70% of you ignored the first three results on Google, and never looked at the sponsored results in the right hand column.
So, as of Wednesday February 23, 2016, Google decided to do something about that.
Gone is the right hand column in it’s entirety.
Instead of three sponsored links at the top of the page- there are now FOUR.
Then a geographic map- listing Google Local results near you.
Then ten organic results, then three more sponsored search results.
All in the left hand column.
So, this means there are now at least 4 paid results above you- and then, the organic map, then ten results, some of which will almost always be manipulated link farm directories like the Better Business Bureau, Hibu, YP, Angies List, and who knows who else, then, if you are both lucky and good- you.
This means higher bids to be seen for the Search Engine Marketing people to make it into the top 4 positions, and a lot less paid spots on page one.
It also means a lot of white space. The good news, if they are actually searching for your exact business- it will probably show up all by itself on the right.
Time to make sure your Google Local listing is up to date.
Also, since last year, Google will give preference to sites that are both entirely secure (we now offer this as part of our hosting package) and mobile friendly (responsive, or other wise).
Some people speculate that this new Google format is mostly driven by the small screen, guaranteeing that search results, including ads, look the same on mobile as they do on desktop, others, think it’s just a way for Google to maximize revenue. Either way, it’s a big change, and will take some more time to fully understand how this changes your first page results.