If you’ve visited Google in the last 24 hours, you’ve likely noticed that the text ads appearing at the very top and bottom of search results pages now have a different label. Instead of the old, solid green label, which helped users differentiate organic links from paid links, the new label is transparent and has just a green outline.
This change is confirmed to be global, making it not just one of Google’s many short-lived SERPs experiments that they are prone to temporarily roll out from time-to-time. While this new label had initially launched in the United Kingdom back on January 24th, users in the United States have just started to notice these in the last few days. Considering this was just implemented, some users will, for now, continue to see the old, green background text ads, which were introduced last June.
A Google rep explained their reasoning for making this change by claiming the new design is “more legible and continues to make our results page easier to read for our users with clear indication of our ad labeling”. Despite their market-testing efforts, Google claims users had no problem differentiating organic listings from these new ads. However, search results pages are now a little less colorful and monochromatic, suggesting users may have some issues discerning what’s a paid ad and what’s not.
This is certainly not the first time Google’s made a change to the aesthetic of their paid ads, as prior to the labels with the green background, text ads had a yellow label. Expect more and more changes along the way.