Google to Stop Showing Ads on the Right Side

In the last week there has been a lot of discussion around information made available by Google that they will be rolling out changes to their search engine results page, this has been written about by numerous sites including search engine land. Basically for certain types of searches Google will no longer be showing the ads in position four and below in the right hand side of the page but rather there will be a fourth ad visible directly below position three with positions five and six appearing at the bottom of the first page results.

As you can see in the example below the paid search results now have four ads visible for certain types of searches.


Two areas that apparently won’t be affected are the knowledge panel which you see with information about business’s etc. and Product Listing Ads which will still appear on the right hand side.


What Does This Mean?

So you are probably asking now what does this mean for the search landscape. Well firstly you must know that this change will only affect Desktop results so Mobile searches are unaffected which means that less than half of total searches will be affected since Mobile is now the dominant device in a lot of regions.

Since this information only really started circulating last week there isn’t a lot of hard evidence yet as to what the effects on Paid Search or Natural Search for that matter will be however there are articles out there that have some suggestions as to what is happening.

The Good

Product Listing Ads should start to see a slightly higher Click-Through Rate since it won’t need to compete against the ads that used to appear on the right hand side and as such it will make them appear more prominently. If you are an online retailer then this should mean good things for you in regards to the activity you are running.

Positions 1 – 4 should start to see better levels of impression share and CTR since they won’t need to compete against the lower positions anymore on the same view. This will potentially lead to position 4 becoming more of a sought after position for Marketers.

The Bad

Positions 5 – 11 will no longer hold such a visible position which will mean that their levels of impression share should start to fall off. Even though position 5 and 6 will still appear on the search results page they will appear right at the bottom which means only people scrolling down will see them.

Natural Search is losing out here. With an extra slot taken up by a paid search ad you only get a very small level of visibility for natural search results now, at least without scrolling down which means your Search Engine Optimisation strategy will need to become more important for you.

The Possible Outcome

Because of the increased need for visibility it wouldn’t be a big leap to expect CPC’s to start going up as marketers compete harder to keep their ads within the positions of 1 to 4 so marketers who have traditionally held these positions may find it more challenging to do so.

The balance between natural search and Paid search will become much more important now and paid search would seem to be running a higher risk of cannibalizing natural search volumes so this will need to be closely monitored to ensure that you aren’t paying for clicks that you didn’t need to be.

As more agencies and bloggers review the data the picture of what is happening will become clearer but for now it appears that this change brings new challenges but also new opportunities for Paid Search.

Cheers for now,