Google recently made a significant change to the way its search results pages display on desktop devices.

As of right now, ads on the right hand side of the page are gone. Instead, there are more ads at the top and bottom of the page.

Desktop Search Results – New Google Page Layout

Search results on desktop show 4 ads at top of page.

If you are a business, then this may affect the way you approach your paid and organic search.

First, the removal of right side ads means less ad space overall, even though the top and bottom ads increased. Second, with more ads at the top of the page, organic search results are pushed further down the page – and sometimes are not visible until the user scrolls.

For those of you invested in both SEO and paid search, you can probably see there are new challenges ahead. But what does it mean, exactly, for businesses?

The Cost of PPC is Going Up

Naturally, with less ad space on desktop search results pages, the cost-per-click will increase as competition for these coveted spaces heats up.

As a result, some businesses may choose to invest more in PPC campaigns, putting in top bids for certain keywords. Others may focus on lower cost keywords and put more emphasis on organic search performance.

Mastering Organic Search is Critical

With more ads relegated to the top and bottom of desktop search results pages, businesses may need to become more savvy with their approach to organic search. To do so, businesses must ensure their SEO strategy prioritizes high quality content and optimization in order to compete for page one.

If you haven’t reviewed your SEO process in a while – especially in regards to paid and organic search – this is an excellent opportunity to do so. Google is testing how these new ad placements at the top and bottom of pages resonate with users, but organic search is not going away. It’s only getting more competitive.