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April 22, 2016

Does Google’s Ad Placement Change Affect You?

Image courtesy of ( David Castillo Dominici) /

Google is undeniably the largest search engine on the planet. Thus, when it makes a change — even the slightest change — the whole world is bound to hear about it. There is always that constant worry that Google is going to make some alterations somewhere that will affect business practices on the Internet. With online business, you always need to be up-to-date with the latest developments in search engines and business practice. Take for instance Google’s most recent announcement. The company said it would withdraw ads from the right-hand side of desktop search results all over the planet.

What exactly is the issue here? 

Yes, those ads that usually show on the right side of your search results pages on a desktop computer will no longer appear. Instead, there will be as many as four text ads that will display above the organic listings and some three other ads that will show at the foot of the page. The ads are still going to be shown, only that they will not be making their appearance on the right sidebar. There is no issue with that, right?

On the contrary, there is a problem. The move is just a few weeks old since it was executed and already lots of analyses are being done. People want to find out what this change is going to do for advertisers. Things like impressions, average position, CTRs, CPC and such are being assessed to determine if they are affected by the placement of ads at the head and base of the results pages. It is definitely going to have a lot of an impact on the advertisers.

The negatives of this move 

For starters, how many people make it to the bottom of the results pages? A majority of people on the Google search pages are so focused on the results that they are looking for that, sometimes, they do not take notice of the ads on the right sidebar. The moment they come across the content that they are looking for, they are off to that page. When they get to the bottom of the results pages, they are always searching for similar searches that might refine their search. This might cause a drop in the impressions.

Ads can be quite annoying, especially if they have nothing to do with you. This is the experience that many people have when they open up some sites to the point that they even find extensions to block ads. It is doubtful there is someone who has ever had a problem with the ads on the right-hand side of the Google search pages. They do not get in the way of the results and, therefore, the experience is better. But what if the ads are at the top of the page?

The first thing you are going to see after your search results have been generated is the ads. If you are one of those people who are always looking for fast results while on Google, then it is going to be a problem. You are going to skip past the ads straight to what you are looking for. It might be hard to remove the ads from the Google search results pages, but it is not impossible.

The number of ads will drop as well. Previously there were roughly 11 ads, but that will now drop to seven. The search engine results pages (SERPs) will be holding no more than seven text ads from now on.

The positives of this move 

As a matter of fact, there are many more merits than the demerits aforementioned. To start with, putting ads at the top and bottom of the page gives them more exposure. As mentioned above, many people have been using the Google search engine without ever noticing that there are ads on the right hand side. As shocking as that might sound, it means that there are some people who will not find issue with this change.

When the ads are at the top of the page, you will get to see them. This is a guarantee. The same is the case with those ads that will be at the foot-bar. Now people will not be scrolling through Google search results and jumping to the next page without seeing an ad or two.

Speaking of twos, for ‘highly commercial queries,’ Google will be serving four instead of three text ads in the mainline area that is above the search results. This has been confirmed by the analysts. In total, the number of text ads that can appear on an SERP will be, at most, seven. The remaining three ads are going to be found at the bottom of the page. This increases the likelihood of better impressions.

The sidebar will not be left bare, however; Google is renowned for putting as much content on a page as it possibly can. Hence, knowledge panels and product listing ad blocks will appear down the right of the screen. This will only be for relevant queries.


Mildred Paulson is tech news reporter. She writes mainly about website design and SEO news at To find out more about the latest developments in these areas of practice, visit the site.