The new Google search results page for desktop users rolled out in February 2016 and it has caused quite a stir! While once featuring three Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) ads at the top of the page and multiple ones down the right-hand side of the page, Google changed things around a lot.
They have eliminated the ads on the right-hand side and there are now three or four ad spots at the top and three ad spots at the bottom of each search results page. At the top, Google will usually show three ads at the top unless it’s a highly-commercial inquiry, and in that case it will show four.
So the total number of possible ads in any given search has been reduced from 11 to down to 6 or 7. Besides making the page appear a lot more basic, this has also left marketers wondering how it will affect them.
Organic Search Is Affected
Not only does this shrink the potential advertising space, but it also pushes the organic results farther down the page. Organic results are the “free” listings that show up when you have properly search engine optimized your website or other content.
Therefore, search engine optimization (SEO) is more important than ever before. If you want your website to show up on the first page of the search results you will have to work a lot harder to grab and secure one of the limited spots still available in order to have long-term success.
Paid Search Has Become A Lot More Competitive
Due to the fact that several Google AdWords ad spots have been dropped, the fight for the top four available spaces just became even more important.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, you are now going to have to pay a lot more attention to your paid ad campaigns to get the level of exposure you want. There is a lot less room for error with this new format than with the previous results page layout. So you’ll have to pull out all the stops and ensure your ads are set up correctly and targeting the right audience.
Costs Are Potentially Going To Be Higher
Along with that comes the potential for higher costs-per-click since so many businesses are competing for these prime pieces of web real estate.
With more competition and fewer results showing on the page, you may have to be willing to pay a little more to be featured above your competitors. Or, you will need to keep on top of your SEO if you want to show up on the organic results between the two blocks of paid ads on any search results page.
It isn’t all bad news however, if you do manage to land on one of the first page slots, there’s more chance of consumers clicking on the ad. This is because they now blend in a lot better with organic search results. While they have the signature “Ad” sign next to them, at first glance they appear as organic results, rather than paid ones.
There’s no doubt that the new page layout is going to affect businesses whether they’re using Google AdWords or whether they’re trying to rank higher organically byway of SEO.
This new format can be used as an opportunity to improve your overall digital marketing strategy to ensure your company receives the best exposure possible using multiple sources.