Google desktop search results change: no sidebar ads, 4 ads at the top. So what?

Last Friday (February 19), Google confirmed that search results pages on desktop will no longer show text ads in the right sidebar.*

Instead, as many as four text ads will display above the organic listings, and three text ads will show at the bottom of the page.

The total number of text ads that can appear on a SERP will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of 7.

***the elimination of right-side ads impacts all desktop searches worldwide; the addition of the fourth ad above search results will happen for “highly commercial queries” - queries with the intent to buy. (as per Search Engine Land

What this change to Google SERPs might mean:

1. fewer ads might lead to higher prices due to supply and demand.

2. SEOs might start seeing their sites being pushed further down the page and/or fewer organic listings might be shown per page.

Notice the word 'might'.

As of right now, there's no evidence that organic listings are affected much by this change.

There are still 10 organic listings per page.

Sure they might be pushed down a bit on a small percentage of queries (after all, how many queries really fit to be deemed at “highly commercial queries”?), but for the most part, little should change for organic listings. At least, at the moment...

Learn more about the change in this post by +Jennifer Slegg, as well as this one by +Ginny Marvin and +Pete Meyers at Moz


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