Google Changes Up The Search Results Page

    November 8, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

As previously reported, more and more people have started to see the new look for Google’s search results pages. Essentially, Google has moved the search filtering options from the left-hand side of the screen to above the search results, freeing up more white space (both to the left and to the right of the main search results) in the process.

Do you like the new look? Is it better or worse than the old look? Let us know what you think.

At first, it was unclear whether Google had just expanded its test of this interface, which had been going on for some time (apparently since June), or if it was actually rolling out to all users. Now, Google has confirmed that it is indeed rolling out.





In a blog post, Google Search Lead Designer Jon Wiley said, “You’ll notice a new simpler, cleaner design on the search results page — we’ve been working on ways to create a consistent search experience across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes people use today. We started with tablets last year, got it to mobile phones a few weeks ago, and are now rolling out to the desktop.”

“With the new design, there’s a bit more breathing room, and more focus on the answers you’re looking for, whether from web results or from a feature like the Knowledge Graph,” he added.

It also, as Wordstream Founder Larry Kim points out, makes more room for ads, like those pretty product listing ads for Google Shopping results. He points to an example for dishwashers:

Google Dishwashers

It does sure seem like there are a lot of ads “above the fold“.

In fact, you can see how Google squeezes in the product ads (even pushing the Knowledge Graph results down) in the search results from today’s Bram Stoker doodle:

Bram Stoker results

“Even though Google’s stated goal of the new SERP layout is to improve usability (which i believe to be true), we should ask ourselves what additional motivations they might have, and why Google making the change to the SERP layout right now?” Kim tells WebProNews. “After all, the previous SERP layout was in place for many years.”

Kim thinks that the new SERP changes make ads more prominent than ever, and cannibalize organic search for informational queries. “The New Google SERP layout makes the Knowledge Graph listings more prominent,” he writes in a blot post. “The knowledge graph cannibalizes organic search clicks (which were already on the decline) on informational queries because user queries are often answered directly in the SERP – a user doesn’t even have to click on an organic listing to get basic information about their query.”

Here, we talked about how Google is already showing less organic results for a growing number of queries, though this is typically on results in which the first result has a group of sitelinks.

Google frequently gets better at not having to send users to other sites, and Kim may be exactly right in that this design aids the search engine in this very concept. Just look at the above Bram Stoker books results, which Google is linking to from its homepage today.

The change is first rolling out to Google.com users in the U.S. Google says it will get it to other regions and languages as soon as they can.

What do you think of the new look? We’re seeing a fair amount of negative reaction in early comments. Share your opinion here.

  • https://plus.google.com/110826622201196466178/posts Nick Stamoulis

    I saw the new layout for a couple of searches recently and I thought for a moment that something was wrong, maybe the page hadn’t loaded properly. I don’t really understand the need for a new design, bu Larry Kim makes a good point about the increased ad space…

  • http://robertjduncan.me Robert Duncan

    The whole layout looks weird. It’s centered to the left. Down the middle of the page is just white-space. Only about 25px worth of content on the right side.

    I only see 4 organic results and 9 ads. It seems like something that was built in 1990.

  • sushant

    Will this have a effect on our ranking or it is just simply for enhancing the users experience

  • marvin nubwaxer

    i wish they would just leave the interface alone.

  • Dan

    We often run searches on certain keywords for clients. The new layout costs us way more time as we use A LOT the filter functionality.

    So for us, the “search experience” got worse

  • Myself

    Why is google chrome showing me ask.com results when I right click on a word or name and search it? How do I remove it and if it’s always like this I’m deleting Chrome and installing Firefox or using EI.

    • Melina M

      You clearly either changed the default search engine in Chrome or installed an extension or toolbar that did it for you. Fortunately, the fix should be simple: go to the Chrome menu and hit Settings, and use the drop-down in the Search section to switch it back to Google.

