Google testing ads between organic results?

Sponsored posts have been spotted where the third and fifth organic positions usually run in Google's search result pages.

Chat with SearchBot

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:

Lidia Infante found it a few hours earlier:

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.”

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for Search Engine Land and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the search community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Nicola Agius
Nicola Agius was Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land from 2023-2024. She covered paid media, 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.

Get the must-read newsletter for search marketers.