What's Behind the New Google Design? Understanding Google's Search Results Page


With Google constantly rolling out new features and design on the Google search page, including personalized and location-based search results, there's no longer such a thing as a standard SERP for everyone. So what’s driving the new Google search results page layout?

The team at VirtualHosting.com has put together a new infographic that examines what today's Google SERP looks like and what it means to be at the top of Google’s search results. According to VirtualHosting, the new Google search results page is driven and defined by:

  • Click-through rates (CTR) – Which parts of the page get the most clicks? How much does CTR fall off after page 1?
  • Searcher intent and location – Does the Google user have intent to make a purchase? Are they looking for local businesses or trying to connect with a specific brand?
  • Authorship and in-depth knowledge – Does the author’s name, face, and expertise influence click-through, time on page, and bounce rate? When users are looking for encyclopedic information, can Google provide that info directly on the SERP via the Knowledge Graph?

Take a look at the infographic below to see an analysis of these questions and how they affect the new Google layout. Then scroll down for some quick-hit stats on the new Google search page from the infographic.

[Disclaimer: This is not original WordStream research. We make no claims as to the validity of the research.]

New Google Page Layout

Some tweet-worthy stats from the infographic:

  • The first page of Google results enjoys 95% of all search traffic.
  • The top organic results on the first page earns 32.5% of clicks.
  • Users open more websites after using long-tail queries. The total average CTR for a 3-word query is 227%, meaning users click more than one result on the page. That rises to 249% for a 5-word search query.
  • Paid search ads account for 6% of total clicks. But for keywords with high commercial intent, the sponsored results earn about twice as many clicks as the organic results.
  • Today's local Google search results page layout looks like this: 14% navigation bar, 30% carousel, 30% AdWords ads, 15% map, 4% Zagat listings, and just 7% organic results.
  • Studies show an increase in CTR of almost 40% when Google authorship is enabled.
  • Approximately 18% of search queries (almost 1 in 5) now result in a 7-result Google SERP. For more popular brands, the 7-pack also includes news, local results, and images.
  • In May 2013, Google announced that the Knowledge Graph will try to anticipate and answer your next query.

Thanks to VirtualHosting for this research!

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Michael Romano
Nov 12, 2013

A few questions about Google’s new search results format.1.      What is the name of the relatively new search results format in which the results are shown in a sort of table? For example, if you Google the word "Ikea," the Ikea website comes up first and there is a table of two columns and three rows of links to pages from within the main ikea.com domain, and then the table is followed by "More results from ikea.com..."2.     How does one generate this table, or does Google alone decide whether your site is large-enough or has enough traffic to insert one of these tables into the search results? 

Elisa Gabbert
Nov 13, 2013

Those are called organic sitelinks. Google generates them automatically, usually on brand queries. 

Dec 15, 2013

Hi,To add on, you cannot tell Google what to display as your sitelinkes, Google will determine this automatically.However, you can go into Google Webmaster Tools to "demote" the site links that you don't want Google to show.

Alex green
Dec 02, 2013

Hey Elisa, Nice infograph. Maybe the time has come where we might have to loose SEO (Just saying). As per how Google is changing his policies, there might be chances that we'll have to find other alternatives to run our business on internet. Paid services are left like PPC, use of Google analytics have truned limited for users. You need to have a active PPC account to see what exactly happening in your website. Things have changed. People who are geniunely using/updating their blogs and sites will only be able to survive(rumours says it). Google is like base of internet, I don't think people will be ready to live without Google. It has made life so easy. I don't know if I'm thinking much negative, but the fact is the world we've made around us is how we want it to be, if its gone! Would there be any of other services like PPC/SEO or there will only be people maintaining their blogs on daily basis?

Dec 15, 2013

Hi there,Thank you for the article.I would also like to check if any of your are familiar with "Blended results" on the serp? Is there such a thing at work?I had a client who was ranking well organically, then I did a Google place listing for him.After that, the organic results disappeared and only the Google place listings showed up on the first page of the search results in google.However, the phone calls got lesser and this leads me to believe that users are more attracted to Organic listings then Google place listings.Do you have any experience or thoughts on this please?Cheers!  

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