So farewell, then, Google AdWords side ads. Since the 19 February 2016 Google is no longer showing AdWords ads on the right hand side of its search results pages.
Here’s a search for ‘london hotel’ carried out before the 19 February 2016 on a desktop:
The same search now has this right hand panel removed.
In removing the Google AdWords side ads, the number of top ads has increased from three to four. There are more organic results below the fold with nine blue links and two news stories. The bottom of the page has another three ads along with related searches.
Inevitably there is speculation on why Google has done this, although it is likely to be a mix of commercial reasons and the rise of mobile usage. Already Google searches on mobile do not display side ads because of limited screen widths so Google could be harmonising the user experience between desktop and mobile so there is effectively only one version of Google search. Another factor is reduced revenue from side ads so their presence only on desktop Google search is harder to justify commercially.
The impact will be felt by advertisers so there is more competition which attracts a higher bid price for terms. SEO consultants and website owners will also be affected by the organic listings being pushed further down the page. A prominent Google My Business location then becomes important as this is always above the first organic search
PPC expert Mitch Brown said: “With this latest change it has made it more important to consider AdWords as a way to compete for your targeted keywords. With Google increasing the top ad placements to four, organic listings have been shifted further down the fold.
Google AdWords is a major reason why Google is multi-billion dollar global business rather than a successful publicly funded computer science research project. The success of the search engine in delivering relevant results for users has yielded opportunities generated by having millions of users that keep returning to use the search engine. Whether that
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