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Google’s latest changes: what you need to know

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know that barely a month goes by without Google making a change. While algorithm updates are often long-awaited, the search engine is continually tweaking the search engine to further refine the user experience.

We saw plenty of these smaller tweaks in February. If you missed them, here’s a rundown of last month’s key changes:

New ad label rolled out

In the past, paid search advertisements were clearly marked by a small label with a solid green background. However, users have recently spotted inverted ad labels, with a white background and green outline and text.

While it seems the change was initially in a testing phase, Google has since confirmed its global rollout. A Google Spokesperson said:

“We routinely test potential improvements to the look and feel of our search results page. After experimenting with a new search ad label with a green outline, we’ve decided to roll it out. The new ad label is more legible and continues to make our results page easier to read for our users with clear indication of our ad labelling”.

Although Google stresses that the change has no impact on a user’s ability to distinguish the ads from organic listings, the overall look is certainly more streamlined, with the ads more included on the search results pages.

Sun to set on Google Site Search

Google Site Search has long-been a feature on many websites, whereby internal site searches are powered by Google. However, in February, Google confirmed that they would be discontinuing support for the search product by the end of 2017.

For site owners, it means finding alternative search functionality for their websites. Google will still offer their ad-based free custom search engine and cloud search products, and have promised continued investment in enterprise search.

Horizontal scroll on Google Maps local finder

The format of Google Maps’ local finder is changing. Previously, local results for nearby attractions have been displayed in a list format, which use vertical scroll. However, new tests have brought about horizontal card-style views that users can scroll through by swiping left or right.

For users, the changed views means more of the map itself is shown, allowing more effective route planning. Exposure is limited for local businesses, as it will depend on how far through the results users choose to scroll.

The new format is still in testing at the moment, so the impact of these changes remains to be seen.

As always, we’ll keep you up-to-date on all of the key Google algorithm updates and changes here on our blog. Prefer the latest news direct to your inbox? Sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

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