You may have noticed this change in the last week – the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) are looking a little more spacious than usual! Google has made the decision to remove the right-hand panel of sponsored ads, cutting down the amount of ads on the first page massively.
This is an interesting choice for a company that has been increasingly focusing on their paid platform, including removing a lot of keyword data from Organic searches to encourage people to use PPC for keyword information. We are now left with a SERP that features just five or six sponsored ad, in the centre, at the top and bottom.
While there was some small degree of panic when this change was made, as with many unannounced changes by Google it’s not proving as momentous as you might expect. We’ve not noticed big changes in Click Through Rates (CTRs) for our PPC clients yet, but we’re keeping a close eye as this change was very recent. It will certainly become more important to have your ad in the top five ads, and using Ad Extensions will be a must as you’ll be competing with other ads showing Sitelinks and Location Extensions in order to take up more space.
So, if you run PPC what should you do?
Monitor Your CTR and Conversion Rate
If your ads were showing at around position 6 or 7 and this was working well for you, they may no longer be showing on the first page of Google. You may find that your click rate goes down, Quality Score reduces (this can in turn lead to a lower ad rank and higher costs) and conversion rates go down. You’ll need to be ready to up your bids to stay on the first page if that is the ad rank that works best for your business.
Ensure Ad Extensions are Enabled
It will be more important than ever to ensure you’re taking as much ad space as possible, as space is at a premium. There are several Ad Extensions you should be using with your ads, which show extra elements underneath and within the text of your ad and increase your visibility. You should be using:
- This allows you to add some small links under your ad to various pages on your website. You could link to a SALE or special offer page to appeal to people looking for a deal, a Find Us or Meet The Team page to increase trust or links to your various services. The links you choose will depend on what you are selling and how you can encourage people to click.
- You can synch your ad with Google Business Listings, adding an address and location information. This would be particularly helpful for location-based businesses, but even for online shops this can be useful for building trust and for increasing ad space, so do this if you can.
- Callouts. This is a few words you can add to shout about a particular selling point or current offer that might encourage people to click. This won’t always show with your ads, so you will need to save the really good selling points for your main ad text – you can use Callouts to experiment with extra messages that might persuade people to click who might not otherwise.
Adding extensions to your ads doesn’t cost, but some of them cost when they are clicked. The telephone and directions (Location) extensions for example will cost when clicked, but not a lot.
If you’re a WNW client with a PPC campaign we’re managing we will be monitoring all the above already, and we’ll be letting you know what adjustments we might need to make to your campaign. If you’re not a WNW client but you run PPC and want some advice on how to respond to this later change, or want us to give you a one-off PPC Campaign Audit, just give us a ring.