Google To Stop Showing Ads on Right Side Of Desktop Search Results
Google is mixing it up — again! One of the challenges of digital marketing is that things are changing all of the time. This time Google is making a HUGE change that could impact your business’ organic search engine optimization as well as your Google AdWords PPC campaign.
Google is rolling out a dramatic change that removes ads from the right side of its desktop search results, and places ads only at the top and/or bottom of the page. At the same time, the company says it may show an additional ad — four, not three — above the search results for what it calls “highly commercial queries.”
All of this represents the conclusion of a test that began all the way back in 2010, and has been tweaked over the years since then. Search Engine Land readers — particularly some outside the U.S. — notified us late last year that they were seeing the top-only ads more frequently.
This update to paid search layouts is important. Google will start phasing out the righ-hand gutter (sidebar) ads. Google will now only show 1-4 ads ABOVE the fold and the rest of the ads will appear at the bottom of the search engine results page.
High volume and general search terms have been most severely affected by the update so far. Long-tail and niche terms will begin to see their right hand ads disappear in the coming weeks. In addition to the ads at the top (above the fold), Google has added ads at the bottom of each SERP as well:
The update is limited to desktop search results pages, so your desktop traffic may be affected. Ads that appear beneath the third or fourth position may see a decline in click-through rate. The layout of mobile ads will be unaffected for the time being.
So What Does This Mean for Organic AND PPC Ad Campaigns?
The results of this change remains to be seen. With Google, it’s hard to tell. At first glance this may mean more room for organic search engine rankings — perhaps they will mean that Google will wise up and start adding more Google LOCAL search results. (As you may recall, they recently went from showing 7 local search results to only 3.) If Google is looking out for the “little guys” (i.e. small, local businesses) like they claim, this would be a nice move.
This will also mean more PPC Google AdWords competition for your ad to show ABOVE the fold in one of the top AdWord spots. If you have a Google AdWords campaign, you may need to be more aggressive with your bids.
We will keep you posted as wel learn more about this new change.