If you’ve searched for something on Google recently, you may have noticed that the right side of the search engine results page (SERP) looks a little like a typical Midwestern winter — white. That’s because Google has made a major change to the display of paid ads on their search engine results pages by removing ads from the right side. Previously, you’d see up to eight ads on the side of the page and three ads on top. Now, only three to four ads will display at the top of the page with three additional text ads at the bottom. The only content that will now appear on the right side of the search results page are Product Listing Ads and information in the Knowledge Panel. This change standardizes the Google search results page to align the appearance on desktop and mobile.
How does this change affect your dealership?
- With more paid ads on the top of the page, organic search results will be pushed further down and quite possibly, below the fold. As a result, paid search advertising is now an even more important option for getting dealership exposure in the search results.
- If you currently have paid search campaigns running, you may notice an increase in your Cost-Per-Click (CPC). The reduction from a total of eleven to seven paid ads per page may increase competition for ad exposure.
What can you do to successfully market your dealership online?
- SEO best practices are more important than ever before. Every page of your website should have quality content containing keywords related to the subject matter on the page.
- Identify every opportunity, especially within your social media sites, to add relevant backlinks to your website to generate your own referral traffic.
- Review your social media page profiles for completeness. Make sure important details such as address and contact information are present. Include a map of your location on your Facebook page — it will make it easier for customers to find you and it’s great for your local SEO. And when posting to your pages, include keywords which will give you additional opportunities to boost your SEO results.
- Because information in the Knowledge Panel still shows up on the right side of the page or below the paid search ads, it is most beneficial to create a local Google+ page for your dealership.
- If your dealership is running paid search campaigns, review your pay-per-click budget to make sure it remains competitive in this new landscape.
- In addition to paid ads on the Google search results page, consider adding remarketing campaigns so that your ads show up on sites throughout the Google Display Network. You’ll maximize your exposure by staying in front of tens of thousands of Internet users.
Kim Rocco is the director of Marketing for DX1, the complete dealership management platform for the powersports industry. DX1 gives dealers access to everything they need to manage and market their dealerships, including DMS, website & online marketing tools. Dealers save time and eliminate frustration with the efficiency of one login, one dashboard and a single database where customer and inventory data is stored.