Back in May 2019, Google rolled out an update to the search experience on mobile which made significant layout changes – especially regarding organic results. As is so often the case with Google’s product updates, this was originally a mobile-only change which has now made its way to the desktop experience. On January 13th 2020, Google’s SearchLiaison alias on Twitter (@searchliaison) revealed the news, and the new experience should be live to all desktop users over the coming days.
There are really two areas which have been tweaked with this search experience update: the “Ad” tag, which shows if a listing is a paid result, and a new way to display organic results with more of an emphasis on the favicon. Here’s a quick summary of each of these changes:
• The “Ad” tag is now a simple word in black font, and it appears in the same slot as the favicon. This is a replacement of the version of the “Ad” tag Google introduced back in 2017, which was a green outline around green text.
• Organic listings have also had a minor makeover, with the favicon for the site now appearing in the upper-left corner of the result. In addition, the URL for the result has now moved from below the headline to above it. URLs will also now include breadcrumb trails to show how deeply into a website the page sits.
According to Google, the biggest reason for this change is to make it more obvious not only which result is a paid ad, but also where that ad is coming from. Moving the URL above the headline means that users can now more clearly see where they’re going to be taken before they click the result. On Twitter, the team mentioned that users should now be able to scan more easily and make better decisions about where to click.
If your site already has a favicon enabled, this will, in most cases, be what Google pulls into the new search result experience. That said, the Google team did also link to some guidelines via their Twitter post which outlines how to set up your favicon correctly. If you don’t already have a favicon for your site, this is a great place to start – and even if you do, it may be worth checking through the information provided to ensure you’re following the format.