Probably not. Not that much anyway.

Since Google became the best place to get reliable search results on the web (what, 10 years ago?), they (and I) have been preaching that a well structured page with well written content containing a good balance of keyword information and useful information to the potential viewer, is the best way to get your page naturally noticed by google. But I’m not sure it is any more.

Increasingly, the Google search results page is being taken over purely by Google products, with natural search results being pushed further and further down the page. The screenshot below shows the results of a search for ‘Solar panels Northern Ireland’ (was wondering how to make the most from this great weather!)

google-local-search

It’s a screenshot that was taken from my 13″ MacBook Pro and shows the full screen as I saw it. And there isn’t a single organic search result on there. You’ve got the top left of the page taken up with adverts from googles AdWord product – as well as more ads on the right hand side. You’ve got a map generated by google map which lists some local businesses – which conincides with the businesses listed beneath the ads in the main column, in that they’ve all set up Google+ pages in order to get their presence boosted.

So, if you’re looking to promote a business and are thinking that search is a good way to do so, you probably have other factors to consider first. Like it or not, your website will become part of Google’s environment and to succeed you’ll need to be in that environment. Screen real estate is at a premium – particularly on mobile devices, and Google is eating up more and more of it. Organic search is still important – particularly if your business isn’t looking locally for the bulk of it’s customers – but it’s competing with more and more google products, and there’s only going to be one winner there.