As of Friday the 19th of February 2016, Google confirmed that paid ads will no longer show in the right sidebar of Google desktop results pages – something that has been tested by Google on and off over the years.

So…where have the ads moved to?

From now on, a maximum of 4 Google paid ads will display at the top of the results page and a maximum of three paid results will show at the bottom of the page. This means, if your ad was sitting at around 5th position, it will now move to the bottom of the results page.

I don’t use AdWords – will this still affect my website’s visibility in search?

It may do. As little as 7 organic results (natural/un-paid) can now feature on a SERP (search engine results page), making it even harder to get your business featured on the first page of results naturally. So whilst your business may have sat comfortably on the first page before, this change may push it over to the 2nd page.
Some elements of a SERP will still remain displayed in the right sidebar, for instance product listings and Knowledge Panels (the box that displays information/an overview about a business).

An Updated Overview of a Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

ads no longer visible in right sidebar1) Google paid ads at the top of the results. There can be a maximum of four text ads. These are identifiable by the yellow ‘Ad’ badge next to the result.
2) This result is now the number 1 SERP position for organic/natural searches under the paid ads. Now noticeably further down than before.
3) Google paid ads at the bottom of the results. There can be a maximum of three text ads again identifiable by the yellow ‘Ad’ badge.
4) The right sidebar of the Google SERP where ads used to display previously. Now only product listings and Knowledge Panels will display here.

As an approved Google Partner, Austin Marketing can help with both advice and support with your website search positioning. If you would like to find out more information about our SEO and AdWords services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.