More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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By now most of you know about the Google SERP display change that started rolling out on Friday. Essentially there are now 4 Adwords on top for competitive terms, instead of 2 or 3.
But there are no more Adwords at all on the right side.

On my browser and large screen monitor, it cuts 1 1/2 businesses out of the 3 pack,
pushing that content below the fold.


I'm still seeing the old layout on Firefox, but the new layout on Chrome, so it's easy for me to compare. In any mildly competitive local search I've conduct for plumbers, Dentists, Chiropractors, in mid to large cities, the 4 pack of ads is showing up.

So as you see above, the 3rd place in the pack is totally pushed below the fold.

How much of an impact with this have on local?

To me it almost seems like the 3 pack is now a 2 pack. Granted all along the goal should be to get clients in the top one or 2. But I'm curious how drastically hits and calls will be reduced for businesses that have held a steady #3 spot and are now below the fold?

Before if the #3 spot had more and better reviews, it could still garner a good percentage of the clicks and calls. But now pushed down below the fold???

I'm also curious what you guys think will happen to all that blank white space on the right side. One of the things it will be used for is PLA ads. But in Local, I wonder if it will eventually be occupied with a new pay-to-play Local ad unit?

Here are some posts that cover this update:

<a href="">Confirmed: Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results Worldwide</a>

<a href="">Four Ads on Top: The Wait Is Over - Moz</a>

Your thoughts on the changes???

That PPC Hero article was great. I liked their summary paragraph so I thought I'd post here:

"Many advertisers will most likely notice a decline in overall impressions due to this announcement. That decline will likely come more from Search Partners than Google search. It’s also possible that advertisers will see a decline in conversions, though, the impact won’t be as noticeable as the impression loss as long as the majority of clicks are coming from top ads. I wouldn’t be surprised to see account cost per conversions increase, similar to what occurred when Google Shopping became completely pay-to-play. The marketplace will be more competitive, resulting in higher CPCs and ultimately higher costs for those conversions. Just how much higher is to be determined."
Yesterday I did see that the ads were all stripped, but today they appear to be all back with the 3 ads at the top. Same browser, same computer, same location, same search.

I know it's still rolling out, but it was odd to see the 4 ads and nothing on the right side of the page, but today it's back to how it used to be (3 ads top, all on side).

It's too early to tell any impact from our current client base - but we'll be watching over the next week to see what happens.
I am seeing the same thing. Same query, same computer, yesterday only top ads, today sidebar ads. Google will eventually see if it increase their revenues and then commit 100% one way or the other.

It would be interesting to know if the top-only ads will cause an increase in CPCs that will "out-revenue" the loss of sidebar clicks. But we'll never know (unless they switch back).

One other threat is if they go to 3 top ads instead of 4, but that might be too aggressive. And there was one rare occurrence of 5 ads...
Horrible decision by Google. Some CPC costs for some of my clients were already in the $30-50 range; and given how many clicks it takes to get a conversion, I can not see how Adwords will remain profitable for any but the largest of companies or those with large profit margins or in large cities. Smaller metro areas are already pretty competitive if you have to compete against large nationals. This is not going to make it one bit easier.

Also lost 1 link on the first load of results for a lot of clients now. Used to have them show up in adwords, local pack, and organic. They'll only show up first if they're first in the organic ranking; that can be harder to do once again if your competing with any national site for that search term.

Overall Google is making it increasingly difficult for small companies that rank organically to appear now.
Thanks for all the insights guys and thanks for sharing that PPC Hero post Mark!

Here's another article from Search Engine Land:

<a href="">FAQ: All About The Changes To Google's Ad Layout On Desktop Search Results</a>
<a href="">Save Our Search: 3 Reasons Not To Overreact About Losing Google Ads In The Right Rail</a>

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