Perhaps you have noticed that all the ads on the “right rail” of Google’s desktop search have been removed. As the changes to Google’s SERP (search engine result page) are slowly absorbed into marketing techniques, it becomes clearer that the local pack rankings are going to be the crucial to online business efforts.
Although, the ads on the right rail have been removed, Google is adding additional ads space up and in-line with the presented search results. Users will get used to seeing a 3-ad block at the top and then another 3- 4-ad blocks down at the bottom.
Google commented on their change, saying it was targeted at providing an nonfluctuating experience to their desktop search for mobile devices and tablets, believing this would lead to a greater effectiveness for the desktop ads.
“In the end, it’s all about improving the experience of the Google desktop search for the users of tablets and mobile devices, which represent a growing demographic, making this experience more uniform across all platforms,” explained Matt Lawson, Google’s Director of Performance Ads, in a recent column.
But, as the ad campaigns Google offers begin to move toward favoring organic search results, the intrinsic necessity of local pack results also increases in importance for businesses, and this is why:
Mediative, one of the largest digital marketing companies in N. America, performed an eye-tracking study into where user’s eyes go when looking over the Google SERP.
As you may imagine, the study proved that user’s eyes go in three main areas:
- Near the Top of the Page
- Toward Local Search Results
- And in the Direction of the First Organic Search Results.
Furthermore, when studying the direction most clicks are headed, results show that the vast majority of clicks are made in the local search results, simply because people prefer things that are nearby and therefore more convenient.
The important point to assimilate from all this is that, on most screen resolutions, this new desktop SERP layout that Google is instituting will move the organic search results DOWN-UNDER the page fold, making it virtually invisible — making the local pack and the ad blocks the only thing users will see.
To get an idea of what this means, if you figure in a monitor with a 1920 x 1200 resolution, this is what you can expect the average user will see in this new desktop SERP layout.
This problem is even greater in the Retina displays.