- Google updated its mobile search results to showcase a website's branding and give web users a better idea of where information is coming from, per a blog post. Sponsored search listings now will be topped with the word "Ad" in bold black letters instead of outlined green lettering underneath the listing's title.
- Organic listings will show a brand's favicon — the icon associated with a URL — next to the page title, giving website publishers a chance to stand out among search results. Google published a guide to help websites ensure that their favicons stand out in organic search results.
- "This new design allows us to add more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards," Jamie Leach, senior interaction designer of search at Google, said in the post. Google also removed a gray line below the website titles and ad headlines so each listing looks more like a single unit.
Google's updated look, which will first appear in mobile search results before being expanded to desktop platforms, is aimed at improving the search experience for web users by helping them to identify sources of content more quickly. For advertisers, that means that their sponsored listings will be more clearly marked as ads, and likely will help mobile users from unintentionally clicking on those listings unless they really want to see more information from an advertiser. The addition of branded favicons in search results is intended to help users to identify organic sources of information more quickly, and likely will help branded websites and publishers stand out.
The updated search listings come as Google undertakes a broader effort to expand its listings into more imagery, videos, augmented reality (AR) content and shoppable content at a time when its dominance in search is under pressure from a number of sources, including Amazon and the growth of visual search and voice activations. The search giant this month introduced a revamped Google Shopping experience to help web users find and compare millions of products from thousands of stores, and to buy them online, in a nearby store or directly on Google. Google also extended its Showcase Shopping Ads, an ad format that includes lifestyle imagery, to let people shop seamlessly from Google Images, YouTube and its Discover news feed.
Google has ambitious plans to develop technologies that will resonant with online consumers. The company in March unveiled its new Stadia video game platform that will let players stream games from the cloud without the need for an expensive console like a Microsoft Xbox or Sony Playstation. Google's push into gaming an e-commerce is part of its effort to reignite ad sales after four straight quarters of slower growth.