Don’t check your calendars, it ain’t Halloween just yet, folks. The Grim Reaper thingy above just illustrates the death of right-hand side display of ads that we are more familiar with.
The SEO world’s just ablaze with the recent change Google has made regarding the display of ads on the right side panel of search engine’s results pages (SERPs). Last Friday, February 19, ads placement started showing above and below the SERPs. Before, the titanic search engine displays ads above, below and on the right side of search results when a searcher enters a query. Where there were just 1 or 2 ads being displayed, now up to 4 ads are being shown if the search query is deemed highly commercial in nature by Google’s search algorithm. After February 19’s death of right side display ads, search results on Google now displays a clean, fresh new look.
The search engine giant has also confirmed that the changes it has made for search results will be worldwide and that it applies to all languages supported on Google Search. Indeed this change has rolled-out and affected all Googlers across the globe and in all languages as of February 22nd.
Google’s Change Tact on Ads Placement
It has been a week after the changes that Google has made regarding the phasing-out and killing of the right-hand side page ads. The roll-out has affected all users across the globe thus effectively bringing mobile experience to desktop users.
If you think this is the first Google did this then you’re wrong. The search engine giant actually began testing showing four (4) ads on top of search results last December 2015.
For ordinary users of the search engine, the space on the right side will display Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and Knowledge Graph Boxes, which means nothing, would be too obvious for the cursory or ordinary user. It’s a different thing for website owners and enterprises that advertise online though. This removal of ads would mean that the organic space for displaying ads has just gotten to be more precious which translates to the need to focus more on search engine optimization (SEO).
On the other hand, for those doing paid search and advertisers the change that Google made will necessarily increase the competition for average cost-per-clicks (CPCs) because the collateral effect would be a rapid increase of competition for the top slots. Translated, it means a battle would rage for ads placement.
In an article published by The Media Image, it stated that the possible reason for Google’s radical change is, to quote from the said article, “Google has determined the average click-through-rate for Right Hand Side Ads is poor across verticals, and the expected CPC inflation from this major change is projected to more profitable in the long run.”
What This Change Means For Site Owners, Marketers, Online Advertisers and SEO?
A lot of guesswork has been circling among business owners with websites, e-commerce site owners, and online advertisers and even among users. Many among them were thinking of the worst case scenario and assuming that the race on paid search ads would become more aggressive not to mention very costly and that there’s a possibility that organic ads will be pushed even further away from the first page of search results.
While a lot remains to be seen regarding this recent innovation on Google’s way of displaying paid search ads and organic ads and its possible impact on the returns-of-investment and efficiency, panicking and fretting should be far from what site owners and online marketers should do to cope-up. Necessarily, there would be a shift on the above the fold organic ads search results but it isn’t the death of organic ads, though. With the sharp increase of ad blocking apps this could very well mean that whatever the other advertisers are doing on their online ads can hypothetically turn out to be unimportant.
What Website Owners and SEOs Should Do
Supposing that the worst case situation should happen, website owners and those doing SEO works should do what they’ve doing thus far – effectively strive athwart the paid ads. If your website is vying to rank for commercially important keyword, SEOs should assure that the organic listing for the site stands out by using tools and techniques such as optimizing metatags, use of Schema.org mark-up, and other techniques applicable to your site. Online ads are continuously evolving, from the mundane pop-ups that are so annoying to a more attractive and interactive – this means ingenuity and innovative thinking for ads for you to compete and not be left behind the competition.
For pay-per-click (PPC), the additional ad spot on the top of search results’ pages is supposed to be for high-value keywords. Needless to say, these keywords are exorbitantly expensive per click hence it’ll be up for website owners and their SEO specialists to decide whether the premium ad spot is worth every penny and dime they spend and pay or whether to just bid for those search terms and lose in the process then compete for organic ad spot on top of the fold.
Brand and website owners should vie to be the brand or site searchers think of even before they type a search query on search engines like Google. Make your brand or website stand out no matter the odds; be that paid ads, your competitors, lost vertical ads placement or anything in between that may challenge you from enticing prospective customers to visit your website, strive harder to get those potential consumers visit you first, make a lasting impression on them and improve on user experience.