How the latest Google change can affect your advertising

Just when you thought you’ve already mastered advertising through Google, a change comes along.

Google has quietly rolled out a redesign that affects how future ads will be displayed on desktop search results in all languages worldwide.

The search engine giant has decided to stop showing ads on the right side of desktop search results. Alternately, it is placing all ads at the top and/or bottom of the page. Google, however, will make exceptions for relevant queries for these two types of ads:

1. Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes.

They will be shown either above or to the right of search results. PLAs appear when someone searches for particular product/business on Google or Google Shopping. It’s here where Google shows the customer a picture of the product/item, its price, and the store’s name. Customers who click on the ad will be directed to the product’s or company’s website.


2. Ads in the Knowledge Panel

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Other elements included in the Google Ad display changes to desktop results include:

  • Google will serve four text ads instead of three in the mainline area above the organic listings for more “highly commercial queries” or queries that Google perceives an intent to purchase (e.g. “hotels in Sydney”);
  • Three text ads will show at the bottom of the search engine results pages (SERPs); and
  • The total number of text ads that can appear on a SERP will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven.

Marketing experts are already debating the potential affects of these changes to small business, which they say might include:

  • Fewer impressions;
  • Cost-per-click increases;
  • Lost of first-page ranking, meaning ranking high in organic results is going to be tougher; and
  • Businesses managing their own Google AdWords may find competing for less ad positions more challenging.

Others believe it’s too soon to tell if these affects will occur and would rather wait for the data to become available. But just the same, here are some solutions being offered to small businesses to maximise the exposure of their ads:

  • Explore advertising in other search engines (e.g. Bing);
  • Review how your live Google search campaigns appear in Google’s SERPs;
  • Review your average position in search results. The ideal position should be higher than three or four depending on the keyword. Anything lower than these will mean you could end up in the second page results; and
  • Increase your average position in search results for relevant keywords by increasing your bid, or improving your Quality Score.

Remember preparation is still the key if you want to stay on course through these changes. It’s also important to employ a highly experienced marketing team to set up and run search marketing campaigns and target the keywords that matter to your business.

Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.


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