In a surprising change, Google has rolled out a new ad display layout, that has significantly changed the ad real-estate landscape on search engine results pages.  According to their spokesman, these are supposed to be for commercial and high value queries, but so far I’ve been seeing them for a quite a few queries that are not specifically commercial too.

The new layout shows 4 paid ads at the top of the search results page, and no ads at all in the sidebar.  There are still 3 at the bottom of the page, leaving a total of 7 spots to bid for, compared to the old 11 spots.

New Google Ads Layout

The 4 ads are followed by the new local 3-pack, then a single organic result, and then an image result. Then a few more organic results, a news result, and a couple more organic ones before the final 3 ads.

Only 8 organic results are showing on the page, amongst 7 ad results, 3 local ones, an image result and a news result.

Fewer Ads, More Competition

Despite the prominence of those 4 ads at the top, its clear that the change has led to fewer ads, which is going to affect bidding strategies for Google Ads.  Organic results also seem almost subdued in the midst of all this, although in reality, this same reduced number of organic results has been in effect for some time.

With fewer spots available to display ads, the competition for those spots will increase, driving up bids and possible cost per click (CPC) values.  It’s too soon to be sure how this will affect Google advertising, but its almost certain to do so in one way or another.