No More Google Right-Rail Search Ads – Bad for Advertisers?

In February 2016, Google dropped right rail ads from it’s search engine results page (SERP). How has this affected search engine marketing for advertisers?

The Changes

Here’s what the SERP looks like now for paid ads:

  • Total ad positions have dropped from 11 down to 7.
  • “Top position” spacing has increased from 3 up to 4 positions.

These are the major changes. As you can see, there’s a little give and take. Advertisers lost 4 potential ad placements, but gained one top ad position above organic results.

What Has This Meant for Advertisers?

The changes have produced higher levels of competition. With less positions for search ads, advertisers are now competing harder than ever for a regular position on Google’s SERP.

Advertisers now have to play more into Googles Ad Rank system, which rewards high position to advertisers with a high bid + high quality score. This means increased cost-per-clicks and more creative advertising. But is this a bad thing?


As a search engine marketer, I’m happy with the drop of right-rail ads. Here’s why:

  • SERP Look-n-Feel – The change has given Google’s SERP more consistency. Paid search ads are now displayed in a similar fashion to their organic counterparts.
  • Better Advertising  – Advertisers have had to step up there game. Higher quality ads means more credibility to users.

The drop  of right-rail ads is a huge change in Google’s SERP design. What are your thoughts on the new face of paid search?

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Jon Kaspszak

Jon is an avid digital marketer and works in software marketing. You can find him on LinkedIn. He would love to hear from you!

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