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Cha-cha-cha Changes – Google’s Look Evolves Again!

June 30th, 2011 | | News Update

David Bowie made cha- cha- cha- changes to his look a million times, so why can’t Google?  Get ready for the look and feel of Google’s site to evolve over the next few months.  What does this mean for you as an SEO professional?  Probably a bit of confusion and questions like “where did that button go!?” – but overall, it’s a welcome change.

Google is committed to working on three different areas of their design principals:

  • Focus: getting the “clutter” out of the way.  Giving you what you want when you want it in any Google tool you are using.  Bolded action buttons and hidden navigation buttons (yup – this is where the “where did that button go” comes in!) will help you find what you need to be efficient.
  • Elasticity: will allow you to view Google on any device at any time and have a consistent visual experience.
  • Effortlessness: “power with simplicity” is the name of the game here. Clean and simple, the latest, greatest and fastest – all in one bundle!

Google Then - 1997

David Bowie Then - 1997













Google Now - 2011

David Bowie Now - 2011










Good thing Google has aged more gracefully…

The “focus” of your SEO efforts may have to change along with these Google updates.  Google has decided to only show the navigation buttons that are “needed.”  Vanessa Fox from Search Engine Land proposes in her article that most searchers won’t click the “more” categories to display more navigation choices and will just settle on the results that are shown under “Everything.”  Don’t let your site fall victim of Google’s unexpanded navigation bar!  Optimize your site to show for searches with very specific categories in mind as well as the generic “Everything” results.   Take advantage of your meta data to make these differentiations as well.

The new “focus” update changes the organic results that are served based on the navigation button that is highlighted.  For example, if the search is for “cute scrapbook ideas” and you are on the “Everything” button, this is what you would see:

Let’s say your site is filled with keywords for books about scrapbooking.  Your site wouldn’t show here in the Everything results and searchers who never thought to expand the navigation buttons by clicking “More” will never find your site.  But look what happens when they DO expand and click on “Books:”

Tada!  More focused site results…  Moral of the story?  Make sure that you choose those keywords that will serve your site in BOTH categories.

We would love to hear from you about the new Google design updates and how they will help (or hinder – hopefully not!) your clients.  Let us know what you think! And as always, thanks for reading!

Felicia is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.

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  • Bettygreenlee


  • Peggels22

    Hate it! The black bar is distracting & you have to look harder to read the words to click shopping, gmail etc. I hope we can either take it off or change the font so that it is not so hard to read. I use google everyday for work & this will now make my job harder.

  • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com Felicia Coover

    Thank you for your comments!  You are not alone in your sentiments as I have read the same feedback in several different forums.  Google’s idea of “bringing forward the stuff that matters to you and getting all the other clutter out of your way” sometimes doesn’t have the end user in mind.  Like you said Peggels22, it will make your job harder… and it will probably make it a bit harder for SEO professionals to figure out where their client’s sites are going to fall organically now and if people will be able to find them!  But, as with everything, we will get used to it and it will become second nature.  As for the Google Toolbar – we noticed that too… in fact our CEO (@pateast) Tweeted about it first thing!  Hopefully it’s just a kink.  Keep us posted on what you think as more of these changes are implemented!

  • David Maher

    Thanks for the great article, funny and informative!  Personally I liked the changes Google made, you can learn a lot from watching their actions!

    They are obviously taking the stance of educating their users in what Google thinks is “best”. I suppose this won’t be natural to some users and I agree with Felicia that we as SEO professionals will, nay must, get used to the changes. Preferably as soon as possible!

    I’m just glad that there are such great people like the ones at SEOBoy out there trying to help make these things easier for everybody!

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