In February, Google announced that they will no longer feature paid advertisements on the right side of the page. The search engine results page (SERP) will still appear the same except that the five to nine ad spots that used to show on the right side of the screen will be rearranged. This change is part of Google’s effort to optimize the mobile experience for users.

While it appears to be a sudden change, Google has been moving in this direction for a while now. Over the last three years, Google has added a number of different elements that have clearly benefited advertisers at the top of the SERP, including AdWords, shopping campaigns, call extensions, and site links. Google has provided more clicks and more visual space to advertisers. They have also benefited from an increase in the customer base. However, the increased ad-centric functionality has come at the expense of organic listings that were pushed lower on the page and advertisers who appeared lower in the AdWords auctions.

What does the position drop mean?

With only four solid positions at the top of the page, advertisers have to make a bold choice: Do I drop out of the paid search engine listings or load up and compete for the top?

Good news for local businesses!

In some of the local markets, this change will narrow the field on the search results page. No longer will the local electrician with a decent AdWords campaign have to worry about a big national electric company entering the market and pushing them to the side.

What results are we seeing?

As with any change to Google, various experts and thought leaders have been weighing in while the public has yet to fully react. The general public can be fickle when it comes to change, and Google will be watching search behavior closely. They may end up satisfied with this change as-is, or they might make further adjustments based on their results. In either case, it will be the duty of skilled SEO analysts to interpret traffic at the account level and utilize this data to ensure that campaigns are thriving amidst these changes.

With Google prioritizing paid search while streamlining the mobile experience, companies will benefit from strong, well-written ad campaigns that fall in line with user expectations. The top four spots will become a competitive battle ground for local businesses striving for maximum exposure, but those businesses that rise to the top will likely experience a profitable return on their investments.

For businesses not currently engaged in search engine optimization or without AdWords factored in to their marketing budget, now is the perfect time to reevaluate marketing strategies to stay ahead of the pack in the months to come.

As Certified Google Partners, the team at Beyond Indigo are experts at generating results for veterinary practices in both organic and paid search. For more information about how Beyond Indigo can help increase your practice’s visibility, talk to us today!

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