The world of pay per click advertising has just witnessed a dramatic change to the display of ads on Google’s search engine result page. It is now clear, that Google has commenced the removal of ads from the right hand side of desktop search results. This change came into effect on Friday 19th February.
Before the change
Prior to 19th February, three ads were displayed above organic search results for commercial queries (e.g estate agent, SEO agency, blocked drain, cheap venues, affordable removal) that indicated a strong buying intent. In the past, some commercial queries generated three ads above the search result and an average of 7-8 ads on the right-hand panel. A search for ‘learn a new language’ is highly commercial hence it generated about eight results on the right hand side of the SERP (search engine result page).
After the change
Currently, Google only show ads at the top and bottom of SERP. The right-hand side panel will now be reserved for product listing ads and Google’s knowledge graph. A search for ‘learn a new language’ did not return any ads on the right-hand panel as a result of the new change.
Product listing ads will still appear at the right hand side panel. A search for ‘Pilate Mat’ retuned four ads above search results and eight product listing ads at the side panel. Google clarified that four search ads will be displayed above search results for “highly commercial queries.” This change has sent shivers down the spines of most PPC marketers as the number of ads that appear on the first page has reduced to about seven for highly commercial queries as opposed to over eleven before the changes were implemented.
An alignment between mobile and desktop search experience
The search engine result page on desktop is now similar to that of mobile. On mobile devices, there are ads above and below search results. One could imagine and guess that Google is aiming to create a similar search experience across all devices
The ultimate concern for most paid search marketers is the fear of bidding slightly higher to appear on the first page as the competition will be fierce. Also there is the fear that ads that appear below search results may fail to lead to conversions as compared to ads that appeared on the right-hand panel in the past.
PPC optimisation tips:
The world of pay per click advertising is startled with this change from Google. Nonetheless, these tips are a few ways search marketers can make the most of the new paid search engine result page.