Addmustard have got the low-down from Google about the rumours that they will no longer be showing ads on the right-hand side of the SERPs. They mentioned that they have been testing this on tablet for the past 18 months. The update will reportedly be rolled out globally today and will mean that a maximum of eight adverts will now be shown, four at the top and four at the bottom. This will make the user experience on desktop much closer to that on mobile.

For advertisers who generally dominate the top spots in paid search results, the effects on PPC traffic volume or quality are unlikely to be dramatic. For advertisers who currently lie low on Google’s paid results, the change may have a bigger impact on impressions and clicks as ads are pushed below the fold and the space to be in top positions becomes much more competitive.

The effects that this could have on both PPC and SEO are enormous; our experts share their opinions and advice on the update and what it could mean to your business.


What this means for PPC

The CTR for side ads has historically been much lower than for adverts that ranked in the top three positions (in some cases up to 95% lower). Impressions will likely drop and with the top spots being more competitive and possibly more expensive, advertisers will need to be more diligent in deciding which keywords need to be in top position. In the coming days, there is a possibility that advertisers will react aggressively and raise their bids in order to secure those top ad spots. This could mean smaller players will get out-bid. The SEM team at addmustard will be monitoring the effects of this update over the coming days and will report any noticeable changes to performance.


What this means for SEO

This is the most significant change to the SERP real estate since the release of universal search in 2007. We are already seeing changes to most verticals in the AdWords space. Our prediction on the effect for SEO is that we will see inflated CTRs for organic results on page one and this will possibly filter on to page two and beyond. Simply put, SEO visibility on page one is going to be more important and valuable than ever before. Interestingly, with the addition of a fourth advert at the top of the results, it is possible that there could be no organic results above the fold for lower resolution users. It’s too early to quantify yet, addmustard’s SEO team will report back after a few days of data gathering.


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