Search engine changes mean it’s time to take a second look at your online marketing strategy


You don’t have to be a marketer or even especially tech savvy to understand the importance of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Google is where the vast majority of consumers turn for information about local businesses — so what a search engine result displays about your company obviously has ramifications for your lead generation and your overall visibility.

As such, it’s important for small-business owners everywhere to understand some recent overhauls that Google has made to its SERPs — overhauls that directly impact what consumers see about your company.

A summary of the changes
First: What has Google changed, exactly? Here’s a brief list. Note that these changes only impact desktop search results, not search results for mobile or tablet users.

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  • Text ads are no longer displayed over on the right-hand side of the page.
  • In the mainline area above the organic search results, Google will now show four text ads instead of three, if the search query is deemed “highly commercial” in nature.
  • Three text ads will now be shown at the bottom of the SERP, as well.
  • The total number of text ads displayed on an SERP will shrink from a maximum of 11 to a maximum of seven.

Why did Google make this change?
Something to remember about Google is that — like any other company — it wants to provide a satisfactory product for its customers. In this case, that means a positive search engine experience. As such, it almost goes without saying that this change was not sudden. Google has been testing this shift for a long time now, and deemed it to be a step in the right direction.

The new Google SERP may be good for consumers, then, but is it also good for small-business owners? The answer is potentially a resounding yes, though it will depend on your search marketing strategy and how you adapt it to this new layout.

Basically, Google has made the change in large part because so many search queries now come from mobile users, and mobile users never saw those right-hand ads anyway. The shift in ad placement means that you’re no longer going to be paying for ads that fundamentally cater only to desktop users. Instead, whatever money you invest in paid ads will more directly position your company in front of mobile users — the people who are most likely to search for local businesses in the first place.

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How should small-business owners respond?
The main takeaway from this is that, quite frankly, it’s a good time to get into paid Google ads if you’ve never experimented with them before; with the right keywords and some precise audience targeting, ads can be more effective than ever before.

It’s also worth noting that, if you haven’t optimized your company website for mobile users, now is the perfect time to do so.

Google changes all the time; sometimes those changes are significant and sometimes they are not. This particular change can be understood as a prime opportunity for business owners to rethink their search engine marketing strategies.

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About the Author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California, and Dublin, Ireland. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, Web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.


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