It’s Official, Google is Discontinuing Sidebar Ads
As of February 19, 2016, Google is no longer going to be showing right hand “sidebar” ads which currently appear to the right of its search results. Instead, it will only place ads at either the top and/or bottom of the page and will apply to all searches in all languages worldwide. This change comes with two exceptions: ads in the Knowledge Panel will not be affected nor will Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes, which will continue to be located either above or to the right of the search results.
In addition, Google has indicated that it may show an additional fourth ad, as opposed to its customary three ads, which are located above the search results for what it calls “highly commercial queries.”
In fact, according to Google’s official statement on the change, “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.”
In terms of the effects of this change, there are several, and unfortunately, not all effects of this change look to have positive effects.
First, the change of the new ad placement impacts all searches worldwide by making desktop and mobile searches appear much more similar. It also severely affects high volume and general search terms, as well as long-tail and niche terms which will no longer have right-hand ads.
Furthermore, since the update is limited to desktop search results pages, it may affect website traffic and can also cause a decline in the click-through rate of ads that appear beneath the third or fourth positions.
In other words, with four ads at the top of the page, the organic results will be pushed down below the fold, making them less likely to be clicked on by users. Organic results on Google are the sites that show up under the paid listings, which is the target placement of where you want your site’s link to appear.
Google’s change also has major repercussions for search advertisers. This change may cause the cost of advertising to rise, more specifically, the average cost-per-clicks will more than likely inflate to compete for the top positions, as research has demonstrated that users customarily view and interact with the top of the search engine results page and usually neglect the bottom.
Worried About How this Change May Affect Your Website? Contact Results Driven Marketing Now
If you are concerned about how Google’s removal of sidebar ads may affect your site’s rankings, contact Results Driven Marketing for help. We are continuing to monitor the effects of this change and can help you to develop competitive strategies so that your website rankings remain at ideal levels. To learn more about how Results Driven Marketing can make a difference for you, contact us today either online or at (215) 393-8700.