First introduced as an ‘experiment’, Google quickly changed its entire search design over to the new format, both on desktop and mobile. According to Jon Wiley, lead designer at Google, the changes improve readability, provide an overall cleaner look, as well as making the multi-device experience more consistent. The new look has the additional benefit of simplifying future improvements across devices, Wiley adds.
What has changed?
• Titles are larger
• Underlines were removed
• Line spacing optimised
• New ad label format (now also for desktop)
The following snapshot gives a good visual overview of how the new and former design formats differ:
(Image: Search Engine Land)
From the perspective of an SEO professional, it appears the changes do not primarily serve the improvement of aesthetics or consistency. Their goal is to make Google Search more AdWords friendly! One striking example is the disappearance of the ‘obvious’ background colour for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads. The beige box has been replaced with the yellowish-framed word ‘Ad’ that now appears before the URL of ad results.
Overall, the new design approximates the looks of paid ads and organic search results. An average Google user can no longer distinguish ads from regular search as easily.
Why is that good for Google?
It drives AdWords sales and generates more profit for advertisers as well. Thus, businesses running AdWords campaign are given a free ‘upgrade’ by Google, which may well reflect positively in their Click-Through-Rate (CTR).