Many people woke up recently to notice a change on the Google search results pages. The sidebar to the right that traditionally listed several advertisements is now gone. Kaput, 86’d, eviscerated. The change has now shaken up the SEO, advertising, and internet marketing fields and no one knows what to expect next.
What this means from the start is that the opportunities for making a front page of Google’s results is slim. It’s going to cost more money and the competition is sure to be fierce. The small guy doesn’t stand a chance anymore and although this is beneficial to Google, it might backfire on them as people might perceive the search engine to be totally commercial now and not providing the diversity of results that they can make the best of.
If the top spots are taken for the client who shells out the most money, then surfers are only going to see who paid the most and not the best result.
Even though the right sidebar has been removed, Google has expanded the top of the page by adding one more ad and three on the bottom for a total of 7 ads. If a company can’t make those two options, their luck is going to be slim.
Why Google has done this is speculative at best, but it’s probably got to do with trimming down the clutter and getting the best value for their advertising space. Adding the fourth ad at the top pushes the search results down a bit. Marketers and SEO pros are going to be pouring over the data to see what effect, if any occurs with their rankings.
What’s tough about this is the small guy is left out in the cold. Without the money to bid on the top spots it’s going to be tough to get traffic except via organic. This might be what Google wants. To get results based on their guidelines which appears to be getting webmasters to design sites that are useful to surfers and not dependent on tricks and tactics to get by.
Another question to revisit is the useful factor. Will the new ads be of any use or just a distraction to surfers who are looking for the best in results. Only time will tell if this is the case, in the meantime, webmasters and marketers had better keep an eye on their statistics to make sure they give all the info necessary to properly gauge this major change by Google.
The big battle ahead is for the advertisers who are definitely going to duke it out mano y mano til the last man falls. Things could get very expensive for that top four spots as people tend to only look at the top ads and the top listings in the rankings. The companies that buy ad space will keep a keen eye on their investments. Google isn’t taking any chances here. They know they’re so popular being the 800lb gorilla in the room that they could run only one ad and people would fight for it.
So for the next several months it would be wise for SEO pros and marketers to keep an ear to the ground regarding this new bend in the road from Google