The New (Search Engine) World Order is Here. What Does it Mean for You?

A week or so ago, we posted an article about how Google’s desktop Search Engine Results Page would be undergoing a facelift, and removing their right sidebar ads. Their restructure involved taking some of the ads that had previously been on the right sidebar and adding them to the main feed, as well as removing others. In the prior desktop SERP setup, ads 1-3 were at the top of the results and ads 4-11 were on the right hand side. In the new setup, ads 1-4 are at the top of the results, ads 5-7 are at the bottom of the first page of organic listings, and ads 8-11 are eliminated from the first results page altogether:

Word of this restructure caused quite a bit of panic in the SEO and SEM communities, as it has huge implications for both organic and paid listings. But now the change has been in place long enough for us to see what the real results are. So what does it mean? Who are the winners, who are the losers, and what should you be doing to keep abreast of the changes?


Ad #3 –  Ad number three (not four although that would seem most logical) has seen a huge increase in clicks due to the change.

PPC Advertisers – All ads can now use call-out extensions, sitelink extensions, location extensions and so on, which was not the case with sidebar. Also all AdWords listings now look more organic.

Product Listing Ads – The removal of right sidebar ads gave a big boost to PLA’s who kept their previous position.


Organic Listings – Ad #4 has taken the position of Organic listing #1, and the space for organic listings on the new SERP is considerably reduced.

Ads #5-11 – Ads 8-11 obviously lost considering they were kicked of the SERP altogether, but even 5-7 took a hit in reach.


CPC – despite all the anxiety, the change has keep things well balanced enough that cost per click has not seen a positive or negative impact.


What to do: Nothing has been more consistent in Google search’s history than change. Although this may seem huge now, in a few months time we will have adjusted. In the meantime it has become more important than ever to keep your SEO up to date, since the competition will be fiercer than ever now that first page space has been reduced, and it will be more beneficial than ever to invest in AdWords, since their ads now look more native to the user. Just make sure to keep monitoring your pages and accounts! If you would like to know how this update affects your current campaigns give us a call. And if you don’t already have campaigns in place talk to us today about adding SEO and SEM to your offerings.