Google has thrown a spanner in the works for the average internet marketing specialist; so we’ve had to search through our toolbox to find: the root of this alteration, how this will grow to affect companies like us, and how we can combat this issue so that we and similar businesses continue to flourish.
I’m certain that the seeds of this modification were planted well in advance, as Google is always very calculated and intricate with its procedures; if this wasn’t the case, SEOs wouldn’t be necessary. Even so, on the 2nd of March Google conducted a new experiment with the presentation of their SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) which took us all by surprise. This alteration consisted of editing how paid ads appear in terms of their position.
We’re all familiar with the sidebar results which are suggested to us, and we as internet experts understand exactly why they’re there; so when the right hand side of our Google search results pages became blank, we were all left a little perplexed.
An unidentified Google spokesperson apparently informed CMSWire of this adjustment, stating that “The right hand column wasn’t producing great results, so they’re eliminating it in an effort to make supply and demand more competitive.” If we analyse this statement, it is true as far as I personally, would always prefer to click a result which appears in the centre of a SERP, even without being aware as to whether it’s a paid ad or an organic listing. So if these paid ads were to be eliminated from the right-hand sidebar, would it really seem like a loss to your typical browser on a search engine? Perhaps Google realised this, and I’m sure that if this were indeed the case, the analytics would already have indicated the lack of popularity. Despite this reasonable explanation, we’re still left curious as to how this elimination can make supply and demand more competitive.
Well, for those that have either none or a novice understanding of Google AdWords, it works like an auction. You pay for particular search terms (keywords) to produce your result as highly as possible on the result pages, depending on: your quality score (how relevant your page is to these keywords) and of course, how much you’ve bid. This anonymous spokesperson from Google elaborated on his point by explaining that paid ads will now appear above the organic listings to the left; meaning that the average Googler will barely notice the difference between the organic and paid listings, therefore paid ads will become more popular. If paid ads become more popular, surely there’ll be a higher demand for paid ads; so a higher supply from Google… but at a price. The conclusion is that this is a strategy Google has executed as a means of boosting its revenue from AdWords, and for the AdWords campaigners, the bidding process will go from a car boot sale, to an antiques auction.
So what does this mean for SEOs and online advertisers?
Many SEOs will see this as a minor obstacle, because as long as their On/Off page SEO creates a high enough quality score, they have very little to worry about except that paid ads will push them down the page a little bit. For those who rely on Google AdWords and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) schemes, as a means of having their business or product found, their advertising costs are about to sky-rocket if they’re going to compete for the highest space on Google’s SERPs.
What will happen with the blank right-hand sidebar?
For those questioning the reliability of this anonymous source from Google, he furthered his explanation by saying “I expect Google to move shopping ads into the right-rail space that’s now vacant.” Subsequently, that’s exactly what has happened. If you search for “cheap t-shirts” on Google (this result is featured in the image above), the results consist of 4 paid ads at the top of the page (on mobile devices there is only 2), followed by organic listings beneath, followed by 3 more paid ads at the bottom of the page, and then a selection of relevant products appearing on the right-hand side.
To conclude, SEOs I expect will steer their focus more towards boosting the optimisation of their pages’ , PPC users and online advertisers however, have much consideration and strategical analysis to mull over, to decide how they can produce the most prudent solution for this change, our advice would be to focus on the quality score of your adverts and to utilise ad extensions and other tools provided in your AdWords account.
Google will continue to throw spanners in the works, but we at Kandekore are as sharp as ever, and we will be monitoring the fallout of this and future changes.
If you need help or advice regarding your AdWords account please contact one of our experts on 0121 4000 171.