Google’s New Search Layout

Google Search LayoutThe new Google search layout users began seeing a couple weeks ago on a limited basis has now gone live to all users.

Google’s new layout, which changes the font and removes underlines from links, as well as displays the AdWords ads at the top differently, has definitely been getting poor reviews as it rolled out to everybody.

The headlines are larger the description text seems to be slightly lighter and they have adjusted the fonts with the wider typeface.

For AdWords ads, gone is the light yellow in the background that we have long associated as being advertising space for many years now. The new style doesn’t have any shaded background, instead it has a tiny yellow “Ad” marker next to the green URL. There is also an underline separating the ads from the organic search results.

Beyond the cosmetic change, the new search layout is affecting SEO in a pretty pronounced way. Titles that were optimized to the maximum 70 allowable characters for SEO purposes will now find the same headlines truncated in Google’s new results, giving everyone about 59-60 characters to work with. This means you might have a lot of work ahead of you trying to rework titles so they don’t appear poorly truncated in the search results, which could impact click-throughs to your site.

The first time many user saw the changes, many users thought they actually had their search hijacked or were falling victim to Google spoofing, because the search results looked completely different. And the reviews definitely aren’t good across the board, judging from all the comments by very upset searchers, something that actually made the switch to another search engine strictly because of the new look.

To me, it looks like a throwback to how search engine results looked 10 to 15 years ago, such as on Webcrawler or Hotbot, not something that has been refreshed for 2014. And I do agree with many people who say the new font makes it much harder to read and scan when on a desktop.

Google’s logic behind the new change was that they make the changes for mobile and tablets, and they carry out over several the design changes to desktop users. Google said they feel this creates improved readability and a much cleaner look. And they had an end goal of creating a consistent user experience across multiple devices (desktop, mobile tablet):

Towards the end of last year we launched some pretty big design improvements for Search on mobile and tablet devices (mobile first! :-). Today we’ve carried over several of those changes to the desktop experience.

We’ve increased the size of result titles, removed the underlines, and evened out all the line heights. This improves readability and creates an overall cleaner look. We’ve also brought over our new ad labels from mobile, making the multi-device experience more consistent.

Improving consistency in design across platforms makes it easier for people to use Google Search across devices and it makes it easier for us to develop and ship improvements across the board.

Will we see any changes reverted back? Hard to say, but Google doesn’t too often revert back on their changes once they’ve jumped in and made them.

Click Here to Read More Related Stories

New Paid And Organic Report Adds By Google AdWords

Google AdWords is introducing a new feature for advertisers to give more data right within the AdWords interface, even when it isn’t paid ads specific. This is part of their campaign to connect data between the Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Webmaster Tools.adwords paid and organic report

The new paid & organic report, which can help advertisers see their search footprints and enable them to determine if there are keyword areas that can be supplemented with paid advertising. It also allows you to view detailed reports to show for particular keywords, how much organic traffic as well as how it advertising traffic you are getting or have the potential to get.

Google suggesting several ways for advertisers confined to the inclusion of organic traffic information beneficial to their business. You can:

  • Look for additional keywords where you might have impressions on natural search, but without any related ads.
  • Use it to optimize your presence for your most important high-value keyword phrases, so you can see where you need to improve your presence.
  • Use it to test website improvements and AdWords changes, as you can compare traffic across both AdWords and organic in the same interface, which enables you to adjust accordingly. Continue reading

Search Ranking Factors Survey Results 2013 – SEOmoz

Google Overall Survey Algorithm

Google Overall Survey Algorithm

Moz has released their 2013 search engine ranking factors, surveying 120 SEO professionals and having them rank different search factors. While this isn’t the full survey data, it does have a lot of interesting information to consider when you’re optimizing websites for search engines.

Moz uses search correlations in order to make estimates as to what is being used for Google’s ranking algorithm, based upon features on higher ranking sites versus ones that are lower ranking. They used over 14,000 keywords from Google AdWords across multiple categories then use of keywords to extract the top 50 organic search results in June, post Penguin 2.0.

One interesting correlation was that despite SEOs knowing that over optimization of keyword anchor text could be problematic and a sign of spamming, they found that the correlations for exact match and partial match was fairly high. But not surprisingly, the SEOs surveyed believed that diversity in anchor text, including both branded and nonbranded terms, was more important than the number of links themselves.

Moz also looked at on page keywords and not surprisingly found a very high correlation of those keywords in body text, title, meta-description and H1 tags. Likewise, the SEOs surveyed believed that including keywords in both the title and on page are important factors.

Moz also discovered that rankings of exact match domains (ie. Keyword1keyword2.com) has declined over the past year, although the correlation is still high. While having the keywords in the domain name was extremely important many years ago, SEOs have definitely shied away from exact match keywords in favor of partial match domains or branded URLs.

The look Moz took at social signals and its correlation with ranking factors is important. Google +1’s came out ahead of Facebook shares and tweets for correlated factors, although the surveyed SEOs did not believe that social signals are very important to Google search algorithm.

Their last look at ranking factors was in 2011, when they were still known as SEOmoz.

The full survey will be released by Moz in a few weeks.

Death of AdWords Keyword Tool – Google Pushes Users to Keyword Planner

Adwords Keyword Tool

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool has long been in the toolkit of most search engine marketers, regardless of whether they used Google AdWords. In fact, it was one of the first keyword tools available freely to webmasters in order to find keyword suggestions and build keyword list.

But users using this free tool are now seeing a notice stating that in the coming months the external Keyword Tool will no longer be available. Instead, they are steering users to their new Keyword Planner that they launched earlier this year.

The keyword planner is actually a combination of the Keyword Tool plus the Traffic Estimator, so pay per click advertisers on Google can see not only the suggested keywords but traffic estimates at the same time, along with some other relevant data Google includes.

Unfortunately, a lot of the data that we are used to seeing from the Keyword Tool hasn’t been integrated into the Keyword Planner, such as the ad share statistics. Google says they are working on adding a new column to give insight into ad impression share data.

The local search trends and search share columns of also been removed. However, some of the other data has been changed to only be available when you search for specific data or access your historical statistics.

Adwords Keyword PlannerThe new Keyword Planner tool is still free for use. However you must have a Google AdWords account, and be logged into that account, in order to use it. Continue reading