If Google is your default search engine, or if your business is spending in paid search, you probably noticed a change in the search engine results page (SERP) in the last few days as Google has moved to a more mobile optimized results page for “commercial queries.” With this change, Google has eliminated the ads on the side bar of the SERP moving from 11 ads down to 7 ads on a page with 4 ads at the top of the page and 3 at the bottom below the organic results.
look at the data from MozCast , a tracking SERP monitoring tool built by Moz, almost 35.5% of all search queries are now showing the four ad blocks as of February 23rd. Many industry experts expect this to continue to fluctuate over time as Google continues to test this new format.
With this change comes huge implications for paid search managers, as fewer ad positions are now available increasing competition for the top ad positions. As bidding for top positions becomes more competitive, an increased focus is turned to quality score, which will ease the impact of the cost per click. In order to improve the quality score, extensions such as seller ratings will continue to be an important feature marketers use to improve their quality scores. Additionally, through extensions like seller rating, advertisers have an opportunity to increase their click through rate capturing users attention even when they’re not in the first ad position. Google cites that on average, merchants see a 17% increase in click through rates through the seller ratings extension. Some of our partners, including ForRent, Dashlane, and Pearl Source, have seen even higher increases in click through rates.
As costs increase due to fewer ad positions and competition increases for the top ad positions, a greater importance also falls on converting users who click through to landing pages. Through the use of reviews near key conversion points, many Trustpilot partners have increased their conversion rates by 33% or more.
As sidebar ads are eliminated, more space opens up for Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) to be present in the sidebar for commercial search queries. More and more we expect to see PLAs present in the two row format as well as the knowledge panel, or both.