The ads in the right column of Google search results are being decomissioned, and only up to four ads above the organic search results will now be displayed. What does this mean for paid search customers, in competition for the best rankings? Simply, more competition – for those top four paid search advertising spots, and an ever important focus on organic ‘SEO’ rankings.
Click prices will rise
It is known that Google gives the top spot to ads with the respective highest bid even leaving aside other factors such as the quality score. The ads above the organic search results attract higher bids due to their premium, compared to the ads on the right or bottom of the page. At the same time we have more people asking for less real estate, which will further drive the prices up.
Tougher competition between the advertisers and the implications for SEO
The intensification of competition is best for those with large advertising budgets. These are usually large brands. Smaller competitors are at a disadvantage, as their ad will appear (if at all) on the less interesting places at the bottom of the page. A possible consequence could be the exodus of advertisers and budgets moving toward the organic results (SEO). This in turn would increase the competition in SEO. But there is another scenario: Due to the additional attractiveness of the top, now expanded ad real estate and the need for a higher click bid for big brands, they might feel compelled to move their budget further into PPC and to reduce their SEO budget accordingly which would in turn relax the competition in the organic search results. Currently, one can only speculate about the consequences of the new display structure on the Google SERPs (search engine ranking position) for SEO. We will have to wait for the coming weeks and months and monitor the distribution of the rankings in order to draw insights.
One thing we know already: the change in ad real estate will be profitable for Google, due to higher click rates being achieved. As for the advertisers and SEOs, I can’t give a definite answer: Possibly there will be a redeployment of the budget, where big brands are likely to spend more on PPC and small providers more on SEO. Users of search engines have to know the difference between ads and organic search results in order to select the best for them. This is particularly important if the border between Ads and the rest of the search results page is blurred more and more.