goal! Also keep an eye on the page to be aware of any changes made by Google. Overnight landscapers that were listed on page 1 in the top 7 of the maps found that they disappeared from page 1 of the maps if they were not one of the top three listings.

Got questions? We have answers! Get in touch with us and we will be happy to answer any questions that you have. 


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