Big Changes to AdWords Results

Published: February 2016

After being spotted in the wild for a few weeks now, it now seems we’ve seen a big shift in how Google displays its AdWords results. As of the 19th February, Google has ceased showing ads on the right hand side of the page, except for some product listing ads.

AdWords search for Hotels no sidebar

Google’s new search with no side bar ads

AdWords Search for Hotels

Google search with side bar ads

Google are now only showing 7 ads per page. In an increase on the original 3 ad results at the top of the page, there will now be 4 ads shown above the organic results and 3 below. In a desktop departure that is now representative of their mobile results, this is the biggest change to the search engine results pages for quite some time, but what does it mean for you?

1. Be prepared to pay more.

With fewer ad spaces available, the shoot out for the new top 4 positions could well get fierce. Google are not fools and will have done their research to ensure the future profitability of AdWords due to increased competition and sidebar ads historically having a poorer click-through-rate across the board.

2. SEO suffers again.

Yet again organic results are being pushed even further down the page. With local map results prevalent on most searches too, the chances of appearing above the fold is getting more and more unlikely.

3. Get optimised.

Ensuring you are utilising the full suite of available ad extensions AdWords provides has never become more important. Making your ads stand out over your competition by improving your click-through-rate and ad rank won’t stop it, but will help to limit the bids you’ll need to increase.

4. Hang on just a second.

Don’t make any rash decisions. Monitor your traffic; keep an eye on average position and your Top vs Other report segment. If you are seeing fluctuations, it is far better to make an informed decision than just upping your bids in a knee jerk reaction. Always remember this change affects everyone equally and your competitors may react differently. Your ROI is your goal, not to chase position one out of vanity.

We are still awaiting the official announcement from Google that should follow shortly, but if you would like to speak to Urban River about your paid search strategy, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on 0191 456 6199 or email us at

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