Google test worldwide
It was confirmed earlier this year. Google will stop showing ads on the right side of their search results, everywhere in the world.
The only places you will see paid ads are at the top and bottom of the search page.
This might tidy up the SERPS, but there are two exceptions to this hard and fast rule.
Ah, but there’s more
Google instead now shows more ads at the top of the results, up to four, for “highly commercial queries”.
It has been confirmed by Google that this change is global. No more ads on the right hand side of search results, except for…
- Product listing ad boxes. These are the ones where you search for a camera and you get to see them for sale right on the search page. They may still appear on the right and have ads in them.
- The knowledge panel. This very convenient Google feature that can save you from having to click through to a website to get the basic information that you queried. Can also appear on the right with ads included.
Google has been testing the four-ads-at-the-top layout since 2010. Mostly in countries outside of the US. The results, over six years of testing and tweaking, have convinced Google that this is the way to go worldwide.
Here’s what they officially have to say on the matter:
“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”
The “commercial queries” mentioned are the competitive strong buyer searches, such as “great gifts for christmas” or “the best life insurance”.
Effects on your marketing
If you’re running Adwords, then there’s a benefit in knowing that Google has done extensive testing of this new layout, and it most probably generates better, more targeted click through rates.
After all, this has been a six year long split test, which only a business the size of Google could afford to carry out, to come to this change.
The lesson we can take from Google is, it pays to test your design – thoroughly.