Last week, Google announced that it is rolling out a new visual makeover for its search results on mobile:
New labeling for text ads
Gone is the green box alerting you to the ads on search engine results pages, replaced by “Ad” in bold black type at the top of each ad result along with the URL in black type. Google wants to make it immediately apparent to users where the information is coming from.
Branding opportunity for organic listings
Google is providing the opportunity for visual branding in organic search results with its new favicon element. A favicon is basically an icon that represents your brand:
If your law firm website has a favicon, you will need to add a <link> tag to the header of your home page. Google has provided guidelines on how to set up your home page so your favicon can be added to search results. If you don’t have a favicon, you can create and add it following Google’s favicon guidelines.
Google said that setting up your favicon correctly does not guarantee that it will show up in search results. The company also said it will penalize sites with favicons that are against its guidelines:
- The home page of your website and the favicon file must be crawlable by Google.
- The favicon must be a visual representation of your brand to help users identify your site quickly in search results.
- Favicons must be a multiple of 48 pixels square (i.e., 48x48px, 96x96px, etc.). Google will rescale to 16x16px for use in search results so be sure your favicon looks good at that size. Do NOT provide a 16x16px favicon.
- The favicon URL must be stable (no frequent changes).
- Inappropriate favicons — hate symbols, pornography — will not be shown. Google will replace inappropriate favicons with a default icon.
What this change means for law firm marketing
Google is gearing up to add even more content types — video, 3D images, etc. — to its search results so users can take more actions directly from mobile search results pages. This makes it even more critical for law firm marketers to add video to their home pages and to optimize their mobile marketing to make it easy for prospects to contact you with one touch.
As the company noted in its announcement:
“As we continue to make new content formats and useful actions available—from buying movie tickets to playing podcasts—this new design allows us to add more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards, all while giving you a better sense of the web page’s content with clear attribution back to the source.”
Google said that during its testing of the new redesign, it found that most users found it easier to scan results more quickly and better identify websites of interest.
As this new makeover rolls out — first on mobile — you will want to pay close attention to your analytics to gauge if it has an impact on your traffic from mobile search.