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Google Testing SERP with Up to 16 Product Listing Ads

Given the success of Google Product Listing Ads, new feature testing that brings greater prominence to the format should come as little surprise.  Recently, it appears that Google has been testing a new SERP design that does just that.

Here’s a screenshot taken yesterday that shows a new PLA expansion arrow feature, which we haven’t seen pointed out elsewhere yet:

After clicking on the expansion arrow, the number of PLAs visible increases from 5 listings to 16.

Expanding product listings not only gives a lot more real estate to PLA results, it also pushes organic listings even further down the page, benefiting PLA heavy advertisers.

If this test expands to all users and searches, it could provide another significant boost to the PLA format, roughly a year after Google began using it to power Google Shopping.

  • Nick Bremenstul
    Nick is a Paid Search Analyst at RKG.
  • Comments
    17 Responses to “Google Testing SERP with Up to 16 Product Listing Ads”
    1. Paul Rice says:

      I can’t wait to see the data you guys will have on this change.

    2. Brian B. says:

      Great catch…major PLA supplement

    3. Look like google has made all the preparation to turn the search engine into a complete paid version. No place for free listing

    4. DennisG says:

      Yep, like clockwork, testing starts in July, full roll out in October just before the shopping season.
      Just like last year with the introduction of PLA’s, and the dial down of large shopping sites in the organic results end of Oct.
      Panic ensued with the SEO teams at these sites…

      You can expect more to come in the shopping area in the months to come!
      Question is, will you go long in Google stock for Q4?

    5. Anju Yadav says:

      It prove somewhere organic result are given low priority by Google and paying great emphasis on paid search . Soon organic results will have on no place on first page of SERP.

    6. Good tip – thanks.

      This has been inevitable since G relaunched Base/Froogle as Merchant Center back in 2008, introducing Product Extensions with images and Plus Box shortly afterwards. They showed us a preview at their “Above and Beyond” Conference in Dublin but we were under NDA.

      Google is going after Amazon (been saying it since 2010), and this move looks to be the death blow for SEO for commercial clicks (product sales).

      SEO will still have its place for information, but as far as physical products are concerned, now there’s no such thing as free clicks any more.

    7. David, thanks for your comments. I agree that the migration of “high commercial intent” queries from a SERP that looks like a bunch of relevant websites, to a SERP that looks like and probably acts like a “shop now” experience has been coming for a while. I don’t think it will lead to a total abandonment of organic listings for those queries though. Google has benefited from the “habit” of Google. People who prefer the organic listings could easily switch loyalties to Bing. Then again, having those who don’t like ads go to Bing might not be such a big loss for G! :-)

    8. Sahil says:

      Though the search engine result pages (SERPs) sometimes seems to be dominated by ads, its Google’s innovation in this field to slowly but creatively occupy the search real estate with ads to increase their ad revenue that needs to be appreciated. The result pages still look the same until user expands the ad listing by clicking on the arrows.

    9. David makes an excellent point here in his comments. As a percentage of business E-commerce has been declining steadily for SEO Companies (on the organic end) because they see the writing on the wall. Pay Google directly to have your products listed instead of going through the fire and brimstone of SEO. There is still a market for Adwords Management for E-commerce and for big brands this is still relevant because of all the long tail searches. For niche e-commerce though paying Google will be a much more cost effective strategy.

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