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It was confirmed on 19th February that Google have dramatically changed their search layout, PPC adverts will no longer be shown along the top and right hand side of search results. They will instead only be 3 adverts shown at the top and the bottom of the page, however the number of ads shown at the top of search results could increase from 3 to 4 results for “highly commercial queries”.

This change should not however have come as a huge shock, Google has been trialling having 4 adverts above search queries and none to the right of them since 2010. However when asked is these changes would become permanent late in 2015 their answer was no.

These changes have been rolled out in all languages worldwide, ads will not be shown on the right side of the page with the exception of two:

  1. Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes – these are Google shopping adverts and will be shown on either the right hand side of or above the search results.
  2. Ads in the Knowledge Panel

The elimination of right had side adverts will make desktop search results more similar to mobile search results. This is following in Googles recent theme of making changes more mobile friendly as in 2015 we saw a shift to over half search queries now coming from mobile traffic.

The impact of these changes could be huge for PPC advertisers, not only has Google dropped the right hand side adverts but it had also decreased the number of adverts on the first page down to 7 meaning the competition for ad space on the first search page will increase. This could push bid prices up as competitors fighting for less ad space. Getting one of the top 3/4 ad’s is also more important as users are less likely to scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the adverts. We believe this could mean that though prices for the top 3 positions will increase the prices for the lower positions will decrease, meaning overall advertisers PPC spend could drop overall.

So why has google made these changes? It seems Google could potentially be risking revenue by making these changes as there is less first page advertising space. However we know that Google is more interested in creating good quality search results for users. Adverts can sometimes be annoying for users especially when they don’t specifically link to the search term, expelling some of these adverts will make the Google user experience more desirable. These changes will mean advertisers have to work even harder to create high quality ads which will be shown by Google.


For more information regarding the recent changes contact us!



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