The ongoing war of the search engines appears to be rumbling along with no let-up in sight, after the sector’s 800lb gorilla – Google – unveiled another set of tweaks and changes in order to keep it ahead of the rest of the pack.
The latest redesign introduced by Google has seen the space where pay-per-click once resided now occupied by a brand new ‘latest posts’ feature from Google+ pages against certain search terms. The online services giant says the overhaul will help users access a wider range of relevant content more quickly, and indicated that it is likely to continue to make changes to its design over the coming months.
Initially, links appearing as part of the Google+ Direct Connect feature popped up below ordinary search results, but they’ve now been moved over to the right-hand side of the page while the rest of the results remain on the left. The tweak allows brands to occupy more space on the results page, thereby giving them a more prominent appearance to users – and, hopefully, attracting more hits as well as making it easier for visitors to access related, relevant content. The new layout appears whether or not the user is signed into their Google account.
What’s more, there’s also been a slight adjustment to the way personal profiles appear on search pages. When searching for an individual Google+ personal profile, the suggested page now appears on the right-hand side – the same place the other related links pop up – as opposed to in the search box itself, as it did following Google’s Search Plus Your World revamp in January. Intriguingly, suggested profiles appear on the right-hand column whether or not the user actually selects the Google+ profile in the search box or not.
The revamp received a broadly warm response from Search Engine Land, although writer Danny Sullivan acknowledged that there may be some users who were quite happy with the old system as it was.
“Some brands might be happy with the change, in that it gives them much more visibility in the “above the fold” search results. However, it also means those who liked how the old format could “push down” possibly negative results might prefer the old system,” he noted. “For searchers, it’s probably a gain.”
Google’s latest move comes after Bing – its Microsoft-backed rival – revealed it was trialling new ways of presenting local search results, helping users to track down businesses in their surrounding area by providing a series of relevant listings. For its part, Google hinted in a blog entry posted late last month that it was planning to introduce a raft of changes – including, funnily enough “improved local results” over the next few months.