For sometime now, Google has been running a beta test of a new way to display search results on desktop devices, and now it’s official and has started to roll out to everyone’s results. The Change? Google Ads has ELIMINATED their Right Column Ads (for just about every type of query except products) and in most cases ADDED A 4TH AD to the top of the page in their “high commercial results” section. Many of the ads formerly seen in Ad Positions 5, 6, 7, etc have now moved to the bottom of the page, mimicking what is seen on mobile devices.
These changes does two major things, first it gives added emphasis to the 4TH Google Ads placement. Previously, we as Ads Advertisers strove for placements of position 1, 2 or 3. Now being in Position 4 is not bad, so it makes utilizing Google Ads a little easier and more effective for those who use it. It also allows Position 4 Ads to showcase more information in their ads, as the old right column ads had more limited space to work with.
The second change, and most impactful in my opinion, is the dropping of the beginning of organic listings even further down the page. So a lot of those businesses who didn’t want to get on board with Google Ads because “they had good organic placement”, will most likely have a drop in click throughs as there is now another entry wedged above them. In addition, the Google MyBusiness listings have permanently made their way between the Google Ads and the Organic Listings with their 3-Pack Listings. This change actually occurred several months ago, as it was previously in the right column above the right column Google Ads. Take a look at the before/after picture below…as you can see the 1st place organic listing is now WAY DOWN ON THE PAGE.
All of this is not a huge surprise to me as Google has been constantly working towards bringing results closer to the way they display on mobile devices since more and more searches are being performed from smartphones and tablets, and this change mimics that perfectly.
According to Google, this change is to bring more relevant search results for people searching and better performance for advertisers. This will probably have an effect of possibly driving up ad costs on Google Ads as less ad spaces are seen on the top of the page, so companies will become more aggressive to secure one of those spots…so advantage will be either with companies that have deep pockets or have a top-notch Ads manager to keep costs down while maintaining decent placement. Remember, Google Ads is not a “highest bid wins” type of setting…many factors go into getting good placement in Google Ads, and in most cases the business in position 1 is actually paying MUCH LESS for a high position than a business who is in a lower position.
The other effect will be the SEO and your “organic” results will become harder to produce results from. Don’t get me wrong, SEO will still be important, as many people do look at all the results and some even “skip” all ads in favor of organic…but as a Certified Google Ads Partner, I can tell you MANY PEOPLE utilize those ads, so if there was ever a time to consider getting an Ads Campaign started and running, now is that time.