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Impact Of Google’s Change 4 Ad Layout On Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

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Ever since Google’s conception in 1998, the company is always on a path of refining its search algorithm so that there is better consistency between the user intent and the search results. Google plays an equivalent game that is, if someone wins, there is someone who has to lose.  The only constant thing with this tech giant is change.

To understand the changes made by Google with AdWords desktop layout, you first need to understand what Google AdWords are. Put in simple words, it is the advertising service offered by Google for businesses who wants to display ads on Google and its advertising network. This service of ad is majorly focused on keywords. This program helps businesses to set a budget for advertising and pay when people click the ads. Ever since 2006, Google has been testing four AdWords pattern. However, in late the 2015, they have been testing the new AdWords layout. Google’s new layout shows four ads on the top search results with two exceptions and they have completely discarded ads on the right of its search results. This is a major roll out made ever since Google’s start. They will show PLAs (Product Listing Ads) and ads in the knowledge graph on the right hand side. Why Google has removed these right side ads? According to data analysis by WordStream, on an average, only 15% of the clicks happen on side ads and majority of the ads that are attractive are the ones on the top side. Google determined that the average CTR or Click-Through-Rate for the right hand side ads is poor when compared to the total and the expected CPC inflation from this major change is projected to be more profitable in terms of long run.

Sources: Search Engine Watch

Sources: Search Engine Watch


Sources: Search Engine Watch

This change in the 4 ad blocks, the right hand column which is now free previously had up to 8 ads, therefore, representing an overall drop in ad positions.  According to the MozCast data set, the ads now max out at 7 per page and the total number of ad count across 10,000 searches are 25,755. Whereas, before the implication of this changed ad layout, there were up to 11 ads on a search result page which breaks down to 3 at the top and 8 on the right side. The total number of ads accounted to 43,740 ads. This shows Google has drastically dropped the AdWords in the past week. The competition to be at the peak is going to get even messier and bids for the keywords would be higher. The revenue of Google from advertisement is approximately $ 33.4 billion. I see Google making even more money.

The Google’s changed ad layout on desktop search is going to have a great impact on most of us. The change will be a positive one for paid desktop search and PPC marketers since Google show up to four ads above organic search results and the text ads on the right side are completely removed. However, its impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is debatable. The continuous pushing down of the organic listings will obviously be an issue for the website manager. The organic space is important for the businesses and this pushing down will therefore lead to an even larger focus on the strategies relating to SEO. However, for Paid Search advertisers, the change will surely drive up average Cost per Click or CPC as the competition will increase. Even in the worst case scenario, SEO experts should do what they have always been doing which means fight against the paid ads. Make sure, you do everything you can in order to make your organic listing stand out. For instance, focusing on meta tag optimization, the quality of the content, embedding the images or videos, schema and other options feasible for your website.

Website owners focus on creating a good quality website so that the Google’s algorithm benefits them and reward them with a top slot in the list of organic search results. However, with an extra ad on the top, your organic listing will be placed further down the page. This will surely influence the click rate. There will be fewer clicks because of pushing it down but it is yet to be seen by how much less.

What you can do to improve the SEO and still be in the competition? There are several ways in which you can increase the SEO and help your website stand higher in the search engines. Since SEO requires continuous maintenance as there are continuous changes just like the latest changes in the AdWord layout. You can do the following to improve your SEO ranking:

1. Google quality and unique content

2. Backlinking

3. Add images and videos

The four ad format will be having an impact on the SEO with respect to both short tail keywords and long tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are basically those having one to three words in a keyword phrase whereas long tail keywords have three or more words. Short tail words are generic whereas the long ones are specific and targeted which are used in blogs or brands. For example, if you search Google AdWords, this is a short tail keyword while Google AdWords reporting tool for clients is a long tail keyword. Since this new ad format from Google has added one more ad at the top and pushed down the organic search results, there are minute yet important things to be considered. With the increased rate of competition, you should now use more of long-tail keywords because they are easier and more profitable to target. There will be less competition as compared to the short tail keywords which might help you gain organic traffic to your website and hence increase the your SEO ranking. You will also need to focus on the keyword density to maintain to be at the top. Go for the SEO experts or digital marketing expert to help you gain organic traffic to your website. This way you can increase your SEO and potentially rank above in the search engines.

By focusing on the quality of the content and the experience of the user is the only way you can survive in the competition. The content marketing campaigns need to be update proactive instead of update reactive. We all know Google continuously makes huge changes and these changes have been lived through and adapted by us. With changes like these, SEO is clearly on the losing side. However, it will be interesting to see how SEO, quality of content and strategies relating to content will evolve to respond.

Sakshi is a content marketer during the day and a reader by night. She writes content sprinkled with a twisted imagination. She has done her graduation in psychology from Delhi University and has an insane love for history.

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