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Google Test Makes Ads Appear as Followed Hyperlinks

By August 22, 2014 Industry Topics


We noticed recently that Google is testing how paid search results look like followed hyperlinks on repeat searches. The implications for this are pretty significant. Our initial thoughts are that this will drive up CTRs and performance on brand terms. People are much more likely to click a purple text link because we’ve been trained to think that represents our past behavior.

In the above screenshot, the organic link had originally been clicked, but an AdWord link is now also colored purple when we searched again.

A Google rep confirmed the test and said a site with high organic search results plus paid will demonstrate a “clicked” link image on the paid result on a repeat search when only the organic result was clicked.

Should this test be implemented, marketers will need to pay closer attention to their brand campaigns regarding user experience, especially as it relates to remarketing messaging and comparison shopping behaviors. We’re expecting a higher “revisit” rate through branded terms. And, of course, this benefits Google perhaps more than the end user.

Let us know what you think. Does this have big implications or is it standard Google behavior?

Contributor: Maggie Grignano