How Google’s New Paid Ad Layout Impacts Organic Search

By: Chris McCarthy

Google recently changed the layout of their search engine result pages (SERPs) to make more room for paid search ads at the top of a results page, which has many wondering about an organic search and advertising ripple effect.

Remember, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is paid advertising that enables listings to appear at the top of a results page. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are the organic listings that show below the paid ads.


Now that Google has changed their SERP layout, four paid search advertisements now occupy the top of the SERPs instead of the previous maximum of three (while removing the “right rail” of ads).


sem before


sem after

As you can see, paid ads get more real estate at the top of a SERP, bumping organic results further down the page.

Whenever a change like this occurs, website rankings shift, causing the digital marketing industry to react with different organic and paid search strategies. With Google serving as the prominent search engine choice for more than half of the world, it is important to monitor how this change may affect your organic search rankings and the traffic to your website.

Here is what you need to know about Google’s new ad display change:

Why Google Changed Display Ad Layout

Mobile search has grown exponentially. The new layout makes desktop results similar to the current mobile SERP.  The idea behind this is to provide users with a seamless experience and relevant search results. The overarching goal is to focus on user intent and providing answerable content.

What is the Impact on Organic Search?

With paid search growing in real estate, all organic search results move down the list. Now, more than ever, optimizing content to rank organically is crucial. As organic search results move further down the list, more visibility will be given to the advertisers holding the first four spots.

In order to grab a user’s attention, search engine marketers and search engine optimization specialists need to work together on a combined effort targeting high organic rankings and paid ads. For brick-and-mortar businesses, search engine optimization is vital to help rank in the local pack in organic search. A strategy to advertise, appear in local pack and rank high will provide the user with many opportunities to click.

Adapting to the New SERPs

Focus on the customer journey by creating content and ad campaigns with the user in mind. Bridge optimization between advertisements and content. By devoting time to become a trusted resource to users and search engines, your website will gain authority.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s