In search ads, in order to increase focus on the advertiser’s brand, the URL of the advertiser has moved from below the headline to the above the headline (shown above).
Organic search results are also now showing their brand icon within the result (Favicon) (shown below).
In order to have your favicon shown, you must fulfill certain guidelines, such as the size and content guidelines.
These changes will highlight and help users to better understand where the search results and information provided is coming from. This might seem like a small change but this shift in user attention will have an impact on user behavior which advertisers and site owners will have to react to.
Having a more visual element added to your search results is a great way for you to showcase your branding and stand out from the competition. Looking at certain industries where competition on brand keywords is high, such as retail, it gives brands an opportunity to stand out against their competition.
Something else that will need to be considered in building out your future search strategy is that strong brands will have an even bigger advantage, standing out against their competition, but smaller brands will have the opportunity to strengthen their brand also.
According to Google this new design has been rolled out on mobile first. This means it’s worth keeping an eye out for further changes and the potential rollouts to other devices.