Google Changed How You Appear in Search Results – What You Need to Know

New Meta Titles

Over the past few months, Google has been testing a new design for both organic search results and paid results (a.k.a. Google Adwords). This change affects how people see your website in search results, and how many people visit your website.

Google owns approximately 80% of the medical search market, so this change has the potential to have a significant impact on your practice.

What’s Changed

While there isn’t an official statement explaining the purpose of this redesign, the reason is pretty apparent. Search results are larger and easier to read, paid ads are easier to notice, and search results are now consistent on smartphones, tablets, and computers. Let’s break down each of these changes

Easier to Read

Perhaps the most noticeable change is the removal of underlines on every link. In the past people needed the visual indication that text was clickable by underlining the link. Now that Google is so widely used the removal of underline makes the search results appear a lot cleaner, without reducing the accessibility and usability of search results.

Improved Google Adwords Results

Google Adwords results used to use an off-orange box to indicate which search results were paid ads, and which were organic search results. With this color choice people were not always aware that the top results were paid ads, and would click on them. But over time people have realized that the links in the off-orange box were paid search results.

Now with new ad format the general public will click on paid ads without any knowledge that it is an ad. This should temporarily boost the performance of paid ads.

Not Everything is Better

Meta Title Example
Overall the changes to Google’s search results are excellent and long overdue. But there is one drawback to the improved search results – Meta Titles. Meta titles are short descriptions for a search result.

With the increase in font size, the length of your meta titles will need to decrease to properly appear in the search results. The maximum length of a meta title used to be approximately 70 characters, but with the increased font size it will be approximately 60 characters. Any meta titles that are over approximately 60 characters will be truncated, and can be difficult for patients to read.

Update Your Meta Titles

Because of this change we highly recommend updating the meta titles for your most important pages on your website. If you are using WordPress just open the page that you want to update, and change the meta title in the box below.