Google has done it yet again. If you haven’t noticed, the search engine giant recently changed the way users view PPC (pay-per-click) ads on the web pages. It has removed the ads from the right-hand side of the SERP and simultaneously began displaying at least 3 to 4 ads above organic desktop search results. According to search marketers, these changes will have adverse affects on search engine optimization (SEO) and PPC campaigns.
The changes were effective on the 22nd of February. So, what will the right-hand space be used for? Product Listing Ads (PLAs) will fill the space. Google has a soft spot for PLAs. In fact, most of the search giant’s growth is partly attributed to PLAs being in place. So it’s no surprise if they stick around for the long haul – if anything they’re now of great importance.
Then there are the knowledge graphs. These are going nowhere. They’ll retain their “pride of place”, but the space they once occupied on the right hand from the SERPs will be occupied by PLAs. Knowledge graphs are not just popular, but also a mark of status for many companies that effectively use them to spread facts about their services.
According to Google, if the search queries become ‘highly commercial’, the paid results at the top of the SERPs will notably increase from 3 to 4 ads. Why is Google making these changes? Why is this happening, and in what way will it affect PPC and SEO? Before you say the death of pay-per-clicks is drawing nigh, you need to understand what Google did is more in line with how the ads appear on mobile.
These changes are likely to drive up CPCs (costs per clicks) and adversely affect PPCs because now there’ll be increased competition for the top 3 or 4 spot (where ads will be displayed above organic desktop search results). So with competition comes an increase in CPCs. Things will get ugly!
Regarding SEO, a lot of things will change on that front, too. To begin with, there will be renewed focus on search engine optimization. Why? CPCs will eventually skyrocket, and fewer opportunities to target will be seen at the top of the SERP. So Google will place a lot of focus on top organic website rankings for all your products and services.
The moment CPCs are inflated, the value of organic clicks will, without doubt, go up. If you had relegated SEO to the sidelines in favor of the PPC to rank you higher on the SERPs, you’re certainly doing yourself – your products and services – a huge disservice. This is now the time to put every SEO strategy into use to even out your approach.