Google recently confirmed that it has stopped displaying ads on the right side of search results worldwide.
We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.
To replace the ads on the right side, Google has introduced a new layout and essentially brought the desktop search page to resemble the mobile search experience.
You will notice a “toggle” under than PLA box (short for Product Listing Ad) with 5 product listings. Once you click the toggle, the box spreads wide to make room for 16 product listings.
Why has Google decided to switch on with this change now?
Well, it’s not new for Google to experiment and mix things a bit every now and then. These changes were under way since 2010 but the most probable reason is the search revenue dip reported recently. This shift in its search engine page could go some way in addressing the decline. The cost per clicks are poised to increase because of the aggressive bidding war to stay on the top four, thus generating the added revenue for Google.
On mobiles, Google had already been using scrollable carousel for a while. Employing a similar design for its desktop search indicates the ever growing importance of advertising and the rise of consumer shopping trends on hand held devices.
The right hand side ads won’t really be missed. The new layout is cleaner, less cluttered and provides a far more visually pleasing experience than before.
I think this new ad format brings in more profitable PLA listings on desktop for Google. And with providing a better search and shopping experience for the consumers, it more than compensates for the right-side text ads!