For those working in the search engine optimization industry the way results are shown on a page is always an interesting subject. Now Google, who are by far the biggest search engine, seem to have begun testing a new layout for their SERPs – and the feedback has not all been positive….
The Current SERP
The Potential SERP
The images above show that alterations made, although subtle, have a huge impact on what the user sees. Although this could be attributed to how used we have all become to the current Google format.
Some of the more obvious changes include the removal of the underline from the main links, a softer font colour and the addition of a dotted grey line in between each search result. There is also a line of space between the page headline and the description.
The emphasis on white space does seem to be the most dominant feature of the changes. On a visual level, the pages seems cleaner, more readable and even the results seem more considered due to the neat spacing that separates them. So, in terms of the aesthetics of the SERP, the changes look positive.
The source of the criticism seems to be the usability of the page. With less information shown, the user is potentially required to scroll more to find the results they are looking for. However, this may not have a particularly big impact as the top five results are still visible without scrolling, and these are the links that receive the highest number of clicks.
The ‘Cached’ and ‘Similar’ links tools have also been removed; again this has not been entirely well received. The tools can be an extremely useful resource for those trying to access a page that has been relegated by Google, or if the link is down.
Only a small portion of users have been selected to receive this testing, so we have to assume that it is still in early development. But, it’s worth keeping an eye on as change could well be on the way….