Is Google testing placing ads between organic search results?
Patrick Stox, Ahrefs product advisor, technical SEO and brand ambassador, first noticed that sponsored posts have started appearing where the third and fifth organic positions normally run.
He shared a screenshot of the SERP on X:
Here’s a video of it Stox shared on X:
Why we care. Expanding this experiment could potentially lead to more clicks for advertisers in areas that have always been organic spots in Google Search. However, this is potentially more bad news for SEOs as Google continues its ongoing trend of removing and minimizing organic search real estate. It could also be bad for users who are already complaining about the quality of Google Search results, potentially leading to negative user experiences.
What Google is saying. Google’s Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin responded on X, neither confirming nor denying this is a test. But she also didn’t call it a bug:
- “We’re regularly experimenting and don’t have anything more to share at this point.”
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About the author
Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.