After a long testing period, Google has decided to stop showing ads to the right of the search engine results pages for desktop queries. The ads will now only be visible at the top and/or bottom of the page. Google have also said that they might show four ads instead of three above the search results for the queries they consider to be ‘highly commercial’. The change to the ad layout has been confirmed by a Google Spokesperson and it’s now rolling out to all languages around the world.
There are two exceptions to note. Ads will remain on the right side of the page when:
- Ads in the knowledge panel
- Product listing ad boxes will show on top of the search results or to the right
Testing for this layout has been going on since 2010, with multiple tweaks being made between then and now. An additional fourth ad might be shown for highly commercial queries, when Google is able to provide users with more relevant results, giving an opportunity for better performance for advertisers. Examples of highly commercial search queries are ‘Hotels in London’ or ‘Car insurance’.
Removing the right hand side ads on desktop means that the results will look similar to how they appear on mobile. It’s also worth mentioning that the addition of a fourth advert is likely to push down organic search results, possible to beneath the fold for desktop users.