You sure have already seen Google's new look-n-feel that was rolled out last week. Most of the changes Google makes to its search algorithm are quite subtle and go unnoticed by the majority of Internet users. This time it's different. The design update is very prominent and can significantly change the way people search the web. And when the searchers behavior changes, as SEOs we have to adapt to the new trends.
So let's take a closer look at the new Google as well as the challenges and opportunities it brings.
The new SERPs are a three-column layout with a permanent search options menu on the right, search results in the middle and PPC ads on the right.
Skipping the slightly revamped logo and the Bing-ish search box, the first thing you notice is expanded search options menu on the right. Although the search options have been available on Google for quite a long time, they were subtly hidden under the show options link, so few searchers actually used them. Now the menu is on by default and users are more likely to refine their search before clicking one of the search results.
We've yet to see the data on how Googlers use the search options but SEOs already report drastic traffic drops apparently caused by the new layout. Depending on what search channels you use to drive traffic to your site the new SEPRs can have either positive or negative effect on your traffic. If you actively optimize for image search, invest into video SEO, local search, news and other elements of universal search, the search options should bring you more exposure. If you don't do it yet, it maybe just the right time to start.
If you played around with the new Google, you probably noticed that although the left-hand menu is always on, the set of search options varies depending on the query. It may be just news and blogs, or images and videos with other options hidden behind the 'more' link. It's a good idea to explore what the SERPs look like on your most important keywords to see what search options are on by default. Then you can decide if it makes sense to try and get your website listed in these search sections.
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