Google has changed its search engine results by adding additional ads at both the top and bottom of the results. These search results were aimed at ‘highly commercial queries’ or searches that are highly competitive with bids. Not only has the top and bottom of the search results been altered, Google has also changed the right side ads, removing all text from the ads. Research has shown that users often ignore the right side ads and focus more on the organic listings. Google has also been moving their focus to mobile users, and right side ads don’t fit into this trend, so mobile now, normal then is becoming more and more important.

Marketers are beginning to ask themselves, ‘should I change my SEO approach?’ and are considering leaning towards a stronger paid presence. Not so fast, there. Although paid is now at the top – and the top three in some cases – being in the first position doesn’t actually mean first position. However, users still tend to skip the ads and locate the organic results. The ads still tell searchers they are ads with a small icon next to the result.

With ads removed from the right side and ads showing in the results, SEO is more relevant than ever. Keep in mind these new search results are based on highly commercial queries, meaning not all search results will display this way. Similarly, paid advertising is not cheap, and that’s why businesses love SEO. By ranking organically on the first page, you eliminate the paid advertising cost.

Although the organic results have been moved down, additional organic results have been added to search results as well. Now users can find answer boxes from the knowledge graph, local result carousels, image results and videos slideshows giving sites more options for organic listings. Often marketers worry about users clicking to their site by finding an article or item but not utilizing image search or videos. Just like interactive content is becoming important for your page, in the same way Google tries, and so far has been successful, to put up “interactivity” on its search results page.

Don’t Forget Keyword Research

Now that highly commercial queries are going to paid listings, it’s very important for marketers to conduct keyword research. Now every marketer is doing keyword research, but now it’s important to see which terms will land under the ‘highly commercial queries.’ These competitive terms may be worth avoiding, forcing marketers to go toward more long tailed keywords. Keywords that do not fall under the ‘highly competitive queries’ sites will see a higher click-through rate based on fewer ads showing above their listing. With Google removing keyword search volume data for most of the marketers (at least for those that don’t have active Adwords campaigns).

Going Forward

With these changes to search results, site owners need to ensure they are developing a well-balanced marketing campaign. It is important that research is done and that the SEO company you are working with is knowledgeable of these changes and understands the company’s needs. With the new changes to search results, it’s more important than ever that a site works to develop a well-thought-out campaign that will be profitable. Good SEO is now needed more than ever.