If you’ve noticed something different in the way Google’s paid search layout is structured, it’s not a case of your eyes playing tricks on you. The change is real.
Google representatives recently confirmed that the search engine has rolled out an update to the layout for paid search. This means that:
- Sidebar text ads are being eliminated entirely in desktop search results
- Only one to four text ads will appear at the top of the SERPS
- Three text ads will appear at the bottom
There are two exceptions to the new rule, both of which will appear either above or to the right of search results.
- Product Listing Ad boxes: These ads display product photos along with a name, price, store location, and more.
- Knowledge Panel Ads: When people use Google to search for a business, these boxes sometimes appear to the right of their search results.
In its official statement, Google stated that it may display an additional advertisement in the top slot for what the company representative described as “highly commercial queries”, or searches that suggest an intent to purchase. Examples might include “hotels in London” or “airline tickets”. The universal removal of all right-positioned ads will make the desktop and mobile searches more similar in appearance.
A Google spokesperson added that the change is being applied to all language searches. They explained that this new layout had been in the testing phase for a long time, so users may have already intermittently spotted it during commercial queries. Modifications will continue to take place, but the initiative is designed for highly commercial searches, with the layout providing more relevant results for searchers and improved performance for advertisers.
Any advertisers whose strategy includes bid-to-position campaigns will have to make updates: this alone may result in temporary auction pattern fluctuations as each one reacts to the other’s adjustments.