Yesterday, Google announced an important update to desktop search results. Barring two exceptions, Google will no longer display ads on the right hand side of search results. The two exceptions are:

• Product listing ad boxes (PLA)
• Ads in the knowledge panel

Although this is a significant change to how desktop results are displayed, it’s not entirely new. Mobile search results have been presented in this way for some time and you can be sure Google will have tested this thoroughly before implementing.

What’s changing?

Previously PPC adverts showed at the top of search engine results pages as well as down the right hand side and the bottom. This allowed up to ten adverts to be show per page.

Google has now removed adverts on the right hand side (excluding product listings) leaving 3-4 ads at the top of the page and 2-3 at the bottom. This follows the format that has been used in mobile search results for some time.

What does this mean?

Typically the top 3 adverts get the highest amounts of traffic, some advertisers may choose to bid strategically to achieve these positions if ROI is particularly strong in any given campaign, warranting potentially higher bids.

Advertisers previously targeting position 4 or lower could notice changes in traffic volumes and click through rates as Ads will now be shown below results rather than at the side.

What are we doing about it?

We will be continuing to analyse and optimise campaigns to assess the initial impact.
Fluctuations to click volumes and click through rates are to be expected and as these new top and bottom positions settle in we’ll be able to optimise campaigns according to these new ad locations.

As one of the most significant recent changes to Google search results pages it’s as crucial as ever that your campaigns are optimising with the ever changing landscape.