An issue is causing too many ads to show at the top of Google’s search results.

The issue. The search engine is showing five sponsored posts at the top of SERPs, when there should only be four, for some queries. For example:

SERPs error. Marketers raised the ads display issue on X (the platform previously known as Twitter), noting that Google has historically said that it only displays four ads at the top of search results pages.

Is Google showing five ads now? No.

Google’s policy hasn’t changed. Something is wrong on Google’s end, according to Ginny Marvin, ads product liaison at Google.

Why we care. We wondered whether Google had increased the number of ads at the top of SERPs, from four to five, on purpose. But now we know that isn’t the case. Rather, it is just the latest stumble for the Google Ads platform.

What has Google said? Marvin said the error is being addressed, via X:

  • “Thanks for bringing it to my attention. This is is not working as intended and we’re working to address it.”

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About the author

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, 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’.

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