On the back of a string of mobile favicon and URL tests in March, Google is now testing several variations of ad label changes along with variations involving the URL and favicon (similar to the tests from March). The ad-focused tests that are now showing feature different titles for the label such as “sponsored” and “advertisement” along with a boxed-in variation.
Google has now launched scroll-to-text sitelinks on desktop in the US for organic listings. This was originally a test from Nov 2021 which I wrote about in detail, and again appeared in Mar 2022 with a stacked treatment (a different variation to launch).
The launch of scroll-to-text sitelinks in the US was the biggest launch for April, which was a quiet month for Google tests overall. This is a launch that has gone under the radar for most, with there not being a noticeable uplift in sitelinks appearing on desktop. Instead, the method of extraction has just been altered slightly.
After a short break, Google is again testing new design variations for the desktop search bar. So far, I’ve seen up to 6 different variations of Google’s desktop search bar in recent months. The latest variations include a search box that is a square (rather than rounded) and also removal of icons from the menu items with some colour changes included.
After initial testing a couple of days ago with the ‘buying guide’ feature appearing on desktop, I’m now seeing the same for the ‘things to know’ feature. Both look quite similar on desktop, resembling a PAA box. The ‘things to know’ feature first started appearing on mobile shortly after Google’s Search On event announcement in 2021.
While March of 2022 was a packed month for tests on Google, the stand out test would have to be seeing both the ‘buying guide’ and ‘things to know’ features both appearing on desktop. Both tests were quite visible throughout the month but are still only visible on mobile for all users, with desktop likely to return by default in the near future.
Image and video thumbnails on desktop are appearing as larger in a new test. This test builds upon a change where desktop image thumbnails started to be included in snippets, a feature that has been available on mobile for quite some time.
The People Also Ask box is showing showing twice on Google in a new test. The second PAA box seems to be appearing at the bottom of search results in most instances, even below the final set of ads. It is worth noting that the second PAA box has different questions, pointing to the need to serve a different intent.
Google Ad URL test where either sections or the entire URL is showing as lighter. I’ve seen similar tests as this in previous years, with the current variation not applying to organic listings at this time.
Google has made some changes to how the AMP version of Web Story URLs are shown in search results. The new additions includes instructions for use and also the domain name and logo featured at the bottom.
Google’s search bar tabs are again showing as aligned to the right on desktop for some users in a new test. This test was showing roughly a year ago and looks to have returned. This variation has a more simple design without the icons accompanying the text, with only having ‘Images’ and ‘Videos’ visible and all others hidden behind the ‘More’ drop-down.
While February was a slow month for Google testing and rolling out new features, the desktop search bar test was the most significant for the month. This test was appearing quite often throughout February and into March, with another variation of this same test showing more menu items that aren’t hidden behind the drop-down.
Google’s desktop search bar overhaul testing has returned this month, this time with a subtle difference in the search bar where there is an oval shaped shadow effect. My blog post has been updated to reflect the new variation.
Another variation of Google’s ‘also covered on this page’ test for Featured Snippets. This variation of the test features the scroll-to-text links feature prominently stacked on the righthand side of the Featured Snippet. This test makes use of the new full-width SERP display that Google now uses for certain features.
The price approximations rollout in the US was the most significant SERP change for January. This change also brought reports that the new snippets appear in Google Search Console within the Search Appearance report categorised as ‘Product Rich Results’.
Another variation of Google’s desktop search bar test, where there are some subtle differences focused around colour (input query and icons) and also the divider is using a shadow effect.
The full-width SERP trend continues, with Google now showing some Featured Snippets as full-width. The full-width Featured Snippet treatment appears only when images aren’t included and it isn’t a double Featured Snippet.
Google has rolled out full-width Map Packs as of today after months of testing. Full-width Image Packs are also included in this rollout.
Google is testing a design overhaul for their desktop search bar, included in the test are some elements that I’ve seen in the past and others that are brand new. At the same time as this significant desktop search bar test, Google has actually rolled out a test that involved a specific design for People Also Ask duplication that appears in the drop-down.
Google’s testing of the desktop search bar overhaul was the most significant trend of the month. During this testing period, Google also rolled out PAA duplication within autocomplete. Throughout the month, there was several different variations of the desktop search bar focused around several different elements which I covered in my blog post above.
Another variation of the eCommerce category page test on mobile from September of 2021. This test builds on the original, showing more specifics around how the price approximation is calculated. For example, there could be 40 products in the category, but only 20 on the indexed page. This means the approximation is based on the 20 indexed results.
