Find out about a change to how Google ads appear in the Google search results, and how it might impact your AdWords campaigns. If you’re an Australia business and need help, send us an email to request an AdWords account review and recommendations.
Previously, Google ads could appear on desktops and tablets in the Top 3 positions of the left hand side of the Google search results, and in the right hand column, alongside the organic results that appear on the left, as shown in the screen shot below.
However, a change that is currently rolling out means that there will be no ads in the right hand column, and there can be four ads, instead of three, at the top of the search results. As per the example below when I searched for “electrician melbourne” today. Ads can still also appear at the bottom of the search results.
Read more about the change to where Google ads appear in the Google search results:
Google advised that
We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.
What does this change mean for AdWords advertisers running Search campaigns?
Here’s my take.
Monitor your ad positions carefully
If you previously targeted ad positions below position 4 because you were aiming to get enough clicks to use up your daily budget, but at a lower cost per click than the top positions, be aware that your ads might now show at the bottom of the search results, or they may now be below the first page bid. There used to be around 3 ads on top and could be around 7 or 8 in the right hand column, which equals 10 or 11 first page positions. In my tests I now count 4 ads at the top and 3 at the bottom, which equals 7 first page positions. Less ad spaces means more competition, and if you want maximum visibility, it’s now even more important than ever to target the top 4 positions.
Maintain high quality scores
Maintaining high quality scores is not a new concept in terms of having a quality ad campaign, but given high quality ads have a better chance of obtaining high ad positions, it’s now more important than ever to monitor your quality scores and make the necessary changes to improve them, particularly if they are 5/10 or less. Structure your ad groups carefully, use all available ad extensions, maintain a good Click Through Rate and make sure your landing pages are relevant.
Don’t leave AdWords management to chance
If you’re managing your own AdWords campaigns and you’re not confident that you have the skills and/or knowledge to get maximum value for your business from your ad spend, now is the time to start working a Google Partner. We’ve been around the AdWords traps for nearly seven years, and we’re happy to review your campaigns and give you a professional opinion about how you could improve your return.
What does this change mean for our clients?
As always we’ll be monitoring your AdWords search campaigns closely and targeting high quality scores for all your keywords.
If you have keywords in positions lower than four, and the Click Through Rate decreases, we’ll aim to either move your ads up higher so they show at the top of the Google search results, rather than the bottom, or make a strategic decision to pause the keyword if it’s not bringing value to your account. As always, for any updates we make we’ll take your campaign strategy into consideration, will act in the best interests of your business and will keep you informed if this change increases your average Cost Per Click.
This change will only impact ads on desktop and tablets. Mobile ads will not be impacted.
Feb 24 Update: Read an article from Search Engine Land on Google’s New SERP Layout: The Biggest Winners and Losers.
If you’re concerned about the change and would like to discuss your account, you’re welcome to call or send an email.
Until next time
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.