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On 22 February Google finalised its roll-out of the permanent removal of all Right Hand Side Ads across the Search Engines Results Pages [SERPs] worldwide. How will this impact businesses?

Mark Wright was the 2014 The Apprentice winner

Twitter users may have even noticed that SERPs trended on the social media platform for a good number of hours – with an army of marketing professionals, AdWords users and businesses tweeting about how this change will impact both PPC and SEO moving forwards.

A quick overview for those who haven’t managed to do much reading around the edges: Google started to roll out this update on 19 February without any official announcement. In fact, we are still awaiting for confirmation from Google HQ!

Sources have since speculated that this update has been implemented as a result of a poor Click-Through-Rate [CTR] for ads on the right hand side compared with those at the top or bottom – whilst others have suggested it brings desktop experience in line with that of mobile, with an update is yet to be rolled out for the latter!

Read more about Google:

So far we know that the following changes will, and have, come into play as a result of this update:

The number of ads shown at the top of each page will increase from three to four – particularly for search queries with high volumes;

  • Right hand side text ads have been removed for all search queries – however right hand Product Listing ads [PLAs] and Knowledge Graph Boxes will still show;
  • Up to three ads may be displayed at the bottom of each page; and
  • These changes have only affected desktop and tablet.
With that in mind, I can hazard a pretty accurate guess as to what you’re thinking: How will this affect my AdWords campaign, and ultimately the ROI from my advertising spend?

Increase in CPC

With a reduction of the number of ad spaces available for text ads on each and every page of the SERPs, we predict that both the competition and therefore Cost-per-Click [CPC] is very likely to increase. This means that both Quality Score and CTR are more significant than ever in aiding you to compete for the top spot at an affordable price tag!
Shop till you drop… on Google!

For ecommerce businesses this is far from bad news, with a whole right hand side dedicated to Product Listing Ads! For businesses that gave Google Shopping a wide berth, now is the time to jump on the wagon and push your shopping campaign live!

At the moment is not clear how the impact of this latest update will affect SEO rankings, but this is something Climb Online’s search team are looking into! However, it’s worth noting that for businesses currently struggling to compete with the higher CPC, an effective and comprehensive SEO strategy could be your search engine safety net for ensuring you are not hit too heavily with any decrease in traffic as competition heats up!

Mark Wright, the winner of The Apprentice in 2014, also shared with Real Business the tips he learned after being mentored by Lord Sugar.

Mark Wright is director of Climb Online.

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