There have been rumblings in the paid search arena concerning Google’s side ad space in search engine results all week. While the official AdWords blog has not yet posted about this change, MozCast is already reporting 0% AdWords (Side) results. What will this mean for businesses that rely on paid search ads? Not much, if your account is managed correctly.
For most non-commercial searches, Google will only serve three ads in their top ad space. If the search intent is clearly commercial, Google may serve up to four ads at the top. This has many paid search managers assuming an increase cost per click due to the simple fact of a shortage of ads and a surplus of bidders. While this will be true for many keywords auctions, this new competitive landscape has the potential to push advertisers to a higher standard; a high tide raising all boats.
Google is always improving the quality of the user experience. Having up to eleven ad spaces allows for less relevant advertisers to compete with very relevant advertisers, which only increases the cost per click for those individuals who are already enjoying a lower CPC due to high Ad Rank. Having less ad space will eventually lead to a balanced shift in CPC for these highly relevant ads. More competition will shift the cost up, but weeding out the less relevant competitors can also lead to a lower cost.
Your Next Steps
With such a large shift in policy, it is important to remain calm. Here are some initiatives to think about in the short term:
- Check your AdWords account and monitor your data over the coming weeks and monitor any changes in cost or click through rate.
- If you use Google Analytics, now is a good time to annotate your accounts about this shift in AdWords ad space.
- If your keywords are trademarked with your government, be sure to file the terms with Google using this trademark form, so you will have preferred placement and more control over your intellectual property in AdWords.
- Log in to your Bing Ads account for the nostalgic feeling of side ad relevance. They’ll probably keep using side ads for years to come.