Google has made some changes to its Adwords platform over the past year – and not just in regards to functionality. Google rearranged its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) results, effectively necessitating (positive) change behind both SEO and PPC strategy.

The major areas that have been addressed are:

  • A reduced number of results for Ads
  • A larger emphasis on Local Results
  • An overall Cleaner Search Presence

After almost a year of working in this game, this is what I experienced managing the 28 PPC/18 SEO campaigns I oversee personally. The majority of the campaigns focus on Iowa-based companies utilizing broad keywords.

 2014                                             2016

 Google Adwords Iowa                   Google Adwords Iowa

I Actually Enjoy my Competition.

By reducing the number of ads displayed now to only 3-4, Google has cut down on the number of poor PPC campaigns. The change is search results has rewarded the companies who practice best standards and I think by default are pushing the companies that run cookie cutter campaigns out. I’ve actually been able to learn more from the competition and the companies doing it “right,” as we vie for those top 3 spots.

Click Through Rates and Conversion are Way Up

I am now able to show the return on investment (ROI) literally within days of starting a campaign. In prior years, with all the search results and crazy bid strategies, it would take time to make a dent in search rankings. Now if I can get in the top 3 within a day, I usually see a 3-12% conversion rate right away. This is probably due to the users behavior being funneled to the top three search results, but a definite increase in conversion and ROI has occurred.

My CTRs are all up on campaigns as well. Either I’m getting better at ad copy or the clear more concise SERP’s are helping our users find the information they need faster.

Click Through Rate

Ads Have Even More Tremendous Value Than Ever

Ads are also way better from me and the competition. Obviously I’m taking a lot of time on ads and the extensions to make my ad stand out over two others. I feel like I (get to?) spend more time on ads now than making strategic optimization. Also the addition of site extensions have made our ads more appealing than ever before.
I love the changes, my clients love the changes (results and ROI), and I believe searchers have appreciated the changes as well. Comparing old to new its hard to believe Google ever allowed 10 ads to run all over the page, with little regard to the quality of the ad.