  • DH

    How come you don’t have the black bar?? For those of use who still see the black bar, the new bar is stupidly

  • http://flaguser.com flag

    yet another change for the bad. ok, we got more space for the results. but now further filtering based on categories (e.g. image color or size, video length) that used to be conveniently quickly accessible in the left side are gone! why does making things more “user friendly” always have to sacrifice the convenience of more experienced users?

  • http://www.cobwebseo.com/ seo in kolkata

    After connecting internet, this news is everywhere. I also watched the change. This is not a very significant change. Side bar items are moved to top section. I suspect that Google may use the left side for advertisement.

  • http://www.enkonversations.in elena

    Many changes which were user friendly have just gone.

  • http://manilacomputerrepairshop.com Repair Manila

    It reminds of old layout when internet provider of search program / the web was monopolized by the few, they offer free search and internet connection(dial up) with lot of adds on it. it very slow at that time.

  • http://elainequinn.com Elaine

    As expected, it’s exactly what we don’t need.

  • Casper

    I could not Care less about it sits left, right or top. Ón the other hand is Google nearly changing design 2 times a month…

  • http://cozumelmexico.net Bob Rodriguez

    I LOVE IT!!!! I’m just that much closer to the top!!!

  • http://www.iSellsafe.com MIke

    Google is a monopoly. It doesn’t matter what web owners think. The reality is Google wants to eliminate free organic search results. Strategies such as this will be their undoing.

  • http://www.pennyleisch.com Penny J. Leisch

    Ads and more ads cost workers time when they need results. I get the marketing angle, more pages required to find the appropriate link=more ads seen. Also, it takes more time to find what I need. I’m using other search engines as often as possible, along with other browsers. Google penalizes others for too many ads and put more on their search engine. Not happy with them at all.

  • http://couponcodehut.com/ Kaushal Shah

    I think it will have huge effect on CTR of top three ads placement. What you guys think on it ?


    Hate it where are the selectors for the size of images? It seems like the images search has no logic to it’s pick of images at all. Time to start using Bing’s Image search they still categorize images by size.
    Image search wasn’t broke why fix it?

  • Alan

    Yet another revenue driven change.

  • http://www.BikeHighway.Com JM


  • http://www.deliseo.com Svetlana

    Wow ! where are organic results above the fold ? Google want to push Google services/ads and kill SEO !

  • Anonymous

    Looks to me like they’re violating their own web content standards with so many ads above the fold. Maybe they should be banned from Adsense? After all, Google.com is turning into little more than an MFA site — light on the content people came there for and high on the spammy ad counts. Good job G.

  • http://umstrategies.com Peter Sundstrom

    With each Google interface change they are placing more and more ads above the fold and pushing the organic results way down.

  • http://notforvirgineyes.com Brill

    nice… easier access to “Shopping” results which is Google’s PPC search engine.

  • WPN

    Someday Google will run out of ways to push the needle higher.
    Someday change will come, but not now..

  • http://www.stylishdoorhandles.co.uk Door Handles

    Why would they not stop at it. It is yet another change for the bad. ok, we got more space for the results. but now further filtering based on categories (e.g. image color or size, video length) that used to be conveniently quickly accessible in the left side are gone! why does making things more “user friendly” always have to sacrifice the convenience of more experienced users?

  • http://www.antarcticlandgovernment.info/ antarcticland


  • http://fishandcrane.com Peter

    Still feeling that Google must walk a very careful line or face monopoly mud. The continued loss of organic results I believe smells like ….well, smells less free.

  • http://www.estellaeffects.com Latha

    Is Google pushing us towards paid ads? Is SEO dying down?

  • http://ephedrinewheretobuy.com Mike Budd

    My first feeling was that something was wrong without being able to identify it immediatly: I had all organic results on one half of the screen and the second half was blank, I thought that it might be a loading issue. Then on another search for popular products I saw all the ads and I got it finally 😉 It’s just for the money baby, nothing to do with improving user experience. I think that Google is walking on thin ice here because they are doing the exact opposite of what they profess since years regarding user experience.
    Cheers, Mike

  • Gale

    I rarely use Google anymore since they informed the public they were getting rid of the modules aka personalized pages in 2013. So I really have no other comment except to say I use MSN now.

