Google made a lot of interesting movements regarding the presentation of information in the latest years, and their main objectives always seamed to increase their revenue generated by Ads (or sponsored listings).
This was the reason related to the extra snippets in the search engine results page, that were pushing the top organic down under, and this was certainly also the case with the top4 ads in the area above the fold. But also, keep in mind that the presence of the 4 ads above the fold was not the only thing that Google implemented, as they have completely removed the sidebar ads – which means that if smaller businesses really want to remain visible above the fold, they will need to pay more for online advertising, for each click.
Basicall Google managed to push everyone into a slaughter house, as in certain advertisement areas the cost has doubled or almost tripled for certain publishers.
The absence of the sidebar ads basically colapsed the CTR of low budget advertisers, but the ammount of money that google has lost from those low CTR and low cost clicks has been more than doubled from the competitors that want to stay in the top4 positions.
We have also noticed a big increase in seach ads click fraud – in some areas the fraud has been up 20-30%, while in the most competitive areas the click fraud is way over 60% in increase since before those modifications. The interesting fact is that now, besides the fact that the click fraud is increasing, Google seems to be unable to fight it or to fight in any way the collpsing conversion rate of publishers, which might return to Google as a boomerang.