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Will Google move Adwords ads toward the bottom of the SERPs?

Google has been experimenting a lot with the lay out of the search interface. Last friday they introduced a new search interface for tablets. This new interface differs from the desktop interface in many ways, but one important difference is that the AdWords advertisement will only be shown at the top and the bottom of the SERPs. In the landscape mode there will be a maximum two ads at the top and three at the bottom, in the portrait mode there will be a maximum three ads at the top as well as at the bottom. Side ads will be disappearing completely.

Today Search Engine Land reported on a test where Adwords ads appeared at the bottom of the SERPs on a regular search interface. Will Google start to move ads to the bottom of all the SERPs? It could very well be. A few weeks ago Google AdWords enabled the possibility to segment campaign performance on top vs. side ads. Our first findings showed CTR for top ads were 10 to 30 times higher than for side ads. Eye tracking studies by Eyetools also suggest the side ads hardly get noticed, except the first few.

The last ads hardly get any attention. According to the research the last four ads even get less attention than the 10th organic result. The classic data from AOL also showed the last organic result had a higher CTR than the ninth result.

By placing the ads at the bottom Google could offer an alternative when the organic results don’t return a satisfying result. We also have seen Google presenting ads for related queries at the bottom of the side bar. When you keep in mind that Google now sometimes offers related searches at the bottom of the results, this position would be perfect for AdWords ads for related queries.

With this test and data from tablets, Google will test the effects of ads at the bottom. We just have to wait and see whether this gives satisfying results for Google. But I personally suspect we will see the ads at the bottom in the regular interface in the near feature.

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AUTHORED BY:

Jeroen van Eck is a consultant search engine marketing at the online marketing company E-Focus in the Netherlands.