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What Happened To Google Search Results?

Posted On: May 17, 2016

There is a huge shakeup on Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). There used to be advertisements on the top of the page, right side of the page, and on the bottom of the page. However, there are now ONLY advertisements on the top and bottom. Google eliminated all of the ads on the right hand column.

In the old configuration, a SERP could have up to 11 advertisements per page. In contrast, in the new system, a SERP can have a maximum of 7. Now, up to four ads can appear “above the fold” on the top of the page (obviously, this will be the prime page real estate).

One of the main reason Google eliminated the ads on the right hand column is to match the same look and feel as mobile search. On Google mobile search, there are no ads on the right hand column. Google wants to standardize the advertising ecosystem across all devices.

With this change, there are definitely pros and cons. The advantage of this change is that for advertisers, there will be more people clicking on the top 4 ads now since there are not that many choices to click on “above the fold” before people scroll down. It is much non-distraction with this cleaner look and feel.

There are two things to watch out for with this new change. First, one of the major casualty of this new system has to be the organic results (the non-paid results) as they are pushed even deeper down on the results page after the change. However, this does not mean organic placement is not critical. It just means that you will need a combined strategy of both paid and non-paid traffic so that you appear on first page of Google more often.

Second, one major question this move raises is what will happen to the Cost Per Click (CPC) for the different areas of the new pages. There are speculation that the cost per click will go up for very competitive keywords such as “lawyers” and “buy computer”. In most industries, the data shows that the cost per click is still averaging to be about the same.

For now, our recommendation is to still aim for position 3 to 4 so that your ads will be showing up on the top above the fold. If any of your ads fell below position 5, you got to move those up to position 3 to 4.

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