Google kills right-hand-side adverts

Although not totally rolled out at the time of writing (22 February 2016), Google Adwords are now only going to show adverts on the left-hand-side of the page, above and below the organic search results.

Currently, some searches are bringing up adverts on the right-hand-side but that’s going to change soon enough, with only Google Shopping results plus ads in the knowledge panel that will be allowed into the right-hand-side.

And there’s another issue:

For some searches, there are now up to four (instead of up to three) adverts at the top of the left-hand-side of the page.


Why this has a big impact on your business

If you were relying on getting clicks on your adverts that were typically appearing on the right-hand-side of results, your clicks will decrease.

If your clicks decrease, your potential business decreases.

If you choose to play into Google’s greedy hands then you will put more budget into PPC because you’re now fighting to be visible in the top few spots or those at the bottom of each page.  This will ultimately impact your profitability.

And from an organic Google positioning perspective, four adverts instead of three pushes you lower down the page.


Why this potentially negatively impacts Google

Google are a business responsible to their shareholders and changes like this are designed to push up costs per click.

But what if it goes wrong?  What if the world of business sees the light and decides to:

  1. Use paid advertising in other ways (Bing would be one example of many).
  2. Re-allocate their paid advertising to other ways to generate business (PR, print, numerous other methods).
  3. Put even more effort into organic SEO, negating the need to rely on paid search.

Ultimately, what if Google finds out it’s made a big mistake that negatively impacts its revenues, as their biggest market (small to medium sized businesses) stick two fingers up and say “No more Google! We’ll find another way to promote ourselves”.

But that would take time and with these recent changes, time is not what many PPC advertisers will have before the lower online visibility has a knock-on effect.


How you choose to respond

The A1WebStats system includes functionality that helps businesses to understand what’s being gained (or messed up) from all forms of traffic into the website, including paid traffic such as Google Adwords.

Our business founders spent years working in website success consultancy, including huge amounts of time showing consultancy client businesses why they were wasting PPC budget through:

  1. Weak websites that weren’t fully capable of converting paid clicks to enquiries/business.
  2. The Adwords setups being inefficient in the first place.

We were doing this from the start of Adwords/Analytics and years before we created our own product, A1WebStats.

And we actually care.

We don’t have a problem with Google making money from businesses, if those businesses are measuring what’s being gained and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

But Google don’t go out of their way to highlight the points that we do: inefficiencies within websites and the ways in which they’re made visible online (including paid advertising).  In fact, Google make a huge proportion of their income from clicks that just won’t convert because of weaknesses in the PPC setup or the websites themselves.

You can choose to respond to the Google Adwords changes in a few ways:

  1. Ignore it – “everything will be ok”.
  2. Roll with it – pay increased PPC budget to try and gain positioning.
  3. Analyse it – fully make use of A1WebStats to get a proper understanding of what’s happening with your Adwords clicks and then take action that will gain you more results from those clicks.


People that worry us

We’ve spoken to some people in the past that worry us.  People that (intentionally or not) fit into one or more of these categories:

  1. They outsource PPC management but don’t monitor it closely.
  2. They don’t link all incoming enquiries back to their sources to see what’s working and what’s not.
  3. They handle their own PPC but don’t have enough knowledge, and don’t want to enhance their opportunities for success.

It bothers us because the mindset is poisonous to the prosperity of their businesses, having a negative knock-on effect to revenues and job security.


We’re here to help

At A1WebStats we’re here to help and in this case, particularly with helping those using Adwords to get the most from that investment.   If these new Google changes bother you (and they should!) and you’re a paying subscriber, please do contact us to have a chat about how to dig deeper into your A1WebStats data to identify immediate opportunities for improvement.  We don’t bit, and it costs you nothing but will gain you a lot.

Those improvements will usually involve making some beneficial changes to your website, in order to gain more results from those Adwords clicks.  This achieves the following:

  1. You gain more enquiries/business from those clicks.
  2. With more business you can access more budget.
  3. With more budget you have the option to afford what will become higher click costs.
  4. Also with more budget you have the option to spend on other forms of advertising outside of Google Adwords.

Further reading about the Google change can be seen at

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