In search, its all about where you show up. Look at the user attention data picture below from this study. Small wonder that paid search is now being placed in a small bar at the top of the search results, whereas it used to only appear in the sidebar. Clearly Google is putting advertising in the optimal location to grab the user focus, while still keeping what they asked for.
The study watched eye movements of fifty users on the Google search engine result pages. It revealed a “golden triangle” that confirms nothing beats organic search results — sponsored sites that appear above results do very well though.
It lookslike the right hand sidebar advertising is effectively “opt-in” advertising as the user needs to stray away fromblo the results to find it, but the sponsored links at the top of the search results are there to grab attention. This has implications for advertising strategy, if you pay for adwords you want to have your ads on top and not the side. It also clearly emphasizes the importance of search engine optimization, showing up in the top 3 unsponsored or “organic” search results!