Google has recently redesigned the appearance of paid ads in their search results. After the green labels which were meant to make the ads stand out compared to organic results, Google has now made the labels much more discreet. Keep reading to see what this means for your SEA and SEO activities.
Google search results are made up of organic, unpaid results and paid AdWords ads. As you know, Google places most ads above the organic results (up to 4 ads) and they make a lot of money this way. From a legal perspective, ads must be labeled appropriately.
Google is no stranger to experimenting with their ad formats. Before the green labels, there were yellow ones. At some point, the ads were completely yellow, thus making it extremely easy to differentiate them from organic results.
Now the labels are simply white with a slim green border around them.
As you can see, the labels stand out much less than before. Generally speaking, it’s safe to assume that Google made these changes to positively influence the click rates on their ads. However, anyone who thinks AdWords advertisers are seeing massive increases in their clicks will be disappointed. These changes will be felt more by Google since they advertise “in bulk”, rather than by individual advertisers.
So, you might ask yourself: Should I even invest in my SEO activities if I’ll only be the visible in the fourth or fifth position even when I rank first organically?
Yes! Why? SEO and SEA are not mutually exclusive, but rather they are complementary. Different searchers have different behaviors, plus SEO and SEA offer different ranking possibilities.
Think about it - tons of users won’t be reached via SEA because they use ad blockers (nearly 30% of British web users will have installed an ad blocker by the end of 2017). Others consciously choose not to click on paid ads. With such users, SEO is imperative in order to reach them because paid ads simply won’t.
Others will click on the first result, whether it’s paid or not. So, obviously, in this case, paid ads will benefit those who don’t rank high organically yet.
Furthermore, several studies have shown that when a website shows up multiple times in results, whether organic or paid, it strengthens the trust in that site and it’s seen as more reputable. This will inevitably lead to more clicks.
These “camouflaged” paid ads will clearly make it more difficult to tell them apart from organic ads. This, however, shouldn’t change the approach of shop owners when it comes to search engine marketing. Having a good combination of organic SEO rankings and AdWords is still the best approach to take in most cases.
For more AdWords success: Use ad extensions!