New Look Google Search Page Gets Thumbs Up

Scott Lambert


A study conducted by small-scale Internet research company UserTesting has revealed that, overall, users prefer the new version of Google’s search pages to the old one. When it comes to response to adverts, however, they have found no visible difference at all.

The changes in the design of Google’s main search page prompted an anxious response from search engine optimization experts when first announced. It involved the removal of shading underneath the sponsored links at the top of the page and, in its place, the highlighting of these links with small yellow squares labeled Ad. Marketers were sure that this new approach was making the ads more obvious and would make users less likely to click on them.

According to the survey, however, users show no difference in their response to the new and old versions. This could mean that they have been more aware of the nature of the ads all along than marketers bargained for and really do not care that much; alternatively, it could mean that marketers themselves, by virtue of their profession, are more acutely tuned to notice changes than the average user, who concentrates instead on how the link is described. If the reason is the latter, this would not be the first time that marketers have messed up by assuming customers think in the same way that they do.

If customers are noticing the new ads more, which could be the case even in the absence of a negative response, one other caveat applies: it could simply be because they are new. In other words, any negative effect could be expected to fade over time.

The study sampled just 50 people, but it still serves as a useful indicator of public responses and suggests that, even if variations in response do turn out to exist across a wider demographic, they are unlikely to be dramatic. Given this and the flattening effect of time, there is really no reason why advertisers need to panic and start looking for other options. If they are suffering any loss of click-throughs, this effect is likely to be felt across the board and they will be at no significant comparative disadvantage. Clearer data should start to emerge within a few weeks from comparisons of individual businesses’ search engine optimization experiences in different sectors. It seems unlikely, however, that the new page design is causing problems.

Scott Lambert

Written by Scott Lambert

For 35 years, Scott has been at the forefront of digital transformation and how it is effectively applied in businesses and organizations to market, sell, and support customers and members more successfully and cost effectively. Scott is President and Co-Founder of Xcellimark, an award-winning digital marketing agency serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, and Germany. Xcellimark helps businesses succeed through the implementation of its unique digital marketing and sales approach specifically designed to meet their specific goals and objectives. Scott’s marketing, sales, and operations experience have included key management positions at industry leaders including AT&T, iXL (now SapientRazorfish), eSchool Solutions (now TalentED), and BellSouth, where he led the product development, marketing efforts, and market launch of BellSouth.net, the second public ISP developed in the U.S. Scott is the author of articles highlighted on leading online publishers such as LinkedIn, Business 2 Community, and he was recently featured by LinkedIn in the Entrepreneur magazine article on “No Time for Marketing? Hire a Freelancer.” His engaging personality and wealth of real-world and business experience make Scott a frequently requested speaker. Some of his engagements include being the featured speaker in a series of Orlando Business Journal seminars on Digital Marketing, speaking at the WSI London conference, and at international conferences in Belize. Scott has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s of Science in the Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Scott has been active in global mission efforts and is a board member of Global Teams, a Christian outreach organization. He lives in Winter Springs, FL with his wife Nancy and dog Sadie.

Topics: SEO

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