Google just made a big change. It goes beyond how your search engine results page (SERP) will look, it could actually affect where you end up in the results. What does this mean, and how can you make sure it doesn’t stop your customers from finding you?

Google removes sidebar ads
While Google frequently updates its algorithms for indexing search results, it rarely updates the actual layout of the page. Since 2006, it’s shown ads at the top, on the right, and to the bottom of all results. But now the ads in the right sidebar are going away. This new change means a cleaner look and that more relevant, targeted ads will be delivered.

Let’s get to what you really care about. What does this change mean for your website?

The impact on organic search results can go one of two ways. It might mean more traffic, but it could also mean less.

Because there are fewer ads on the page to distract a user from the results, searchers may be more likely to click yours. On the other hand, it could also mean that organic search results are pushed further down the page due to more ads showing above them. Depending on where you fall in the results, it could mean the difference between showing up on the first page or falling to the far less visited second page.

If the latter is the case, it’s bad news for a lot of sites. As it always goes, the farther an organic result appears from the top of the page, the lower the click-through-rate.

What Can You Do About Google’s Change?

To stay ahead of the game, it’s best to adapt to Google’s changes immediately. Other companies are already preparing themselves for the change, and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to compete.

Review Your Google Ad Campaigns

The first step is to take a look at your Google ad campaigns. If there are fewer ads showing up on the SERPs your ad performance may decrease as competition for those spots increases. On the other hand, if more ads being displayed that means there will be more ads to click on, which could also decrease your performance.

Adjust Your Campaigns

Start by adjusting your campaigns. Review your ads for relevancy, and be sure to target by location, device, and keywords. Improve your Quality Score by adjusting your bid based on the competition. Your quality score tells Google how relevant your ad is, and will affect where it’s placed. They better the score, the more likely you are to gain a higher placement.

Focus on Holistic SEO

Next, focus on all aspects of your search engine optimization – not just your ads.

SEO is more than just throwing some keywords on your site and paying for ads. SEO is a comprehensive look at your website, and Google gives authority to sites that are fully optimized and relevant. When Google sees your site as fully optimized, it’s more likely to place you higher up on the page.

Make sure you go through everything. Check your meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, robots.txt files, Page and Domain Authority, number of words per page, alt-tags on images and page titles, to name a few. The time you take to make sure these are completed as fully as possible will feel worth it as you watch your site rise in the rankings.

As you’re improving your ads and SEO, keep one thing in mind. Always focus on the customer. Think about what they want and what they are looking for because ultimately, they are the ones who decide if they want to click on your ad.

Google makes changes frequently and they don’t have to be scary. By following our advice and monitoring your ads and organic traffic you can keep your site from falling behind.

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