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Side ads have been on Google’s search results since the start of the new millennium — and if you’re observant, you probably have noticed that they’re no longer there. This is because Google has decided to get rid of them completely.


Google kills side ads from paid search. But why? What’s the rationale behind this decision?

According to Google, they’ve been testing out a new layout for some time and it’s proving to be more effective than using the side ads. With this change, search results will be more relevant and beneficial for advertisers who want to increase traffic and conversion rates.

Google SERP Updates - MGR Blog

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Many, however, are concerned about how big a change this will create for online marketing campaigns. Google quickly goes straight to the point in saying that there won’t be any major negative impact. In fact, this small change accomplishes the main intention of improving overall marketing performance.

First of all, the performance of side ads has always paled in comparison to that of top ads. In comparative reports, it was determined that about 85% of clicks came from top ads while the remaining 15% is shared by side and bottom ads. It’s such a small percentage — almost dismissible. The new layout for ads, which has a fourth spot added, can easily compensate for the loss of clicks from side ads.

Secondly, without the side ads, search results look more organic. A more organic appearance is believed to be preferred more by a lot of online users; they find everything simply more relevant and trustworthy. Likewise, the fourth top ad spot, which replaces side ads, allows advertisers to add more information to the ad (such as sitelinks and description, contact information, map or product images), and boost click-through rates. Side ads didn’t allow for the inclusion of those bits of valuable information for marketing.

And lastly, the removal of side ads will create a more consistent look for search results. It’s going to be the same look whether you’re using your desktop computer or a compact Web-connecting device such as a smartphone or tablet. As for impressions, advertisers can expect more ad impressions on SERPs.


Google’s decision to kill off side ads is completely justified, so if you’re an advertiser, you don’t have to worry about the absence of side ads in paid searches. They were found to be deficient, so it was a logical decision to replace them with something that can better yield target results.  The word is still out to see how traditional organic SEO will be affected by this change.  It has definitely make it yet a bit more challenging to rank on page one organically given the reduced number of spots available.  Some say Google is leaning towards removing organic results from page one altogether.  Time will tell…

If your SEO and PPC campaigns are managed by our MGR SEO Team, you don’t need to worry.  We are constantly monitoring industry trends and results to make any adjustments needed to optimize your campaigns.  If you would like to have MGR manage your SEO or PPC campaigns, feel free to contact us at

Thank you for reading.  Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)