In January, Google rolled out its redesigned search engine results page (SERP). The redesign mimics the mobile SERP.

Each listing features a favicon (the small icon you see in browser tabs).

The “Ad” label has been changed from green to black and no longer has a line around it.

The Display URL has also been changed from green to black and is now placed above the headline rather than below it.

The Display URL is displayed as a breadcrumb rather than a URL.

Note: Google is still testing this layout. As we write this, the favicons aren’t appearing for some searches and sometimes the Display URL is still green.

CSS Bing

CSS Google
Figure 1: Bing (top) – Google (bottom) Display URL comparison

What these changes mean for the small manufacturer

As we wrote in June 2019, when Google changed the mobile SERP design, if you run Google Ads, it’s now harder for searchers to see the difference between paid ads and organic search results as the favicons add clutter.

If you rely on Organic to drive conversions, the favicon is one small way to reinforce your brand.

The biggest impact, in our opinion, is the Display URL. Both changes, from green to black, and from URL to breadcrumbs, portend a huge shift in “search scent.”

What’s meant by “search scent” is how we’ve altered our behavior when doing research online. That green Display URL helped searchers quickly determine if a page had the information we were looking for. The green URL positioned below the headline stood out, making it much easier to determine what the page was most likely about.

The new breadcrumb, in a dark grey font and positioned above the headline, gets lost. The position makes it harder to move the eye back up versus down after first reading the headline.

You can see the difference in the two search results from Bing and Google in Figure 1 above.

Although Google has tested these changes extensively, by removing the green Display URL and the keywords-in-URL, it’s now harder to skim through the Organic results. And, the change could impact Ad click-throughs as well — as the Display URL was changed here, too.

Three steps you can take to keep traffic flowing to your manufacturing website

1. Keep track of your Organic traffic in Analytics
One easy way to do this is to add the Organic segment to the Audience report. Figure 2 shows the Organic User traffic to a website. Separating out your Organic traffic is a good way of tracking Google Core Updates, such as the one that rolled out early January 2020. We add annotations to the Audience graph for each update to determine if Google’s updates have impacted Organic traffic positively or negatively.

organic search graphic
Figure 2: User traffic from Organic search

Use the data to determine how you can improve you search engine optimization, which is still a great way for manufacturers to drive traffic and leads.

2. Implement other methods for getting traffic to your website
Google Ads can be effective, but you don’t have to put all your dollars in one basket. Consider advertising on Bing / DuckDuckGo or purchasing digital ads on your favorite trade publication website. Sending a newsletter regularly to customers, suppliers, and prospects is another idea, as is posting updates to LinkedIn (Figure 3).

Abby Industrial LI post
Figure 3: Abby Industrial LinkedIn update

3. Try something new
Take a page from Dennis Askew, Business Development Manager for Rahco Rubber, and try your hand at some PR (read our interview with him). Or, consider making a goal to call two inactive customers each week simply to say hello and see how they’re doing.