We spoke to Google in California this morning after noticing that the right hand ads on the Search Results were no longer visible.
Google confirmed their announcement that they are proceeding with a huge Global roll out to remove the right hand ads from Google Search Results. This applies to all users and all languages worldwide.
Google will now only show ads at the top and bottom of the Search Engine Page Results. For many searches there will be only three results at the top although it may increase the number of ads from three to four if the search query is “highly commercial.” as per the example below for “Lawn Mowing Services Auckland”
In New Zealand the Knowledge Graph may still show on the right hand side of the page against some search results. In addition to the Knowledge Graph, outside of New Zealand the right hand column will also display Product Listing Ads (PLA) however this feature is not yet available to New Zealand advertisers.
What does this mean for advertisers?
- Organic Search Results will be pushed down further when there are four ads showing. In the example above you can see that my screen (before scrolling) only showed the four ads and the Google My Business (Google Maps) Search Results (which was also reduced in number from 7 to 3 results previously). In order to see the Organic (natural) results I had to scroll. This will impact Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and strategies relating to this.
- With regards to Google Adwords (Search Engine Marketing – paid advertising), early indicators are that less Ad spaces at the top of Page One of Google will mean a probable increase in the Cost Per Click for many keywords and advertisers due to the increase in competition. There are now a maximum total of 7 spots on Page 1 (4 at the top and 3 at the bottom). Having a highly optimised account that is being well managed with a focus on profitability and ROI (return on investment) will be critical for those competing in this space.
- It is very early days in the context of this roll-out (it commenced on the 20th Feb 2016 NZ time) and as the ripple effect pushes out we will have a much clearer idea of the impact on advertisers.
- Google have said they will continue to ‘tweak’ their Search Results and the way the different areas interrelate so this won’t be the end of the changes.