If you’ve spent any time on Google lately, you’ve undoubtedly seen a very big change in results. Paid ads now appear in the top four positions and the bottom three. Right-sided ads are gone.
What does this mean for advertisers?
First – the good news.
- Ads at the top of the page typically receive 14 times the clicks that right-sided ads receive… in part because they have higher quality scores (that’s what got them to the top to begin with) and are therefore better ads.
- There will be no more than seven ads to a page instead of 10 or 11. Less clutter will improve the likelihood your ad will get attention.
Now the bad news…
- Four ads at the top of search results means organic results will lose ground – with a greater number of organic results now falling below the fold.
- Pressure on SEO will rise as search results favor paid ads.
- It is unclear whether there is any value to the bottom ad three positions on a page.
- Adwords just got more expensive. To get to the top of page, high value real estate – expect higher bid costs.
Why is all of this happening? Google is all about creating a meaningfully better user experience – and eliminating the right sided ads reduces clutter and also better mirrors the mobile experience on desktops.
Won’t Google lose money by reducing the number of ads?
No. Higher bids will be required to compete for the remaining ad inventory…
At the end of the day – rising ad costs will put greater pressure on SEO performance and require ever greater PPC skill. And hold on tight – because more changes are coming!!!