Google recently removed the right sidebar pay-per-click ads and will occasionally include a fourth ad for “highly commercial queries” in the area above organic results. Search Engine Land reported Google’s official statement back in February. By now, pretty much everyone’s noticed.
The changes certainly result in more paid clicks, leading to an increase in revenue for Google. According to Google’s official statement, it’s in the name of “providing more relevant results for people searching.” That may be true, but what’s also true is that the organic results are pushed farther down the page. For screens with lower resolutions, I’ve personally witnessed dozens of searches that return no organic results above the fold. It’s quite alarming, and it’s only the beginning – organic results may soon be living in the basement.
Extra spacing between search results on Google?
Yep. The additional white space between each result on the SERP first started appearing for me on March 25. I haven’t been able to find much information about it other than this brief mention by Jennifer Slegg at SEM Post. It appears to be an extremely limited test. Oddly, it only appears when I search incognito with Chrome. Searches without incognito display the traditional spacing.
I rather like the new look.
As always, any design change to a Google SERP feels weird. I tend to despise every change Google makes (at first), but not this time. I kind of hate to admit it, but the new look is actually pretty awesome.
The slight change does mean organic results are even further down the page than they already were. That will certainly be a tough pill to swallow for some, but the new Google SERP feels so much cleaner. I find myself wanting to scroll further down the page solely because the results are easier to skim.
Below are a few side by side comparisons of Google’s test with extra space between SERP results.
Note: The shaded area represents what’s below the fold using Chrome with a resolution of 1366×768.
Final note: Hi there. I’m an SEO vet but this site is brand new and this is the first post ever! It would make my week if I got just one shout out in the comments or on Twitter 🙂