2 March 2016


Google's SERP ad changes: How your business will be affected

This past week has seen several big changes in the way Google’s SERP displays its adverts, with the new changes now confirmed across all desktops globally. These changes will have an inevitable effect on SEO strategies and the way both advertisers and businesses approach future campaigns, regardless of whether or not they have opted in for paid advertising.

No more sidebar ads

Possibly the biggest change made by Google is the removal of ads on the right hand side of the SERP. With mobile devices taking over desktop use, Google strives to achieve a simplified look on desktop, with more attention on the relevance and quality of ads in high-ranking positions.

Similar options have been explored by sites such as Facebook, who have previously reduced Newsfeed ads to improve relevance and quality. Despite this major change in the way Google displays its ads, product listings (for example Google Shopping) will still appear on the column of the right hand side of the page.

Additional advert in the top paid results

There has also been a fourth ad position added above the fold on Google’s top paid results, allowing for greater visibility of the top paid results, once again allowing for greater attention on results in the top slots.

What does this mean for businesses and advertisers?

There are various effects these changes will have on the way businesses and advertisers adjust their strategies in order to operate efficiently under the new rule.

Click-through-rate - The removal of the right-hand sidebar will inevitably result in a rise in the CTRs for the top 4 paid ads. This will also significantly affect ads in positions 5-10, resulting in a decline in the CTR for ads in lower-ranking slots.

Cost-per-click - It has been suggested that Google will increase the minimum CPC which will result in more competition for advertisers’ content to be seen above the fold in prestigious high-rank ad slots. Businesses will have to bid higher in order to ensure a position on the first results page.

Where user experience is concerned, changes in the way advertisers operate in the future will mean that audiences will receive more relevant targeted ads.

Organic Results - Changes to the way ads are displayed also hold major ramifications for organic results in the top spaces. Due to the additional advert at the top of the SERP, in addition to ad extensions requiring extra page space, organic search results are lowered down the page and will be often displayed below the fold. With every ad extension pushing organic search results down a line, the top organic link could now be displayed below the fold and therefore less likely to be clicked on.

The consequences of these changes mean that even businesses in the top organic rank positions need to rethink SEO strategy to remain visible to users online. Website owners and SEOs will need to keep up with the changes made by Google by making their organic listing attractive to users and compete against businesses with paid ads.

FDC Studio, based in Leicester, can help your business achieve its goals through uniquely crafted digital marketing strategies to advertise your products or services. Visit the FDC website for more information.

Google's SERP ad changes: How your business will be affected


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