By David Alpern
Two months after revealing testing of this tactic, Google this week announced that it is rolling out for computer desktop queries globally an expanded 4 ads at the top of search results pages (SERP). Advertisements will no longer appear down the right hand side. This echoes the mobile and tablet experience, which do not have sidebar ads, creating a seamless ad and search experience across mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
This has been the buzz of the PPC and SEO communities this past weekend with many expressing shock. Small businesses with modest budgets will be hurt as the newly added 4th ad at the top comes in place of up to 7 first page slots of “ad real estate” on the (now defunct) RHS sidebar. Also, organic results are being pushed down even more. Bottom line, Google AdWords advertising is about to get more expensive (bidding wars) due to increased keyword bidding competition for the precious few spaces available on page 1.
Expect to see the empty sidebar real estate on SERPs begin to be harnessed even more by Google’s various tools including Product Listing Ads, Google Flights, etc.