While doing some competitor research for one of our clients, I noticed that the product listing ads that usually appear on the right side of the SERP for the query [muscle rollers] had moved:
Normally these ads would appear on the right side above ad position 4. I wondered if this was a random test or if it was triggered by something I did. Eventually I discovered that typing [muscle roller] singular put the PLAs back on the right side above position 4. Now I thought perhaps it was the plural variant that triggered this new PLA position. Maybe data supports the fact that people typing in plural forms of products are more likely to compare shop or otherwise respond desirably to PLAs.
What’s even weirder though, is that a few days later the PLAs started appearing above ad position 1 in the center for both [muscle roller] and [muscle rollers].
I started typing in random queries hoping to find another instance of this. [potato peelers] landed me in the same quandry:
Once again the plural variant made a difference. But hold on – the outcome is reversed for [muscle roller] and [potato peeler]. In one case the plural variant triggered the centered PLAs and in the other it triggered the right-side PLAs.
I clicked on the little information button in the top right corner in both instances (plural and singular) of [potato peeler] to see if Google would give me any insight. In both cases the message was the same –
No help there. Even as I was gathering screenshots for this post, the SERP for [potato peeler] and [potato peelers] fluctuated – sometimes it showed PLAs on the right side for both.
My guess is that Google is either randomly testing PLA position (plural variants don’t matter), or they are trying to show PLAs in the center above position 1 when data shows that a user is more likely to respond desirably to PLAs.
What do you think?