Big Google News! More Ads at the Top of Search Results. SEO just got even harder!

Notice what’s missing in Search Results below?

No Google Ads on Right Side

No Right Side Text Ads – Another Paid Ad at the Top

There are no text ads in the right column of the above search results. Last month Google rolled out an update to its search results. They will no longer show text Ads (paid listings from AdWords) in the right column of the search results page. Instead they will often add another paid listing at the top of the search results.

In the above example, Google added a 4th ad above the organic results. Notice there are no organic results appearing “Above the Fold” in this example. Searchers have to scroll down to see any organic results in many cases including in this example (The very top of map Google displays when showing local search results is just visible Above the Fold in the example, but searchers have to scroll down to see any of the organic search results).

WHY? Some say Google is making the desktop experience appear closer to what searchers see on smartphones where there are no right-side ads. However the word in the industry is that not enough people were clicking on the ads in the right column and by adding more ads in the main body of the search results Google expects even more people will click on ads (Note that Google will continue to show Shopping ads and Knowledge Graph boxes in the right column on desktop devices).


How Does This Affect Search Marketing?

SEO just got harder for keywords with commercial intent because the additional ad at the top of the search results pushes the organic results even further down. Often there is only one, or sometimes no, organic results “Above the Fold”.

The results that appear “Above the Fold” so that searchers do not have to scroll down are in the sweet spot where most people click. This means it’s more important than ever to run paid listings as effectively as possible for your important keywords, the ones generating business.

Keywords with “commercial intent” are the keywords mostly likely to have advertisers running paid listings that push the organic results down. There are many keywords where there are few or no paid listings so this change has little or no affect for those keywords.

Improved Ad Performance. This change does bring a benefit to search advertisers. All or most paid ads can now display ad extensions such as Call-outs, location extensions, and Sitelinks all of which usually increase the Click Through Rate. Google only showed a limited amount of ad extensions in the right side ads because of space limitations. Now all the ads at the top of the page can display ad extensions which should help improve performance of the paid listings.

Google Ad Extensions

Will CPC costs increase? With more ads at the top of the page and no text ads in the right column will costs per click increase? It remains to be seen but the net of this change could be about a wash as most experienced advertisers kept their most important keyword ads in the top 2 or 3 positions knowing that there were much less clicks from ads in the right column. Now experienced advertisers should begin keeping their most important ads in the top 3 or 4 positions. We’ll have to see the combined effect of the removal of the right side text ads along with the addition of the extra ad position at the top of the search results on costs per click.

3-29-16 Update to this Article: What effect has there been on CPC’s so far? 

Related Info

If You Are Relying On SEO, You Could Be SOL!

In this presentation, which you can download, I explain why our clients have been getting most of their new business leads from paid listings in recent years (such as Google AdWords) rather than from their organic (SEO) search results. I show why if you are relying on SEO and not running an effective paid listing campaign (PPC) you are almost certainly missing new business opportunities. Read the Article

eVisionSEM webinar recording
. We recorded this recent webinar. It’s focused on the Portable Storage market but applies to most small business.

In it you’re learn –

  • The increasing importance of Search Engine Marketing (PPC Advertising such as Google AdWords) vs. SEO (Organic Search Results) in generating leads.
  • The major change to the search results just last month by Google that has made SEO even less effective in generating leads (this is the change mentioned above).
  • Learn about Amplification.
  • What it takes to run a successful PPC campaign.
  • The importance of your web site as a lead conversion tool
  • How you can get better results than even Google predicts.<a href="">BNHR6IQJGZs</a>

Watch Webinar on YouTube