It was odd to see Google pop up in the mainstream news recently when they were split testing black links in the SERPs rather than blue ones. Having closely followed Google changes for about 9 years I was surprised to see non SEO types paying attention to the finer details of the search results. A big percentage of people don’t know that there are Ad on Google (seriously) and yet a split test makes it to the news?!

Here are 5 actual confirmed changes which google has made so far this month (and we’re only 12 days in):

New Results Width

As Jennifer Slegg of The SEM Post points out Google has increased the width of the main search results column significantly. In itself this isn’t that remarkable but it has had a knock-on effect on other things as you’ll see below. I’m not seeing the wider width yet but others using are.


New Page Title Length

A wider search results page means more room for longer page titles! The new title length is about 70 characters which is an increase of about 15. The width is actually measured in pixels but it’s much easier to count characters and leave a little room for different letter widths.

Mobile Friendly Ranking Boost

Today Google’s John Mueller announced that new changes to Mobile rankings have been fully rolled out. These changes increase the effect of previous mobile updates:

Beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.

More Product Listing Ads

The new wider results page means more room for PLAs, yay! rather than the usual 5 Ads Google is now showing up to 6 product Ads:


[Image via The SEM Post]

“Payday Loan” Ads Banned

Google has added “payday loans” to it’s list of product or services you can’t advertise on AdWords. You can no longer create PPC Ads for Loans with an APR of over 36% or where repayment is due within 60 days.

This change is apparently aimed at protecting users. The fact that Google still prohibits the advertising of at home HIV test even though they’re now legal in the UK suggests that user’s wellbeing is something they’re only partially concerned with.

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