Strange things are afoot at Google HQ. As we highlighted towards the end of last week, Google have recently removed all PPC ads from the right hand side bar of their search engine results page (SERP). On top of this, and theoretically related, came the news that Google was also dropping its Google Compare service, with speculation running rampant that it was all a part of a bigger change for the search engine juggernaut.

Needless to say, the internet has been awash with speculation on how this will impact businesses and advertisers. The common consensus appears to be that paid search is going to increase in price as competition for the top results heats up, while organic listings are pushed further down the page now that four ads are being shown in the top positions instead of three. For comparisons sake, see for yourself in these before and after screen grabs:
google serp with right hand side bar-

google serp without right hand side bar--

As you can see, there are four paid-for results at the top of the SERP and the right is conspicuously blank. While Google’s SERP changes seem to be commercially driven, are we right to fear that the first page of results will soon take on the appearance of the local listings page in a newspaper? Will we be instinctively clicking through to page two of Google search results without a second thought in the next year? And if so, what will fill in Google’s right hand side bar void in the coming months?

To some extent we’ve seen other aspects of search encroaching into the freed up space, with Product Listing Ads (PLA) being shifted to the right space in certain commercial queries. We envision this will become more and more routine in the coming months.
google search pla

It’s no stretch to assume, along similar lines, that more and more prominence and importance will be given to Knowledge Graph’s for non-commercial queries too. This is currently used by Google to enhance its search engine results, providing structured and detailed information in order to resolve the search without the user needing to navigate to another site.
digital next knowledge graph-

As we’ve discovered with Google, the only constant appears to be change, and this shift hints at a larger refocusing. Keep your eyes peeled on the company over the next few months as we envision a larger refocus and shift in paid and organic search.

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