Google's SERP Changes

What’s the price of real estate now?
How do google’s desktop changes impact your campaigns?

Google is eliminating desktop text ads in the right sidebar. Google’s SERP changes ramped up recently as the company brings desktop search more in line with the mobile/tablet experience. PPC managers and AdWords experts are once again playing catch up with Google, trying to anticipate how shrinking ad results from as many as 11 to a max of seven will impact their campaigns.

Adwords changes

What does this mean for SERPs?

Instead of three ads, four ads will be populated at the top of the page, for what Google considers “highly commercial queries” or searches with a perceived intent to purchase. Three ads will still appear on the bottom of a page.

By eliminating the right rail, Google will increase and benefit from click share, while advertisers will respond accordingly.

Will CPCs Skyrocket?


It’s too early to tell. The rules of supply and demand would indicate, with fewer spots available the demand for PPC real estate will be higher. Those advertisers bumped from page results completely, will obviously have to step up their game, and those at the top will certainly feel the pressure.
Our Senior Director of Paid Channels has been reviewing Google’s change and considers it one of the biggest changes to SEM since the institution of product listing ads. With the elimination of right rails, positions one and two will face stiffer competition and higher cost-per-clicks, with a lower click-through-rate. Three and four will benefit from a higher click-through-rate, but also contend with a higher C-P-C. Five through seven will face a higher C-P-C with click-through-rate remaining flat.

It’s important to keep in mind Google is not reinventing the wheel for AdRank formula. Bid, (Highest CPC) Quality Score and Extensions still dictate which brands end up where.


The changes only underscore our point that PPC campaigns, landing pages and ad copy must work together. Effective ads begin with copy and keywords that align with customer language while highlighting products, services and offers that make your business unique. Conversions won’t happen unless there’s a clear call to action, and the ad links to a relevant landing page, which again pushes a call to action.

If you’ve found your PPC ads are no longer relevant or even showing up in search we’re happy to discuss actionable strategies.