Google rolled out a global update today removing the right-side paid search ads for most search queries. The update:
- Removes ads from the right side of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP)
- Adds a 4th ad to the top of the SERP for “highly commercial queries.”
- Effects searches on desktop only. Mobile searches have never had ads on the right side as the screen real estate is much smaller.
- Allows a maximum of 7 ads on the page.
- Has one exception, Product Listing Ads (PLAs), which will continue to show at the top-right of the page.
Much speculation is percolating as to why Google made this update, and what the downstream effects will be for advertisers. Some initial thoughts:
- With less ads on the first page, it’s more important than ever to be at the top of Search Ads. What is your average ad position?
- Not running a Search Advertising campaign? You should be. With 3-4 ads at the top and 3 Google Maps listings below that, your first chance at showing up organically is in the 7-8th position on Google (way “below the fold” on a mobile device). Positions 7 and 8 are earning 3-5% of clicks from the page. Is that an acceptable market share for your business?
- Mobile is clearly the future as desktop search pages are now mimicking mobile.