Google recently rolled out a drastic change in their search engine result pages (SERPs). They’re removing ads from the right hand side of desktop search results globally.
Before vs. After
Before Google’s big change, marketers could use Google Adwords to place paid advertisements on the top, bottom, and right hand side of Google search results.
Here is what old google search results page looked like:
Now, Google search results include up to 4 paid search results (depending on the search) at the top and bottom of organic searches. No side bar ads:
So, why the change?
While the change in paid advertisement came as a shock to a lot of people, Google has been experimenting with their ad placement for quite some time now. Beginning in 2010 Google began placing four ads on top of search results for mortgage queries. Late last year, many users reported seeing four ads on top with no ads on the right-hand side. According to The Media Image (one of the first to come out with the story) “Google has determined the average click-through-rate (CTR) for right-hand side bar ads is poor…this major change is projected to be more profitable in the long run.”
What does this mean for Adword users?
Paid search results are taking more organic search space on desktop. Within mobile devices, virtually no organic search results appear on the top fold of the screen. Here’s an example:
Notice how there is a sliver of organic search result showing on the left side image. When the same search query is typed into incognito mode, the bottom HomeDepot ad is extended to include location and an option to receive directions.
There is no doubt that the cost per click (CPC) is going to rise and competition is going to increase. The battle might get ugly.
Will this affect my organic search?
Yes! When considering that the further a link is pushed down the click-through-rate (CTR) decreases, it is safe to assume that there might be a negative impact on organic traffic. Companies wanting to receive the most out of their searches should have an integrated paid and organic search strategy. Focusing on making posts search engine optimization (SEO) friendly for high organic rankings and having paid ads through Google Adwords will allow for better visibility.
Do you have any questions or comments about the new paid ads on Google’s SERPs?
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