At the end of February, Google announced that it was getting rid of its right hand ads bar for good. Users browsing the web from a desktop or laptop computer would no longer see a dedicated advertising column on the right hand side of their search engine results page, instead, ads will be incorporated into the main part of the results listings.
Though this may not sound like a groundbreaking change, it will affect both the user experience and the way that companies use Adwords and other SEO techniques. Understanding exactly what these changes mean for business will help you steer your SEO in the right direction and ensure your company isn’t left behind be the updates.
Whenever Google updates its algorithms, working practices, logo or layout, there’s always a reason behind the change. One of the main factors motivating this change is the fact that Google believed the right hand ad bar simply didn’t work.
The tech giant started playing around with the right hand side bar a few months ago, removing it from certain searches and placing more paid ads in the results column. Google carried out a number of studies, including research that involved tracking eye movement, and found that users are much more likely to click on an add if it appears more naturally on the results page.
What does this mean for paid ads?
The number of ads shown on a search engine results page will shrink from around eleven to a maximum of seven. This means that competition for high value search terms will sky rocket and that Google will be able to ask a higher price for their Adwords.
Competition for places on the first page of the results listings is likely to become even fiercer, forcing paid advertisers to invest even more in their SEO marketing.
Is that the end for organic results?
With up to four paid ads at the top of the SERP and three at the bottom, the number of organic results on a page will be limited. What’s more, the paid ads at the top of the page will push organic ads ‘below the fold’ so users will have to scroll down to see results that have appeared organically.
This means that businesses that still want to appear on page one of Google – or to maintain their position wherever they currently appear in the listings – will need to put a lot of effort into ensuring their SEO is as good as possible.
If your company website needs a little TLC to bring it fully up to date, or you’d like to find out more about improving your SEO, get in touch with us or have a look around our website.