What the New Google Search Listing Page Ads Mean

Recently, Google announced some pretty big changes regarding search. Specifically, they’re removing sidebar ads from search results. Instead, there will be four ads located on top of the organic results.

As with all Google changes, there has been a lot of nervousness and confusion over the future of SEO. But so far, beyond all the speculation, there’s very little to actually fear from these changes. Here’s our closer look:

  1. Organic Results Will See a Boost in Popularity

Paid results aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. When a business bids on keywords, they need to craft their copy around those keywords. This limits the ability of the copy to directly address the needs of potential customers.

This is why organic results tend to draw the eye. Organic results are usually the most relevant for the search terms. In fact, study after study shows that many people habitually ignore the paid results and start reading at the first organic result.

There’s a strong likelihood that Google’s recent changes will actually increase the number of people who view the organic results.

  1. PPC and Organic Competition Will Change

Here’s what search results will look like after these changes:

  • Four ads on the top
  • Three ads on the bottom

Page one changes from 11 ads down to six or seven. This means big changes for the most competitive search terms. CPC’s are going to rise across the entire internet.

On the surface, this seems like big brands will have a huge advantage. And they will, in a sense. Only the biggest brands, with the biggest budgets, will be able to grab the top ads based on bids.

Google is going to focus even more on Quality Scores. They want to ensure high CTRs on all ads. Only the top PPC campaigns will be able to compete.

If your brand is moving all, or even just some, of your marketing efforts into PPC, you’ll need to commit to the following:

  • An increase in monetary investment
  • A/B testing
  • PPC specialization

There’s good news for brands without big budgets, too. As more companies shift their efforts to PPC, organic competition might decrease. Organic opportunities could easily become more plentiful than ever before!

  1. Google SERPs Change Often

Let’s put this recent change into some historical perspective. Google has changed their search practices before – quite often, actually – and internet marketing has, of course, still continued to thrive.

In 2012, Google removed sidebar ads. Then they moved them back. Other changes over the years have affected Knowledge Graphs, Carousels, news results, Local Packs and more. In fact, within the last three years, Google SERPs have changed more than they did in the previous decade.

Long-term SEO strategies DO NOT need to be altered just because of these recent changes. Your existing marketing strategy is likely still strong.

Keep in mind Google has been known to reverse course, too. If these changes turn out to not be effective, don’t be surprised if Google changes them at some point in the future.

Final Thoughts

The sky is not falling. While these changes may seem major, there’s no need to fear. There are many SEO tools available. You might need to focus more on organic search results. Or your approach to paid search might need to be altered somewhat.

At the end of the day, however, the same basic SEO practices you’ve come to rely on still apply. High quality, engaging content directed towards the needs of your target audience will always help set you apart from the competition. So will targeted keywords, active social media use and other tools.

The biggest takeaway here is to remember that SEO know-how will always be competitive against big budgets. So as these new changes unroll, don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. Change is a constant in the world of internet marketing, and that can actually be good news for your brand.


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