Google has confirmed that it will be removing AdWords ads located on the right-hand side of search results in favour of a new layout, where ads will be placed at the top and bottom of a page. It has already begun rolling out the changes in all languages for desktop searches worldwide as it continues to bring SERPs closer to the mobile experience.
Lucrative search ads
The company has traditionally shown ads all over the page, depending on the nature of the query, but the right-hand side will now be utilised only for Product Listings Ads (PLAs) and Knowledge Graph Boxes. Google said that a fourth additional ad will now be located at the top for lucrative searches relating to topics such as car insurance or hotels. Google reportedly began testing with four ads at the top of results in December, and it appears that they liked the results enough to begin a “complete and permanent” roll-out. It also revealed that it will continue to make “tweaks” to the layout during the coming weeks.
The tech giant has not revealed the full reasons behind its decision to remove ads from the sidebar, but digital marketing and advertising agency The Media Image claims it is due to insights from key metrics. The agency added “Google has determined the average click-through-rate for Right Hand Side Ads is poor across verticals, and the expected CPC inflation from this major change is projected to more profitable in the long run.”
So what do the changes mean for marketers? The removal of sidebars could impact on conversion rates and is likely to increase the competition for the top spots in search engine rankings and lead to a greater focus on SEO as organic space takes top priority.
“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries,” Google said in a statement. “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.”