Mark Wright: The latest on Google’s AdWords update

At the forefront of the update, three changes took place:

  • The number of ads shown at the top of each page has increased from three to four;
  • Product Listing Ads [PLAs] are now showing on the right hand side for relevant search queries; and 
  • Up to three ads now show at the bottom of each page. 
During the past three weeks the digital marketing sector has experienced some divide in the impact of these changes, with some alarmed over a suspected increase in top position Cost-per-Click [PPC], and others advising businesses to jump on the PPC band wagon now that few, if any, organic listings are shown above the fold for “highly commercial search queries”. 

With so many ideas and theories being put forward, how can SME’s decipher between truth and speculation, and more to the point know what information to base digital marketing decisions on?

PPC

One of the main opinions circulating Google’s latest update is that the Cost-per-Click of the top three to four ad positions will increase now there are far fewer first page ad positions to compete for. 

Though this is a logical assumption, it has been widely reported that right hand side ads did not experience a good Click-Through-Rate [CTR], meaning businesses will experience little change in results. For the businesses who have experienced an increased CPC, shift some focus to the relevant lower cost keywords and amend your ad scheduling to maximise your expenditure as much as possible. 

Tackling an increased CPC can also be managed through core AdWords activities –including improvements in quality score, landing page experience and CTR.

Read more articles written by Mark Wright:

SEO

Where some marketing professionals are becoming increasingly concerned over the lack of organic listings shown above the fold, others are taking it in their stride – advising businesses to maximise local/ Google My Business listings where relevant, and ensuring firms have a good SEO strategy in place. 

Ultimately a comprehensive SEO strategy that utilises content, social media platforms and video to engage web users is still vital for improving your position within the SERPs and increasing your brand awareness online – despite the fact organic listings are being pushed further down the page.

To conclude…

Over the years Google has thrown an array of algorithm updates and changes into the ring, where we as marketers and business professionals have spent time agonising over how best to react to the latest developments. The removal of right hand side ads is definitely not the worst to have happened and in fact for ads in position three and four, the change has actually aided improved results. 

When it comes to marketing your business online it is vital to cover all bases. Right now, Google AdWords is growing too big to currently ignore with over 66 per cent of web users clicking ads over organic results. But this may not always be the case and for the smaller guys who haven’t got an exhaustive budget, a comprehensive SEO and content marketing strategy is likely to be your key to success. 

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 at Climb Online.

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