It’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the changes Google makes and refines with its algorithms and product updates, but one that’s holding the attention of all marketers across various industries is Google’s removal of text ads from the right-side of the search engine results page (SERP).
Google made a minor change to the layout of the results by copying the mobile layout. The mobile layout keeps all the content in a single column to fit the device the user is on whereas desktop ads previously had more space to spread out, thus meaning more ads were showing to desktop users. Google has now condensed all results to one single column across all devices. Let's take a closer look.
See how Google used to look with ads (red) and organic listings (green):
Now, see how it looks:
So why is such a seemingly small change captivating marketers? Well, it’s for sure going to impact Cost-Per-Click (CPC or PPC) advertising and advertising budgets but it also gives us insight into future Google changes. Google is on a quest for quality, both from an organic results standing and now from an advertising standing by giving real estate to high value and relevant ads. It also reaffirms Google’s shift toward mobile by making every experience on Google mobile-friendly, no matter the device.
How does this impact your hotel?
- Expect PPC cost to change: Right now, it’s expected that PPC budgets will need to be increased to remain competitive as there’s less space devoted to ads in the SERP. By removing right-side ads, ads are now condensed in the main column with four placements, where prior it would be two ads in the main column and four ads on the right-side depending on the search.
- Branded ads may perform better: Your branded ads will still maintain a high quality and relevancy score and your competition may not be so keen to bid on your terms at a more costly rate.
- Keyword changes: On the flip side, it’ll be harder for smaller brands to bid on expensive generic terms like “beach resort.” The cost for these generic keywords could add up quickly. At RezStream, we’ll continue to focus on bids on specific terms, like “hotels in downtown Denver” to remain competitive.
- OTAs to benefit: Love them or hate them, OTAs have the advertising budgets to work within this new layout and we expect to see their ads getting some of these coveted ad spots.
What you can do:
- Don’t panic!: Our friends at WordStream found that about 85% of advertising clicks came from the top ads anyways and about 15% came from the right-side ads. This gives you an opportunity to craft highly relevant ads and use your keywords strategically.
- Focus on organic SEO: Focus on your organic SEO efforts whether that’s updating information or your site or publishing blogs and make sure your site adheres to Google’s quality guidelines. This includes having a mobile-friendly site, quality content that has E.A.T. (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) and answers the search query, and there’s no duplicate content.
- Use ad extensions: Ad extensions allow you to extend your text ad with extra information such as your location, reviews, additional sitelinks such as a contact us or specials page, callout extensions, and more. Use these to get people to specific pages of your site faster.
What do you think of this change by Google? Share your opinion in the comments section below!