Our Take on Google’s New SERP Changes

March 3, 2016
Nichelle Schulz

There have been some recent changes to Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Google has decided to drop the text ads showing on the right-hand side, and has increased the amount of ads showing at the top from three to four (for desktop) for “highly commercial queries” only. Text ads can still show at the bottom of the page as well, totaling up to seven being displayed on the same SERP. Although it’s too soon to understand how these changes will affect current paid campaigns, there has been some speculation from search specialists, as well as Google’s take.

According to this article on Search Engine Land, written by a Google employee, Google removed right-hand side ads to improve user experience, and to make the search results page more uniform across all devices. Mobile has only ever shown ads at the top.

I’ve read through a few articles so far, and the common theme for concern to changes of campaigns is that advertisers ads will be shown less, and that the bid prices will be going up as more ads will be fighting to show on the first page. Personally, I don’t see bids increasing too much, and I feel that this will push advertisers to improve their site and landing page experience, to boost Quality Score as much as possible. Searches will become more efficient, and less relevant ads will not be shown, helping to improve the overall search eco-system. Also, as noted in May 2015 by Google, there are now more searches on mobile devices than desktop, which have only shown top of the page results, so this will only affect a small percentage of advertisers.

In the coming months, after the changes have taken effect, and more search marketers share their experiences, I’ll write a follow-up to this article. In the meantime, I don’t believe there’s reason for concern.

 

Nichelle Schulz

Digital Specialist at DSA Media