Google’s New Search Ad Update Takes Over SEO

Industry News

What’s going on?

Google is gearing up to announce that the paid search ads on the right-hand side of search result pages will be obsolete and four ads will show at the top of the search results. For the past few months, we have noticed that Google has been testing out new strategies to decide whether this was the right way to go.

This update affects paid search ads (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), and businesses. It also leaves questions about the future of Google search results.

PPC gears up to bring their A game

Four ads at the top of a search results page will increase traffic to those sites. Back in 2013 Search Engine Watch’s study showed that about 50% of traffic went to the top three results in a search page and drops dramatically the farther down you are. The 5th position was only receiving about 5% of traffic.

Best real estate on a Google search remains the top four slots

Rent with Google

We believe Google is getting ready to compensate for the removal of the side ads by increasing the cost per click to show an ad. This way their revenue will not take a hit.

Over the past few months, we have noticed that the cost per click has been rising. We used to run our branded campaigns for around $1 a click. Lately, we have had to raise branded campaign to almost three times that to get the ads to show, even when there is no competition.

Increased need to manage your bidding

With more competition for these top spots, your AdWords account may need to be checked on regularly to make sure you ads are shown in the spot you want them to be. You can also use automated rules to increase bids to show the ads in the top four spots.

Google Shopping ads potentially start increasing

With more space for things to be shown, one guess is that the extra space will go to shopping ads.

SEO prepares to defend

Many SEO professionals are, understandably, frustrated. With four paid search ads showing at the top, organic results will disappear on mobile screens unless people scroll. To put this in perspective, over 50% of searches today are mobile and that number has only been increasing.

Therefore, PPC will take the lead in capturing that mobile audience.

Will Google give more space for organic SEO to lick its wounds?

The elimination of the side ads creates open space for fun. One thought was that Google may give more room for titles and meta-descriptions.

Another idea was that they may move the local snack pack over to the open space.

Markup techniques for SEO gain importance


Due this change more importance will be placed on the review extension. Also, it is important for you to highlight your business’ info found in your website’s footer or contact page. Contact In2itive Search if you would like this done for you.

Local SEO flies under the radar

While there might be a slight change in the way Local SEO works, for the most part, it’s business as usual. Local search terms will still result in the same pages being shown.

What does this mean for your business?

PPC will have a greater impact on your business. Paid search’s highly customizable and targeted marketing methods allow you to reach more of your audience. Not only reach them, but reach the ones most interested in finding your specific service or product.

Keep your customer’s search methods in mind

With organic search results less likely to show your business, you want to reach your customers in their preferred method, which now points to PPC. Without it, you may miss up to 50% of your customers searching for your business.

Local SEO and organic SEO still have pull

You want to still rank higher in the organic and local search results. Customers may still prefer this method and want to find you that way. Not to mention the local snack pack takes up a lot of real estate on a search result page.

Final Thoughts

This demonstrates Google’s preference for paid search over SEO. They constantly are creating challenges for SEO professionals while making more features and customizations for paid search.

At In2itive Search, our extraordinary team of digital marketing wizards, warriors, and ninjas provides winning digital marketing solutions for small and large businesses. Search engine optimization, paid search, mobile-friendly web design, social media, and more. Reach out to us today for your free website consultation and get started on increasing your online presence!

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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