Google is removing all ads from the right hand side of search results, worldwide. It will now only place ads centrally, four at the top and two at the bottom of the page.

Searchengineland reported on the story after receiving information from a Google Advertiser. It was later confirmed by a Google spokesperson who stated that it would roll out the changes across all languages globally.

There are, however, two exceptions:

  1. Product Listing Ads (PLAs) will appear above or to the right of search results
  2. The Knowledge Graph panels will continue to appear in the right hand side

Google will also be adding a fourth ad to the top of desktop search results, but only for “highly commercial queries”.

PPC ads in desktop search results

Google stated about the change to the additional fourth ad:

We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.

The removal of right hand side ads brings the desktop search results closer to mobile results, with Google typically showing two or three ads centrally, at the top of the search results.

So what does this mean for advertisers?

Well, with the additional terms added to the top of the page, this will mean the organic listing is lower than it was previously.

It will also mean more work for your Paid Search team, as the competition for the higher spaces in the Ads will inevitably increase with the potential for the average CPC to increase as well.

In light of the update, advertisers should consider reviewing the terms they are targeting and bidding on, for the best possible ROI.

As PLAs and the Knowledge Graph are the exception to the rule, it may be worth considering a strategy that could potentially help and influence the graph appearing for your site, as well as a strong PLA strategy for e-commerce sites.

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About the author:

Lisa Coghlan is a digital and content coordinator at ClickThrough Marketing. She writes SEO content for many of the company’s larger clients, and assists in the implementation of content strategy. She writes live gig reviews and has a mild obsession with finding new documentary podcasts.