Beginning Friday, February 19, Google is removing Adwords ads from the right hand side of search engine results pages.
The major change means that desktop search results look more like search results on mobile devices. According to Search Engine Land, there are two exceptions to this: Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and ads in the knowledge panel.
These types of ads will still show up on the right-hand side of the page. Product listing ads are the ads that appear when consumers search for a specific product. So if your business sells office chairs (and pays for PLAs for those chairs) and a consumer searches for “office chairs,” the consumer will still see your ads on the right-hand side of the screen.
Along with this change, Google is testing a fourth Adwords ad at the top of the SERP.
Google has been testing a fourth AdWords ad at the top of the search results for a while, and it looks like at least for now, this change is here to stay. The fourth ad will only show in what Google is calling “highly commercial queries” though, meaning only searches that will probably lead to a purchase.
These changes are rolling out to all desktop searches over the next few days, globally and in all languages . And while there’s no way to know if the changes are here to stay, they’re here for now.
You may be seeing the last of AdWords ads on the right hand side of SERPs.
What does this mean for small business marketing?
These are huge changes, but how this affects your business depends on your marketing strategy. If you are only advertising on Google, then this could affect your ads. And remember, this is only affecting desktop searches, while mobile is becoming more and more important.
However, if you have a diversified paid advertising strategy and you advertise in other places (like Facebook and Bing) this won’t hit you as hard. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have a marketing partner that can roll with Google’s many changes.
At RevLocal, we welcome this change. We've been avoiding marketing our clients on the lower performing, right-hand side of SERP’s by using strategic bidding algorithms and A | B testing long tail search terms for improved conversions and engagement. While this won’t be the last change from Google, we’re confident that by being strategic, our clients’ ads will continue to show at the top of the SERPs.
To find out more about these changes, please contact your Digital Marketing Strategist today.