No More Sidebar Ads for Google

google removes right side ads February 2016

Google has been known to keep things fresh, and their daily doodles show how the company isn’t scared to change things around frequently.  However, the gears that drive the search engine that is Google don’t noticeably change.  Granted, there are fairly frequent algorithm upgrades, but we don’t see these, and the results pages have looked more or less the same for years now.  That is why the fact that the company has decided to remove its right sidebar ads is pretty big news.

Google has decided to free up space on its results pages, and has done so by completely removing the ads that used to be stacked down the right side of the results page.  This certainly makes the pages look less cluttered, but it has a significant impact on advertisers.  While there used to be a total of eleven ad spots available on a results page, the removal of the sidebar ads means there are now only seven spots.  This could have a significant impact on competitive bidding as well as organic traffic.

The Effect of Less Google Ads

The removal of the four sidebar ads could affect traffic in two ways.  Firstly, fewer ad spots could certainly affect the cost of spots.  With advertisers clamouring to be seen on the results pages, the price for ads could potentially skyrocket, forcing some of the smaller advertisers out of the game altogether.

A decrease in advertising availability might cause some of the advertisers working with smaller budgets to allocate their resources towards garnering traffic organically.  This would allow them to focus on getting to the top of the list of results without having to spend money on advertising.  But the decrease in available advertising space might have a negative impact on organic results, too.

With fewer ad spots altogether, Google may well insert up to four ads at the top of the results pages.  This would mean that organic results might, in some cases, only start appearing after the fold, which means that users would have to scroll down just to see the first organic result.

If this is the case, the ads at the top of the results list would likely get far more clicks, and companies relying on organic clicks may begin to suffer.

The best thing for companies that are unable to maintain their place in the top four ad spots would be a keyword review.  Refining keyword marketing could allow these companies to be the best of a different list, which will have the benefit of opening them up to a new world of customers.

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