Google is changing things up again, and this time it’s big. They recently announced that they would be completely changing up their layout, with regards to where paid ads appear in search results. Now, searches performed on desktops will no longer show text ads in the right sidebar. Instead, up to four text ads will display above the organic listings, and three text ads will show at the bottom of the page. Here’s exactly what is changing:
#1 PPC Ads will no longer appear on the right side of the search results on desktop
Recently, we talked about less people are clicking on Google’s paid ads. This move is probably a response to that. With more users knowing that the results on the right are not organic results but actually ads, less people click on them and they lose their value. Google needed to make a move to keep their ads valuable, both to their company and to those who pay for their services.
#2 Google will put four text ads instead of three in the mainline area above the organic listings for more highly commercial queries
This is an interesting move for Google, because they’re essentially pushing organic results, which people use the search engine for in the first place, further down. For inbound marketers and SEO gurus, this means the emphasis on ranking number one is even more important. For some queries, the number one result will be the only genuinely organic result that lands above the fold now.
As for what qualifies as “highly commercial queries”, Google gives the examples of searches like “hotels in New York City” and “car insurance.” However, what you deem highly commercial may differ from Google’s definition. Generally speaking, this term is used for queries in which Google sees an intent to purchase. which can span a lot of industries.
#3 Three text ads will show at the bottom of the SERPs
Most queries typically give you two paid ads at the bottom of the page as well, targeting people who reach the end of the first SERP and haven’t yet found what they’re looking for. The number of people who click to the second page is staggeringly low, and Google knows this so they place paid ads there. With this new change, there will be more room for people to pay to show up on the first page before users decide to move to the next page or not.
#4 Less ads will receive first page placement
The total number of text ads that can appear on a SERP will shrink from as many as 11 to seven. While Google is adding more paid ads at both the top and the bottom, the removal of the side bar means there’s less overall spaces to pay to appear. This may result in higher PPC costs, as there are less ads to go around. On the other hand, there’s more paid ads up top which means those should cost less. It’s really too early to tell exactly how cost-per-click prices will be affected. Again, this is just another reason to focus your SEO efforts on showing up in the top spot for your desired keyword phrases.
These updates are rolling out permanently worldwide on both Google.com and any search partners that use their results. While it’s not certain exactly what these changes will mean for your website individually, what is clear is that marketers with a digital marketing strategy will need to make updates.
It can be difficult to keep up with all of Google’s changes, even though they’re very important. If you’re having trouble knowing exactly where your SEO efforts should be focused, download our free eBook Modern Day SEO today and get back on the right track.