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AdWords Ads Get a Makeover on Google SERPs

Samantha Noble

by Samantha Noble on 26th August 2010

Rarely content with the status quo, Google have been making some rather eye-catching changes to the way in which AdWords advertising is presented on its SERPs in recent weeks.

I’m not just talking about the subtle transition over to a pale lilac hue for the top results, but the options available within the results themselves. We’ve seen a number of new elements appear and doubtless there will be more to come.

Let’s take a look at few of the more eye-catching updates.

Map Feature

Not content with providing a local search map within organic results, Google have given advertisers the option to include a map within their ads too. Although not appearing immediately on SERPs, many ads now offer a ‘Show map of…’ option. This drops down as a map with full contact details included for good measure.

Pros – Enables visitors to find you quickly and contact you without even visiting your site (or clicking the ad).

Cons – Not a great deal of use to multi-location companies who aren’t engaging in geographical targeting for each bricks and mortar site.

Locations Near Feature

Not only can you benefit from having a map, but you can then actually search for nearby locations within that self same ad dropdown. So if you’re looking services in your area, simply enter an address and find the company’s nearest outlet.

Pros – Perform some hyper-local searching and find the business closest to you. This avoids wasted clicks and throwing away budget.

Cons – What happens if you’re not local enough? After all there may well be an organic local search map on the same page highlighting competitors in the immediate surrounding area of the searcher.

Sitelink Variations

Not happy with just having four standard sitelinks for your adverts? Well, why not add a little bit of creativity and make them standout. So far we’ve encountered three variations of the original (below), these are as follows:

Numbered Sitelinks

Starred Sitelinks

Ticked Sitelinks

Pros – Gets more attention for your targeted pages.

Cons – Can look a little cluttered and confusing on first sight – not entirely clear they’re links.

Shopping Images

Not satisfied with listing a few additional sitelinks with each ad? Well, why not include links, with images, to the products themselves?

Just as with organic search, a selection of products can be included within ads, featuring the price, name and of course the picture. This provides a mini product page right there in the Google SERPs courtesy of AdWords.

Pros – A great way to promote your key items within the SERPs and enabling searchers to get straight to the desired page.

Cons – Information overkill. There’s only a select few items presented, if these don’t appeal will searchers go elsewhere for their products?

Shopping Result Ranking

If you’ve been receiving a fair few rankings from happy shoppers, these will often appear alongside any organic rankings on Google SERPS. Well, now they can also be included within AdWords too. These rankings come courtesy of Google Products.

Pros – A great way of showing potential visitors that you are a business to be trusted and encourage more clicks through to the site.

Cons – Not quite as good if you’ve received a few dodgy ratings along the way.


Overall the changes made within AdWords appear to provide more value for advertisers. Whilst you can still continue to develop standard PPC ads, these extra elements give greater choice and freedom for personalisation.

By exporting the features they’ve developed for their natural results, Google will no doubt hope to channel more visitors through the paid links on their SERPs. As with the near indecipherable colouration of the new AdWords box, Google are continually developing and innovating, but always with a keen eye on monetising search. Who knows what they’ll develop next?

Samantha Noble

Samantha Noble

Samantha Noble is the Marketing Director at Koozai; having worked within the marketing industry for over nine years, Sam has a plethora of marketing knowledge. With a strong understanding of digital marketing techniques, Sam will be covering all aspects of search and the industry in general.


  • J73 27th August 2010

    I’m afraid the numbers, starred and ticked site links are being disapproved by Google increasingly now – against policy regarding use of ‘gimmicky’ symbols in ad copy. Previously site links did not go through an approval process in terms of text but are now being reviewed by Google as more and more advertisers are trying to include symbols.

    Reply to this comment

  • Charlie Oakham 31st August 2010

    Great blog post!!

    You can also have video formats* and click to call numbers in sitelink extensions.

    (*Although video formats are still in Beta!)

    Reply to this comment

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