Adwords Beta Testing New Layout In SERPs

For a moment I thought I was using Yahoo as I scrolled down the Google search results today. There were ads at the bottom of the SERPs! I blinked and realized I was searching with Google and things were definitely different.

I asked some friends to check it out and some saw it and others didn't. I tried it Firefox, the search I did was using Chrome, and not there.

adwords top.JPG

Notice there are no ads at the right and they moved the related search recommendations over there.

adwords bottom.JPG

Gone is the search box at the bottom and now we have a Yahoo-like result. The results are not a copy of the above so it looks like the next three advertisers are getting the low spot and there are only 6 ads per page.

No doubt the loss of 4 ads will have an impact. Click thru rates should increase for the advertisers given less competition. This beta, IMHO, will not last. Dropping the lower search box will reduce searches for Google and less ads could mean less revenue.

One search test was only showing results at the bottom! Now that layout must have been suggested by someone outside of Adwords.

rare wines top.JPG

rare wine bottom.JPG

The searches were done in Chrome and I could not replicate in Firefox or Explorer browsers. Interestingly, when I did the search for rare wines nyc in the others there were 8 results on the side - so the beta results were dropping 5 advertisers' spots. The forex search showed 9 spots at the right so they were dropping 6 advertisers' spots.

This seems to be a rather limited beta - guessing Google did not want to risk too much of their revenue. Am interested to see if Google comments about this on one of their blogs - am sure they will not share results unless they plan on making the change permanent, if then. No sense letting the competition in on their research. Though Yahoo has known the results of placing ads at the bottom for a long time.

UPDATE:
Barry Schwartz of SERoundtable let me know this has been tested before, last month and even 5 years ago.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.