Google is always testing new layouts for the SERPs that get businesses to spend more on Adwords. It’s in their best interest to increase the prominence of Ads and potentially manipulate the usual CTR’s to encourage businesses to pay to be in pole positions.
The introduction of the knowledge panel, increased prominence of the Local business listings all mean one thing: you NEED to spend money on ads to have poll positions above the fold, more importantly for mobile.
So what now?
Google has been testing. Nothing has been confirmed publicly but AdWords reps have told multiple advertisers that the SERP’s is going to have a shakeup... again. There have been rumours that this is a global change, however, many sources suggest that its only for commercial queries. I guess we'll just have to wait for a official update, that's if they decide to enlighten us.
The rumours are that side ads are going to be replaced with four ads above the organic results and a further three ads will be placed beneath the organic search results.
What does this mean?
For Google more profit from advertising space. For Advertisers, more competition for paid real estate and less traffic from organic sources.
From our experience at Rawnet, the placements on the side bar don’t get much interest so losing these could be a blessing by allowing more space for the knowledge bar and more prominence for Google Shopping listings.
This will cause organic results to drop even further down the page especially on mobile.
CPC to increase
As there is now only 4 prominent placements we can expect the CPC to increase as first page ad positions become more competitive.
Reduction in traffic from organic sources.
As organic listings get less prominent we should expect that traffic from this source would reduce due to CTR trends. This may prompt sites have poll positions without a paid ad listing to enter the bidding war.
For smaller businesses this could mean that high placement is harder to achieve against companies with bigger budgets. We’d like to think that this won’t be the case and that by working in a more strategic way, you can still have good results from this marketing method.