Recent Changes In The Google Search Results Page

Google recently removed text ads from the right-hand side of search results. However, it is now possible for four ads to show right above the organic results even though on a small percentage of very commercially relevant queries may not.

google search results

In addition to the ads appearing below the results that remain unaffected by the changes, no more than seven text ads can be shown at any given time. This number is lower from the previous 11 when including the right-hand ones.

Google states that the updates are to improve the user experience on Google search and ensure that the experience is consistent across mobile, tablet, and desktop. Most of the searches on Google happen on mobile nowadays, which features no right-hand side ads.

Over time, Google realized that the right-hand side ads are less useful than it hoped. Users did not click on those ads as much as they did others and according to Google, when users fail to click it means that was not what they were looking for.

Google states that by showing fewer ads, the search experience matches how people engage with the search engine. Also, since ads above the results are usually more useful, Google is expanding them for highly commercial queries.

Google says that its experience on mobile coupled with extensive testing on desktop led to the conclusion that the changes will benefit its clients that increasingly conduct searches across devices. Also, testing has provided a lot of data about how the changes affect the performance of ads.

While advertisers and campaigns are different, the data reveals a few things.

What The Data Reveals

1.    On average, the change is neutral for small advertisers: Some people feared that the change would affect small advertisers. However, since the changes were rolled out, small advertisers on average have not witnessed major changes regarding clicks.

2.    The change is not disrupting the auction behavior: AdWords operates on an auction model, and the data reveals that no appreciable changes have happened to the costs per click on average.

No matter how the changes affect advertisers as a whole, the important thing is to understand how to coordinate campaigns better, which is a straightforward process that involves the following:

–    Monitoring your reporting

–    Keeping an eye on bids and budgets

–    Enabling all extensions that make sense for you

–    Continuing the focus on the writing of good ads

–    Refining AdWords targeting in case increased competition becomes an issue


It is worth taking a deep breath and accepting the fact that right-hand sides are no more. Google understands and appreciates that it can be a lot to keep up with the frequent changes it makes as the user behaviour and search evolves. However, the changes need not make things hard for advertisers.

Once advertisers segment their reports and see how traffic has changed for them, the few straightforward actions that are described in this article ought to keep them on the right track.