Keeping Up With Google’s Adwords & Compare Tool Changes

Keeping Up With Google’s Adwords & Compare Tool Changes

Every so often, Google goes ahead and updates its Search Engine Preferences to an extent that is newsworthy. Last April, it was its SEO update for responsive websites. This past week, it was a two-fold change in both the prime ad real estate on the top SERP pages, and the end of Google’s compare tools program – both of which could have a pretty significant effect on the marketing space. Let’s talk about what these changes mean to advertisers, and how you should alter your Google strategy to go smoothly with the changes so you’re not wasting any valuable marketing dollars on outdated policies and practices.

The first and more major update has actually been in the works for a few months, and it can potentially greatly affect PPC prices in the near future. There has been a noticeable trend on Google results pages where the top PPC block is appearing with four ads instead of the standard one-through-three. In fact, the percentage of top ad blocks displaying four ads jumped to over 36%. Four-ad blocks on the top page now make up over one-third of all top ad blocks, meaning that they are now a significant part of the ad space on Google.

Two questions naturally follow this: “Why?” And, “How does this affect me?” The “why” is simple, because Google has now confirmed this move as a way to make add space more valuable on commercially heavy search results. But another reason could be that Google is making another push to reward mobile-friendly strategies again. Not only have four-ad blocks increased in numbers, there is also an observable shift in the presence of right-column ads. They’re decreasing at nearly the same rate as the four-ad blocks are increasing. One possible reason for this is because right-column ads are not supported on mobile. Google may be making another push to standardize its advertising practices across platforms and devices.

So what does this mean for you? It’s tough to say for sure, but conventional wisdom tells us that this will heighten the cost of PPC real estate because this is so clearly a push on highly-commercial SERPs. While top ads are now more prominent, Google has taken a hit to the tune of a 41.1% drop in its AdWords last week. Simply, the space is smaller. There’s less room for PPC ads, and they are going to get more exclusive and more expensive. Not to mention the yet-to-be-measured effect it will have on SEO. That top listing that you worked so hard for is now pushed down farther on the screen, and your potential visitor could be apprehended by a PPC ad prior to even seeing your website on the SERP. Google has yet to address this, and frankly, it’s a bit too early to really determine what kind of impact this update will have on SEO, but it is definitely something to keep a close eye on in the coming weeks.

The second move Google made this week is very important as well. Google announced that it will end the functions of all of its compare products and tools. For those who are unfamiliar with the compare tools, they make up a lead generation platform that Google has utilized to connect its users with companies in various industries such as travel, insurance, and finance. The tool has reportedly not reached the goals the company had hoped for, and they feel the best course of action is to terminate the program entirely. Not much speculation has occurred about how this will affect the room in the SEO or PPC market, but the compare tool took up a lot of valuable ad space on Google results pages – ad space that could become available rather quickly.

It’s a common thing for Google to update its ad space. AdWords drives almost two-thirds of Google’s total revenue, so it’s always a major priority for them to constantly tweak, scrap projects, add new ones, etc. The space will never be stagnant, so as a marketer, it’s incredibly important to stay on top of Google’s moves in it’s own space. No matter if you’re in the planning stage or execution stage of your marketing campaign, be sure to adjust accordingly so you don’t end up wasting valuable resources on an ever-changing landscape.

If you need assistance with your pay per click campaign or if you have questions about the update, contact Commexis   today!



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