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Topics: Google AdWords

No More Google Side Ads.  What Does This Mean?

March 28, 2016   Posted By Cyndi Friedel

No_Side_Ads.jpgHow will this affect my Paid Search Campaigns?
Last month, Google removed the familiar ads on the right-hand side of their search engine results page. Well, they didn’t really “re-move” them as much as just moved them.

There will now be 4 ads at the top of the page appearing above the organic search listings. There will also be three ads that appear at the very bottom of the page. These changes are creating a more streamlined structure that looks more like the mobile search engine results page.

This change, of course, spread a bit of panic in the online marketing community.

  • How is this going to affect my PPC ads?
  • Is my cost/click going to increase?
  • How is this going to affect my organic listings and traffic?

We continued to monitor our campaigns and really do not see much of a change, yet. I also attended a webinar with industry leader Larry Kim of Wordstream, and he relayed the same information – do not panic – the changes are not going to affect us much. He also reported that he has seen an overall increase in click through rates and the cost per click is flat since the change.

Only about 14.6% of the right hand / bottom ads received clicks. About 85% of Google search clicks come from the ads on the left hand side anyway, those ads that are near the organic listings. Also keep in mind this only took place on desktop searches. The way ads are displayed on mobile and tablet devices remain the same.

Has there been an impact on organic search?
We think this move may de-emphasize organic search and, surprise and perhaps just as Google coincidentally intended, may prompt us to invest more in paid search. If in the past 10 organic listings showed on a page, and now fewer organic listings appear on page 1 because more of that space is taken up by paid ads, that will just mean that we’ll be forced to buy for position on the all-important page 1 if we can’t get there organically.

When this update was announced, many in the organic search community thought that this could be a disaster as well. So far, researchers have reported that organic search clicks have been stable. That’s good to see, but we have to believe the competition for those fewer organic slots on page 1 will intensify, so competition for your most important keywords will only increase.

As always it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. Most A/B comparison studies have shown that it’s best to have both paid search and organic search programs running, and that even if you achieve page 1 organic position, your paid ads should continue.

We will keep you updated as we continue to monitor our clients’ paid search campaigns and will inform you of any additional changes. The battle continues!

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