Google updates layout-no ads on the right side

This could be HUGE! –

As reported by various sources, Google is rolling out a change to their search results pages for desktop users that removed standard adwords ads on the right hand side of the screen and has 4 paid listings at the top instead of the usual 3.

The exception is the knowledge panel and product listing ads which may still appear to the right of listings.

We are seeing this change for most queries most of the time.
Google are yet to publicly confirm the change.

“home loans” in
google nz home loans

“rarotonga holidays” in
google nz raratonga holidays

“womens clothing” in
google nz womens clothing


What will this likely mean?

This change will likely:

  • Increase the competitiveness of those top 4 adwords ad spots, increasing the cost per click to maintain those positions
  • Positions at the bottom of the page are next to useless.
  • Push advertisers to be smarter with all available options. Selective keywords for better relevance and targeting, need better creative for greater response. Encourage thinking around specific mobile behaviour and ads.
  • Retargeting and other targeted display options may become more viable from a relative cost-per click perspective.
  • Make it harder for businesses with smaller budgets to be seen above the fold of search results, and harder to grow quickly
  • Make top positions in the organic listings more coveted, but with less volume
  • Make customer experience and conversion rate optimisation even more important to a) get an ROI from AdWords ads and b) achieve growth without investing significant funds into Google Ads.
  • Encourage advertisers to take more of a multi-channel approach, including aggregator sites to leverage the search results those businesses have.
  • Good product + good marketing will be rewarded
  • Advertisers will flock to Bing 🙂 and Facebook Advertising.

Time will tell how pronounced this impact is. However, all search marketers will need to re-evaluate their strategies if indeed this change is permanent.

How should marketers respond? Here’s a good post from econsultancy