Recently, Google released a paid search update: a second line of structured snippets can be inserted into PPC ads. (Source: Search Engine Land)
This new update gives ads more space in the SERPs and allows companies to callout different characteristics of their business. In one example, a window shutter business, uses the headers “Styles” and “Services,” to highlight its unique product offerings.
So...this new ad format looks pretty cool. But what it will do to help your marketing - and ultimately your business?
Let’s dig into some of the tips, benefits, and structured snippets tests across PPC & SEO channels to pinpoint how this update will help drive more qualified conversions to save your business time and marketing dollars.
Utilize categories to show unique product offerings
While PPC was initially jumping for joy over the news of new structured snippets, their smiles started to slightly fade as they read the fine print. That is because there are a limited number of headers you can choose from for your snippets, and many of which pertain to only a few industries. The following headers are available:
- Degree programs
- Featured hotels
- Insurance coverage
- Service catalog
Industries that really benefit from this category extension are those that have a high cost per click. Insurance keywords are responsible for 24% of Google advertising revenue, which is most likely why “Insurance Coverage” was added as a distinct header. On the same note, 4 out of the 12 headers are related to travel companies, which also have historically high CPCs. (Source: Wordstream)
In the future, we can hope Google will expand the number of header options, but until then, advertisers have to get creative on ways that they can utilize them. For instance, financial institutions could use the “Types” structured snippet for No-Fee Savings, High Interest Savings or list out the types of certificate of deposits they offer (3 month, 6 month, 12 month, etc).
Raise awareness for additional service lines
Your business may have one very well known product or service, but it’s struggling to get the word out about the additional items it offers. By adding structured snippets into your PPC ad account, you can use the new headers to bring attention to the business' additional offerings.
An example of this is Drexel Online. Many people know that they offer online bachelor’s programs, but everyone may not know that they also offer master’s programs and certificates. By utilizing structured snippets, Drexel can inform searchers about other aspects of their business.
Create more effective call to actions
PPC continuously has the ability to test call to actions within search ads. With the new snippet feature, PPC ads can test more specific styles and service lines to hone in on the language and format that best connects with consumers. From these tests, your marketing team can vet the call to actions that convert the most, to identify what phrases and styles to use within SEO content, such as meta descriptions, headers, and call-to-action buttons.
Google may still choose to create their own meta description based on the search term, but in many cases your well crafted meta description will now show up with an even better chance to convert due to the PPC tests.
Save money & avoid a negative brand experience
This extra PPC snippet will enable searchers to be better at self-qualifying themselves for your business. Let's say you own a wedding dress company. If customers are looking for a specific type of wedding dress, for example, A-Line, Mermaid, Ballgown, Trumpet, etc. and it’s not listed in your snippet, they know not to visit your website. Great! One less unqualified person potentially filling out a contact form asking your team about it.
There's also a big cost-saving here. By having better pre-qualified leads coming to your site, it saves the call center or whomever reads submission forms time. If the call center charges per minute, every call - whether it's profitable or not, costs your business money. However, if more incoming calls were qualified, the more profit you could get out of those calls.
In addition, setting the expectation of what your site contains before the person clicks, will help ensure that customers never have a jaded customer experience. As structured snippets give you more room to discuss your business' offering, it could prevent shoppers from leaving a poor/mediocre review because your site doesn’t have what they’re looking for.
For example, when conducting a quick search on reseller.com ratings for “limited selection,” “small selection,” and “didn’t have,” we found time and time again that customers left mediocre reviews because the store did not carry the products that they had expected.
Learn & test for organic SEO
From Google's past PPC tests, we predict that Google will measure the success of the new category PPC snippets, before rolling out additional rich snippets to organic SEO category pages. Currently, as the example shows below, Google indicates only the following for organic product specific pages:
- Ratings by star
- Number of people who rated
- Number of stores nearby
Before I click on the product in the SERPs, I already know if it's in stock, within my price range, how many people loved or hated it, and if a store is located nearby.
In organic results, Google also has sitelinks, although these don’t show up for everyone and don’t include all styles:
Right now, these sitelinks indicate some categories, but do not touch upon all of business' product offerings. It would be great to see a Style snippet in the SERPs before I click, indicating that RevZilla offers Motorcycle Touring, Half, Hi-viz neon, or race helmets as well as the categories pulled in through sitelinks.
In the future, as Google aims to improve user experience, it seems very likely that Google will roll out a style snippet for organic results. If it does, you’ll already have PPC data to work with to know which Types or Styles convert the best for users interested in your products.
Increase your paid search real estate
While there are pros for both PPC and SEO with the new structured snippets, there is one aspect that makes organic SEO shed a slight tear. With this additional line of structured snippets, paid search gains a new way to obtain more real estate in the SERPs, while simultaneously pushing organic results farther down the page.
What is your take on this new PPC update? With the second snippet just rolling out, we’ll have a followup post in the upcoming weeks to give you more data and takeaways. Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet @lauren_mill and @.