So, it’s official – Google is dropping ads which display in the right hand column next to organic results. Instead they will increase to four, the ads displaying at the top of the search results. They’ve been tinkering with this for years and have now made it official.
So is this good or bad news for b2B businesses?
It certainly pushes organic search results down the list in favour of an extra ad at the top. Organic results will have to fight even harder to get above the fold. So that’s a bad thing, yes? Not necessarily – you could argue that there will be less distraction from all the ads in the right hand column and therefore organic search results will be more visible.
But Google is in the business of making more and more money from paid search, so it won’t be long before the right hand column is fully utilised with Product Listing Ads (PLAs). That's of little interest to many b2b brands who don't sell products off the page.
What’s certain is that the companies with the deepest pockets will be in the best position to bag those top four places – whatever the price. And there’s less opportunity for creative copywriters with smaller budgets to create great ads and have them seen.
Brands will need to re-look at their search marketing strategies and for SEO experts out there, this can only be good news. Understanding SEO, writing compelling content, engaging with a client’s business and aiming for a better performance with organic search will become a key part of that strategy.
Google is switching up how it displays ads on desktop searches, removing them from the right-hand side of results and putting them only at the top and bottom of the page. The change was first reported by The SEM Post with Google later confirming the move. Usually Google's ads are shown all over the page — a mixture of top, bottom, and right-hand positions, based on the specific query — but this change leaves the sidebar free for Google's Product Listing Ads.