Google has been testing four AdWords ads since 2006 and recently stepped up those tests in late 2015. Now, according to Search Engine Land, Google has confirmed that they are switching over from showing ads on the right side to having four ads at the top.
Google will no longer show ads to the right of its search results, instead it will show four ads at the top with two exceptions. Google will show PLAs (Product Listing Ads) and ads in the knowledge graph on the right hand side.
This is the talk of the SEM industry, which has been buzzing about it all weekend.
Here is a screen shot of the ads showing on the right:
Now imagine those ads on the right completely gone.
Here is a picture of that:
A Google spokesperson said:
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.
Overall, the community is mixed about this but it seems most are just in shock.
The topic on this at Google AdWords Help is "Bye bye small businesses." The folks at WebmasterWorld are saying "what a mess" and the Local Search Forums aren't into the organic results being pushed down even more.
The shocking thing to me is that the forums are pretty quiet overall about this massive change but that might change as more and more webmasters see this being pushed out.
I have to assume most my readers are not into a fourth ad at the top, even if it removes the ads on the right.