• http://www.privatecommunities.com Whit Hazelton

    No doubt a big reason for the change is to increase ad click rates. I feel the little orange “Ad” label is less noticeable than the solid background color that was in place before. Plus it will take users a while to catch on to what’s happened…

  • http://www.polepositionmarketing.com/ Stoney deGeyter

    Hmmm… this cuts down on the number of characters that display in a title tag. Looks like we lost about 5 characters, give or take.

  • http://www.CheesyCorporateLingo.com/ Patrick Reinhart

    My team and I were just discussing this. We have to go back and change a lot of tags for this. Would have been nice if they updated the amount of space for the title tag to accomodate the new larger font size.

  • daveintheuk

    I made my first accidental ad click in years the other day with this new design.

  • http://www.polepositionmarketing.com/ Stoney deGeyter

    Ha ha! That would be funny, Google caring about what’s easy for web marketers. I’m sure if they thought those extra characters mattered, they would have. I wonder if they even tested it.

  • http://contentaz.com lam thanh phong

    Looks more Apple :-(

  • http://www.jlh-marketing.com/ Jenny Halasz

    As an advertiser, I don’t like the “ad” flags. I think they devalue the sponsored search listings. :(

  • http://www.rivmedia.co.uk/ Adam H

    Much better IMO and falls inline with the latest “fad” of Flat simplistic design, I think that the ads are more visible than they were before.

    Ive often heard people complaining of not seeing that salmon colour background on ads because of poor screens or resolutions, it only takes your laptop screen to be tilted forward a little for you not to notice the background of the old ads where as the little favicon style highlight is enough to draw your eye.

    Whether it will increase ad-clicks or reduce is to be seen i suppose, accidental clicks etc, Adverts havent got the bad name they once had and are “apart of the furniture” in most cases. A slight change every now and then is needed to refresh and remind people ads are there, take away that Ad-blindness we all get.

  • http://www.privatecommunities.com Whit Hazelton

    Interesting. I don’t think ad CTRs will go down because Google wouldn’t sacrifice ad revenue. But I think I understand your point – before the whole ad section was labeled “Ads related to [search query]”, but now each ad is individually labeled as an ad, so there’s no confusion if the viewer is paying attention.

  • Gabriel Luethje
  • Gabriel Luethje

    Sorry, I meant *dat* screenshot -> http://cl.ly/image/3A383Y2H2Y2F

  • http://alex-hemedinger.blogspot.com/ Alexander Hemedinger

    Lol. Ditto!

  • daveintheuk

    Smart cookies those Google designers aren’t they…

  • Chris Koszo

    The new layout hurts my eyes. Title tags are too big, and less characters as well. It’s almost like the ads are purposefully made to be easy to read, while the organic is not.

  • http://www.tiffany-howard.com/ Tiffany Howard

    Adam H made a good point…a change now and again is good for reducing “ad blindness” that naturally occurs over time. Plus this design is trendier.

  • Durant Imboden

    I think the change is largely about providing a consistent user experience across platforms. Google’s “mobile look” probably works better on the desktop or laptop than its traditional “desktop look” does on a smartphone.

    (Mind you, I like the old layout better, if only because I prefer the clarity of underlined links.)

  • http://www.jlh-marketing.com/ Jenny Halasz

    I certainly don’t want to trick viewers into clicking on sponsored listings… that’s not good for the advertiser either. But I think the flag “Ad” looks cheap and isn’t up to Google’s usual design standards. It makes it look like the ads may have come from somewhere else and/or that they’re not relevant.

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    Really? I thought the bright yellow ad label highlighted it out more. But that’s just my opinion.

    The faint background they had before seemed more deceptive to me. It took a while for people to catch on when they first started doing that. The yellow ad tag just attracts the eyes to them better without being as deceptive.

  • La Cho

    Interesting triple drop of the results.

  • Rahul Kumar

    This will increase a non technical person understandings. Now they can easily understand what the Yellow colored Ads means. Such a good change of Google Team. Love it.

  • http://www.sitebee.co.uk/ Sitebee

    Increasing the font size has pushed full character ad text on to 2 lines: screenshot http://tinyurl.com/kevpwjf

  • https://twitter.com/chrispycrunch Chris Lau

    They got a click off me. Well played. Never again.

  • Craig Streaman

    I don’t think Google would have made the change if their tests proved to
    be producing lower CTR’s, and therefore less revenue for the company.

  • http://www.polepositionmarketing.com/ Stoney deGeyter

    I think I agree. I’m more apt to see it as an ad than with the hard to see background.

  • Louie Kablooie

    My CTR is through the roof! Not really but I do appreciate the design change.

  • Mambo Man

    HA HA!

    They’re still messing w/ the format. Some ad result sets are definitely less transparent.

  • RightTech

    Probably better for tablets, and more consistent/better for phones. Worse for desktop.

    Really hate dropping the link underline – graphic designers dislike underlines, while usability people understand the benefit of clear, unambiguous id of links.

