Google Removes Sidebar Ads

Google has recently changed its search results to remove ads from the right hand sidebar. This has been a widely talked about change and will likely have an impact on ad campaigns moving forward. As the right sidebar ads have played a key function in PPC advertising, many are wondering how it will effect Google search results and what advertising strategies will be best moving forward.

What Is the Change?

Google previously displayed 1-3 ads at the top of each search query. The right sidebar would have ads 4-8, while the bottom displayed 9-11. Now, Google will generally have 3 ads at the beginning of the search results. For “highly commercial queries,” Google will likely have 4 ads at the top of the page. Examples of these types of searches include those for car insurance and hotels. The remaining ads for the page, ads 5-7, will be located on the bottom of the page. This means the total ads on each page is less than it was previously.

Why Would Google Remove Side Ads?

Of course, increased revenue is likely to be a big factor in Google’s decision to eliminate sidebar ads. With fewer ads per page, it is likely that PPC rates for ad campaigns will go up because of competition to get on the first page of results. While many are concerned by the removal of the ads, it is well documented that click-through rates for the sidebar ads are fairly low. In fact, the sidebar ads have the lowest rates of any of the ads on the page, including bottom ads. Another factor is the increased use of mobile devices for searching. In 2015, for the first time ever, more searches were conducted on a mobile device than on a desktop, a trend that will likely continue. A mobile search has less room for ads. Removing sidebar ads creates a similar experience for desktop and mobile users.

How Will This Change Pay Per Click Campaigns?

With less ads per page, there will be more competition for top spots on the first page. Companies may need to pay more to ensure that their ads get top billing. For those advertisers that have smaller budgets for their PPC ad campaigns or are bidding for popular search terms, they may have a harder time getting on the first page. However, it is important to know that sidebar ads, as mentioned before, have a relatively low click-through rate. Bottom and sidebar ads combined only account for about 14% of total clicks. And it is only desktop searches that are affected by the change, which are less than half of all queries, making the impacted clicks drop to 7%, and that still includes bottom ad clicks. If those are removed from the equation, sidebar clicks actually account for a very small fraction of total clicks. Therefore, clicks per page should not change dramatically with their removal. In fact, while the change will affect the number of ads per page, it may actually make the ads that are displayed more efficient and a better value.

How Will This Change Organic Search Results?

Companies that rely on organic search results in their ad campaigns will see their results pushed further down on the page. Of real concern is that, on some screens and with some searches, all organic results may be pushed below the fold, meaning that users will have to scroll down before they can view any non-ad results. This could mean lower click-through rates, although true effects remain the be seen. Google is also adding more organic results per page, up to nine. Many industry experts estimate that these adjustments will not create any large scale change in the long-term. Others, however, are saying that the only real loser with the removal of sidebar ads is the organic search.

How Should Advertising Tactics Change?

Top results on the first page can be expensive and prices may go up with the removal of ads on the sidebar. Advertisers will need to determine if the PPC for their ad campaigns is worth the price. In the end, companies should stress the importance of better quality ads. This includes developing an understanding of customer needs to direct users to relevant and high quality landing pages, create ad copy that is user-centric and target search terms.

If your ad campaigns rely on organic results, you will continue to compete against PPC ads. Ads will continue to evolve, becoming more interactive to capture user interest. Site owners and companies that use SEOs must continue to strive for high ranking results through meaningful keywords. In addition, they will need to stand out among other listings using specific tools that are the right fit for their site, their company and their users.

Ultimately, the impact of the removal of Google’s right hand sidebar ads on advertisers is still unknown. What is known is that Google’s aim is to streamline the user’s experience while continuing its successful PPC advertising. The success will be determined by the algorithms for AdWords and the organic search. Advertisers can use tracking tools to determine how to better their search rankings.

Scott Cain

As Chief Marketing Officer, Scott oversees all digital marketing strategy and implementation.

At Theory Pixel, we are thrilled to unveil the stunning new website for Lone Star Landscaping – a testament to modern design meeting natural beauty. Our latest project is a seamless blend of elegance and functionality, crafted to showcase the exceptional landscaping services offered by Lone Star. Aesthetic Excellence: Experience a website that reflects the artistry of Lone Star's landscaping. Each page is a journey through visual delight, mirroring the harmony of nature. Intuitive Navigation: Effortlessly find the information you need. Our user-friendly interface ensures a smooth and enjoyable browsing experience. Interactive Features: Engage with dynamic elements like virtual garden tours and interactive design tools, bringing the landscaping experience to your fingertips. Mobile Optimization: On-the-go access to all of Lone Star's services, with a website that performs flawlessly on all devices. #WebDesignExcellence #webdesign #webdeveloper #website
At Theory Pixel, we're not just about pixels and digital landscapes! 🖥️✨ Alongside our outstanding digital marketing services, we also bring creativity to the physical world with our top-notch print design work! 🎨🖨️ Whether you need eye-catching brochures, business cards that stand out, or stunning posters, we've got you covered. Our team combines artistic flair with marketing savvy to create print designs that not only look great but also resonate with your audience. Let's blend the best of both worlds! 🌐✉️ From the screen to the paper, we're here to make your brand shine in every medium. 🔍 Discover more about our print design services and how we can elevate your brand's presence both online and offline. #TheoryPixel #PrintDesign #DigitalMarketing #BrandExcellence
Hey #TheoryPixelFamily, we’re feeling over the moon today, and it's all thanks to Luke's incredible 5-star review! 🚀✨ 🙏 Luke, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! Your kind words have filled our studio with gratitude and joy. It was a pleasure working on your project, and we’re thrilled to have been able to make a positive impact! To our amazing community, it's YOUR support that keeps us motivated to deliver top-notch design and innovation day in, day out. You inspire us to push boundaries and strive for excellence. 💪 #ClientLove #5StarReview #ThankYou #WebDesign #TheoryPixel #DesignExcellence
📱✨ Embracing Responsive Design: A Must in Today’s Digital World! ✨📲 Hey #WebWarriors and #DesignThinkers! Theory Pixel here, dropping some knowledge on the crucial importance of Responsive Web Design. 🌐💻 In a world where screen sizes vary from palm-sized smartphones to expansive desktop monitors, delivering a seamless and user-friendly experience across all devices is not just important, it’s ESSENTIAL! 🎯 🔄 Why Responsive Design? 📈 Boosts SEO: Google loves mobile-friendly websites! Enhance your SEO game and climb up those rankings with responsive design. 🛍️ Improves User Experience: No more pinching and zooming! Provide a hassle-free browsing experience, keeping your users happy and engaged. 💼 Enhances Professionalism: A responsive website reflects your commitment to quality and innovation, setting you apart in the competitive digital landscape. #ResponsiveDesign #WebDesign #MobileFriendly #UserExperience #SEO #TheoryPixel #DigitalInnovation
🚀 Transform Your Website with Consistency! 🚀 Hey #DesignCommunity, it's Theory Pixel here, diving deep into the world of web design to share a game-changing tip: the POWER of consistency! 💻✨ Ever landed on a website and felt immediately at home? That's the magic of a consistent look and feel! 🌟 🎨 Why Consistency Matters: Brand Identity: Your website is a visual story of your brand. A consistent design ensures your story is clear, compelling, and memorable. User Experience: Users crave familiarity. When your website has a uniform design, navigation becomes intuitive, creating a seamless experience that keeps visitors coming back for more. Professionalism: A consistent website exudes professionalism and attention to detail, establishing trust and credibility with your audience. #WebDesign #DesignTips #UserExperience #ConsistencyIsKey #BrandIdentity #TheoryPixel #digitalmarketingtips #digitalmarketing