Google Eliminates Right-Side Ads for Desktop Searches
Google has eliminated AdWords from the right-hand side of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), and from now on will be displaying ads only at the top and bottom of pages. The new layout, which Google has been testing since 2010, was fully implemented on February 22.
After several news outlets reported the change, Google confirmed the decision, saying in a statement to The Verge that the change, which brings the desktop experience closer to the mobile experience, is global and affects all languages.
Google will now place three to four ads at the top of search results and an additional three at the bottom. The right side of the page will be reserved for Google’s Product Listing Ads, which show whenever someone searches for a specific product name; and ads in the Knowledge Panel, which give searchers more information about your business.
So what does this all mean for marketing?
1. Organic search results will be pushed down. With more ads at the top of the page, it’s even more crucial to make sure you appear high in organic search results. That means businesses will need to pay even closer attention to SEO, and some may begin to include a cost per click strategy with their SEO to ensure top-of-page visibility.
2. Ad competition will get tougher. We know there is a significant difference between search result performance on the top of the page and the bottom, both organically and paid. With fewer ad spots on desktop pages, people will be fighting for the top positions, which means bidding will go up and CPC is likely to increase.
3. People will be (or at least should be) paying more attention to Google My Business and Google Product Listings. With the sidebar now being used for the Knowledge Panel and Google Product Listings, you'll want to make sure your business' Google My Business page is well-populated with your services and geographic locations. Likewise, if you manage an ecommerce business, now might be the time to connect your site to Google Product Listings.
Google's move has generated concern among digital marketers, but all is not doom and gloom. There are strategies that can help you keep your exposure high and CPC lower. If you need help understanding how this change affects your marketing strategy, contact us to speak to one of our marketing specialists!