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Two Months Later Part 2: SEO Didn’t Get Hit as Hard as Anticipated due to Google Removing Right Rail Ads

Just slightly more than two months ago, Google removed the right rail of paid ads from search engine results pages (SERPs). Shortly after this change, we predicted an impact to site ranking as a result of decreased SERP real estate for organic results. For a change that drew so much attention earlier this year, it is now exceedingly difficult to identify any big impact to key SEO metrics as a result of the removal of right hand side (RHS) ads.

When this update was announced, many assumed it would result in a Mobilegeddon/Panda-level algorithmic disaster for the SEO community. But luckily, researchers have reported quite the opposite. In fact, just like it had a small impact on paid search, the impact on SEO has been minor.

Desktop Share of Google Organic Search Visits

The team over at Merkle/RKG reported that their share of organic search visits has been completely stable since the beginning of the year, despite the changes that Google made to the ad placement on the SERP.

Before & After the Google Update

Paris-based researcher Lucas Perrose also published data showing very slight decreases in click-through rates (CTRs) for his organic listings since the SERP shake-up. He pointed out that these downward trends were probably impacted by additional factors, not solely the new ad layout. At the same time, he encouraged SEOs to keep an eye on these trends, as they may change over time.

Key Takeaway: As we said two months ago, it’s always best to couple your SEO efforts with paid search to mitigate impact from big updates. But this one is pretty minor so far.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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