Google Adwords Shake Up

It was December of 2015 when Google started testing, flirting with the Adwords update.  The test in December was to place four ads at the top of all of the search results.  It is e clear to the world that this was the intent of Google, the search engine optimization community was buzzing.  The SEO folks, along with those in the pay per click space, talked about the changes that would happen as a result.  At that time, though, the four ads were only showing up on 1% of all of the search engine ranking pages.

It was a few months later in February of 2016 that the Google Adwords update took hold.  It was then that the four ads increased regarding the number of times they would appear.  On February 18 the four ads showed up on 19% of all search engine results pages.  Then, a few days later, they showed up on over 35% of all search engine ranking pages.

The Removal of Right Rails

Do you remember the right rail advertisements that Google used to have to go along with search engine results?  Those went away entirely with the Google Adwords update.  Most commercial queries were no longer going to have those.  The only options would be to display the four ads at the top as well as three advertisements at the bottom.

Google was believed to have been testing this new layout for a long time.  The goal was to roll it out slowly, to see what people thought about it on commercial queries.  Once they did this, they started to make minor tweaks along the way before rolling it out to the vast majority of users.

Changes to SERPs

There were not a lot of changes on search engine ranking pages as a result of the Google Adwords update in 2016.  The exception to that statement is the new fourth listing from an advertisement perspective.  The other top three ads that are on the pages are just like what used to be there.

The significant benefit that many users were happy about following the Adwords update was that Google felt less cluttered.  The removal of the sidebar ads helps to clean everything up, giving it a fresh appearance from top to bottom.

Who Won and Lost With Google Adwords

Google was the big winner when it came to the Google Adwords update.  Google relies very heavily on the advertisements that it has on its search engine for revenue.  Roughly 90% of all of the revenue that the search engine giant brings in is a direct result of the advertising blocks on its search engine ranking pages.  Many search engine optimisation professionals believe that the move made by Google was mainly to try and increase revenue.

Mobile is also believed to have been a big winner.  Since mobile devices and mobile browsers, especially the mobile version of Google, do not support the right advertising bar, the update was a way to sync up the platforms.  The advertisements that were able to display mobile were also able to show on the desktop.

The Google Adwords update was international, meaning that it had a direct impact on search engine queries in all languages.  Though not everyone was a winner, Google had a lot to gain from the move.

Advertisers Making Adjustments

Advertisers had to make some adjustments when the news came out that the right sidebar for ads was going away.  Many had relied on that as a way to get their products or services out there.  Many saw the four top advertisements as a good thing, but the effectiveness was still going to be in question.

11 ads in total displayed on a search engine ranking page before the update.  There were eight on the side and three at the top.  With the new update, there were only seven, four at the top and three at the bottom.  This did not mean lower revenue; it just came from fewer advertisements.

Advertisers Having to Pay More

Many advertising companies found that the advertising blocks since they were lower in quantity on Google, carried a higher price tag associated with them.  Marketers had to shift their focus to trying to garner attention with long tail key phrases.  The hope of getting a better advertising position, as a result, was what they were going for.

Changes for Organic Results

The Google Adwords update and organic search engine results did not play nicely.  The addition of the fourth advertisement means that organic listings are going to get pushed down even further.

Organic results almost have gotten to the point where they are invisible.  The Google Adwords blast has put a lot of noise into an already crowded search engine optimisation industry.

What remains true is that the Google Adwords update signified the importance of quality.  As long as you have a site that has high-quality content, it is going to get the attention of Google positively.


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