    Dislike the bigger font and shorter text – again, good for tablet and phone, bad for desktop users who want and can make use of more info.

  • James Hunt

    i have had the one on the left for the past 2 months, possibly more – not on every search, but certainly on 30%+

  • http://www.privatecommunities.com Whit Hazelton

    This is not good. I wonder if other ads are doing the same.

  • FaceOnMars

    But the ads DID come from somewhere other than organic search results. It seems you’re in favor of the thinnest firewall possible between paid and organic. I just don’t see how you can have it both ways. Either it’s an ad or it’s not.

  • http://www.jlh-marketing.com/ Jenny Halasz

    Respectfully, I disagree. And I am in favor of a thin firewall in the case of AdWords. But mostly just because the ads have to meet a standard of relevance before they are shown; they’re not just “spray and pray” like other forms of advertising. I just think the “Ad” flag looks cheap… It would be more appropriate I think for the display/content network than the main SERPs. Just my opinion though.

  • http://www.discountonlinefitness.com steve

    the background color didn’t show up on my old monitor due to the contrast/brightness setting. The yellow stands out way better to me for ad avoidance. I do like the larger font!

  • FaceOnMars

    While there might be a “standard of relevance” as you’ve alluded to, I believe there’s no substitution for direct organic relevance / ranking for said search term(s). Simply accepting what might amount to a “cloaked placement” of ad because “it is in the ballpark” IMO is far worse than having an ad appear out of left field. In the latter case, at least the visitor is most likely well aware that an ad is an ad, yet in the case of a very thin firewall, visitors are more often than not “duped” into believing ads are naturally occurring matches of their search queries – when in fact they are not.

    Perhaps your allegation of the ad appearing “cheap” with an “Ad” flag might simply be your dissappointment that smoke and mirrors are no longer feathering an ad into place to make it look naturally occuring.

  • http://www.jlh-marketing.com/ Jenny Halasz

    Agree to disagree, I suppose. Although one could just as easily make the assertion that the top organic results are generally far from “natural” as well, especially for certain queries. And I do think the ad flags look “cheap”. They offend my sensibilities of the streamlined, attractive design that Google has previously embraced. And apparently I’m not alone in that opinion: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2334399/Google-Search-Layout-Change-is-Here-to-Stay-Despite-Poor-Reviews

  • FaceOnMars

    Fair enough re: agree to disagree, although I’m definitely with you about how one could easily make the assertion that top organic search results are generally far from natural (Personally, I believe Google has effectively been “stacking the deck” for a long time [and would even go so far as to say for what now amounts to a ‘quasi public utility’ and ought to be mitigated by regulatory measures]).

    Regardless of the above,, I think it’s still important to grant Google the latitude of at least appearing to provide “natural/organic” results in an unfettered manner as to not confuse or “dupe” visitors by making such distinctions as apparent as possible.

    Have you ever read a newspaper and come across what appears to be an article, but after reading a few sentences and taking a closer look, you notice that it’s actually a paid advertisement? Believe it or not, there are people who read such ads and believe them to be actual articles. In this respect, think a newspaper which allows such “infommercial articles” ads ultimately does a disservice to the credibility of their publication overall. In a similar light embedding ads with an extremely thin firewall detracts from the effectiveness of Google on two fronts:

    1.) possibly duping the visitor that it’s a natural result
    2.) bumping down a natural result which couldve been viewed by visitor

  • http://www.sbwebcenter.com/ Steve B


    What difference does it make whether a result is an ad or an organic listing, as long as the visitor is getting what they want?

    Sometimes I find that ads actually lead me to a site that offers a better service / experience than an organic listing. Gone are the days when we look at advertisers as villains or companies looking to “dupe” people.

    In the end, all Google cares about is what the user gets. If they get what they want, Google has done their job.

  • FaceOnMars

    Steve: definitely not saying that ads are bad, rather that ads ought to be sufficiently disambiguated from organic results so as the visitor has a clear understanding as to what is an ad and what is not. Sure, if it turns out that after clicking ad that a visitor found what they’re looking for … it doesn’t really matter that it was an ad. But, if we are operating under the assumption that Google’s organic results are highly relevant, and ads are merely “closely matched or ballpark’d”, then we’re kind of approaching a situation where a broken clock is correct twice a day for when somebody clicks on the ad (and it’s what they’re after). However, for all of those other instances an unclicked “cloaked” ad’s presence occupies limited space for which a relevant natural result could have been displayed and considered.

    When I’m searching and notice an abundance of ads at the top, for some reason I’m intuitively more likely going to visit page 2 or dig deeper. However, if I’ve been “duped” and don’t realize at first there are an abundance of ads at the top of the page then I might question my original query and consider adjusting it for another search.

    Please know that I’m generally anything but a big fan of Google’s general trajectory, but in this instance I believe they’ve got things right … as far as hardening the firewall with a more apparent “ad” tag.

  • http://www.pathinteractive.com Sarah Dryden

    I agree, Durant – somehow this just seems more difficult to discern main title links without the underline.