Google had been testing changes to the ad layout for desktop search for a while, and the shift is now official. There are no more text ads on the right sidebar of the results page, and four rather than three ads may appear at the top of the page. As with any change to AdWords, it is important to figure out how to adjust your campaigns to remain the most visible. There are implications for your SEO as well.
How Google’s Ad Layout Changed
One major change is that the fourth ad position knocks the top organic position further down the page, but this only happens some of the time. Confused? Try entering what Google considers a “highly commercial query,” and see for yourself. Even more confused? Let’s break it down.
The fourth ad position won’t necessarily show up for every search. Google reserves it for high volume searches such as “residential mortgage” that suggest the searcher has a strong intention to buy or take action. Searches for hotels would fall under this category as well. When a fourth ad appears, it takes the place that could have been occupied by the top organically ranked result. On many computers it makes this result invisible above the fold.
In addition to the space being taken up by the possible fourth ad, Google also may display a Knowledge Graph under the ad block when relevant. This would knock the first organic position even further. Even though this is not likely to occur often, it has been demonstrated, illustrating the impact of a new ad layout on both PPC and search results.
Will Google’s New Ad Layout Impact Digital Marketing?
There is no reason to panic, but the Google layout changes do require strategy adjustments to ensure that you remain highly visible on search pages. Marketers who extol the benefits of using both PPC and SEO approaches understand that the long-term value of SEO is complemented by strategic use of PPC during specific business seasons or for specific products, services, or terms. Think about seasons that are critical to your company and where you may fall on a search results page with the new ad layout in effect. With fewer ads on the page, competition is higher for the remaining spots. When managed professionally by someone who has AdWords expertise, PPC can improve your position quickly and cost-effectively.
The long-term value in SEO is still as critical as ever to gaining visibility for your business and driving traffic to your website. High organic ranking gives you a better chance of maintaining good page 1 visibility and staying competitive in the face of the latest ad layout change, particularly for seasons during which you are not running PPC campaigns.
Final Thoughts on Google’s Ad Redesign
While the impact of the latest Google change will be evident over time, it encourages us to take a wider look at where a business fits in the overall layout of product listings, ads, knowledge graphs, and more. Flexible and creative marketers can help you to adapt if the landscape changes again, which it will. For more information on the new Google Ad layout, contact the experts at Premiere Creative or give us a call at (973) 346-8100.