Google Changes Ad Design. Is It for You?

Google ads may become a more important part of your dental practice online marketing strategy. Last year, Google made a change that could have a big effect on your online marketing.

Google changed how it placed ads on its pages. Instead of having one Ad label and a shaded background behind the ad links, each paid link now has a little yellow ad box.

Is this much of a change from the previous design? You might not think so, but research is telling us different.

Traditionally, research has shown that 70-80 percent of search engine users ignore the paid ads, which are placed at the top of the search results BEFORE the organic results. The further down the page you go, the less likely someone is to click the link in a Google search, and almost no one goes past the first page.

That is why it is so important to not only be on the first page of a Google search, but to dominate the results.

New testing by a user experience firm showed that 36 percent of people couldn’t tell the difference between ads in the new design and organic results. Just to be clear: the company used a fairly small sample size of about 100 people of varying degrees of Internet savvy.

Still, the implications here are clear: Google’s new design has significantly increased the likelihood that users will unknowingly click on a paid ad rather than an organic one.

Now, before you go crazy and dump your SEO budget in favor of Google Adwords, here is a word of caution:

Some of you may have seen the news that Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and AOL have joined together to launch a group called TrustInAds.org. These Internet companies are trying to find ways to stamp out ads that trick people into buying bogus products, or going to websites that infect user’s computers with malware.

So, all of these companies that are competing for big advertising dollars and users’ attention have come together under a common banner to fight bad ads. As long as there are black-hat guys out there using ads to spoof, steal and infect, users are going to have a natural concern about clicking on ad links.

Consider this: potential dental patients in your area unwittingly click on a malicious ad, or two, at the top of the page. After a while, they figure out that the little yellow box means a paid ad that, they know from experience, can cause big problems with their computers or even their credit ratings. What are the odds that they’ll click on your paid ad?

So for now, we are recommending to our clients that they continue to focus on providing great web content to boost their local search ranking. In fact, that’s very likely to be a sound recommendation for a long time; good content is king when it comes to Google SERP, and there’s no sign that’s going to change. Web 3.0 is, in part, all about providing relevant, useful content to users.  




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About the author
Colin Receveur is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and dental web marketing expert who has pioneered the way dentists market themselves online for the past decade. Since incorporating in 2001, Colin has established a rock solid track record with his dentist clients and turned SmartBox into a stalwart of proven results for hundreds of dental practices.