Don’t Fear the New Google Desktop Layout Changes!

by Bill McCown - Feb 25, 2016

After last Friday’s announcement that Google will be removing ads from the right sidebar, many PPC marketers were annoyed that they’ll have fewer opportunities to make an impression on users. Before the pitchforks come out, try to think like a user and not like an PPC marketer; when searching for something, how often did you click on results on the right-hand side? If you’re like most Google users, the answer is probably “very rarely.”

Google is simply making their product more lean and useful for their users.

What Exactly Has Changed for PPC?

Google has added an extra paid result on the top of has done some digging and found the five main changes to Google’s desktop layout. These have taken effect immediately:

  1. No text ads will appear on the ride sidebar of search results on desktop.
  2. Google will provide four text ads about the organic listings if it is a “highly commercial query.” There used to be only three ads. “Highly commercial queries” are searches that Google believes are made with the intent to purchase a product or service.
  3. Three text ads will appear at the bottom of search results.
  4. A maximum of seven text ads will appear on a results page, as opposed to a maximum of 11 in previous versions.
  5. Product listing ad blocks and knowledge panels will show in the right side of relevant searches.

What Does This Mean for PPC?

“This most likely will have two major outcomes,” said Jay Joyce with The Idea People in Charlotte. “First, it will most likely increase the cost per click for each ad since the same number of marketers will be competing for less ad space. But, second, the return on those clicks should be higher.”

How Does This Affect PPC Marketing Efforts

For PPC Campaigns:

Adjustments, Adjustments, Adjustments. If you’re relying on paid search for some of your traffic, you should be checking your analytics twice as often. Be on the lookout for any changes in web traffic. With keyword prices likely to be on the rise, it may be time to get a little more clever with your keyword research. Give the changes a few weeks and see what happens.

For Organic Search:

At first glance, this appears to be negative news for organic results. One more paid ad will be taking the place of an organic result. If you’ve been having success with your current SEO strategies, stick with it. Reports suggest that nothing has changed with the ranking algorithm at this time.

Don’t Panic

If it turns out that this change is not working, Google will be the first to admit it. They do not want to lose valuable PPC dollars. They will be watching user and advertiser behaviors very closely for the next few months.

To learn more about digital marketing & search engine optimization call The Idea People at (704) 398 – 4437 or e-mail us:
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