Google Search Updates: What Happened and How to Adapt

Well, they're at it again. Never content to let the Internet settle on their watch, Google's latest effort to alter your web experience now impacts marketers and advertisers in a very direct way. A Google search update rolled out February 22nd brought about changes to its ad interface, and the sooner you adapt, the better.

What Changed this Time?

Search Engine Land was among the first to break the news in mid-2015 that mobile overtook desktop in terms of the volume of Google searches. The Internet giant found this trend in 10 countries, including the United States and Japan. It was only a matter of time before this impacted the look of desktop based upon mobile trends.

Now, when you conduct a Google search you'll no longer see ads along the right-hand side of the screen, even on desktop. Instead, you'll see four ads at the top of your search results, up from three previously. You'll also continue to see ads after organic search results. Why the change? The changes brings Google SERPs in line with mobile screens, where there is no space for right-hand ads.

Impact on Your Marketing and Advertising Efforts

For starters, the available space for ads just shrunk, which means you can expect to see greater competition for those four coveted spots at the top of the search results list. From a long-term perspective though, this should be viewed as a signal from Google to focus on mobile search. Google is all about catering to the consumer market. With more consumers accessing the web and conducting searches on mobile devices, advertising tactics and spaces will have to conform to the new mobile world.

Creating Effective Ads

If you want your business to succeed in marketing its brand in an ever-changing landscape, you need to create effective ads that land you those coveted spots at the top of relevant search results. You don't have to buy your way to the top in order to succeed. In fact, for small businesses this is an impossibility. Instead, keep the following advice in mind for creating effective ads:

  • Develop a list of targeted, relevant keywords for your brand and industry
  • Create ads with a specific goal
  • Link ads to a specific landing page if you want to achieve those goals

This isn't the first time, and won't be the last time that Google changes the look and feel of consumer experiences on the web. Adapt early and you'll live to conquer another day.

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