Is the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) evolving for the good or bad? Google just recently stopped showing side ads that we were used to seeing and instead placed ads towards the bottom of them page. So now all your organic results are sandwiched between ads.
They seem to only be focusing on top and bottom real estate of the SERP and it will sure be interesting to see how this will affect the performance of ads overall. I can see it going either way but one thing is for sure; the competitiveness for those top 4 spots will be incredibly tough since those are the only ads above the fold easily viewable and accessible to the user without doing any scrolling. Before this change your ad could easily be seen at rank 4~7 although rank 1-3 where the desired spots. With this change I’m 100% certain we will start seeing the quality of ads shoot through the roof and they will be more specific and relevant to the user. Advertisers will be forced to fight for those 4 exclusive spots all bidding for your click and hoping for a high CTR. We can’t really forget about the ads on the bottom of the page but no ambitious advertiser would be satisfied unless they are at the top.
Personally, I think this could be linked to the high use of searches done through mobile. Although mobile has their strict guidelines for showing ads and is different from a browser search, mobile is accounted for over half of Google’s searches. We as users tend to search and strictly scroll up and down on our phones to view our results and never really scroll horizontally. We were actually never really given the option to scroll horizontally on our mobile phones to begin with. Since the mobile market is only continuing to grow I see this as a strategic move from Google to adapt to the changes us users are experiencing and make it one fluid interface regardless of what platform you are on. We will have to wait and see how this will affect ad performance and competitiveness in the market.
Here at Netfinity we strive to have our ads rank between 1-3 so they are getting all the exposure they need with the most relevancy. Feel free to contact us for a free evaluation.