Google Unveils Big Changes On The SERP

22 February 2016

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So what impact will this have on Search advertising? What about all that white space?

Google has just started rolling out a new format for desktop queries which will no longer display ads to the right hand side of its search results. Going forward, ads will only appear at the top and/or bottom of the search engine results page. There will be just two exceptions to this change - Product Listing Ads (PLA) and Knowledge Panels.

 

This isn't the only change Google are making to their ad displays - they may begin showing an additional ad above the search results - four compared to the previous three. This of course means that Paid results are now dominating the SERP, with organic listings not even appearing above the fold for some search queries.

 

Whilst the removal of right hand ads will affect all desktop searches worldwide, Google's official statement has outlined that the additional top fourth ad will only appear for 'highly commercial queries' - for example, 'hotels in New York' or 'car insurance'.  

 

So what impact will this have on Search advertising?

 

We asked our PPC Strategist, Mark McColgan, for his thoughts on the new changes.

 

'This transition could potentially raise CPCs as the top 3-4 positions become more important than ever. It is likely that advertisers will become more aggressive in their bidding strategies to ensure they get into these prime advertising positions - this will increase competition and push up overall CPCs for search terms within the advertiser's respective industries.

 

'As well as that, ad format will also be affected so we will essentially have a one line description, as opposed to the two line text ad format we have always been used to. Ad extensions such as call outs, sitelinks and structured snippets should also be fully utilised as they will now be eligible to show for every ad, no matter the position.'

 

 And what about all that white space?

 

The removal of the right hand text ads means certain queries result in a large, very empty white space on the SERP. The consensus in the Loud Mouth office is that Google will utilise this space for Display Advertising or Remarketing Ads in the future - you heard it here first!