Google unpacked a prominent update to its search results page for ads. Google will no longer be listing ads down the right hand column, for desktop queries like before. The ads units have been increased from three ad blocks per search results page, and the fourth will be at the bottom of the page if Google determines as “highly commercial queries.” Only two exceptions to this new rule apply, those are the product listing ads (PLA) boxes and the ads inside the Knowledge Graph.
This is a major change that will affect organic search. In as many ways! Like most moguls, Google is not blind to the upsurge of mobile traffic that has occurred over the last 24 months, in fact its growing faster than the advent of the web. The new layout of desktop search results will look like that of a mobile SERPS, is said to facilitate better accurate mobile search results (aligned to your intent) like Instant Answers and provide better performance for the advertiser’s ads.
What’s not unclear is that Google are the masters of this thing called “intent” and the true nature of search is such: Users actively ask google a question, “what is, where is, how do I?, best recipe etc.” add to this The Knowledge Graph which determines the understanding of the difference between an informational query VS a transactional query.
If a consumer searched to purchase something like an iPad, Google would see it as a bad user experience for that consumer, for if the searcher/consumer had to sift through the organic listings first to get to user manuals and other irrelevant listings.
The value proposition is entirely suited to Google’s programmatic advertising product AdWords, suited to the mobile consumer, and after years of Matt Cutts from Google stressing about the value of content for ranking purposes, it's quite evident now, that this no longer applies.
Already in mobile results we have started seeing that there aren’t any organic listings above the fold! Try searching this from your mobile, “makeup brushes” and you will see that there are now seven ad spaces, four above the organic listings (that are below the fold), and three at the bottom of the page. See below image.
The new ad layout model predicts organic SERP genocide, as per the above, excluding the impact that Instant Answers will have on search results, we also have to compete with the move on Google's part around local search (most Chrome browsers in SA now auto redirect to google.co.za) coupled with a local competitive search result type (Part 3) that will now be positioned after Instant Answers, or before that if no instant answer content exists, and before organic listings. You may feel that the coverage of the screen won’t have that much of a dramatic impact, but, displaying four - seven ad units on nearly all mobile queries will undoubtedly have an effect on all advertisers.
The key here is not to lose your marbles and throw in the towel, but rather take the time and research what changes have been made to search algorithms, how these will affect your marketing efforts and what the level of importance is, such as the causation for your online business if the search platforms are updating 600 odd times a year, and your online tactics are not. If all else fails, get a reputable SEO to assist you.
In the last part of this article, I will be outlining the last reason you should give up on ranking #1 organically in Google search.