Google is rolling out an impressive change that takes away adverts from the right side of PC search listings and now, positions ads both at the very top and the bottom part of the page. Simultaneously, Google says it may display extra ads (about four), just above the search results for what it termed “highly commercial queries.”
All this represents the finale of a test that started as far back as 2010, and has since then been modified yearly. It has been more common that since last year users have seen more of the top-only ads on a regular basis.
A Google spokesperson has established that the change is now rolling out to all searches in all languages globally. The advertisement will no longer appear on the right side of the desktop search results, but with two exemptions:
- Ads in the Knowledge Panel
- Product Listing Ads (PLA) boxes, which is displayed either above or to the right of the search results
The added fourth ad that may be displayed above the search results will merely show up for highly commercial queries. With regards to the official statement of Google on the change:
“We have been testing this design for a long time, so a few people may be able to see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We will keep on making tweaks, however, this is intended for highly commercial queries wherein the design has the ability to provide more significant results for people exploring as well as improved performance for advertisers.”
For clarification, the removal of the right-side ads affects all desktop searches globally; the inclusion of the fourth (4th) ad above search results will occur for “highly commercial queries.” This would include searches such as “car insurance” or “hotels in New York City” among others.
The elimination of all right-side ads clearly increases the similarity between the mobile and desktop search results. On mobile devices, however, Google normally displays either two or three adverts at the top of the search results – never four.
In general, there is a mixed feeling within the community about this but it appears the majority are just in shock. The theme at Google AdWords Guide, is “Bye bye small companies”. The people at WebmasterWorld say “what a mess”.
We manage AdWords accounts for all sizes of companies and across the board we’ve seen great improvement on the click through rates and cost-per-click since the changes were rolled out. Similarly, the SEO team haven’t seen a negative impact on natural listings – the jury is still out but we’re tentatively confident that this is not the end-of-SEO as some are proclaiming!