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Google Removing Ads from Sidebar, Adding 4th Ad at Top in Desktop Search Results


Google is making some big changes to how it displays its paid search ads. Search Engine Land recently reported that Google will stop running its ads on the right side of search engine results pages (SERPs) for desktops. Instead, the ads will only be shown at the top and bottom of the page. In addition to that, the maximum number of ads that can be shown at the top of the page will change from 3 to 4 for “highly commercial queries.”

There are, however, a couple of exceptions. According to Search Engine Land, sidebar ads could still show up in desktop search results if they are part of 1) Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes, or 2) the Knowledge Panel. Google has actually been testing out this change for years (since 2010) and is now making it official worldwide, in all languages.

In an official statement, Google said the new ad layout for highly commercial queries is meant to “provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.” Google also said it will “continue to make tweaks” to the new ad layout.

The SEM Post broke the news about the changes, and online publications such as Search Engine Land confirmed the change and reported on additional details.

With Google’s new ad layout changes, desktop search results are now more similar to search results on mobile devices, which were already without sidebar ads. Mobile search results, however, usually only have a maximum of 2 or 3 ads at the top of the page.

Here at Scorpion, we are on the forefront of the latest developments in search engine marketing (SEM). Our pay-per-click (PPC) advertising experts will be monitoring this change closely to determine how it affects our clients and their Google AdWords campaigns.