Following a lukewarm reception, Google is rethinking its plans to move desktop search results in line with mobile.
The search giant announced the move on January 13, including the introduction of favicons alongside organic search results, with ads to be indicated by the word ‘Ad’ in bold, black letters instead of the previous green box symbol. However, this move made it more difficult to differentiate between paid ads and organic results in the eyes of many observers.
Speaking on his Google SearchLiaison Twitter account on Friday, Danny Sullivan said the company had “heard your feedback” and a period of experimentation will follow, particularly to do with favicon placement.
Last week we updated the look of Search on desktop to mirror what’s been on mobile for months. We’ve heard your feedback about the update. We always want to make Search better, so we’re going to experiment with new placements for favicons….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 24, 2020
The account then revealed that the experiments were to begin straight away, and that desktop users may see various favicon placements over the coming weeks as Google looks to come to a decision.
Intuitive or indecisive?
Google is not the first tech company to make a U-turn on a major announcement in recent months. In late November, Twitter publicly said it planned to perform a mass purge of inactive accounts, but within 24 hours, it retracted the decision, admitting it had not taken into account the sensitive matter of removing accounts from people who had passed away.
On one hand, it could be seen as a positive that tech giants are receptive to public feedback, but others may see it as indecision from companies making changes on a whim. Should we get used to the idea of announcements being used to “test the water” and gauge feedback, rather than take them as set in stone?
It seems likely that the next few weeks of Google search will see come inconsistencies, and it will be important to keep track of their effects on clickthrough rates. Google initially announced the change because it wanted to help more sites receive clicks, and the new policy on Featured Snippets may also have an effect on this.
At Engage Web, we monitor Google’s developments closely and use what we learn to help your site achieve higher rankings. Why not get in touch with us for more information?