In response to six years of testing, Google has announced it will be removing ads from the right-hand side of all desktop search results. Ads will only be placed at the top and/or bottom of the page. Google may show an additional ad (four instead of three) above the search results for “highly commercial queries.” This change reflects Google’s desire to make user experience consistent across all devices.
There are two exceptions to this new format:
1. Product Listing Ads
2. Ads in the Knowledge Panel
This dramatic change cuts the available ad inventory in search results from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven. What does this mean for advertisers? Surprisingly, not much. Some will see a decline in impressions as ads may not be served as frequently with the inventory decline. Cost- per-click could possibly increase for popular keywords and brands as advertisers try to maintain position; however, both of these scenarios will only affect desktop search results. If an advertiser has maintained high positions on mobile results, they shouldn’t see a change
On the bright side, overall clicks and click-through rates (CTR) should increase as ads on the top of paid search results have historically received significantly higher CTR than ads on the right.