The Impact of PLAs Within Organic Search for eCommerce

Example of PLA’s Impact on Organic Traffic

Here’s a good example of how PLA’s capture organic traffic within a popular user query (“backpacks”):

Search Engine Watch reported that organic search traffic is down 13%, a direct casualty of the integration of PLA’s within the Google interface, the greater emphasis on the knowledge graph (in the same right side of the screen) as well as a much cleaner and streamlined Google Maps.

The Influence of Device-Based Searches

Also factoring in the mix is searches that come from IPhones, more specifically iOS6. If these queries flow through the secure search function in a browser, which is the default option, then the queries register to direct visits within your analytics package.

Google’s Business Model and Its Impact

Google’s business model is based on AdWords as it represents 90% or greater of total revenue for the company. The re-engineering of the search engine result page, as well as certain algorithm changes (one could argue the Penguin algorithm), are very much focused on training new search behaviors within their users.

Rise of PLA’s in Google’s Search UI

With the launch of PLA’s, the upper right real estate of the Google search UI, in which the product listings are shown, is now getting a high proportion of clicks on user searches and reducing the activity in the standard organic listings.

Google is now generating a higher number of PLA click-throughs versus the old position and are generating more value for their shareholders as clicks from paid programs increase.

Strategies to Counteract Decrease in Organic Traffic

If you are seeing organic traffic decrease and you think it is a factor of PLA’s – there are two key areas that must be executed to hopefully jump your organic search levels back.

Integrating Micro-Formats in Product Pages

First, be sure to integrate micro-formats within your product pages. Predominantly the framework or the Good Relations markup language.

These snippets provide additional context to search users about your products within listings and make your click-through rates typically increase within your long-tail queries.

Testing Promo Messaging in Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Second, you can try testing promo messaging within your title tags and meta descriptions. Predominantly in eCommerce, we have seen retailers drive substantial SEO traffic by adding “Free Shipping” to their titles and descriptions.

Because users scan and do not read results, seeing the “free shipping” phrase gets users’ attention and generates higher click distribution.

Trust OuterBox to Help Your ECommerce SEO

Just because fewer clicks are going to organic within eCommerce retail does not mean your hands are tied. Be sure to execute these two efforts within your SEO efforts.

If you are looking for assistance in the implementation of these types of projects, please contact the OuterBox SEO team for a discussion about your organic search opportunities.

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