Google’s SERP Changed: No More Right-Side Ads! 8 FAQ & Advice.

by Marissa Marazzi on March 04, 2016

Google’s latest move? Removing right-side sidebar ads. This rare bold change, has everybody in the digital world scrambling  and searching for answers. Don’t worry, we are here to clear up the confusion and give our best advice on how to adapt and adjust to this brand new update.

 8 FAQ about Google’s most recent Search Engine Results Page Change:

1. What exactly did they change?

No more right-side ads on the results page! 






2. Visually, how does this impact Google's SERP?

They’ve decreased the maximum amount of ads you can see from 11 to 7.

3. How many text ads will be displayed, three or four?

This is dependent on the search queries.  Typically, Google will be displaying three above-the-fold text ads. For "highly commercial queries" Google may display up to four text ads.

4. No more sidebar ads forever?

Eh, not really. Google will still display Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and ads within the Knowledge Graph will still display on the right sidebar for appropriate queries.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 4.07.07 PM


5. Wait, what does that mean for my Google strategy?

Fewer clicks for advertising folks that aren’t one of the top 3 or 4 paid positions.

Potential impact on organic traffic for competitive auctions.

Higher CPCs and bidding wars for those precious top spots.

Possibly lower amount of impressions and clicks, then what you’re are use to.

Depending on the keyword, If you are lower than an average position of 3 or 4 you’ll be pushed below organic results- aka (sometimes) 2nd page results *shudders*.

6. Why would Google do that?!

It makes for a cleaner user search experience and a more cohesive experience between mobile and desktop search. This in fact is not a jab from Google, trying to take down your digital strategy. Their intentions are to focus on the user and all else will follow.

7. How will this impact organic results?

Our biggest concern: a 4th ad above organic results will push down results = less traffic and lower clickthrough rates.

8. Will this impact organic results negatively?

Yes, in the sense that it will move those results further down the page.

No, if you are a top organic spot because that means a better shot at CTR.


Don’t panic, just know what you are getting yourself into.

Here's our advice:

- Optimize for that top organic spot, it is more important now than ever!

- Review how your ads appear in Google’s SERPs.

- Don’t waste your time or money in Google AdWords. Ask yourself if the specific keyword is worth the battle, if not find one that is!

- Pay attention to the types of results being displayed in Google's SERP for keywords you aim to rank organically and provide content that’s formatted for optimal performance.

- Expect bidding wars and higher CPCs for those precious top spots.

- Use CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) as a metric (or CTR) to ensure your campaign is profitable when bidding for those top spots. Conversion metrics > Click metrics.

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Topics: Automotive Digital Insights