Alexander Clark | Smart Insights | Tue, 23 Feb 2016 11:30:00 +0000

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Adwords bidding landscape has changed as Google confirm the right sidebar on desktop SERP is to be removed.

Importance: (For PPC Managers & SEO managers)

Recommended source: Search Engine Land

Google have ended their six-year experiment with the Sidebar ads, instead opting for three above-the-fold text ads for queries on the desktop SERP and a further 3 ads at the bottom.

“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.â€

A fourth ad will be shown for only the highly commercial queries such as “Car Insurance”, “Hotels in New York” and “Cheapest Smartphones”, so the types of search where people express a deep intention to buy.

Although we were a little taken aback, this news doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as Google have been bringing their search results to be more aligned with the mobile experience over the past year or so. However, this doesn’t mean the death of the sidebar, as removing the ads has provided more real-estate for relevant Product Listing Ads (PLAs), as evidenced below.

How will this affect Cost-Per-Click?

In short, we don’t know yet. It will vary based on competition in each sector.

And probably won’t have a definitive answer until this has been in place for an extended period of time. The principles of supply and demand would suggest costs will increase, as there are only 6 or 7 ads in the new format, compared to the 11 ads displayed previously.

However, it’s too early to say. We may yet be surprised!

How will this effect Organic Listings?

The effect this will have on organic results is also raising a few raised eyebrows across the SEO community, with Raj Nijjer highlighting zero organic listings above the fold. It’s been suggested that these results aren’t typical, however it’s certainly cause for concern.

Further Reading

If you want to do a little further reading PPC Hero have done a detailed review of what the announcement means for you.

Likewise, TheSEMPost who revealed the change have written another post highlighting a few more of the updates.

Let us know what you think!

Google Sidebar Ads - PLA