In September 2015, when Google began using the phrase “Win the moments that matter,” we all knew something big was coming, but we didn’t expect it to be THIS big.
Consider that every day 3 billion people have moments that matter to them online – and that presents a gold mine for marketers and small businesses. There is a 500% increase of multi-screen media consumption – with 90% of web users moving between devices to complete tasks. As Google itself explained, “We no longer go online – we live online.” As such, there has never been a better time to reach the right person with the right message.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Google rolled out a new format for the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The new format not only reduces the number of paid ads that can appear on the first page of the search results, it also changes the placement of paid ads. These paid ads have now moved from their isolated location in a column on the right – to the main well of content on the search page – below the organic listings.
This line of vision change may be beneficial for advertisers that have always monopolized the top three positions with their sponsored ads. But smaller businesses that can’t afford these top spots – and often advertise in right side column ads – may see decreases in impression share or clicks as they move lower down the page.
Recent articles suggest a solution might be to extend the ad, show more information about the business, and take up additional real estate on the search page to improve click through rates. This is a great strategy, but in the past Google has only displayed extensions for the top advertisers. This may change in the future but for now, adding ad extensions to keywords may not be worth the time it takes to implement.
And even if small businesses implement additional ad extensions on paid ads, one has to wonder if the opportunity to do so will decrease. Why? Because the overall number of first page organic rankings will decrease. Furthermore, many small businesses are wondering how the removal of the right rail ads will impact organic traffic.
The short answer is we will just have to wait and see. But while we are in this waiting period, here are a few suggestions on how to navigate the new format and net the search results your small business is looking for:
- Keep reviewing historic benchmarks for keywords. Analyze conversion rates and historical data and look for fluctuations in data frequently. If you begin to see a trend moving in the wrong direction, it may be time to set new benchmarks and take stock in the potential of a new keyword positioning strategy.
- Monitor positions of Search Results on a daily basis.
- Implement additional ad extensions to increase real estate of keywords in the top positions on the search page.
- Test new creative regularly to improve your quality score and click through rates.
- Use analytics to interpret your data and make strategic goals and business decisions. There are many free tools out there – including Google Analytics!
- Consider additional search marketing strategies to reach your customers, including Retargeting or RLSA, (campaigns based on whether a user has previously visited your website) PLAs (Product Listing Ads are ads that include product information related to your online search) or Gmail-Sponsored promotions.
There is a wealth of free information on the internet for all of these techniques. So make your next “moments that matter” all about reaching the customers you’d like to reach while spending the least amount possible.
About the author:
Valarie Collier is the Senior Search Manager at EGC Group, a full service digital agency with creative expertise in digital marketing, brand development, and retail marketing.