What Does Ad Blocking Mean for SEO?
With Apple’s controversial decision to allow Ad and Content Blockers on its mobile Safari browser, a lot of questions have been raised about the effects. Adblockers have been around for a while now, but Apple’s decision has made them available to a very large audience which could have a significant impact in online advertising. We all know that some ads can be intrusive and get in the way of content on websites but it is becoming more common for relevant and useful advertising to be targeted towards users. Unfortunately, ad-blockers don’t distinguish between the two. Whilst Marco Arment removed his ad-blocking app Peace from the iOS app store after 36 hours, stating that it “…just doesn’t feel good…”, others have not followed his example and are still available to download. This leads to the question of what next?
Whilst there may be a rise in native advertising to get around this, SEO could also become even more useful to businesses. Ranking well in search should always be near the top of your list (no pun intended), but if your PPC advertisements aren’t being seen then even more so. Adblockers won’t have an effect on natural search and it’s importance is still clear when you see that 89% of customers use a search engine to make purchase decisions, 60% of organic clicks go to the top 3 organic search results and 70-80% of users ignore paid adverts, using only organic results.
It remains to be seen as to what direction the adblocker vs. advertiser war will head. Will more adblockers follow the approach of AdBlock Plus with the ‘Acceptable Ads Manifesto’ or will advertisers have to rethink their strategy, with native ads and other new digital mediums paving the way? Only time will tell, but with diminishing visibility for paid advertisements, SEO is an invaluable way for your site to stand out.