Google SERP Shake-Up: What You Need To Know

Over the last few months, Google have made some interesting changes to the way in which their search engine functions. The latest algorithm update ‘AdWords Shake-Up’ has surprised many businesses and Pay per Click specialists alike.

Rolled out in February this year, the ‘Shake-Up’ algorithm has significantly changed the way that Google Search Ads appear on search result pages.

The Impact on Pay Per Click Search Ads

Prior to the update, the desktop version of Google would display Search Ads both above, below and to the right of the organic results. Now, when you type in “Google” the right hand Ads no longer appear but an additional Ad can be found at the top of the results page; mirroring the appearance on mobile devices.

Websites who are a part of the Google Search Network have also seen a change. Those with a previously active sidebar are no longer able to display Search Ads to the right of their web-pages.

In industries where Ad competition is high, businesses may notice that the performance of their campaigns are dropping (most notably: reductions in Clicks, Impressions and Average Position). With the amount of Paid Ads per page reducing from 11 to 7, companies are reviewing their AdWords budgets and increasing their bids for the most competitive keywords in order to beat their rivals.

A Change Influenced by User Interaction Research

Over the years, several eye-tracking studies have been conducted to establish how users are engaging with Google’s search results. All of these studies conclude that the top left hand side of the result page, also known as the ‘Golden Triangle’, is a hot spot for user interaction.

We believe this observation could be driving the recent changes.

An SEO Shake-Up?

With the implementation of an extra top ad, ‘organic’ results have now been pushed further down search pages. Although the update itself has not impacted the positioning of webpages within the organic listings, it does emphasise the importance of businesses monitoring and maximising both SEO and AdWords presence.

With the additional 4th Ad replacing the 1st position Organic result, we would recommend that businesses continue to actively integrate their keywords within their website and blogs, where ever possible in order to enhance their chance of their landing pages appearing as high as they can beneath Search Ads.

However, since ‘Shake-Up’, Google has announced that they have expanded the pixel width of the search engine pages; increasing meta-titles by 10 to 15 characters and meta-descriptions by 16 to 20 per line. This will ease the keyword integration process and improve overall meta-data quality for Google users and you.

How To Approach The Changes In Performance

Before considering increasing your campaign funds, we would recommend reviewing and optimising your AdWords Pay per Click campaigns. Amending the advert copy to be more relevant for chosen keywords and the selected landing page will help to improve Quality Score and in turn, performance levels.

Unsure how best to optimise a Pay per Click campaign? Contact Generate UK. Our team of experts will be more than happy to analyse your account and provide recommendations on how to maximise your ad opportunities.