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Last Friday, rumors started circulating that Google planned to remove all PPC ads on the right-hand side of search results. These rumors have now been confirmed by Google. Today, final changes to the roll-out will be completed.
Google has removed paid search ads from the right side of the search results page, reportedly due to low click-through rates. Instead, the top bar can now potentially show up to 4 ads instead of 3, and more ads are being displayed at the bottom of the page.
Before and After:
The 4th ad in the top space will show for more commercial queries, per Google’s official statement:
“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 right side will still be used for paid shopping results and any Knowledge Graph advertisement.
How does this impact your paid search strategy?
CPCs are likely to increase as advertisers compete more aggressively for the top 3 positions. Those advertisers who have regularly been bidding for positions in the 4-6 range will either need to increase their bids to achieve a higher position or accept a large decrease in visibility.
How does this impact your SEO strategy?
With more ads at the top of the page, organic results are pushed farther down. In some cases, there may not be any organic listings above the fold. That puts more pressure on achieving higher positions in organic results.