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What Beyonce and Google Did in February

The title of this blog post may have you wondering: What do Queen Bey and the king of search engines, Google, have in common? The answer is unexpected releases.

Since the surprise release of Beyonce’s visual album in 2013, most of her fans are accustomed to unannounced music dropping. This month, on the day before her scheduled Super Bowl performance, Beyonce surprised her fans with a new song and video posted to her YouTube page. She followed the unexpected release with the announcement of a Summer concert tour, which added to the media frenzy and level of public hype.

Taking a page right out of the Beyonce playbook, Google delivered an unexpected release of their own last Friday which made big news. Google released a revised SERP (search engine results page) layout which removes sidebar ads from the right side of the page and reformats paid ad positions. This new SERP caused quite a stir among digital marketers and advertisers everywhere. Atlantic BT is already monitoring Google’s changes and taking steps to keep our customers’ campaigns successful. However, if you don’t have an agency partner, here’s what you need to know:

1) R.I.P to right-hand ads. In the past (that is, prior to Feb. 19), paid ads were shown in three locations on the Google search results page. These locations included above, below, and to the right of organic search results. What Google has done through their recent update is increase the number of ads shown above organic search results and remove one of the locations completely (right-hand ads). Now when you search for a term, the results page will look like this:


2) Organic got the bump. If an organic strategy had successfully placed your organization in the top organic position of Google results, you’ve been bumped. The former spot for top position in organic results is now the fourth position for paid advertising. Organically-ranking first position results have been bumped down, so they now appear below the fold on desktop search.

3) It isn’t costing you…YET. To date, there hasn’t been a cost increase in CPC rates. While it’s still too early to tell, Google’s new SERP could lay ground for additional changes. The good news is the release hasn’t changed the CPC or PPC ad inventory overnight. The bad news is some marketers expect an increase in cost due to a reduction in the number of ad spaces. Google’s elimination of right-hand ads decreases available ad “real estate” from 11 positions to only seven. Considering the laws of supply and demand, you can understand why less ad space among the same amount of advertisers could eventually increase CPC rates.

For the time being, the best move for those advertising on Google is to not be alarmed. Pay attention to any updates in the news about search updates and make adjustments in your account if you notice an impact in your campaign’s performance.

Want to Know More?

If you have additional questions about Google’s recent changes, contact a Google Partner like Atlantic BT to assist you. In addition to keeping our customers informed about industry trends, Atlantic BT’s digital marketing team generates strategies that make a difference in our clients’ online initiatives. We work hard to create conversion-oriented campaigns that are affordable, meaningful, and impactful to your bottom-line. We’d love to meet you and help you think through your next strategy, so contact us if you’d like to learn more.

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