Google Loses Sidebar AdWords Ads – My Take

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McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

Google announced a permanent change two weeks ago in regards to how it displays Google AdWords ads. If you’ve been oblivious to this change, make sure to go to Google.com and look – it is naked to the right of the organic results, but don’t expect the page to stay that way.

First here are the important things that Google has said about this change.

  1. It is permanent! They have tested this layout before and then reverted back but they did announce that this time the change is permanent.
  2. Get ready to see more content on the right – like the knowledge graph and carousel at the top. Read my blog post on that. Right now for some queries you will see Google Shopping ad images, but get ready for more content in this spot; keeping users on Google longer.
  3. AdWords click costs must go up. Although Google says an ambiguous no, not really, maybe. The reality is that ad spaces have moved from 13 to 15 slots to now 4 above organic results, 3-4 below the results so a max of 7 or 8 ads per page. With a nearly 50% drop in ad space, you’ve got to be kidding yourself if cost per click won’t go up. Ramped up auctions for smaller ad spaces simply pads Google’s pockets.

Now, with all these changes, what happens to the organic results? Have you looked lately? Well here is my candid opinion…

Ads are stacked up top, then Google My Business sites (old Google Maps listings) show pushing organic results now down below the fold for many queries. Make sure to take a look on mobile which Google says accounts for more than 50% of its searches, all you’ll see in the smaller screen is ads.

With ads served to look like organic results and better looking paid ads – with maps and site links, consumers are clicking ads more and not searching for organic results.

This is a really big shift for business. I personally feel that with the shrinking organic space, AdWords activity is the new “must” for smart businesses. You simply will not be able to live without paid exposure now, and for the future.

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