Google SERP Changes: Paid vs Organic – May 2019

On 22nd May, Google announced a new look for their Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Changes were made to both paid and organic listings. For example, there was a change in colour for the Paid Ad icon/URL and the addition of brand logos on the top corner of each organic listing.

So how will this impact your paid and organic search strategies? In this blog, Croud’s PPC team shares their initial take on the update.

Google PPC

Google’s update history

Let us cast our minds back and review the changes made to the Ad Icon and Search Engine Results Page (SERP) over the last few years.

SERP Google

All changes are gradual, typically starting with the update being rolled out to a small portion of mobile devices. Once Google are satisfied with the results, the changes are then pushed live in full across all devices..

However, these changes cause some concern for marketing professionals, this is specifically due to the decreasing visual differences between paid and organic listings. Google doesn’t receive revenue from organic clicks, rather the search giant makes roughly 86% of its overall revenue from paid ads. Therefore it’s arguable that it may be in their best interest to blur the lines between organic and paid.

So what’s next?

Google’s tendency to roll out changes gradually means it’s hard to identify if your ads are part of the tested portion, which as a result makes analysing click-through rate (CTR) trends per specific change somewhat more of a challenge. Over the course of the last few years, in line with the many changes to the SERP, including ‘zero-click searches’, clear trends are emerging which indicate a decrease in organic CTR and an increase in paid.

SERP google

Graph Credits: SparkToro

So whilst it’s too early to say exactly how this particular update will impact the relationship between paid and organic results, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this space as the latest changes take effect. Watch this space for a follow-up blog on this latest Google update.

To find out more about our PPC services or about Croud, get in touch.

by Conor Kingscott
24 May 2019



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