Are your search results pages on Google showing a little more white space than you expected? If they haven’t already, they will be in the very near future. For a few years now, Google has been testing the effectiveness of ads on the right hand side of the results page, and has determined that the best avenue to ensure a positive user experience is to remove these ads permanently. In the coming weeks, all ads on the right hand column of the results page will be phased out and no longer shown.
So what does this mean for your business? While there isn’t a lot of information coming out just yet, there are a few changes that are worth preparing for as Google continuously updates. The first side effect of the removal of right side ads, of course, is that fewer ads are going to be shown to potential customers, and some ads that are shown are going to be pushed to the rarely-viewed space at the bottom of the page. Since ad positions five through seven are now relegated below the fold, and positions 8-11 are eliminated entirely, ad position and ad rank become even more imperative than they were before for paid search managers and business owners. Ranking in the top four positions is never an easy task, but read more on our blog for some quick tips on how to improve your position on search engine results pages.
While ads are reshuffled and positions are moved around the page, some industry experts believe that this change might cause cost-per-click rates to increase, as businesses raise their bids to remain above the fold and competition is raised. It is too early to tell if this is the case, but the experts at Reach Beyond Marketing aren’t sold that costs are going to rise for advertisers. Google’s purpose isn’t to become a cash cow; rather, the decision behind the movement of ads was made to increase the user experience. If ad costs skyrocket, local advertisers will be pushed out, results will be diluted, and both advertisers and users would suffer—all of which are against Google’s best interests. Keep an eye on your CPC’s moving forward, but don’t expect to see your expenses double or triple in the near future. Instead of increasing your spend, focus on increasing your ad quality, paying special attention to keyword targeting, ad formats, and ad extensions to improve your quality score and ad rank.
In one sense, the movement of ads can actually help out some advertisers who were towards the top of the page, but struggling to land the #1 or #2 position. With the removal of the right-side ads, Google will now be placing four ads above the fold instead of just three for high-volume searches. For advertisers who float between the third and fourth position, this can greatly improve clicks and click-through rate as the fourth position enters prime real estate on search engine results pages.
As always, advertisers are busy trying to play catch up to Google’s newest policies – but knowing what changes are being made is vital to adjusting your paid search and SEO strategies to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the competition! Keep up with Reach Beyond Marketing to find new methods to improve your ad rank and ad position and make Google’s changes work in your favor!