Google SERP Feature Notes

Brodie’s notes on the latest Google SERP feature changes

Mar 2022
Mar 17

Google is continuing to experiment with the favicon and URL preview of search results on mobile. Variation #2 of this test was first spotted last month, with the test now expanding with a new variation which doesn’t include bolding of the repeating domain name and a smaller favicon.

Mar 11

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.

Mar 10

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.

Mar 09

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.

Mar 08

A ‘buying guide’ section is appearing on desktop in a new test. This same feature was first spotted last month on mobile, and now it looks like the same could be coming to desktop soon.

Mar 07

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.

Mar 06

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.

Feb 2022
Feb 27

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.

Feb 16

Google is doing more testing of Suggested Clips for Featured Snippets after several new variations appeared in December of 2021. The latest variations feature a label at the top left of the video, along with a bubble label that pops out as a marker for the section.

Jan 2022
Jan 31

Despite an official rollout last month, Google looks to again be testing the old map pack display in some instances. Google confirmed the full-width rollout was coming on December 9th, which then officially came on December 12th, and I’m now seeing a mixture among the two.

Jan 27

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.

Jan 26

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.

Jan 06

Product price approximations for pages that feature product lists have now rolled out in US search results. This was a test that first appeared on mobile in September of 2021 and is now available by default across all devices.

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’.

Dec 2021
Dec 23

After Google rolled out result indenting as the default in September of 2021, there is now more testing of the treatment. In this test, Google is testing the complete removal of the URL for the indented results.

Dec 21

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.

Dec 15

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.

Dec 12

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.

Dec 12

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.

Dec 08

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.

Dec 07

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”.

Dec 06

Google is testing a new mobile format for ‘Short Videos’ in their search results. The new format looks very similar to the ‘Visual Stories’ unit (exclusively for web stories), which Google has recently increased the prominence of.

Nov 2021
Nov 21

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.

Nov 20

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.

Nov 17

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.

Nov 15

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.

Nov 14

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.

Nov 11

A desktop test where scroll-to-text parameters are added to sitelinks for standard web search listings. This treatment has been increasingly used on features outside of for just Featured Snippets in recent years. Learn more about this test.

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.

Nov 05

Google’s trend of full-width feature testing continues. This time with a quasi-knowledge panel result (looks like a Featured Snippet, but not labelled as such), with previous testing being for both Featured Snippets and the Map Pack.

Nov 01

A new keyword tags test variation is showing for some listings on mobile. The difference with this test is the bolding of the keyword tag content, making it appear more prominently for users. The keyword tags test dates back to earlier in 2021, with several appearances throughout the year.

Oct 2021
Oct 30

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.

Oct 26

A desktop test where Google’s autocomplete has People Also Ask results included in the drop-down that are a duplicate of the PAA results on the page. This test is quite similar to what I discovered during August, with the PAA addition being below the autocomplete suggestions (rather than beside).

Oct 19

A mobile test where the search bar font is larger than normal. It has been just over a year since Google focused on a series of mobile search bar tests, so there will likely be more to come.

Oct 13

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.

Oct 11

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.

Oct 05

Featured Snippet test spanning the entire page for the paragraph snippet format. I last saw this test on Aug 5th at the same time that Google started testing scroll-to-text in purple.

Oct 03

‘Short Videos’ carousel test on desktop for relevant queries. This test first started appearing on mobile as a test in November of 2020. Similar to the mobile version, short videos on desktop can be sourced from YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and more.

Sep 2021
Sep 30

On the back of an announcement at Google’s ‘Search On’ event related to commerce and local, I’m now seeing a new label appearing in the map pack and local finder on mobile related to Offer Posts. This appears to be a test at this point, where I’m only able to trigger in few instances.

Sep 28

‘Updated today’ label now showing for all users within Google’s map pack and local finder. This feature is available on all devices, likely being related to when inventory/stock was last updated. This was a test from August of 2021.

Sep 27

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.

Sep 25

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.

Sep 20

Standard web search listings are now showing as indented for queries where the same domain appears multiple times. This was originally a test that started in July of 2021.

Sep 12

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.

Sep 09

Testing of the “hear this out loud” button in Featured Snippets and People Also Ask results now showing in the US. This was a test from May of 2021 that first appeared in India.

Aug 2021
Aug 23

Product page test where URLs that use Schema have a ‘similar products’ extension appearing. This is a continuation from a test in March of 2021, which was originally for category pages.

Aug 22

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.

Aug 17

Google starts rolling out significant changes to web page titles in their search results. I covered this in more detail and was later confirmed by Google.

Aug 17

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.

Aug 09

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.

Aug 04

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.

Jul 2021
Jul 30

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.

Jul 22

Review snippets stopped showing for the vast majority of web pages that previously had them. This was confirmed to be a bug, which was then fixed 5 days later.

Jul 20

AMP icon stops showing on mobile as part of the Page Experience rollout. This included removal of the icon on standard web search listings, Top Stories, Discover, and Web Stories. A replacement for the AMP icon to signify a good Page Experience is expected.

Jul 16

Featured Snippet answer bolding starts showing for paragraph snippet text to make locating the answer quicker. This first started showing for list Featured Snippets in October of 2020, and now applies to paragraph Featured Snippets and People Also Ask paragraph snippets.

Jul 12

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.