  • http://act-artanddesign.com daniela froehlich

    looks like ‘censorship’ to me all those changes. will have to see what other options besides google are out there. i am sure a lot of users will not like to be bombarded with paid ads if they are search for information. ppl nowadays are not so dumb as they were when internet just started.

  • ex google nws search

    i have used google news search,everyday,multiple times day, for 10 years.

    I HATE the new google news search and now looking and using other alternatives.

    Google 15 minutes of fame is now at 14 minutes and 59 seconds.

  • alfred

    These guys are loosing the plot – they’ll loose out decade old customers / users …. by being stupid – guess they still need the adult supervision …… never thought I’d say this – but please get Eric Schmidt back through Larry out…. he’s trying 2 much crap …. lost a lot of good will ….by closing down stellar projects with loyal followers like “bodybrowser” / “wave” / “healthportal” already …….. agreed they were a little out there – but guys using them were die hard google fans…. this will only lead them to ruin ….. they seem to be basking in the glow of the tablet’s doing well – but please let us not forget its ASUS who should be getting the major credit for it to begin with…. rest later…. ( I guess you can tell – I DO NOT LIKE THE NEW SEARCH PAGE….)

  • ex google news search

    Has Google ever notice the most popular website on the internet, the Drudge Report, never changes their simple website interface.

    no colors,no cr-p, no bells and whistles.

  • Sue Feeney

    I’ve known for a long time that Google’s aim is to take over the world, but they’ve really stooped to a new low with the new one-domain web search results. If a website doesn’t provide the information I’m looking for, why on earth would I want four more links to their same website? I’m done with Google searches. Wake up, Google!!!!

  • Bradford

    Google has become way too powerful and influential. They are not so much about serving people anymore as they are serving advertisers. I am making the change to Bing, just on principal. I may even start using the older search engines and indices.

  • Phyllis

    I guess it is time for me to make a change. Dislike new setup immensely

  • http://animium.com free 3d models

    Google advocates not to fill the page above the fold with ads, and yet Google itself has done it.. Greeeeeedy….

  • Danielle

    I HATE the new Google search results page. Google was always my go to search engine because it was so easy to use the options on the left hand side and the layout was really clear. I can’t find “pages from Australia” or “past hour/past 24 hours, etc”. HATE, HATE, HATE it.

  • flow in

    its pretty dumb. i have a 16:9 ratio screen, so my width is good, height is limited. i guess this is true for most of us.

    so, i’ve just lost 2 or 3 results per page – i can’t see so much becuase the stuff that neatly fit on the left now hogs the top of the screen. FAIL, google. FAIL

  • Sue

    I now have the new SERP page layout which I do not like. 2 questions please:

    1. Did I instigate this change in some way or did it happen to me automatically?
    2. Can I revert to the old SERP page layout on some way?

  • Lynn P

    No I hate this. In the UK, on google.co.uk, but get the US results first, and the search google.co.uk only option has gone.

    I foresee google as a company in decline il;p[-]f this approach prevails….

  • Rad Graban

    It’s crap. No options to filter searches to UK-only sites, last 24 hours/last week…… Very disappointing and frustrating after I got used to it.

  • F G

    I hat new interface…losing the ‘uk sites only’ is really frustrating and if I can find a new search engine that provides this I will. Loss of left hand options very poor.

  • jane berwick

    Really frustrating not to have the option to filter down to uk only results!!
    I am only a basic user, but this means I have loads of “rubbish” from everywhere else to wade through.

  • http://google.co.uk Brett Elwood

    Preferred the old layout with the search filtering options on the left-hand side of the screen.

  • Jeff Short

    How the hell does removing the search filters from the left hand side of the screen improve the user experience?

    I now have to go into advanced options just to narrow my searches to UK only, this is a major backwards step and needs to be addressed.

  • http://www.featureworld.co.uk Alison

    I am in the UK and this new layout does not give such good search results. I’ve always been a Google fan but for the first time have used Bing to get the results I needed.

