A few thoughts on Google’s change to four ads at the top of SERPs

four ads at the top of SERPs

There will always be only so much real estate on a Google search engine results page. What we see on that page, however, never stays the same. And while Google is pretty much constantly rearranging, subtracting and adding elements to its SERPs, some changes have a bigger impact on our work and our clients than others. The latest change is one of those big ones.

In short, the upper left ad block that used to show three ads now shows four, and the ads that were on the right side of the page are gone.

Google Ad Changes

So what does that mean, beyond the fact that Google has one more premium ad space to sell in that spot? A few things:

  • Google is continuing to optimize for mobile users.
  • From a PPC perspective, we’ll need to use everything we have available to improve the click-through rate on ads. These could be captions, location extensions, phone numbers, or whichever features are appropriate for a client’s campaign.
  • From an SEO perspective, the top organic results just moved down a notch. We’re probably that much closer now to having only paid ads visible before users begin to scroll down a results page.

An important part of our job is keeping up with the search engines’ changes, but our main responsibility is to get the greatest returns on our clients’ dollars. The best way to do that is to never be trigger happy. Quickly reacting to every change is not only a way to needlessly burn up budget dollars — it’s also a guaranteed way to miss the valuable insights that come from gathering data over time and carefully managing our clients’ PPC and SEO budgets based on what we see.

Digital marketing moves too fast for us to recommend a slow and steady course, but as Google continues to change the rules, we do strongly recommend a steady one.

If you’d like to talk over what these most recent changes may mean to your campaign, please feel free to get in touch.

Joe Hunt

Joe Hunt

Joe leads the agency's search engine marketing initiatives, focusing on strategy and analysis. He has decades of experience in advertising and marketing, and is a Market Motive Certified Master PPC.
Joe Hunt
Joe Hunt

Joe leads the agency's search engine marketing initiatives, focusing on strategy and analysis. He has decades of experience in advertising and marketing, and is a Market Motive Certified Master PPC.

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