Longer AdWords Headlines: Google Blurring The Lines of Paid, Organic Results?

AdWords top placement ads will get longer headlines, a move Google says will increase click-through rates (CTRs) for advertisers. But has this change, combined with two other recent changes (the lowercasing of URL display names and renaming Sponsored Links to Ads) begun to blur the lines between paid and organic too much?

Here's what Google announced:

Google will change the placement of the first description line for certain ads that appear over Google's organic search results.

"For some ads where each line appears to be a distinct sentence and ends in the proper punctuation, description line 1 will be moved to the headline and separated by a hyphen. As a result, some top placement ads will have longer headlines," the company announced via Inside AdWords.

Here's their before and after example:


Only some ads will be shown with the longer headline. Google advises you to make sure each line of your ad appears as a distinct sentence and ends in the proper punctuation (e.g., period, question mark).

Is Google playing a dangerous game here by blurring the lines of paid and organic? Could this decrease trust in Google's results, rather than (as Google claims) create a better user experience?

Those are a couple good questions asked in our forums here. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the forums, or in the comments below.

About the author

Danny Goodwin formerly was Associate Editor of Search Engine Watch, where he also covered the latest search marketing and industry news. He joined Incisive Media in October 2007, in charge of copy editing columns that appeared on both Search Engine Watch and ClickZ. Prior to a life in the search industry, he worked in the journalism field, working in numerous newsroom positions, before later working as a freelance copy editor.