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Google’s Removing Right-Side Ads, But How Will It Impact Organic Search Results?

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Google has been known to change their logo in fun, surprising ways for their Google Doodles, but major changes to the actual search engine results page (SERP) occur far less often. That’s why their recent decision to remove ads from the right-hand side of their desktop SERPs is making big news.

What exactly did they change? By removing ads from the right side of the results pages, they’ve decreased the maximum amount of ads you can see from eleven all the way down to seven. This means fewer clicks for folks who advertise on these pages who aren’t in one of the top three or four paid positions — and a potential impact on organic traffic for competitive auctions.

In response to this change, marketers are asking: Does it impact organic search — and if so, how? How does it influence advertising? What can marketers do about the changes?

First, let’s go over what exactly Google changed and why they changed it, and then we’ll dig into the answers to these questions.

The Change: Before vs. After

Before this big change, Google search ads used to show up in three places: above, below, and to the right of organic search results.

Now, with the recent changes, they’ve removed one of those three ad locations altogether: the one on the right side of the search engine results page.

In some cases, they also may increase the number of ads that appear above the organic search results from three to four. This only happens for what Google is calling “highly commercial queries,” which is when Google is confident a user’s intention is to make a purchase.

The ads that appear below search organic results will stay put, and aren’t affected by the change. Product Listing Ads (PLAs), though, may still stick around on the right-hand side.

The overwhelming majority of paid clicks also come from ads above organic results. By eliminating the right-side ads from the SERP, Google is able to clean up the page without removing a frequently used ad unit.

Will This Impact Marketers’ Organic Results?

Yes it will — although it’s hard to say how exactly. While fewer ads could increase organic traffic, a fourth ad above organic results could also push results down the page to a point that lowers traffic.

When you consider that the further down a result appears in SERPs, the lower the clickthrough rate it receives, it’s reasonable for us to assume there’s going to be a negative impact on organic traffic.

And remember, these changes have made it even more important that you’re optimizing for the top organic spot, as well as the Knowledge Graph. While ad real estate being removed from the right side could seemlike a good move for marketers focused on organic search, it could also have the impact of moving organic results further down the page. Those with a top organic spot, or a spot in the Knowledge Graph, will have abetter shot at those organic clickthroughs than anyone else.

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article source: hubspot.com