Recent changes to Google’s search engine results pages have taken many by surprise. Last month, Google pulled the sidebar ads that once appeared in on the right-hand side of its SERPs, and increased the number of ads displayed above the fold.

The changes have many in the industry talking, because with four sponsored results, there are now fewer slots available for organic results above the fold. Some queries might not have any organic results appear without the user having to scroll down.

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind, is how will these changes impact paid and organic search?

The impact of the new organic search layout will come from two key sources: marketing strategy changes and the layout itself.

Although the new layout has increased the number of ads that appear at the top of the SERP, the removal of sidebar ads means that there will still be less ads overall on the page.

Ads along the top of the page have been designed by Google to look more natural. Given the increased competition for these coveted spots, it is likely that the new layout will drive up prices for paid ads.

The increase in price and competition may force some brands, particularly those with smaller budgets, to shift gears.

Some will focus on lower cost keywords and others will turn their focus towards organic search performance optimisation.

The industry is already incredibly competitive, but the changes will only increase competition, and therefore the necessity of ensuring that organic search and content strategies are built with maximum performance in mind.

Keep in mind the importance of a positive user experience. Smarter working with search and content will improve performance.

Your outlook should stretch beyond what you publish online. Providing users with an outstanding experience will help you improve your reputation and bring new custom to your door.

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