- Google’s search engine response page (SERP) is getting a new and slimmer look with the tech giant dropping ads from the right side of desktop search results pages.
- Ads will appear at the top and bottom of the SERP, including four instead of three ads at the top for "highly commercial queries," per Google, such as a search with the keywords "car insurance."
- Even though ads are being dropped from the right side of the SERP, Google is making two exceptions to the new policy for product listing ads, which can appear above or to the right of search results, and ads in the knowledge panel.
On adding a fourth ad above a search query, Google said in a 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.”
Holly Pauzer, client insights and research manager at Adlucent, told Marketing Dive, "While Google continuously experiments with layout changes, updates as major as this are rare. Brands should expect competition for the top three spots on the SERP to increase, and CPCs to follow. Advertisers will need to be more granular in their build out to be eligible for more auctions, and should turn to tools like Google's Customer Match to target the right consumers and retain efficiency."
Search Engine Land reported it was tipped to the change in Google’s SERP ad layout by an advertiser who asked to remain anonymous as well as The Media Image which already covered the news.
The new layout on the desktop gives it a similar look to the mobile search experience which doesn’t have a right rail on the SERP. Both Search Engine Land and Ad Age speculated that the move is also an effort to reduce search ad inventory, which will drive up competition, and price, for the three or four ads that appear at the top of the SERP.