SEO, Search Engine Result Pages, Google

February 24, 2016

Google Makes Drastic Changes to Search Result Pages

DeathtoStock_Creative_Community7.jpgMost companies with a well-established digital presence are aware of the impact that paid ads can have on their digital marketing efforts. They can be a very effective method for increasing targeted  traffic to your website. Some of the most widely used channels for paid ads are Google Adwords and popular social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

This week, Google has stopped showing ads on the right-hand sidebar of its results pages.  They will now be showing ads only at the above the organic results and at the bottom of the page. In place of the ads we have typically seen in the side bar, there will be relevant product listing ad blocks and Knowledge Panels. These changes will lower the total number of ads that can appear on a SERP from 11 down to 7.

Why the changes?

Removing ads from the sidebar makes a lot of sense sense when you think about how SERPs are viewed from a mobile device, and after all, responsiveness is key. Adding a fourth ad to the top of the page on “highly commercial queries”  provides a number of benefits to advertisers like the ability to use ad extensions, that it looks more like an organic result than an ad, and it will make up for some of the lost sidebar clicks.

These changes also leave more room for Google’s Product Listing Ads and other features, giving its users an even better experience and, hopefully, “better performance for advertisers.”

What does it mean for Cost Per Click?

Nothing is certain yet, but many are worried that fewer available ad spaces will mean higher demand and cost for advertisers. Others think the new layout will have a more nuanced affect on CPCs because advertisers won’t be willing to spend as much for their ads to appear at the bottom of the page. To keep things in perspective, though, we should remember that the sidebar ads accounted for less than 15% of total desktop clicks so there shouldn’t be much if any negative change in the effectiveness of ads being placed.


In the end, these changes shouldn’t have too much of an impact if your company utilizes well-rounded digital marketing methods. Paid ads offer a strong sense of instant gratification in terms of ROI, but it is generally best to base efforts on other, long-term opportunities to create more substantial search traffic.

Balancing your marketing efforts between inbound marketing methods and paid ads, placing a high priority on building up SEO and influence through content creation is the best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your digital marketing efforts.


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Bespoken Management started out with the simple mission of providing unparalleled marketing services to business lacking the time and knowledge to implement their own marketing effectively.

Today, we are a team with extensive experience in digital marketing, graphic design, front-end design, and website development. Our team, our client relationships, and our plans for the future are all built upon the values of transparency, efficiency, and creativity.

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