Google Results Blog

A Shake Up in the Google Search Results

On Friday 19th February Google once again shook up their search results by removing all the pay per click (PPC) ads from the right hand side. The new layout means that there are now four paid search results at the top of the page and no organic listings are seen above the page fold. 

So when you’re searching for let’s say – London Hotels.

You’d initially see these four paid ad results and no organic search results


So what has changed?

  • There used to be three ads shown above the organic listings now there are four
  • Organic listings are now pushed further down the page below the page fold.
  • The space on the right will be used for Product Listing Ads (Shopping) as well as Knowledge Graph Boxes, like so:


Google’s reason for this is to improve the user experience on Google Search and providing a consistent user experience across desktop, mobile and tablet. With Mobile searches surpassing Desktop Searches we are all probably subconsciously familiar with the mobile layout of two ads at the top, than the traditional desktop.

But what will this mean for AdWords Advertisers? 

The decision to remove the ads from the right hand side wouldn’t have been a decision which Google has taken lightly. But AdWords is Google’s main source of revenue so to keep those profits growing, they must have identified that these top positions are where the majority of users click.

But with only four top spots available what is the impact on advertisers? Well the top four positions in the paid search results could become even more competitive resulting in higher Cost-Per-Click (CPCs). Advertisers will need to decide whether these inflated bid prices are worth the return. If Google’s user experience data is correct then this will mean that these top four ads will enjoy high Click-Through-Rate (CTRs) plus more visits and sales.

What should you consider changing?

If your ad is in one of the top four positions then it is important you use Ad Extensions to give your ad even more exposure and to help you win that click.

E-commerce sites should use the product listing ads, as these will have exposure on the right side and will promote your products and brand to the top of the search results.

If you do see bid prices in Google AdWords increase then consider other forms of paid advertising where the CPC and ultimately the cost per conversion could be less like Bing or Facebook Advertising.

 And the impact on Organic Search?

Organic search results have been pushed down, making this a very interesting (and competitive) time for SEO. We need to become creative and look at ways to make our client’s organic listings stand out. The paid ads have a limited number of characters compared to the 150 characters we can use in a Meta description to ‘win’ the click when searchers do scroll down (and they will).

Other strategies include building on your brand (social media, email campaigns etc.) so searchers actually have you in mind when looking for a specific product or service. This doesn’t matter if you are not a big brand but this could have a bigger impact on a local or industry specific search.

Without the distraction of ads on the right organic listings could receive more focus from searchers when they do scroll down the page. This could result in the page 1 organic results potentially becoming very valuable.

In summary

It is still early days since the change has only just been introduced and we haven’t seen the full impact on paid or organic search results yet. Once we have a full month’s data and we can see the impact on traffic and conversions and we as an agency will be able to advise on the best strategy for our clients.

For more information on how we can help with your Product Listing Ads or to advertise your business on Facebook, fill in our contact form or call our office on 01256 517 473.