Within the last month, it has been confirmed that Google has removed ads from the right side of the search engine results page (SERP). This doesn’t mean that Google ads have been removed altogether, though, as you will still be seeing ads both above and below the organic results. So, let’s answer the question, “What will be the implications for lodging-related businesses.”
Google’s Official Statement
Instead of ads showing up on the right side of a SERP, one change you’ll begin seeing is the addition of an ad, going from three to four, above the organic listings. Search Engine Land included Google’s official statement on this matter in their article:
“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”
The example that Search Engine Land gives as a “highly commercial query” is “hotels in New York City.” Sounds like the lodging industry might be affected, huh?
What Does this Mean?
Let’s look very practically at what this change will mean for SERPs. First, if you are using Google AdWords as a strategy to bring traffic to your website, the real estate above the fold just got trimmed significantly. Whereas you had up to six or eight opportunities to show up above the fold before, you now have four at most.
Secondly, with the addition of a fourth ad at the top, the organic results (including map listing) are being pushed down. While some folks using Google might be savvy enough to avoid the ads and scroll down, there will be a large portion of people that won’t be paying close enough attention to know the difference.
How Should You Respond?
- Be Active in SEO – Google changes things, which means you need to be agile in your strategy. This also means that you can’t set up SEO once and expect things to work in perpetuity. You or a marketing partner need to be monitoring your results at least monthly and adjusting at all time to ensure you get to and stay at the top.
- Create Great Content – Google has forever rewarded great content throughout all of its algorithm changes, so this shouldn’t be new to you. Having great content that helps you rank for your core keywords (i.e. panama city beach vacation rentals), as well as having great content in your blog that captures traffic from keywords that all travelers are searching for, will help you rank higher than your competition.
- Evaluate Your AdWords Strategy – This is probably common sense, but if you are using AdWords, you need to evaluate that strategy immediately and see how you’re ranking. If you aren’t ranking above the fold anymore, adjust your strategy to try and regain one of those top four positions.
Let Us Help You Evaluate Your Strategy
Click the button below, request a time to chat, and a member of our team would be more than happy to help you evaluate your current SEO and AdWords strategy after this major Google change.