It would appear Google are in the midst of a SERP test (as identified by my trustee sidekick Dan Bell) which could provide a significant boost to brands on brand related searches. In the test highlighted below, the relevant brand result appears to have a number of significant enhancements which significantly improve the “standoutedness” of the result against other results on the page – including that of the PPC ads above (which would suggest we may have some real fun and games on the way….)
- Border around the entire brand result including the sitelinks
- Enhanced title
- Bigger fonts on all result sitelinks
Its interesting to see this just rolled out across brand results – as the major beneficiary is likely to be that of the organic search results – something which would have obvious commercial impacts on Google themselves.
We (at Group M of which Mediacom is a part) ran a recent study to assess differences in CTR across a number of verticals and keyword sets. Interestingly one of the big areas highlighted was the impact of brands on CTR. In an obvious scenario – brand CTR was significantly for brand results where the brand was number #1. This varied between 25 – 56% dependant on the brand and vertical involved. This also interestingly often significantly outweighed the CTR seen on PPC – which when one considers the test being run at moment would again be an interesting move on Googles behalf.
When one considers the increased real estate now provided to non-paid inventory on brands it again highlights what an interesting move this is. Local results and Google+ have already eaten a significant amount into the search page, and one would suggest its a while before current betas such as Image or Offer Extentions become common place on the majority of brand related searches (if ever in many cases).
Looking around the web, it seems to have been around for about a week or so off some reports I have seen but seems to be intermittent from the tests we have done. Whether or not we see a full roll out on this is still to be seen – but it would be an interesting move from Google if they do decide to fully roll this out – and certainly of limited impact I would suggest for the vast majority of major brands out their.
What it may suggest is we are in store for some further testing of search results, however if this is affecting the organic results, its only a matter of time before its tested on the paid results. After all… Wouldn’t you?