The new Google search results page for desktop has caused a bit of a stir since it rolled out in February 2016. 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, things have changed quite a bit.
They have wiped out the ads on the right-hand side and there are now four ad spots at the top at three ad spots at the bottom of the page. In fact, Google will only show three ads at the top unless it’s a highly-commercial inquiry, which 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 7 at the most. 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. Therefore, search engine optimization (SEO) is more important than ever before. Companies that want their websites to show up on the first page of the results will have to work a lot harder to grab and secure one of the limited spots for 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, businesses are now going to have to pay a lot more attention to their paid ad campaigns to get the level of exposure they want. There is a lot less room for error 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 being that many businesses are competing for these prime pieces of 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.
It isn’t all bad news however, if you do manage to make it onto the shortlist, 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. However, it could be used as an opportunity to improve your overall digital marketing strategy to ensure your company receives ample exposure using various means.