Google’s new look – power to PPC?

by Peter Young on May 8, 2011 · 2 comments

Over the weekend I noticed quite a significant change in my Google results pages. Whilst there have been a number of changes to the SERP pages before the most recent ones are significant for a number reasons, namely:

  1. The ‘title’ previously underlined is now not underlined. The title itself also appears to be slightly softer in tone than previous
  2. The gaps between results is much larger than previous.
  3. The gap between the title and the description is now more pronounced.
  4. In certain instances dotted lines have also been reported.
  5. I have also noticed product results appear to be sitting lower, many of the SERPs we have been monitoring are now displaying product results around position 6 rather than between positions 1 and 3
  6. Google Suggest/Instant appears to knock down the paid and organic search results quite considerably
  7. Sitelinks in paid search results have a bigger distance between results.

The biggest impact from a personal perspective is the significant impact this may have on organic search results. Taking for example how the results would show on a 1366×768 resolution monitor (so slightly wider than a typical resolution, and the same height). You will notice that the PPC ads now dominate a significant percentage of the visible real estate, offering potential browsers around 8 paid search opportunities, with just one organic result. Where the paid search results dont occur, two results are then displayed at that resolution. Further to that if you consider that many results display secondary results or even greater brand stacked results this may still mean those first couple of results are dominated by one advertiser.

One can only assume that this is likely to significantly benefit paid advertisers rather than organic advertisers, and again increase competition for the first position organic terms. Further I would not be surprised to see competition for PPC results as a way of guaranteeing first page coverage increase, something which could again see paid search costs increase.

Reading between the lines, this certainly doesn’t appear to be a full rollout. Bas Van Den Beld has done some great coverage on Stage of Search about the new pages, however him and some of the Search Engine Land guys do not appear to have seen the results yet for themselves.  I would imagine given the scale of the changes this may stick, however certainly initial feedback has been very mixed.

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/Thehodge/statuses/67303453080293376"]
[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/PG_Martin/statuses/67315102499618816"]

What are your thoughts on the new pages??

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Corriette May 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Definitely sounds like a plan to make PPC more important. I hadn’t even noticed the update when I searched!

Mottyfied May 11, 2011 at 10:28 pm

What the hell? Are Google suddenly struggling for cash or something? This is just a money spinner gone crazy!

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