  • Bryan

    The new layout is terrible, I want UK results first! Find me another search engine:-(

  • http://www.gcmedicaltyping.com.au Sue

    I thought I was going mad! Living in Australia when I do a search I am used to selecting on the left hand side of Google “Australia only” instead of the rest of the world – there is no option for this anymore and I get 20,000 results for everything I search on instead of 200. I wish we were asked for feedback on this by Google before they did it. Not happy!

  • Richard MacRae

    Not having the UK only search option is useless. I’m going to try a different browser I’m afraid Google.

  • Ruth

    Awful…says the search tools have been moved…not above my ‘images, Search, etc’ list. Preferred searching globally and then narrowing down to UK and then by year, month last 24hours etc. Can’t do this now. All hail the Ipad generation and tablet-users. Guess this is why it was changed!

  • Cliff Perry

    I’ve been a user of google for many years, but will now revert Internet Explorer or possibly even Bing. Not having the UK only search option is useless, I don’t want to wade through pages of US results before I find anything for the UK!

  • Phil Lindquist

    I am disgusted with the high-handed attitude of Google, not even the mighty Microsoft has attempted world domination on this scale! I just entered “buy greenhouse” into Google and 6 of the sites on the first page were US based, how utterly ridiculous!
    UK companies are clearly wasting their money by paying Google to advertise their products, because users don’t get to see the sites.
    I’ve had enough! I’m going to set my homepage to the Dogpile search engine, or any search engine that doesn’t try to ram US websites down my throat.

  • http://google.co.uk h slater

    hate the new search page without the options for uk only sites. Total nightmare now having to spend ages looking for relevant information for the UK through the endless list …mainly US pages. Used google for 10 years – no longer I’m off somewhere else…

  • PvW

    New Google is awful because no uk sites – this is censorship by another name. As I live in the UK and want to be able to select UK sites quickly and easily, it has now become useless to me overnight and I shall stop using it.

  • trish

    totally useless without an option for UK sites only.

  • Liz

    Losing the ‘pages from Australia’ only option is ridiculous. Time to change my default search engine!

  • bc

    reiterating the disappointment of no being able to select ‘oages form Australia only’… and it’s not enought that you can set it in preferences to your location.

    Sometimes I want results from all over the world… when I’m occasionally looking for something locally this option is needed. So it needs to be an optional link that’s quick and easy… not a setting!
    Crazy! can any one suggest a search engine (for FF on Mac) that actually does this?

  • Steve

    I came across this site after Googling where the “Pages from Australia tab” had gone. Like everyone else here, I think that decision is completely ridiculous.
    I use that feature most of anything else on Google so will definitely be seeking a different search engine right now after learning here that this is permanent.
    Any suggestions please?

    • http://GoogleSearchOptions Peter

      Have possibly found a work around to the ongoing problems that people are having with Google search options, as follows:
      – this is not a fix to the problem, but the user must be forced to dig a bit deeper and add more steps, etc.
      – the previous search functions were located on the LHS of screen and in plain sight for the user to access.
      – requires testing from other people (globablly) to confirm.

      1. Using an older computer with Windows XP Pro, running Firefox version 3.6.23 and selected http://www.google.com.au
      – denote the previous search functions are still located on the LHS of screen when starting a new firefox tab/ window, in plain sight and easy accessible to the user (as it should be).

      2. Recently purchased a new laptop and running Windows 7 HP
      – installed Firefox version 17.0.1
      – selected http://www.google.com.au
      – Options to search: “The web” and “Pages from Australia” (local region for user) are now gone.
      – found search menu on LHS of screen gone, replaced at top
      Web Images Maps Shopping More (pull down menu, PDM) Search Tools

      Method 1:
      a) Select Search Tools (becomes high lighted)
      Second appears below
      The web (PDM) Anytime (PDM) All results (PDM) Adelaide SA (PDM and local regional area for user)
      b) select The web
      – two options for the user to select are “The web” and “Pages from Australia” (local region for user).
      – the user can also freely select The web again for global search
      – have test various searches and selected between “The web” and “Pages from Australia” (local region for user) and thus seems to work.

