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Google Rolls Out New Search Result Page Format Without Right Column Ads

Google Rolls Out New Search Result Page Format Without Right Column Ads

Do me a favor, go search for something on Google.

Notice anything different? That’s right. No more text ads on the right side of the page!

The search engine giant rolled out the new format late last week (what a great way to head into the weekend, eh?). Google announced that it would be removing sidebar ads and adding a fourth paid ad above the organic listings. Additionally, up to three ads will continue showing below the organic listings.

The change was made to unite desktop and mobile search experiences. This change is a result of mobile search volume increasing and, in some cases, surpassing desktop.

Here’s the quick and dirty details on the change:

Who does the new layout affect the most?

So far, this update is in effect for high volume and general keywords. There are some examples of smaller volume keywords (both long-tail and niche keywords) that still have ads appearing in the right side of the page. Expect to see those change over to the new format in the next few weeks. Keep in mind that mobile keywords will be unaffected for now.

What kind of changes should you see in performance?

There is a lot of speculation on how this will impact online advertisers, but we expect to see a temporary bump in average cost per click across desktop ads. This will be due increase spends for advertisers that were content with appearing in side column. With fewer spots to bid on, the price for premium placement will naturally increase.

Forthea already places a high importance on making full use of ad extensions and writing ads that have extended headlines. These strategies were typically focused on the top three ad locations (side ads could not use either one). I see the two strategies playing a much larger strategic role with the 4th top of page ad.

What the heck are we going to do about it?

Changes in the search landscape are nothing new to Forthea. The great thing about PPC is that it allows brands and advertisers to be extremely agile.

Though tempting, making quick changes in strategy is the last thing any seasoned PPC professional would recommend. The most important thing to do right now is to adopt a “wait and see” mindset.

The Forthea team will closely monitor campaign performance for the next few weeks to assess the impact of this change and adapt accordingly.

If you have more questions about the change and what it affects? Feel free to reach out to our team of PPC experts any time!


Davis Baker
Davis is the PPC Team Lead at Forthea and a digital advertising veteran of six years. Outside of the office, you can find Davis running, riding his dirt bike, or searching for the perfect cup of coffee (freshly ground and brewed with a French press. Anything less just won't cut it).

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