Google’s new advert layout: what does it mean?

Google’s new advert layout: what does it mean?

Google has recently changed the layout for its search results; displaying up to four adverts above organic search results, and completely removing the adverts seen on the right hand side of your page. This doesn’t sound like a massive change in terms of visuals, but what does it mean for your SEO and PPC campaigns?

Google have been testing the four advert structure above the organic results for many years, although they only appear for a small set of searches. However, this new structure of adverts will see more and more searches show the same four adverts for hundreds more brands. We are yet to see how this impacts the SEO world in the long run, but we did some research into the positives and negatives.


Recent analysis shows that adverts above organic results receive 14 x the click-through rate of the same advert, with the same keywords, on the right hand side of the page. There are many factors that lead to his happening; one of the reasons could be down to visual awareness for the customer, secondly, within Google Adwords, adverts receiving a better Quality Score are winning more auctions to then be listed higher on the page.

Only having four advert positions will also mean more accurate Average Position reporting. Before the change, there were up to eleven adverts on the page at one time, so advertisers with high advert positions would see their mean average (standard average position) alter below the mode average (the most frequent position) by the other adverts appearing further down the results list. This inaccurate reporting will now be reduced due to the lack of positions available for adverts to appear in, essentially leaving more room for true advert positioning to analysed. 



This new structure for the results page will drastically impact the auction dynamics in PPC. Instead of eleven adverts being seen on a page, we’ll now see a maximum of seven – and more than half of those results are in the high-value banner positions at the top of the page. This means that bidding for the spaces will increase, as companies try to maintain their impression share and battle for the top page positions. 

Long term predictions

The balance between your SEO and PCC is going to be more important than ever: we’ve found a screen shot to illustrate a typical commercial search results page from Google, four adverts, eight shopping results and one natural search result. This is only 8% of the area showing organic search results, which could be quite tricky for managing SEO traffic.



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PPC results will also become more expensive; increasing CPCs will mean that your SEO will need to work harder than before – so you need to make sure that your campaigns are working together harmoniously. Remember that whilst PPC  adverts can mean more traffic with higher ROI to your website – you need to be careful about where you are spending your money and which particular search results will benefit your business and ultimately, your customer.

Google is a wonderful tool for company growth – when used correctly; speak to our experts today to find out how your SEO and PPC campaigns can be tailored to work for your business.