Have you ever searched for a query on Google and scrolled straight past the ads just to click on the first or second organic result? This is a common scenario, often termed as ‘ad blindness’ wherein search users move past the top ad section of Google without even reading them. This means that people generally trust organic search results more than paid Google Ads.

In the past, we have seen Google come up with different visual tactics to overcome this ‘ad blindness’. Recent examples would be the global roll-out of the solid yellow and then green "Ad" labels. However, Google recently ditched its short-lived green “Ad” label in order to switch to a thin green border and font on a white background. This means that Google Ads now blend in and stand out less next to organic results, while still remaining at the top of the search page. Thus, with paid ad results looking more like organic results an increase in click through rates are expected.

Tying Google Ads to the latest Algorithm update

The importance of Google Ads may be more significant than ever with many sites experiencing noticeable drops in rankings, visibility, and traffic; following Google’s most recent algorithm update. This is primarily because Google's new algorithm no longer sees the site as high-quality as it previously did, thus adjusting rankings accordingly. The sites facing significant drops were those with thin/low-quality content, mobile usability problems and ad aggressiveness.

In order to keep your rankings positive alongside the new algorithm update:

  • Continually review and update your website.
  • Improve content – Avoid thin/low quality content. Instead fill your content with keywords in alignment with your business and webpage motives.
  • Remove UX barriers
  • Maintain mobile usability – Make sure your site and links work actively and effectively across all platforms.
  • Invest in Google AdWords to keep your site visibly positioned high among search results.

Other recent updates that may increase Google Ad effectiveness include:

  • AdWords Price Extensions are now live across all devices. Following its introduction of Price Extensions in AdWords last July, Google has now enabled these extensions across all devices (vs. only mobile). This means that you can now show prices across many different products/services as text ad extensions on both desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
  • AdWords Expanded Text may be getting even longer. Google has now added an extra second description line as an option to expand text ads by 80 characters. However, ‘less may be more’ as additional descriptions may not necessarily mean a higher CTR. Remember to test the longer ads before you fully adopt this feature.

Google's ever-changing AdWords and algorithm updates could have an immediate impact on both site rankings and consumer behaviour. You should constantly be aware of how these changes may affect your site, customers and business as a whole. Recent changes could mean that Google Ads could now be more effective than ever. Whether you are investing in organic or paid search results; the impact of these changes apply to both channels. For paid ad websites, it could mean a higher click-through and conversion rate. On the other hand, organic websites results could see a decline in click-through rate as consumer behaviour changes to overcome their prior ‘ad blindness’. Either way its best to be alert to these changes as only time will tell its real effects on consumer behaviour.