Based on research and testing that was done on Google Search results back in December of 2015, we wrote the following article: Does SEO Matter Anymore?.  Well, here we are three months later and that Google testing has not only become a reality with up to 4 paid ads appearing on the top of Search results.  But, the Google game plan becomes a bit clearer.  How so?  Search professionals were abuzz in the past couple of weeks with the disappearance of paid side ads on Google Search results.  Did you notice?

Here’s a sampling of Google Search results (“chicago lawyer”, “san francisco hotel”, and “denver dentist”) to illustrate the impact of this change:

Google Search Results ChangesWhat you see is pretty amazing.  The “denver dentist” search results are pretty typical to what we’ve seen in the past 6 months, in that you have the “snack pack” for the top Google results and then you have the organic listings.  The next two searches, however, show a very different picture.  Both the “san francisco hotel” and the “chicago lawyer” search results now have 4 paid ads on top, then followed by Google maps of the results and either a hotel booking tool for the hotel search and a snack pack for the lawyer search.

Even on a high-resolution 24″ desktop monitor, the last 2 searches above yielded absolutely no organic listing “above the fold”.  Meaning, the first screenful that a user will see (even on a large desktop monitor) does not show any organic listings!  The user behavior studies are clear on what gets clicked, how far a user is willing to scroll down the page, and the weak results obtained this low on the first page.  The precious digital real estate at the top is where all of the action is, as evidence by almost entirely all of the click-throughs.

Thus, it’s easy to draw some solid conclusions here:

  1. Search relevancy or profit growth (or both), Google continues with bold changes to Search
  2. Organic “placement” continues to become more eroded along with hopes of getting noticed & achieving traffic
  3. Paid Search advertising (PPC) continues to rise in critical importance
  4. The Snack Pack, Google Shopping, and similar special listing features are powerful to leverage

So, we have here some very interesting developments from Google on their Search product.  Now, more than ever, paid advertising not only remains an important way for targeting your ideal audience.  But, it’s now gained even more importance at the expense of organic listings for almost all commercial queries.

Whether you are a business, nonprofit, or any organization in need of targeted traffic for your web presence, ask us about paid search advertising opportunities.  Red Fin Marketing is an expert in Google Search advertising with over 10 million ads shown annually for our clients globally.