You may have noticed an absence of paid search ads from the right hand side of Google search results. Your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. Google has decided to remove right hand side ads because, after extensive testing, it has deemed that the particular positioning of these ads, garnered poor click-through rates.
Ads will now be shown solely at the top and bottom of the SERP, and the right hand side will exclusively belong to PLA boxes and Knowledge panels-search queries linked with Wikipedia, prompt a small box to appear with basic, relevant information, selected by Google from several sources.
The number of ads positioned above and below organic results on the SERP, is said to be increased from three to four, if the search query entered is “highly commercial”- according to Googles’ official statement on the update.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed whether this increase of the number of ads will apply to mobile users, this change will certainly bring the desktop experience closer to that of the mobile one.
Effect on Businesses
This pushing down of organic listings is bad news for companies that haven’t invested in AdWords, or SEO optimised websites. Businesses may find themselves dethroned of their ranking on the first page of Google if they don’t up their game SEO-wise. First SERP’s will become increasingly competitive, as organic space becomes more precious, and advertisers will have to up their bids to maintain their ranking, or accept a lower visibility rate.
With the absence of anything on the right hand side, Google is looking a bit naked. In a concerning turn of events, the entire above the fold space is now entirely filled with ads. The question is, has Google gone too far with efficiency, and sacrificed its user experience? Perhaps, several updates down the road, the entire first SERP, will be consumed by ads and nothing else, and users will simply, instinctively, click through to the second page without a glance back.
The Bright Side
On the bright side of things, this update will only be of note for desktop searches, which happen to account for less than 50% of all search queries. You are really looking at less than 8% of searches affected. This is great news for companies using paid desktop search, with the losers here being business relying on organic listings, which completely disappear from above the fold space when running any commercial query on desktop.
What Can You Do?
Now is a time more important than ever to up your SEO game to get that traffic for your site. Here at Creative Brand Design, we offer a variety of services designed to boost the SEO of your site, and get you a great ranking on Google. We are able to create effective Ads for our clients that get them the click-through rates they need for larger customer bases.