Have you heard the big news? Google remove ads from the right hand side of desktop search results, and in the last few weeks I’ve seen every scare tactic and meme you can imagine including one article called “The Death of PPC”.
In talking to my clients, there’s definitely some concern about how the change impacts their PPC campaigns, budgets and overall ROI, and rightly so.
There’s also a group of clients who have expressed the opinion that the change is “just a way for Google to make more money”.
On the surface, that seems like a fair assessment, but after looking at the changes and their data, I think there’s more to it than that.
Shameless Money Grab or Legitimate Functionality Change?
According to Google’s data, no one was clicking on the right hand side ads to start with (statistically speaking). Their data also shows that people DO click on the bottom of the page ads.
Also, if you notice that without ads on the sidebar, your search results now resemble mobile devices.
Given the increased consistency in how search results appear, using the right hand side for the new Google Local Business results AND data showing no one was clicking on those ads seems like pretty compelling evidence.
Here are 3 things you need to know about what the Google Adwords mean for local clients:
Action Item #1 - Pay Closer Attention to Ad Positions
If your average ad position is 3.1, you’re below a LOT of search results. Before the change, this meant you’d be on the right hand side which wasn’t so bad from a visibility standpoint.
Now that the change is live, we’re doing all we can to keep clients in positions 1-3 for their most important keywords.
Action Item #2 - Utilize Ad Extensions
Google has been telling us this for awhile now, but it’s more important than ever to maximize the amount of free space they give us. Ad extensions can range from a phone number to a call to action or even a customer review and don’t cost you anything, so use as many of them as you can in your campaign setup as that real estate is more valuable than ever.
Action Item #3 - Work on Quality Scores
This one is no fun and perhaps the hardest “tip” in the list. But the reality is that you can bid whatever you want and use all the ad extensions you want, but if your quality scores aren’t up to par with your competition, Google will NOT show your ad in the top spots.
There are tons of content written on how to improve quality scores, but the main point here is that it has to become a key metric in your campaign in order to succeed with the new ad format.
One final word on quality scores…
For anyone that accuses Google of doing things just for money, I’d offer up the quality score as perhaps the greatest reason why this ISN’T true.
Quality scores are the great leveler of playing fields. No matter what you’re willing to pay if your quality scores are terrible, they’ll put someone smarter and more efficient ahead of you.
As long as Google uses quality scores to decide where to deliver ads, it’s hard to argue that their changes are anything but data driven.
If you’re still confused about these important changes to AdWords and what they mean for your PPC campaigns, please contact us today!