Google Updates Its Definition Of Top Ads; They May Not Be At The Top

Mar 28, 2024 - 7:41 am 3 by
Filed Under Google Ads

Google Ads Times Square

Back in October we reported that Google has confirmed its search ads, Google Ads, can show up mixed in the middle of the organic search results. Now Google is updating its help documentation to change the definition of top ads to say the ads may appear below the organic results, ultimately not making the ads appear at the top.

A Google spokesperson told me, "We updated our definition of top ads in our Help Center to better reflect how ads can appear in Google Search today. This is a definitional change that doesn’t affect how performance metrics are calculated."

Google updated the top ads help document to now say:

Top ads are adjacent to the top organic search results. Top ads are generally above the top organic results, although top ads may show below the top organic results on certain queries. Placement of top ads is dynamic and may change based on the user’s search.

This help page now references top ads and says:

When people search on Google, text ads can appear at different positions relative to organic search results. Top ads are adjacent to the top organic search results. Top ads are generally above the top organic results, although top ads may show below the top organic search results on certain queries. Placement of top ads is dynamic and may change based on the user's search.

Previously it said:

When people search on Google, text ads can appear above or below the search results. Only up to four ads are eligible to show above the search results.

Ginny Marvin, Google's Ads Liaison, posted about this on X adding:

An FYI: To better reflect how ads can appear in Google Search today, we’ve updated the definition of top ads.

Note that this is a definitional change (as ads can appear above the organic result or below for certain queries) and doesn’t affect how performance metrics are calculated.

Google also told me that as ads placement continues to evolve on search, Google said it will remain dedicated to connecting advertisers with users interested in their products and services.

Here is the screenshot from last October showing Google search ads in the middle of the search results page, and not at the top of the page:

Google Search Ads Mixed In Organic Results2 1698183472

Here is some of the reaction:

Forum discussion at X.

 

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