On May 22nd, 2019, Google unveiled a new mobile user interface update which includes a new presentation of text ads and organic listings. This visual refresh has rolled out to mobile search engine results page (SERP) and is meant to better guide users through their SERP experience.
For paid search ads, Google’s new update makes a website's branding more prominent so users can quickly understand where the ad content is coming from. To achieve this experience, the order of the ad headline, ad label, and ad URL have been changed so that the URL is displayed first before the ad headline. Additionally, the ad label and URL color has changed from green to gray.
Organic search results have a new favicon treatment, as shown in the "hike Yosemite" search example above. You’ll notice the site name and bread crumbs appear in black text next to the favicon and both are displayed above the title link in a similar structure to the new ad treatment. Prior to this update, the site name and breadcrumbs appeared in green text below the title.
This update remains true to Google's mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. The UI updates aim to better communicate website branding so users can more clearly understand each listing and what their landing page experience will be.
This update also sets the stage for Google to continue to evolve the types of content it shows in the search results, including video, hi-res images, and 3D objects. This format also allows for more useful actions such as action buttons, helpful images, and previews, which will user engagement on the results page and improve the potential end-point of the user based on a more clearly defined intent. Lastly, this opens up the opportunities available for screened Voice Assistants in the future.
In April, we saw early instances of the new search ad format on a few iProspect search clients. At the time, our friends at Google said that the new format was being tested on less than 2% of mobile traffic. We are unable to provide results yet on the new format, however the fact it went from a small test to being fully rolled out implies that Google is likely seeing success from the user experience perspective.
Implications for SEO & Search
The new condensed search ad format and new organic listing format should have a positive effect for brands, specifically for branded searches.
In instances where competitors are buying a brand's terms, we believe the new format will help click through rates on search ads, as the landing page, and therefore the brand, is more prominent in the ad, ultimately helping a user to easily identify which ad or listing belongs to the brand that they're searching.
The favicon placement on organic listings may help drive organic traffic and click through rates for brand terms, especially for users who are loyal to a brand and more apt to click on a familiar logo rather than an ad. Additional click through rate increases may be seen for search queries where the new favicon shows above the mobile fold.
At iProspect, we love seeing these advancements from Google and are excited to track how they help our clients better connect with their customers. iProspect will continue to monitor the mobile SERP UI changes and we plan to provide a full landscape review of ranking and traffic impact for both paid and organic search in the next 30 days.