Right-Sided Ads Removed From Google’s Desktop Searches

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With people losing their patience with the number of ads on search engines, Google has made the dramatic step of removing the ads that are usually found on the right side of a search engine results page on desktop web browsers. The company is continuing with the ads that feature at the top of the search engine results page, but the side bar ads will never be seen again. There might be a slight increase in the number of top ads shown, but those are not confirmed.

Google has taken years to test the circumstances around their ads. Tests conducted from 2010 to the present have shown Google that most individuals do not pay attention to the right-side ads shown on the search results page. In fact, it makes them more likely to use ad blocking software on the results. The top-only ads are still popular, because they sometimes provide results that the user wanted.

This action applies to search engines in all countries and languages. The only exceptions are the Knowledge Panel advertisements and the boxes that include Product Listings. If someone makes a highly commercial search request, they might get additional ad-based search results at the top of the page.

When speaking about the changes, Google confirmed that they spent a lot of time debating this issue and testing the different possibilities. They promise that more tweaks will occur to this method, with their current statements not set in stone. Their goal is to produce queries that are both relevant and commercial, which is why their focus remains on the ads at the top of the page.

If you are confused about the meaning of highly commercial searches, it refers to items such as a city’s name or the buying of products or services. If someone searches for “restaurants in Boston” or “health insurance,” they are likely to get an additional ad-based result at the top of the page.

This move also ensures that the results page for Google searches are almost identical on desktops and mobile browsers. There will probably have less ads shown at the top of the results page for mobile users as compared to desktop users.

There was some confusion about whether or not the changes applied to the PLA boxes or their Knowledge Panel. However, Google specifically says that there are two exceptions to the complete removal of the side ads. It appears they are still contemplating the specifics of those exceptions, or whether they will go ahead and remove all the side-bar ads.

To summarize, here are brief descriptions of the changes:

  1. Text ads are gone from the right side area.
  2. There are probably adding an additional search result at the top of the page that is ad based.
  3. The ads shown at the bottom of the page are staying the same (usually three).
  4. When adding up all the ad locations, users can expect no more than seven ads per results page. In comparison, most results showed as many as 11 ads in the past.

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