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SEO News Updates: Google Removes Righthand Ads and Drops Flash Ads

In the March 2016 edition of Conductor 30|30 (which is 30 minutes on the last 30 days in search, social, and content), I discuss:

  • No More Ads on the Righthand Side of SERPs
  • AMP Pages Now Live, and Apparently Very Important to Google
  • Google Allows Official Representatives to Suggest Changes to Knowledge Graph Data
  • Google Drops All Flash Ads and Goes for HTML5 Ads Instead
  • Penguin 4 Update
  • Bonus: Google Launches “Google Analytics 360 Suite”

Want to know more? Dig into the details by watching the full webinar recording for March’s edition.


And of course, sign up for the next 30|30 to make sure you always stay ahead.


No More Ads on the Righthand Side of SERPS

Believe it or not: this is something Google has been testing this since 2010.

“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”

There are only two exceptions to this: Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and Knowledge Panel ads. They may show a fourth ad above the search results now, but only for “highly commercial queries” such as “hotels in New York City” and “Car Insurance.”

How is this affecting people in the industry? For smaller advertisers, this change has had a minimal impact. They haven’t seen much of a change in clicks. For organic search, this probably won’t impact visibility that much. They’re not going to show up as every single query.

I was happy to see Google’s comment on PLA listings, because I have said over and over that they are going to take over the right side due to their higher CTR and visibility: “Interestingly, as an aside, PLAs demonstrate strong user interaction when they’re on the right side, so they’re staying put.”

AMP Pages Now Live

Like our recent blogpost announced, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are now fully rolled out globally. And apparently, this is very important to Google.


Google’s VP of Engineering stated at SMX West that, “everywhere we use content, we want to embrace AMP.”

This is a very telling statement, and vindicates something I have said multiple times in this webinar series, that AMP may be the future of mobile content. If you haven’t AMP’d up your pages yet, now is the time to look into it (not for your product pages or category pages, just your blog-like content).

Google Allows Changes to Knowledge Graph Data

Our friend Bill Hartzer on wrote a great article about the ability for Official Representatives to suggest edits to their own Knowledge Graph.


According to Google, “If you officially represent a topic that has a Knowledge Graph card in Google search results, you can request changes to that card. To be recognized by Google as an “official representative,” you need to be signed in as an owner of the topic’s official website, YouTube channel, or Google+ page.”

Before, you never really had any control over this (Google would normally pull from Wikipedia or other sources). Read more here.

Google Drops All Flash Ads and Goes for HTML5 Ads Instead

Starting June 30th, 2016, display ads built in Flash can no longer be uploaded into AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing.

Starting January 2nd, 2017, display ads in the Flash format can no longer run on the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick.

This is going to affect anyone who is running display campaigns. This should not be a surprise to anyone because Flash has been out for awhile. Google has put together a help document on how to move from Flash to HTML5, which can be found here:

For people who are running really large display campaigns, you should start changing now, so you have enough lead time. Start switching to HTML5 now and get out of Flash!

Penguin 4 Update

Gary Illyes announced at SMX West that he’s not going to give out release dates for Penguin anymore.


They’re going to stop commenting on when it’s going to happen but just keep hanging on: they’ll eventually roll it out…

Google Launches “Google Analytics 360 Suite”

Though this wasn’t discussed in this month’s webinar, Google has launched their Analytics 360 Suite, which they have been working on for quite some time now. This is their enterprise solution that is more likened to Adobe’s analytics suite than anything else.  Per Google, the 360 Suite is “a set of integrated data and marketing analytics products, designed specifically for the needs of enterprise-class marketers.”

It’s currently in beta but is most likely going to be released very soon.

Make sure you always know what’s going on in the industry. Sign up for our Conductor 30|30 webinar every month!

  • TAK1

    Sorry, I am a casual observer. Please someone define the acronym SERP.

    • Search engine results page.

      • TAK1

        Now it makes perfect sense, thanks.

  • Waiting for Penguin 4.0 This will give us white-hat SEO companies and our clients a nice boost in the rankings. Thanks for the top-notch article Patrick. Cheers!

  • Dan Howell

    This is wonderful news, Penguin has to significantly change the search for the better!


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