Google Now Showing Four Ads at the Top of Search Page
Google has now officially removed the sidebar ads from its search results and will be showing four ads at the top of its results pages. Many in the SEO industry worry about the impact this change in Google formatting will have on the organic search marketplace. But while this change might influence organic listings, there are some benefits to be derived from the change. In this article, we’ll examine the change to four ads in greater detail and how the change might impact both the organic SEO marketplace, as well as the PPC industry.
More Competition for PPC Places
With the removal of the sidebar ads on the first page of the listings, Google has limited the available PPC placements from 11 total ads on the page down to 7. This means that there will be more competition for PPC places and the prices for PPC advertisements will rise as a result. For those with growing brands, it will now be increasingly difficult to compete with larger companies, particularly for the most competitive commercial queries.
However, this might open up more room within the organic listings for smaller companies, as larger brands look to compete more intently on PPC listings. Smaller companies will then be able to focus their resources on achieving a high ranking in organic search.
Adopting to the Mobile Marketplace
A clear part of the reason for removing the right hand PPC listings and moving to four ads at the top of the page is the need to meet the requirements of mobile users. Mobile users are unlikely to have seen the ads on the right hand side of the page, and an additional ad at the top helps harmonize the search engine results pages with the mobile user experience.
As Google shifts its search engine to cater towards mobile users, it’s yet another sign that companies should be doing the same within their web pages. The move towards adaptive design across the marketplace means mobile SEO is a vital element to consider as part of total campaign management.
What Does the Change Mean for the Average Business Owner?
For the average business owner, this change might have a limited impact on their day-to-day online marketing processes. But it further highlights the importance of a commitment to qualified SEO work. To stand out and compete against paid search listings, site owners must work with their SEO specialist to ensure metatags are optimized and Schema is harnessed to full effect for their site.
Brands must work to remain top of the searcher’s thoughts within their SEO work. They can harness marketing tools to keep the conversation ongoing with searchers, and to ensure their company is the first the search user thinks of when typing their query.
By considering the needs of the searcher and the journey of the search user from the query page to the social media pages and through to the company site, brands can begin to build more effective online marketing strategies. This long-term approach to SEO campaign management can help mitigate the impact of small design changes to the Google search platform.