Well, the rumours are true. Google are to remove the right-hand side ads on the search network. Some sources say the transition had already started as of the 19th of February. My colleague and I had noticed some changes on some search results, which looking back was probably Google doing some testing and so this is where the rumours started.
So, what does it actually mean for advertisers?
Well, the first thing that popped in my AdWords-orientated brain and has been mentioned by Search Engine Watch was the rise in CPCs. Since now there will be just four ads at the top, competition is going to be fierce and things could get ugly.
This then has the domino effect that your Quality Score is going to need to be excellent, to make sure you can get good positions without annihilating (too much) your average CPC. So, another reminder to make sure your user experience is top notch, especially on mobile.
This isn’t all bad news for you ecommerce websites out there, as the right-hand side will apparently be used to focus on PLAs, so I wouldn’t expect too much of an upheaval on your CPCs – it will probably open up an opportunity for more advertisers to have a chance on the first page, as there would be more room compared to now with your standard 8. It’s mainly going to be you lead generation sites that will have the biggest shake-up. Sorry about that.
Also, what does this mean for Organic rankings?
These are getting pushed further and further down as Google develops. What with Google Maps, Shopping ads and your top three search ads, some results have had barely any Organic rankings above the fold for a while, but this could change massively again.
Google aren’t daft, paid search is their biggest source of income and paid will only get bigger. To be honest, I am surprised a shake-up like this took so long to come around.
Don’t get me wrong, ranking organically is still important in my opinion. You still need to work on your SEO, probably more so than before actually, but dropping below the fold could result in big traffic drops – paid search is now more important than ever so prepare yourself and budget for your AdWords campaigns accordingly.
If you are one of those that have been hiding, hoping AdWords will go away and that you could ignore the problem or don’t ‘believe’ in AdWords, well I am afraid you really, really can’t any more.
Let me know your thoughts, you can reach out to me on Twitter @rachypanda"