If you search for products online, you may have noticed that Google has removed the paid advertising links on the right-hand side of search engine return pages or SERPs. Google provides free generic searches for anyone, and the company’s reward for its service is that it also displays paid advertising related to each keyword or key-phrase search. These ads are pay-per-click or PPC advertisements that any business owner, blog publisher, social media maven or organization can buy based on searching terms called keywords. Google’s paid listings are called AdWord campaigns. When Internet searchers type in keywords, Google returns a results page with a mixture of organic or generic search results and paid listings.
Google used to display paid listings at the top and to the right-hand side of its organic search list for each viewer query or Internet search for products or information. However, on February 19, 2016, Google leaked information that it would no longer place ads on the right-hand sidebar, which many analysts and SEO companies had already been seeing off-and-on for some time. In fact, the company’s official statement confirmed it had been testing the new layout for some time and would continue tweaking its design for businesses.
 The new SERP will look something like this:
• All listings will appear in a vertical list, and more room on the right rail will be available for product listings, Knowledge Panels, and further information about each listing.
• Google will display four paid ads at the top of organic returns for “highly commercial queries,” but otherwise continue its practice of listing three local or informational paid listings above-the-fold.
• All text listings, including paid and generic, will be limited to 11.
• Google will replace the text ads on the right with three new paid text ads at the bottom, effectively sandwiching the organic results.
Google had recently changed its practice of listing seven paid text ads at the top of return lists by reducing the number to three, which was big news for many SEO service marketers and its most significant search engine competitors Yahoo and Bing.
What Google’s Changes Mean for Marketers and Consumers
Digital marketing usually consists of generic strategies, paid campaigns, social media promotions, reputation management, press releases, link building and many other initiatives. Google’s new layout, which is probably the company’s response to increased mobile marketing, makes listings easier to read on smaller screens. The changed format should strengthen PPC advertising campaigns by making text ads more visible to people using phones to conduct searches. Critics and cynics are quick to point out that busy people on-the-go are now just as likely to click on a paid ad in a vertical list as they are to click on a SERP listing. The changes could be a blow to organic searches and a blessing for Google’s advertisers. Some people never click on paid ads because these listings don’t always match their search terms as precisely as generic listings.
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