We’ve all seen it: Google is changing how they display search results. The moves are subtle, but they my have a big impact on organic and paid search campaigns.
For starters, font size is larger and titles are no longer underlined. A big yellow “Ad” label has replaced the traditional box around paid ads. There are many smaller changes — click here for the full list.
How does that affect you?
Perhaps a lot. A larger font means less pixel space for titles, making 60 characters the safe zone for title tags. That will affect click-through-rates in paid and organic results.
No one knows what the ‘Ad’ button will do, either. Some say it will increase quantity of clicks because users who’ve experienced ‘banner blindness’ and learned to ignore shaded results will click more. Others believe clicks will be more relevant, actionable, and qualified because it’s now clear that those results are paid advertisements.
So what should we do?
The changes will probably affect every business differently. Keep watching your usual metrics like CTR, Clicks, and CPC. We’re about 2-3 weeks into the rollout, so compare that period to the two prior weeks and note changes in CTR or total clicks that can you can’t attribute to something else.
But what do we know?
Google made over $33 billion in 2013. 70% of that was from Adwords. So at the end of the day, they want to make users happy. These changes are likely one step in helping users to find the most relevant and engaging results possible. Whether that’s organic or paid shouldn’t matter to the user, and ultimately, user behavior will dictate the worthiness of paid results.