PPC Guide: Where paid search ads appear in Google search results

In this first chapter of our Guide to PPC advertising, we look at how and where various search ad formats appear on search results pages.

Text ads

Text ads can appear at the top and bottom of the search results pages on both desktop and mobile. Up to four text ads may appear at the top of mobile and desktop search results.

text ads on google search results
Fig 2 – Up to four text ads appear at the top of the search results

The engines also serve text ads at the bottom of search results pages.

Local ads

Businesses with physical locations can show ads in the local pack, (Fig. 2) and Google Maps (Fig. 4). The corresponding pins on the map show in green and display an “Ad” label when a user hovers over them.

Fig. 4 – Local ads in Google Maps

Ads sometimes also appear in Search in the local pack of listings that pulls data from Google My Business.

Shopping ads

Shopping ads, also called product listing ads (PLA) by Google, and product ads by Bing and Yahoo, are a growing area for both retailers and the search engines (Fig. 5). These ads are delivered through a different campaign mechanism from text ads. These image-based ads include the price, merchant name, reviews and offers. Google matches users’ search queries to data included in merchants’ product catalog feeds. The ads can appear in carousels at the top of the search results on mobile and desktop, and in the right column on desktop in a block or in a “knowledge card.” An example is shown below.

materials attribute showing in google shopping ads
Fig. 5 – Shopping ads

Shopping ads are feed-based and can appear in Search, Image Search, on YouTube and third-party sites.

Next up in Chapter 2 of our guide, learn how the PPC auction works, including Quality Score and Ad Rank.

Read more of The Search Engine Land Guide to PPC: