On February 17, search giant Google changed up the way Pay Per Click (PPC) ads are shown on their Search Engines Results Page (SERP). Previously, there could be up to 11 paid ads on a SERP. Three at the top, then a number down the side and a few at the bottom.

With this new update, there will only be up to seven ad slots. Up to four at the top and three at the bottom of a search page. Everyone in the SEO industry, including us at ETV Software, are currently watching their stats and logs to see what kind of changes this new ad configuration brings, but there are already a few interesting things we can take away from it:

  • Being Top Ranked on Google Might Not Always Matter:

    Depending on what a user searches for and where they are searching from, they might get anything from a simple page listing the top results of their search to a busy page that has four paid text ads, a map, a “3 pack” list of three nearby companies or locations that match that search, and finally their actual search results.

    In the latter cases, even if your company is the top result on Google, a user on anything but the largest of large monitors might have to scroll down to see your listing! They may very well click on an ad your competitor paid for or use the map or “3 pack” listings long before they think about scrolling down to your #1 top ranked listing.
  • Even though there are less total ad slots, there may in fact be more opportunity to get you ad noticed. Previously, only the top three adds could use Ad Extension. Ad Extension are addons to normal PPC ads that let them do things like show reviews, telephone numbers, and maps below your ad. Before, if your ad didn’t make it into the top three slots Google would automatically disable its ad extensions so your ad could fit into the slots that ran up the right hand side of the page. But without those extensions active, the right hand ads were not only a bit smaller, they lacked the pops of color and information that often drew in searchers.

    Now, no matter if your ad is displayed at the top or bottom of the search results, it get to keep all its extras. This should lead to a bit higher interest in any given ad, but it will also mean that every ad around yours will have a chance at using the same advanced features as your does.

The biggest take away here is that the nature of Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click advertising is constantly evolving. If you want to keep up, consider giving ETV Software a call at 903.531.0377.