What’s with the Google Blue Arrow?
Google is all about the subtle changes lately – Google Instant rolled out in such a subtle way that many people were seeing it without realizing it. Now, another subtle-yet-significant change has been introduced in the form of a blue arrow. The tiny blue arrow appears next to the top result, and acts much like a cursor does. Using the up and down arrows, you can move the cursor to the result you want and hit enter to launch that page.
Why is this significant? What does Google’s Blue Arrow Mean for SEO?
The implications of this change are numerous, but there are two that stand out at first glance. One, it marks another step in Google’s attempt to “teach” users how to search the web. By giving users an easy way to navigate through their results, it encourages people to keep their hands on their keyboards and reduces the likelihood that they’ll navigate below the fold if relevant matches appear early in the results.
Perhaps even more importantly, if the first result is a sponsored listing, the arrow will point to it. Combined with Google’s recent decision to change the background of sponsored listings from yellow to faint blue, this could further blur the lines between paid and organic. These changes could mean that users who previously ignored sponsored listings will now not even notice the difference.
These changes are so new that it’s hard to say for sure how it will impact SEO best practices, but one thing is for sure – SEO is more important than ever. Where bottom-of-the-first would once suffice in driving big increases in traffic, it’s now crucial to be above the fold. No matter what industry you’re in, competition for the first 5 spots is going to be tougher than ever. A strong SEO strategy will be necessary to ensure your site gets the attention it needs.