Google is testing a new format for Suggested Clips in Featured Snippets on both mobile and desktop. The test builds upon a change rolled out in July of 2020 where transcriptions are added to search results. In this test, the alignment of the video is to the left with transcription text on the right, along with details of the clip length and also text added to the video marker labelled “starts here”.
Google is again testing a packed autocomplete on second click, featuring 12 search suggestions, 3 PAA questions (with a grey background), and also 4 PASF results. There has been several other similar tests in recent months, with the commonality being the duplication of the PAA questions from the main search results.
Google has now rolled out ‘Key Moments’ on desktop for standalone YouTube videos (when not part of a carousel). This was launched on mobile on March 22nd and is now also reflected on desktop.
Another new keyword tags test variation, similar to the variation documented on November 1st (text is in bold) but now capitalising of the first letter of each word. This test makes the tags look more like headings.
More variations of the mobile ‘jump-to search’ functionality test featuring the upward facing blue arrow and ‘back to top’ text (with a blue background instead of white) at the top of the page instead of the bottom.
A mobile test with ‘jump-to search’ functionality using an upward facing blue arrow that expands with the text ‘back to top’. There’s been several variations of this test, including a blue magnifying glass and grey arrow, along with the blue magnifying glass that expands to include the text ‘edit search’. This variation is similar to a test from 2016.
The ‘Scroll-to Sitelinks’ test was the most significant out of all tests throughout the month of November 2021. During this same month, Google has also started to bring back the ‘also covered on this page’ scroll-to-text links on Featured Snippets. This goes to show that Google is continuing their focus on scroll-to-text usage in their search results.
Another organic Seller Rating label variation is appearing for some listings on mobile. Similar to the test from September 25th, the new label variation is an extension of this by either using the text ‘STORE RATING’ or ‘STORE INFO’. We’ve now seen 4 different variations of the organic Seller Rating test since June of 2021.
A desktop test where videos become larger on hover, with the YouTube video description also being included in the preview. Feel like I’ve seen this test in the past at some point, so am adding to my timeline to document.
Another variation of the ‘also covered on this page’ Featured Snippets test, now showing with limits in place for the text snippet (using truncation) and a subtle divider. This test has been ongoing throughout 2021, last spotted on August 4th.
October of 2021 had a focus on Featured Snippet variations. Throughout the month, there was several Featured Snippet tests operating at the same time. The main tests related to the ‘also covered on this page’ jump-to links, paragraph-styled Featured Snippets spanning the entire page, along with bubble links appearing in a more refined capacity.
eCommerce category page test where Google is simplifying pagination by showing roughly how many products and also providing an approximation for the price range for products within the category. This mobile test is based on HTML (not Schema), and is in the same vein as another series of tests from March of 2021.
September of 2021 had a series of tests focused on eCommerce category pages in particular. I discovered tests that appeared to use HTML to show roughly how many products are on the page, an approximate price range, and also the Seller Rating.
Google Seller rating test for organic listings where the overall rating based on product feeds is showing for some eCommerce category pages. This mobile test first started in June of 2021 and has now returned in a different form with a more discrete label located at the top of results (rather than the bottom). Also no longer displaying the amount of reviews where the rating is taken from.
Some paragraph Featured Snippets in the US are now showing bubble links. This was a test from November of 2020 that received some initial backlash.
Autocomplete test where there is a duplication of the top 3 People Also Ask results appearing in the drop-down. I’ve documented several tests in the past that have been similar to this and focused around autocomplete inclusions.
There ended up being several autocomplete-related tests throughout August of 2021. During this testing period, Google tested more autocomplete results (up to 15 in some cases), showing PAA results, and also PASF image thumbnails.
Wikipedia sitelink test where in instances that they rank for a query, they are receiving the full sitelink treatment. This treatment is normally reserved branded searches when ranking in the top position.
The latest version of Chrome is now showing scroll-to-text fragments in purple by default, instead of the usual yellow highlight. This can appear for some Knowledge Panels, free product listing article snippets, Featured Snippets, and more.
The ‘also covered on this page’ Featured Snippets test returns to US search results. Using algo-generated questions with scroll-to-text parameters. Currently 2 variations of this being tested.
The ‘Discussions’ carousel for forum results test appears on desktop in the US. Showing favicons to identify different sites, along with the title and publish date. 6 results being visible in the carousel at a time.
Mobile jump-to search icon test with a blue magnifying glass and a grey upward facing arrow. Test designed to make it faster for users to reach the search bar after submitting a search on mobile devices.
The jump-to search mobile functionality was a reoccurring test throughout the month, with several variations being discovered. Including a grey upward facing arrow, the blue magnifying glass, and also the ‘edit search’ variation of the magnifying glass.