Two search blogs reported seeing different Google SERPs tests late last week. In one, Google Shopping results appear not within the organic listings, but in the right sidebar. The second test displays a new mega sitelinks format in which links are sorted and categorized into tabs.
Search Engine Roundtable reported the new Google Shopping results placement test:
This arrangement puts the Shopping results in the sidebar, rather than having them bumping down organic listings.
For queries that are informational in nature, that space in the sidebar might be taken by Knowledge Graph results. Currently, in this area of Canada, the wide right sidebar sits empty when searching the same query as that in the image above.
Expect Google to continue to play with this space, as they determine whether new services and features they offer are a good fit for this real estate. Some of their ideas for the right sidebar when not displaying AdWords ads are monetized, such as Shopping results, while others are sources of information.
It will be very interesting to see if placing other types of results in the space usually occupied by PPC ads could actually help ad performance when they do appear, as users could become accustomed to looking to the right for additional information. Google could very well be trying to find the right mix to keep this area a cash cow, but also engaging.
The second test we saw last week was written up on the SEOConsult blog. They noticed the above configuration for mega sitelinks and tried to determine which information Google was pulling from the site in order to create the tabbed design.
SEOConsult noticed that for the Twitter result, there was no internal link with the anchor text, “its status page,” which appeared in one of the sitelinks tabs. This countered what one Googler has said about how internal linking affects how sites appear in the SERPs.
Upon further investigation, testers found an external link using the exact anchor text. Could this new test format be manipulated by competitors, by allowing them to dictate the contents of a tabbed sitelinks design using external links? Let’s hope not. Check out the SEOConsult blog post for more details on their discovery and instructions to perform the test yourself.
Have you seen either of these tests in the wild? Let us know what you think!