Google recently announced a fairly major change to the way their desktop search page will display. Advertising on the right sidebar of the search page will disappear. Instead, users of Google will now see an additional paid advertisement above the organic search results. This will result in a total of up to four ads displayed on the top of Google search page, and three ads displayed at the bottom of the page.
So, what does this mean for online marketing? Will we advertisers see more impressions, higher CTRs, better positioning and lower CPC? At this point it’s hard to say one way or the other, but here’s what we know so far.
- There will not be any text ads displayed on the right-side of Google’s search results page.
- Google will now show four advertisements instead of three on the top of their search results page.
- There will be an additional three text ads displayed on the bottom of Google’s search page.
- These updates will result in less total ads on Google. The total number of ads will decrease from 11 to seven.
- Content such as product listings and knowledge panels may utilize the right-hand real estate on Google search.
It’s important for businesses running AdWord campaigns to take a deep breath and not panic. This isn’t the first change Google’s made to their Search Page layout, and it certainly won’t be the last. Being good at online marketing means you have to be good at adapting to change.
Recent studies have found that most Google users click on the ads featured on the top of Google Search, only 7.3 percent of clicks actually come from the ads featured on the right-hand side of Google. By adding an additional ad in the top portion of Google Search, it’s fair to say that many of the clicks that normally occur on the right panel will instead happen on the top and bottom of search results.
Utilizing Google AdWord extensions becomes even more valuable than ever before. These extensions allow advertisers the ability to add information such as phone numbers, sitelinks (additional landing pages), addresses, call out text, and reviews for free. In addition to providing useful information, ad extensions will allow your ads to take up more of Google’s Search Page real estate. Also, ads with extensions are found to generate more traffic because they resemble organic listings.
This update will have a negative impact on businesses with smaller AdWord budgets. Campaigns with keywords ranking on the lower end of spend will no longer see their ads appear. Ads in the position of five to eleven will see the greatest decline in impression share. It’s important to spend time reviewing your Google Analytics and AdWord’s data to insure you’re getting optimum spend on high producing keywords and cutting back on the under-performing ones.
Your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) may suffer the most because of this update. Google is now reserving more of it’s listings for paid search at the expense of organic. Paid position number four will now take the place normally reserved for organic listing number one. This update will result in paid search results taking up 36.4 percent of Google’s Search Page. It’s possible that the top organic result will now appear below the fold on tablets and smart phones.
Again, the best solution for those concerned about their SEO is to innovate. Don’t put all of your SEO eggs into one basket. Diversify your online marketing efforts. Spend more time ranking your video content, local content, images and other organic content. There’s still a lot of room for having your brand appear in organic search, it’s now more important than ever to ensure that you produce high quality content on a regular basis. This in combination with an optimized Google AdWord’s campaign will put your business in a great position to succeed online, regardless of Google’s updates.
Change isn’t always easy, but it’s part of the deal when you work online. It appears that this update from Google will actually benefit more people than it will hurt. Pay attention to what Google and your audience is telling you about your site, by regularly monitoring your data. Make updates when needed and ensure that your online marketing excels with this recent update.