23% of Searches Now Return New Four-Pack

Google's removal of paid search ads from the right side of the search engine result pages (SERPs) has impacted many brands' click-through rates (CTR), traffic and other key metrics as users start to see a four pack of ads atop the search results.

This layout is intended for "highly commercial queries" and BrightEdge research is backing up that claim - revealing that searches indicating purchase intent are six times more likely than all other searches to display this four-pack of ads. Overall, 23 percent of all online search topics on the Google U.S. search engine now feature the new search page layout with four ads at the top of the page (pushing organic results down further). Additionally, searches with discovery intent have a 69 percent higher CTR for the top five search results, as compared to purchase-intent searches.

According to Google, examples of "commercial queries" include topics such as "hotels in New York City" and "car insurance". Knowing this, what should brands do?

For starters, since these "commercial" terms will show the four pack of ads and reduce click-through rates of organic results below them, BrightEdge recommends knowing which terms have organic search results about the fold in order to prioritize efforts. What's more, marketers will want to ensure their paid and organic efforts are working in tandem to target these terms and align content strategies appropriately.

On the heels of this layout change, BrightEdge has also released Intent Signal to help marketers priotize content efforts to manage this new layout more effectively. Highlights of the offering include its ability to:

-    Automatically understand the search intent for each topic
-    Know whether topics have discovery or purchase intent
-    Drive a higher-performing content strategy based on these unique insights
-    Collaborate with organic and SEM teams on commercial-intent opportunities to boost conversions