Google changes search results layout

Google has changed the layout of its search engine results pages (serps) to a format which is much closer to those they have been using on tablet and smartphone devices.

Google has changed the layout of its search engine results pages (serps) to a format which is much closer to those they have been using on tablet and smartphone devices. The official Google blog post indicates the thinking behind the change:

'....we've been working on ways to create a consistent search experience across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes. With the new design, there's a bit more breathing room……whether from web results or from a feature like the Knowledge Graph.'

As can be seen, what has essentially happened is that the left hand navigation menus have moved to the top bar above the search results.

Old results layout - left hand navigation

Old results layout - left hand navigation

New results layout - navigation moved above search results

New results layout - navigation moved above search results

Why have Google made this change? The answer probably comes through recent quotes from Larry Page at Google's Q3 earnings call - stating Google's aim to unify their search (and advertising) experience across devices:

"There are separate campaigns for desktop and mobile right now. This is more arduous users and mobile opportunities possibly get missed. Advertisers should be free to think about their audience while we do the hard work of dynamically optimizing their campaigns across devices."

What this change will mean for organic search remains to be seen. Will the ad space be extended further, pushing organic results down the page? Will the left-hand navigation be used as ad space?

The change is initially in place on google.com, however, we have seen it appear in UK results and anticipate it will fully roll out in the weeks ahead.