What is the Google Ads Search Network?
Google Search Ads give advertisers the chance to show their ads to relevant users who have searched for keywords that the advertiser is bidding on.
Did you know that these ads can appear in different locations through the Google Search Network— not just Google’s search engine itself.
In this Hub chapter, we’re going to dive deep into exactly what Google’s Search Network is and how it works.
Google’s Search Network is a group of search-focused apps and website that have been added to Google’s search platform. These can be apps and sites aside from Google’s direct search engine.
When you’re advertising through Google Search Ads, this means that your ad can show around (often above) organic search results when the related keyword is used in the user query.
The most common ad placement, of course, will be in Google’s own search engine, which you can see here:
Ads can also appear on the sites or in-app of Google search partners when they use the search function. There are hundreds of non-Google websites that are partners, in addition to other Google sites (like YouTube). Text Ads can appear in any relevant search using the keyword for Google Search Partners, and Shopping Ads can appear in searches that display and link to products.
Bizrate, for example, is a Google search partner. When you search for “SEO software” on their site, Google Ads appear, as you can see below.
The following ad types can appear in the Google search network on search partners sites:
- Text ads
- Dynamic search ads
- Responsive search ads
- Call-only ads
- Shopping ads (when applicable)
- Image and video ads (when search partners host image and video ads)
Google’s Search Network may sound similar at a first glance to Google’s Display Network, but the two are separate, as they both allow your ads to appear off of Google.
Google’s Search Network is exclusively for Search Ads. When users enter a search query, they can see the ads in the results page. This may be on Google’s search engine or on third-party search partner sites and apps.
These ads rely heavily on image and video, and they aren’t triggered by search results. Instead, advertisers can use demographic, behavior, and retargeting options to show ads to the right audience.
One fear that many of our clients have had is whether or not low CTR on third-party sites in the search network will impact their Quality Score. The fear is that because users are on third-party sites they may be less open to ad results, or else they’d have started searching through Google to begin with.
As a quick reminder, your Google Ads Quality Score is Google’s evaluation of the quality and relevance of your ad. Ads with high CTR, relevant copy, and good landing pages can get higher scores, which means better placements, more placements, and lower CTA.
The good news is that CTR on search ads do not impact your Quality Score. This isn’t just conjecture, either; it comes directly from Google’s own resource on the Search Network.
When you’re setting up Search Ads, you’ll see that you can choose to enable the Search Network and to enable or disable Google search partner placements. If you want to disable third-party placements, this is where you can do so.
As we mentioned above, some clients are concerned that they’ll end up having their ad show up “too much” on third-party platforms where users may be looking for content or products created by the site that they’re browsing.
There’s no penalty to not getting clicks on these sites, so there’s no downside: It’s just one more opportunity to expand your search ad reach.
Note that you can also enable Google’s Display Network when focusing on driving sales to your site. Even if you can run these alongside search ads, know that these are separate and require their own media, strategies, and targeting options.
Google’s Search Network is the core platform that allows Google Search Ads to run, including text, image, video, responsive, and Shopping ad campaigns.
While the network is extensive, it’s exceptionally simple for advertisers to use. And if you decide you absolutely under any circumstances want your ads to appear on third-party sites (which is most often an issue when clients are worried about being associated with the site their ads appear on), you can quickly disable search partners in the network with just a single click.
Want to learn more about Google Search Ads? Take a look at our Google Search Ads Hub for more information about how Google Search Ads work and how to run successful campaigns.