Have you noticed? Google did some spring cleaning recently and changed their search engine ranking page (SERP) for Desktop views.

In this recent change, they removed paid ads on the right side and now display a limited number of ads above and below organic search results.

This means more changes for paid search (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns. Read on to learn more.

New Google Layout Update

The ads living above organic search results aren’t anything new. Google, in recent years, has tested how these ads perform when removing the sidebar ads. Now, with the sidebar ads permanently removed, these 3 top page ads, with 4 ad showing if the query is considered “highly commercial”, will likely increase in cost, and value to marketers.

Three more ads are placed below search results changing the total ads on a page from 11 to seven.

The right side of their page certainly looks cleaner, but how will the reduction in ad space affect you?

As with any update, there’s some good some not-so-good. But generally this is only for the time-being as we adjust to the new changes.

What’s Good About It?

As it turns out, ads on the right-hand side weren’t getting many clicks. Sure, it may look great if your ad is appearing, but if searchers aren’t clicking, these marketing efforts aren’t worth the time to manage them.

Ads posted at the top of the page attract a significantly higher click-through rate than ads on the side. With no side ads, the top ads will gain even more attention. How many times have you reviewed your AdWords reports only to see 95-100% of conversions happening when your ad is Top Page? Exactly. That’s why Google’s made this a permanent update.

As far as SEO and organic traffic, we’ve seen several clients see increases, in clicks/site traffic, when they were already ranking in the top 3 or 4 positions for brand and non-brand related searches.

Time will tell the full benefits these ads will receive. For now, we adjust and push forward.

What’s Not-So-Good About It?

Fewer ads on the page mean less real estate and more competition for PPC campaigns. We’ll likely see bidding wars increase as marketers try to keep their high rankings at the top of the page. So look for a higher cost per click for this prime, top of page, real estate.

What Now?

This change undoubtedly will affect SEO and PPC campaigns going forward. Striking a healthy balance between PPC and SEO will be more important than ever.

On the SERP, the ads take up most of the position above this fold (depending on your display). This could cause difficulty for SEO traffic. At the same time, PPC results will likely experience a significant CPC hike. This means your SEO may need to work double time to make up for the difference.

Can your SEO pick up some slack from your PPC? Now is the time to make sure your SEO and PPC campaigns are well tested and balanced.

If you have more questions on SEO and PPC for your business, give us a call. At Digital C4, we help businesses navigate the course for optimal results.