Google’s PPC v SEO War

Last week saw Google remove the text ads from the right hand side of it’s desktop search results. The 8 ads that seemed glued to many search results and appeared on desktop search are no longer appearing.

An additional 4th ad may appear in the search results for ‘highly commercial queries’, something that Google’s been testing for a while. The 4th Ad can benefit from showing all the ad extensions, including site links, call outs and location extensions.

The screenshot below shows 4 ads at the top.
Google introduces a 4th Ad at the top in Google AdWords

What is Google going to do with the big white space on the right hand side? Well, it’s Google! So it’ll be used to generate money, whether that’s showing more video, display ads or even paid local listings. Occasionaly if warranted Google has been showing shopping ads like below.

shopping ads showing on the right hand side

3 ads are showing below the non-paid organic listings.

SEO The Biggest Loser

Bit by bit SEO is getting slapped. The first organic result is getting pushed further down the pecking on some searches. However it should be noted that this just applies to desktop queries, which are suffering at the hands of mobile, and apparently it’s just for ‘highly commercial queries’.

The only thing to do is carry on with your SEO strategy, and if you haven’t done so already, run ads with SEO. Carry on trying to improve your page titles and meta descriptions and try and improve the CTR (click thru rate). For commercial searches, write your page titles and snippets more like ads.


In it’s own non-paid listings, Google actually punishes sites that are laden with ads above the fold. I know, and have experienced this!

Their own site/search results goes against their own guidelines and advice, which in a nutshell, warns us not to plaster sites with ads above the fold.

Many fear with less space, competition may increase and bids may be driven up. Ad prices in some markets are already astronomical, so it’s a wonder if this will happen.

Won’t be long before a fifth ad is introduced.

4 Responses to “Google’s PPC v SEO War”

  1. Jordan McClementsNo Gravatar Says:

    I’ve seen plenty of searches where on my laptop (1366×768 resolution) there is not a single organic result showing.

    It has been this way for along time on mobile as well.

    You may fair a lot better for SEO for searches with little ‘commercial intent’, but how valuable is this traffic to most companies?

  2. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Do you think Google will mix the organics with Ads. So rather than have the 3 Google Ads at the bottom, they’d have another 2 or 3 ads after the top 3 organic listings?

  3. Jordan McClementsNo Gravatar Says:

    I’ve seen other people say already that it is inevitable that will go down the ‘native advertising’ route. I’m not sure, but you could argue that the serps is already native advertising as a large percentage of people have no idea there is any difference between ads and organic results.

  4. Barry ConnollyNo Gravatar Says:

    Don’t forget about Google My Business listings, which are moving towards paid for the likes of hotel searches.

    Organic listings well down the pecking order.

Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced SEO based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own SEO Agency.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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