In a move to standardise search results across mobile and desktop devices, Google removed paid ads from the right-hand side of search results three months ago. With the majority of searches taking place on a mobile device, these ads were becoming less relevant.
There were plenty of views at the time about how this might affect search. Three months later, we summarise how the changes have actually impacted recruitment search engine results pages (SERPs).
The new SERPs now have 4 ads at the top of the page and 3 at the bottom, instead of 3 ads at the top of the page and up to 8 on the right hand side.
So what does this mean?
1. There are fewer advert positions
Overall, there are fewer adverts in total displayed on the first page, so if your objective is to increase brand awareness or if you are in a competitive market, you may need to increase your bids to achieve a first page position.
2. CPC remains largely unchanged
Cost per clicks have remained more or less the same as they were before the changes, as has the amount of traffic being driven to sites via PPC ads. With four top spots now available, this has eased any potential impact on the top positions and actually allows for more visibility for that 4th place ad.
3. SEO is getting harder
The increase in potential adverts displayed above search results inevitably means that organic search results are being pushed down the page. In cases where map results are also shown, SEO results are pushed completely below the fold. Where this is the case, there has been a swing of traffic moving away from organic results, and towards paid results.
4. Advert positions 5-11 are the most affected
Since the changes, advert positions 5-11 have either been pushed to the bottom of the page or removed from the results page altogether.
So now it’s even more of a challenge to get clicks and impressions on your ads if they don’t appear in the top 4 hallowed slots.
Here are 3 solutions to minimise the impact these changes will have on your recruitment marketing campaign:
1. Don’t change your strategy based on hypotheticals
Your campaigns will only be affected by the actions of your competitors in reaction to these changes. So until they change their approach, there is no need to change yours, and all signs so far point to only small changes in the recruitment market.
2. Ensure you are showing in the Google Map results
The Google map results rank above the organic search results. Look at your top 5 keywords in your PPC campaign, and ensure your company is listed in the Google map results for each of these keywords. For help contact your SEO consultant!
3. Be prepared to respond to further changes
With all this new free space on the right hand side, Google have very recently announced they are increasing the amount of copy you can include in your adverts. Make sure you’re ready for this update by starting to think about what extra information you can include to increase your click-through-rates.