New Google Search Desktop Layout
A major change rolled out to the Desktop layout of Google Search Results last Friday. For the first time since AdWords was launched in 2000, Google is no longer showing right-hand sidebar ads for most search queries. This change brings Google Desktop Search Results layouts in-line with how mobile Search Results layouts have looked for quite some time.
Though Google has yet to announce the change publicly, multiple AdWords representatives have confirmed the update and have stated that the new layout, which has been in testing on “high commercial intent” Search Queries for some time, is both “global and permanent.” While it appears that the changes have not yet rolled out to Incognito and “logged in” Google searches, this is expected shortly as well.
The new layout is comprised of 4 Paid Ads in line above the Search Results (instead of 3) and 3-4 more Paid Ads in-line at the bottom of Search Results. Google Shopping and Knowledge Graph results will still show in the sidebar when relevant.
The new Position #4 Ad unit will retain all the features of Ads in Positions #1-3, including;
- Use of all relevant Ad Extensions
- Extended continuous Headlines
- Display URL in the Headline
- Description Lines 1 and 2 can be combined as a complete sentence
As of the time of writing, the new layout is being deployed in roughly 20% of total Google Searches being tracked, up from about 4% in the early part of last week. While that may seem like only a small fraction of overall searches, most of these are considered to be “high commercial intent” queries, and are thus those most likely to be bid on by AdWords advertisers. The effect on AdWords impressions, clicks, and bids for most advertisers will likely be significant.
While the full effects of the new layout on both Paid and Organic Search will take time to discern, in the near term we may see lower position advertisers (Positions 5-11) see a drop in AdWords impressions and clicks, as well as increased CPCs across the board due to increased bidding for the top 4 spots. On the flip side, the updated Ad Position #4 likely ends up being a big winner for advertisers bidding there, as long as click costs don’t go up too much.