Google's Core Update Jan 2020 & Search Results Page Update

Google’s Got A New Look for 2020

To quote the great singer Bobby Bare

“Things Change. And then, change again.”

Most of us are generally never overcome with excitement at the thought of things changing. In fact, most of us are averse to change of any shape or description. However, today sparks yet another change to Google’s Search Results Pages (or S.E.R.P’s as us marketing folk call it.) Some eagled eyed readers out there will have noticed a distinct new look to Google’s Search Results on Desktop as of this morning.

Several months ago, Google unveiled their new look mobile results, and yesterday they rolled out a similar look to desktop results. For those of you who are less eagle eyed, here’s a quick look at how search results looked before yesterday.

As of this morning the new look search results are as follows.

Did you spot the differences?

Although subtle, organic search results now include a favicon alongside organic listings, while the web page’s URL has moved from below the headline to above, and is no longer the conventional green tone with which we have become accustomed.  Subtle indeed.  While the changes may seem minor, the impact of them is not. For example, it is particularly vital for websites without a favicon to add one immediately.

What else can we expect?

In addition to the changes highlighted above, Google have also suggested that they will be tweaking the green “Ad” indicator which was introduced in 2017. In line with Organic Search Results, Google Search Ad’s Display URL will also feature above the headline. In an update in May 2019, Google has maintained that this change is to help users quickly identify where information is coming from.

Here’s Googles very own Mock-up as to how search ads might look following the update.

Is There More?

While many of us will soon get to grips with the new look search results, this update comes at the same time as a Core Algorithm Update from Google. While this might not mean much to most people, Core Updates from Google happen throughout the year and can have wide ranging consequences for websites. Marketing Managers, SEO’s & just about anyone with a vested interest in a website should monitor their traffic over the coming days and weeks to determine if this algorithm update is having any impact.

While this is the first core update in 2020, it is still early days for feeling the full effects and we will give a complete brief on the impact of this update next month.  However there is scope for some to experience a negative impact as a direct result of this update. For those who do, Google has offered this list of questions to consider if your website has been affected by this update.

What Next?

For most, it will be a chance to simply embrace the new look search results and utilise a format which Google has said will:

 “put a sites brand front & centre, helping searchers better understand where their information is coming from, more easily scan results & decide what to explore.”

Sounds great right? For marketers & SEO’s alike, this could unfurl some unexpected issues such as lower click through rates from search or perhaps even an incorrect icon becoming associated with the brand. However addressing such issues should be a relatively painless task for most web developers.

Google’s Core update may prove a different animal altogether. Our advice is to closely monitor traffic and performance over the coming weeks and if you do experience changes, take a comprehensive look at the content your website hosts and consider Google’s advisory questions which you can find here.

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