With apologies to Mark Twain who inspired our title, nothing gets through gossip channels faster than the perceived demise of someone or something. Latest case in point is Google’s change in how it displays paid search ads.
Basically, Google has been rolling out a change over the past few weeks that removes text ads from the right side of search results when you’re on desktop. Instead, Google is now placing the top 4 ads above the organic search results (as opposed to the previous standard of 3) and ads 5-7 are served at the bottom of organic search results. Of course, if demand is low when companies bid for position, you might find less than 4 ads on top and fewer on the bottom.
Top ads and first organic results now look like this:
Google is citing usability studies for the change and it makes sense if you pay attention to how ads look on your mobile phone. The old right side model didn’t translate well on the average smartphone.
Of course, critics of paid search are quick to say this will drive up the cost and offer fewer opportunities to advertise, especially for smaller businesses. Every change has its critics, but smart people know there’s bound to be a positive side to change, too, if we adapt our strategies. It’s been said that we can’t change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails. Good food for thought in this situation.
Mobile users have driven the change. The new format makes it easy to see the ads and scroll through them on a mobile phone.
Businesses that have professional pay-per-click (PPC) managers will still get the best placement for their dollar thanks to ongoing campaign strategy, optimization and vigilance.
Perhaps the businesses that will suffer most from the change are those that rely only on search engine optimization (SEO) for their internet marketing. SEO is a tried and true way to push your website to the top of organic search results. But, if the number one organic position is now a third of the way down the page below four text ads, that’s a concern.
SEO and PPC (sometimes under the banner of Search Engine Marketing or SEM) have always complemented each other. But under Google’s latest change, the SEO-SEM partnership needs to be stronger than ever, especially in competitive verticals.
If any of this sparks your interest or makes you wonder if you have the internet diversity you need to grow your business, remember Fusionfarm is a full service advertising agency with a digital focus. If you need help adjusting your sails, we’d like to help!
Gale brings an effective combination of digital marketing, television news and higher education to her role as SEO/SEM specialist at Fusionfarm. Previous work has included search engine marketing (SEM) for higher education clients throughout the U.S. Gale taught at the college level for 12 years. Prior to that she worked at all levels of television news including producing, management and consultation. Gale has also freelanced as a web video producer, blogger and online content contributor. She is currently Google AdWords certified.