Google’s new look has been rolled out to desktops in the previous week or so. The changes are designed to improve readability and create an overall cleaner look according to Jon Wiley (Google’s lead design for Google Search). Here we will highlight the main changes and discuss the potential impact they may have.
The font is certainly bigger and we were also quick to notice that headlines are no longer underlined. Another major change is the removal of the yellow solid background which used to be present across sponsored ads – this has now been replaced by an orange “Ad” label. Does this make Ads stand out more or less? Will this improve click through rates or have a negative impact?
All this remains to be seen, but we certainly don’t anticipate Google applying any changes that will hinder click through rates, especially as the new look has been, undoubtedly, in testing for some time.
Here is an example of how our client’s (Bovis Homes) has changed.
Another point which comes in to question after the update is the difference between sponsored and organic links. The removal of underlining and the yellow background means that sponsored and organic links now look very similar. This may make it harder for the user to distinguish between the two and therefore boost paid ad clicks.
The flip side of this, or course, is the “Ad” label which outlines the links that are paid ads is more visible than the yellow background which used to highlight them. The yellow background wasn’t always clearly visible on all screens, its visibility often varied depending on screen resolutions or angles.
It seems as though Google are streamlining SERPs across devices, this latest change to desktop SERPs is much more in keeping with the mobile SERPs – especially with the inclusion of the “Ad” label. Increasing the synergy between devices will encourage cross device usage as well as cross device synchronisation, which is something Google are striving for.
As discussed above the impact of the changes remains to be seen but we will be monitoring this closely. Here at equimedia we think change is good and we embrace it, so let’s hope these changes have positive results for all our clients!