The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a change to how Google displays both paid and organic search results on desktop. Just this week, Google has started to roll out a new look which brings desktop search results inline with mobile search results.
The new design includes what Google thinks to be a more visible “Ad” label for paid results. Organic results will now feature a favicon. The change was announced on Twitter, where Google shared a mock-up of the new design:
Easier or Harder to Spot Paid Search Results?
There are two prominent changes to how paid adverts will be displayed in the new design; desktop paid search results will now have a bold black “Ad” label, and URL’s will be shown above the headline text.
In case you’ve forgotten, here are what Google desktop search results usually look like:
The “Ad” label is green with a box around it – URLs are also green.
This brings us to why Google has made these changes and what the reactions are so far.
Simon Dalley, GrowTraffic Founder and manager of our PPC services, noticed the move isn’t being very received so far;
“The new UI makes paid adverts look almost identical to organic search results. At a quick glance, the black Ad label could easily be mistaken for a favicon making it difficult for users to make informed click decisions. However, I personally like the new URL position – it looks neater.”
Reactions on Twitter so far have been negative from many; with users calling Google out for being “sneaky”. Whilst Google states the new black “Ad” labels are easier to see, we can’t say we agree on this one!
Organic Search Results
The most prominent change to organic results is the inclusion of favicons in search results.
Whilst this move will add more tasks to your SEO checklist, we feel like the favicons are another way to add authenticity to your website. By now, most webmasters will be familiar with favicons, how they work, and can be optimised to encourage clicks. They’ve been included on mobile search results since last year.
The inclusion of favicons on desktop search is an additional opportunity to expose users to your branding before they’ve even visited your website. Don’t waste it.
Like paid search results, organic desktop results have also had a URL makeover – also being displayed above the page headline and switching from green to black.
Overall, we feel the new UI looks cleaner and brighter – especially with the addition of favicons, but we do agree with many outraged Tweets that the move is making it difficult to distinguish between paid and organic content.
The new design shouldn’t be too much of a shock to most – the exact same changes were made to Google mobile search results last year. The changes to desktop search are expected to roll out at some point this week.
Let us know what you think.
Need a hand with Google search results? Whether paid or organic, GrowTraffic is here to help with any aspect of PPC or SEO. Get in touch here.