by Jennifer

17/06/2011

Internet Marketing

Further Testing of Google SERP Layout

Google are continually testing variations of their SERP (search engine results page) in order to determine winning layouts and improve performance for users.

Over the last few days we’ve been exposed to one of their latest tests, in which the positioning of display URLs across both organic listings and paid ads has moved from just below, to just above the ad text/meta description. The new page also appears less cluttered with more white space showing through between links:

New Variation:

Old Variation:

Not everyone is seeing this variation though – according to our Google Account Manager, just 1% of traffic across Google.com and local domains as part of a global calibration experiment.

As far as paid ads go, this complete repositioning of the display URL follows a number of changes that have already been rolled out this year – first the wrapping of headlines with ad text, then the appearance of display URL domains alongside headlines. This latest change however, would apply to all ads rather than just those eligible to appear in the top box.

Whilst the new layout looks cleaner and more spacious, the increase in white space means that more scrolling up and down the page is required to view all ads. This surely can’t be good for CTR – one of the main determining factors of user engagement? So it will be interesting to see if the changes get pushed live across all searches.

Interested to hear the thoughts of anyone else who’s seen this variation…

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