Google has recently made a change to how pay-per-click ads are displayed on the search engine results page (SERPs). The right-hand display rail for ads was removed towards the end of February.
In the past, if you ran a Google Adwords paid campaign, ads appeared in the top 3 spots right above organic search results, on the right-hand side, and at the bottom of the page. The right-hand display bar gave advertisers more space on the front page of Google, which allowed advertisers with smaller budgets to still have visibility.
Here are some more details on the changes:
- Google will now show 4 text ads instead of 3 in the top positions above the organic search results on the first page.
- 3 text ads will be displayed at the bottom of the SERPs
- No text ads will be displayed in the right rail (as discussed above)
- The total number of text ads displayed on a SERP will drop from up to 11 to a maximum of 7
- Knowledge panels and product listing ads will show up in the right rail on relevant searches
Another thing to note is that Google is rolling out these updates permanently worldwide.
These changes have led many leading online marketers to make some assumptions. Here’s what the leaders in the online marketing community assume is going to happen now that the changes are out:
Higher Costs Per Click
One assumption being made is that these changes will result in a higher cost per click for advertisers. While there isn’t any information disproving this assumption right now, it does make sense.
Think about it: If 100 advertisers were bidding for 10 advertising spots and now there are only 4 spots available, it makes sense that competition would increase the price of these 4 spots.
Only time will tell if this assumption is correct.
You’ll Need to Improve Your Ads
For those who use Google Adwords, you’re likely aware that where your ad ranks has to do with more than just what you’re willing to pay for your keywords. The better your descriptions, text, and copy for your ad, the higher your rank on the SERPs. This isn’t going to change. In fact, if competition increases for ad slots, your ads need to be more impressive than ever.
A Decline in Impressions and Clicks on Your Ad
If you’ve been using Google PPC to drive traffic to your website and capture leads, you may see a decline in impressions for your ads and traffic to your site. It’s yet to be determined how drastic the decline will be, but the assumption is that there will most likely be a decline.
Here are some suggestions for how you can adjust your Google paid search strategy as well as your inbound marketing strategy to take into account these changes.
You Should Focus Efforts on Organic Search Traffic
If you’re not already focused on organic strategies to drive traffic to your site and nurture buyers through the buying journey, most everyone agrees that now is as good of a time as ever to start.
You’ll have to be strategic about your keyword strategy and your inbound marketing strategy, but devoting the time and effort can pay off.
In fact, the latest data from Google indicates that 70% of searchers actually prefer organic search results over paid search.
Check out our “Tips for How to Rank High in Google Search” blog post to learn how to use organic SEO tactics.
Consider Utilising Social PPC
The trend from Google PPC to social PPC is an ever-increasing trend, and this change by Google will likely lead more advertisers to paid advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
Many have found that social PPC has lower costs of investment and higher click-through-rates than Google pay-per-click results. Advertisers are gravitating to social media advertising, because the value of the ads, cost-effective nature, and segmentation available is more appealing than that provided by Google.
At the end of the day, earned traffic and attention is still far superior to paid attention over the long-term for sustainable lead generation and relationship building. Create your inbound marketing strategy using a mix of paid and organic efforts and continue to nurture your leads into raving clients.
For more information, read our blog post “How Google Search Results Work for Real Estate.”
At iProperty, we provide leading online property management and real estate software, responsive websites, and more.