      • KBJ

        Thanks Peter : )

        Just tried your suggestion, “Search tools” “web” and got the option to search “pages from Australia”

        I’m a happy Googler again : )

      • Richard

        Peter – I also greatly miss the “search Australia only” button, Do you know if a work around exists in Chrome or do I need to switch to Firefox ??

  • Noel Strophair

    Always used to use the UK search facility to the left of the search results as that is where we live. Why do I need to trawl through the rest of the web before I find results that are relevant to my search???

  • Les

    Fully aagree with Steve. I too heavily used ‘pages from Australia’. Now what to do? Reckon they should have made this an option to allow or put on the main screen so as to easily apply that filter.

  • http://www.adeyemiadisa.com/ Adeyemi Adisa

    It seems Google search has gone from “good to bad” with this latest development. It’s more about selling products and irrelevant information to the people rather than improving Google search experience. I have dropped google search for Bing….it’s just ridiculous the amount of irrelevant information that come up on google search this day

  • http://www.europealacarte.co.uk/blog Karen Bryan

    I don’t think you can really call what comes up in Google a search result listing, a list of adverts would be a more accurate description. The norm now seems to be one natural search result above the fold, all the rest is ads.

    The only thing to do is for everyone to stop using Google which isn’t going to be easy considering most people “google” vs search for information.

  • frank

    when will google use it’s search engine to see how many more people are complaining about bad search results and use the data to fix or restore to previous algorithm with less complaints, not rocket science, google must have a agenda

  • http://www.qubicaamf.com Stephane Asselin

    Where is the link “Pages from Canada”?

    It was there in the old page and was very usefull, where is it now?

  • Debra Exner

    I greatly dislike the new search screen design and wish I could return to the old. Just as I’m reading the first few options to see if they are what I want the whole screen adjusts and plops more stuff I’m not interested in at the top. Please let me know if there is a way to turn this off — I tried turning off Instant and Personal but it still happens.

  • http://searchpages nigel

    No i dont like the google search pages…Nice to aksed or even to be told…rubbish (for me)

  • Dennis

    it sux. just looks like its all adds now

  • Diane

    Why won’t Google restore the pages from XX search – I used the pages from UK all the time and it looks like facility was popular with all users

  • Simon

    Hate it. was so much easier to just click to the left instead of having to fiddle with drop down menus..

  • ? tony jones

    just glad it not only me! Google clearly has not heard of
    “IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT!” should have gone to……
    or Bing it or Ask someone… I must go now, only get let out a few hours each day by by Ant

  • Jan Ericson

    I hate the new format – it’s so unbelievably bad that I thought it must have been due to a virus!

  • leonie

    i hate it. i want to restore Pages from Australia. at the moment have to go through several steps to get OZ. how do i restore the way it was????????

    • jacqui

      what steps do you go through to get pages from Australia only?

  • http://myranch.net Granny

    I hate new logo and new search. It leads directly to pay for it sites when free information is available. Oh, well there are other search engines!

  • jacqui

    why can’t we have the left side selection as before but able to remove and return as required. I like to select australia only websites when searching

  • KBJ

    Where’s my option to only search pages from Australia? Please put it back Google. I miss it dearly!

    • KBJ

      Anyone having this problem, scroll down to Peter’s reply below (January 1st). His suggestion worked for me.

  • http://none mpcac

    I typed into Google Search ” Tomato Soup ” and then I get what looks like a normal list of search results… then when I click on one of the results, I get a list of options to click on again ( mostly sites selling a product )and when I get into one of these options and try to back out, I am not allowed to back out. What the heck has happened….. I’ve tried other search results and get the same problem.


  • maggie

    don ‘t like it….hard to read, does not work ….hard to find search results….AWFUL!!

  • mary

    Do not like new setup. It does not work correctly and now no websites come up

  • J

    I hate the new Google search results page. It’s wasting even more of my time. Restore it to the way it was please.