Google’s most recent mobile redesign, which was rolled out earlier this year, has been a tactic that the search engine giant has continuously been tweaking over the years. This interface change, making subtle adjustments to paid placements allowing them to become more indistinguishable against standard organic listings, has now recently been spotted testing on desktop.
In the early days of Google, ads were displayed in a single block, where users could easily distinguish them from organic results with their clear background colour; and although this changed over the years, a subtle background or clear ‘Ad’ label tied the ads together and separated them from organic listings.
However, what is most interesting about this recent change is, specifically, a new black ‘Ad’ label for paid searches and most importantly the introduction of favicons (small 16px x 16px images) for organic listings. Additionally, black breadcrumbs have replaced green URLs and have been shifted to the top of each result.
How Will This Impact Paid Listings?
As a result of this, it has enabled paid results to blend into the SERPs even more, making it more difficult for users to differentiate between paid and organic listings; arguably leading to a surge in clicks on ads (and increased revenue for Google) from users who would normally only click on organic results.
Yet, the inclusion of brand logos could impact the way users engage with brand searches as these logos could result in users quickly scanning the SERPs until they find their desired brand logo, as opposed to the black ‘Ad’ label attached to paid listings. Therefore, it is now more important than ever that Ad copy must attract the attention of users to ensure that your ad gets the attention of users.
Along with this, with the landing page being the first thing that users spot, it places an emphasis on the importance of the landing page as Google states that users can, “quickly identify where the information is coming from.” Therefore, it must be specific to what the user is searching for, and by implementing relevant paths specific to the keyword(s), it provides the opportunity to maximise the impact of landing pages.
How Will This Impact Organic Listings?
Google claims that this new update will assist websites to become more recognisable to users by branding their search results. The change reflects a brand-first approach over the content of the listing where users can have more confidence in what they are clicking on; indicating Google’s greater strategy to combat false information and help searchers attribute content to its source.
Although it is unknown whether this change will impact rankings, it is important to ensure that your organic listings are positively reflecting your brand to ensure that you are driving relevant clicks to your webpage.