How Google’s Paid Search Layout Affects Organic Search Results

Changes to Google’s paid search results are making it harder for SEO experts to get traffic to their websites the old-fashioned way. As always, though, online marketers are finding ways to adapt — but with less real estate available, it isn’t easy. The big change came earlier this year, when Google stopped showing paid search results on the right side of its search engine result pages (SERPs).

Solution No. 2: Improve Your Local SEO

Paid ads and organic listings shouldn’t be your only targets. For buyer-intent search queries, Google usually returns a map with local business listings right below the paid ad placements. These listings may contain website links, clickable driving directions, store hours, phone numbers, addresses and links to reviews. To make your website eligible for these rankings, just start a Google My Business page and ensure your information is accurate.

These local SEO listings are vitally important given the rise of smartphones. Earlier in this post, I mentioned how more people are using mobile devices over desktops to search Google. People are more likely to search via smartphone while sitting at their desks, hanging out with friends, riding the bus, running errands or using the restroom. Taking advantage of mobile SEO can literally put you on the map for potential customers you would have otherwise missed.

In addition to starting a Google My Business page, you should also create business profiles in popular directory sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List. Consider launching Facebook and Google+ pages. All of these profiles can help you recover lost ground from diminished organic rankings.

Solution No. 3: Create Non-Buyer Content

The organic SEO game is still alive and well for marketers with the right kinds of content. Remember when we discussed the homeowner troubleshooting a broken furnace? If you owned a furnace repair company, you could blog about common mechanical problems, seasonal heating issues and occasional DIY tips. You could also post troubleshooting guides for different brands of furnaces. This is exactly the kind of content that Google shows on its ad-free SERPs, and it’s how organic SEO can still help you reach new customers.

If you’re using Google AdWords — or if you’re about to get started — then you can also experiment with different landing page layouts for organic and paid traffic. Purchase-motivated visitors will interact with your website differently than those in search of information. Again, Google Analytics can help you get the most from each type of traffic.


There’s no doubt that organic search results took a hit when Google reconfigured its paid ads layout. Still, organic search results have tremendous value with research-oriented search queries. It’s up to online marketers to audit their websites and social media profiles and think of new ways to connect with potential customers. Given the current trend, it stands to reason that organic search results might be pushed even further down the page, which is why forward-thinking marketers are thinking of how they can pursue both paid and organic traffic.

Want more SEO tips? Click here to get a copy of our Ultimate SEO Checklist.

Author: Phil Frost

Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on,,, and many other major business media outlets.

Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.

Want more SEO tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate SEO Checklist. Want more AdWords tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

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