Google Shakes-up its Search Engine Results Page
Google has introduced some changes to the way that ads are shown on its search engine results page (SERP). Although no official announcement has been made, Search Engine Land who was one of the first to break the news, has received confirmation from a Google spokesperson that the changes are “now rolling out to all searches in all languages worldwide”.
Over the past week, sponsored text ads have been disappearing from the right side of the SERP. The only two ad formats that will continue to be displayed on the right are Shopping ads and ads in the Knowledge Panel.
Additionally, for highly competitive search queries such as “hotels in London” or “car insurance” (dubbed “highly commercial queries” by Google), four ads – rather than the usual three – have begun appearing above organic listings. Ads will continue to be shown at the bottom of the page.
What does this mean for Google Search and what impact will the changes have on AdWords campaigns?
Here are our predictions:
- In instances where four ads are shown at the top of the page, organic listings will occupy less space above the fold. In some cases, the entire space will be dominated by sponsored ads. This will make it more difficult for businesses to gain traffic organically, whilst some advertisers will see an increase in CPC traffic.
- With fewer ad slots available above the fold, competition is likely to increase. This will potentially lead to inflated CPCs and a reduction in exposure for some brands. To avoid costs spiralling out of control, advertisers will need to ensure campaigns are well-structured and optimised to the hilt. AdWords management will become (even more) complex.
- With less opportunity for users to click on organic results, paid ads will need to be more relevant than ever before – or risk compromising the user experience. Google will safeguard against this by placing greater emphasis on Quality Score optimisation (see the previous point).
We will update this article accordingly as further updates become available.