Google confirms plans to scrap right side ads
In Google’s endless quest to re-jig and tinker with the layout of its SERPs, its latest move has been to do away with the ads that used to appear on the right side of the display adjacent to the organic results.
This is quite a major reshuffle and one which could have a serious impact on those who use Google AdWords in order to generate vital traffic for their sites.
So what are the implications of this particular change and should webmasters be worried about what it means for them?
Tried & Tested
Google has spent more than half a decade trying to work out the best way to arrange ads on its SERPs in order to maximise the clicks it can generate while also ensuring that users receive relevant results. After all, it needs to balance revenue with retention, ensuring that users remain content with the overall experience.
The changes that are now being instigated as a result of years of testing will see right side ads disappearing, with promoted links only appearing above or below results.
The number of sponsored search results which appear above the organically ranked pages will also rise to four instead of three, but only for the queries which Google deems to be ‘highly commercial’.
The only instances in which ads will appear to the right of results will be when product listing ad boxes are shown, or when ads appear as part of the Knowledge Panel, according to Search Engine Land.
Google AdWords Implications
In a statement Google said that the key motivation for this change is to ensure that advertisers get better results from their paid-for positions on its SERPs. So boosting the number of above the fold ads to four while eliminating right side ads should arguably give more prominence to the most competitive listings.
This is potentially positive news for those who are already using Google ads to great effect, but might mean that it will be harder for clients who are just starting out or have had less success in getting their AdWords campaigns off the ground so far.
Keen observers will notice that there are not only potential commercial benefits for Google ads which result from this change, but also advantages in terms of how the desktop search experience compares with the mobile equivalent. Google is effectively seeking to unify search so that there is greater consistency across all platforms, which is good for users and should also be better for advertisers.