Google Changes Up The Search Results Page

    November 8, 2012
    Chris Crum

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 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.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.