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PPC Adverts Shunted Downwards: What Is Google Up To?

Over the past month, Pay Per Click managers across the world have been scratching their heads in response to the decision by Google to remove standard Pay Per Click adverts from the right hand side of the search results home page.

Adverts that don’t qualify to sit in the first three positions on Google will now be listed at the very bottom of the results pages, beneath the organic listings. Although this move is currently being rolled out as a test – serious PPC Marketeers should be analysing the impact that this may already be having on their accounts and putting together a strategy to help them ride the wave of change rather than sink below it!

So what is Google really up to? At digital marketing agency Intergage we have two schools of thought. Being the positive bunch that we are, one theory is that the search giant is actually trying to put the right hand side of the results page to better use, especially for local search. From what we can see so far, if a geo specific search is conducted such as “Florist in Southampton” then Google will choose to use the right hand side to incorporate Google maps, reviews and various other ad-ons which will benefit the user with a more comprehensive search results page. Relevancy and a great search experience have always been top priority to Google, so could it be that this move is innocently based around improving user experience?

The search giant claims that the adverts at the bottom of the page have a higher click through rate (CTR) than those on the right hand side. I would definitely stick my neck out and say that these ads do appear to be more natural and less “salesy” looking than when positioned to the right – but I will be ruthlessly analysing my own CTRs and conversion data before making a final call on whether this has been a beneficial move by Google or not.

The more negative view that some may take on these changes is that Google is putting advertisers who rely on top positions for maximum ROI between a rock and a hard place – competition to occupy these prime slots may sore and consequently average cost per click goes through the roof….straight into Google’s pocket!

Time will tell how this test will affect PPC advertising – but savy PPC marketeers will be analysing their data right now, to keep abreast of how this is affecting their ROI.

If you would like to know more about Pay Per Click advertising or any other aspect of Web marketing, call our Google Adwords accredited team today on 0845 456 1022.

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