Google removes AdWords ads from right hand side of SERPs

Google rolled out a significant change to desktop search results pages (SERPs) worldwide over the weekend (20-21 Feb 2016), no longer showing any Google AdWords ads on the righthand side of SERPs. Google has confirmed the change is here to stay, meaning effectively there are now only 3 slots to get your Google Search Ads above the fold in desktop searches.

Some points to note on this change are:

  • 3-4 ads now show above organic search results. 4 show for ‘highly commercial’ keywords
  • The addition of the 4th means sometimes no organic results can be seen above the fold, particularly when broad research type keywords are searched and a definition box appears (e.g. try searching ‘content marketing’)
  • 3 show below search results too (e.g. position 11, 12, 13)
  • The right hand side of page is completely empty
  • Ads only show on the right for 1) products/shopping ads and 2) ads related to the knowledge graph (e.g. if you search something like ‘Crown Perth hotel’ you can see and Expedia advertise their costs there

The most worrying impact of the changes is that it is highly likely that average cost per click (CPC) of ads will increase significantly, as advertisers and competitors will have to increase max CPC bids to get one of those three coveted slots to be seen above the fold. Otherwise click through rate (CTR) will drop.

What does this mean for you?

If you have any questions about what this means for your AdWords account or would like some advice on what changes to make to your bids, call Perth’s AdWords management experts White Chalk Road!

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