Did you know your position in natural search results could be adversely affected by a paid search listing? Weeks ago Microsoft filed a
patent with which their search algorithm could filter the organic results to remove any duplicate listings (two domains pointing to the same website).
I’ll admit, I’m intrigued and hope Microsoft doesn’t take the wrong step but supports the advertisers who understand that Search is a complete experience both by users and websites. Marketers who believe they can manage paid search without understanding their integration with natural are making a mistake while companies that support SEO’s who work in a silo dedicated to IT or web design, and not marketing, are leveraging natural search integration for the wrong reasons.
Users turn to Search to help them find something. The role of the SERP is to respond with the most accurate information; who’s to say an experience in which the results screen for duplication is not the right move?
I’d argue Microsoft is on the right track while moving too aggressively. Paid and Natural Search should be optimized against one another to ensure the best experience for the audience while comprehensively delivering all relevant results from a company. Consider promoting your services in Paid Search while your customer support, helpdesk, or corporate information is found in natural. Test overall performance from Search by evaluating which pages appear in natural search results and varying the landing pages promoted from paid. Is it a mix of pages that delivers the best experience or dual promotion of the same product or service?
Is Microsoft going to far? Experiences seem to suggest they are already using this capability. Worse, the patent also gives them the option to completely remove a site from the natural search results when that website is a part of the paid search listings. Now why might they want that…?