Search Engine Land spotted a new Google SERP layout being tested that would shift the left-side menu to a position directly above search results and other content served after a query. The menu allows users to toggle through different kinds of results (general web results, images, maps, videos and others) and also allows searchers to adjust the criteria for their query.
While the move would have no noticeable impact on SEO, it could help users navigate through Google’s different services more effectively. The test remains unconfirmed from Google, but finding a SERP test is typically a sign of a planned adjustment or at least a new consideration from the company. Here is a screenshot of the image from Search Engine Land:
Recently, Google shifted its Knowledge Graph suggested searches above its usual results as well, so moving even more page elements here could make the top of the page a bit crowded. However, Google’s hope to unite its services into a single platform that consumers use for all of their web browsing and search needs has led it to seek the best layout for this goal.
It’s unclear how many users have seen the new layout thus far, and Brafton could not replicate SEL’s test in its own sample searches.
Google has also tested the inclusion of icons indicating mobile-friendly websites for searchers on smartphones. Brafton reported that Google is actively testing other additions to its mobile search pages to make them more versatile for a growing smartphone audience.