Changes to Google Ad Placements

Changes to Google Ad Placements

No More ‘In Google We Trust’?

In February 2016 Google made the decision to cease running AdWords on the right hand side of a desktop display in a search. They are now only running one display format, that of the mobile device view. Whether this is a practical decision or a commercial one, who knows for sure {smirk}.

We can speculate as to why this change has occurred as it will reduce the number of ads displayed, which would affect Google’s revenue right?  No. the reality is still that the remaining ad places will now become very hot property and bidding for the top places just became more competitive. So who wins?  Google of course!  Advertisers will now be forced to slog it out bidding against each other and pushing the CPC rate up and up and UP!

And if you rely on organic search results to be found, then it just got harder. With the new AdWords placement of four at the top of the search and three at the bottom, it will mean the now organic (free) nine spots up for grabs on the page are now out of reach for those not actively staying on top of their SEO.

The only positive is that there are a couple of news stories, albeit a little too far down the screen.

User Experience

It’s hard to believe that Google has done this to enhance the users’ experience. As it actually made it easier for non-technical users to distinguish ads from organic search results by seeing ads clearly on the right hand side. Placing more ads above the organic results does seem like a push to have users click on paid ads, which benefits Google. And yet Google continues to say that they are all about quality search results and the user experience.

For one recent unaware advertiser this change has been very costly.  X business was running an AdWords campaign and had their bidding set to ‘auto’. This meant that every time a competing bid was about to push his ad down Google Auto Bidding put in a higher bid to keep his ad at the top – kind of like a Google Vendor Bid. From a CPC of $2.65 that blew out to a whopping $25.00 per click due to the more competitive bidding required to be in one of the new top four (or bottom three) positions. Needless to say, he was very unhappy with the 60% increase in his campaign costs at the end of the month. His SEO manager should have been on the ball!

Stick to Your Bid

The best solution to this is to stick to your lower bid, accept a page 2 or 3 spot, monitor your spend & budget and commit a larger portion of your marketing budget on SEO to get found organically. And of course, increasing your online real estate will potentially give you more shots at appearing multiple times in the organic search results.

If you would like to find out more about how to get your website SEO friendly, contact Donna Blackwood Digital Marketing at