You know how online marketing tools work—one minute you’re an expert, and the next thing you know the entire system has changed. Well Google’s done it again with a new ad layout—recently, they removed their standard right-hand sidebar ads from desktop search results, changing many a marketer’s advertising strategy.
While this has been talked about and tested by Google over the years, the new layout was promptly rolled out last week and is now in effect. In addition to removing the sidebar, SERPs are seeing several other changes:
- Where there used to be three ads at the top of results, now there will be four on searches that Google deems “highly commercial,” or those that are likely to be from users who want to make a purchase.
- There will now be three ads at the bottom of the organic results.
- Instead of the up to 11 ads that could have been on a page, now the most that can appear will be seven.
- Product listings and Knowledge Blocks will still appear when applicable above results or on the right-hand side.
Why the changes? Some experts believe that the search engine giant is making an effort to glean more revenue from top performing ads. In the days when more and more people are using ad blocking applications, making ads more native within organic search decreases the chance that users will skip over them.
So what do you need to know moving forward? Below, we share three tips for marketers to take into account as a result of Google’s new ad layout change.
3 Tips for Optimizing Your Campaigns for Google’s New Ad Layout
1. Focus On The Top
Now that ads are no longer visible on the right-hand side of search results, consumer attention will be on the paid results at the top. With an additional fourth spot now available, this means that most space above the fold will be dedicated to these feature ads.
With Google’s new layout, when you do get that top spot, you have a better guarantee of it being seen, and a consumer taking action.
2. Keep An Eye On Bids
The biggest change with the new format will be for those marketers who bid for specific positions as part of their Google advertising strategy. While it is still early to tell just how much competition will increase for top listings, you certainly don’t want to find yourself caught off-guard by a huge expense.
You will have the option of bottom-of-the-page ads, which will likely have less bidding activity, but also may be less effective. It goes without saying that many will be keeping an eye on how CTRs of these ads improve now that the sidebar is removed.
3. Renew Your SEO Efforts
For those who aren’t willing to pay premium rates for the coveted top ads, Google ad layout change provides a renewed opportunity to boost your SEO efforts. Organic results will be included just under the paid ads and there will be more than there were previously, however they will be below the fold.
This means that you will still get visibility, however potential customers will have to scroll that much further to see you. To help your content rank and stand out from the rest, keep up the creativity and optimize tags and descriptions.