Google Unravelled: New Text-Only Search Filter

In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, staying updated with the latest features and changes is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. Recently, Google announced a significant update that aims to simplify search results for users who prefer a more traditional browsing experience. This blog delves into Google’s new text-only search option, exploring what it is, its implications, and what steps, if any, you need to take in response to this update.

What is it?

Google announced via their Twitter account the global rollout of a new search option to see only text-based links. This new feature is similar to existing search options like video, image, and news, providing users with the choice to filter their search results to show only text-based links. Below are examples of how this feature appears on mobile and desktop:

Mobile view

Desktop view

What does it mean?

Though this is a new update, the intention is really a return to the old days of ‘10 plain blue links’. In Google’s statement, they say:

“We’ve added this after hearing from some that there are times when they’d prefer to just see links to web pages in their search results, such as if they’re looking for longer-form text documents, using a device with limited internet access, or those who just prefer text-based results shown separately from search features.”

This change is likely in response to the modern diversity of search results, which can include AI answers, videos, social feeds, and many more features. While these enhancements are beneficial for many users, some prefer a straightforward list of relevant websites without the additional features.

What do you need to do?

Currently, there’s nothing unique that needs to be done. The results are still generated via the usual algorithm considerations such as content, technical factors, and links. This update will just make less use of added search features such as schema to appear in featured results. However, this doesn’t mean these features should be removed, as many users still want to engage with dynamic results.

It’s currently unclear how many people will use this new search filter, but if it becomes popular, Google will likely provide reporting on it in Google Search Console, similar to video and image searches. At Space & Time, we are committed to sharing updates and the impact of this change. If I were to predict the future, I would say this group of searchers is likely small, especially among tech-savvy users who notice the updated tab. Therefore, it is unlikely to become a major focus area for many brands.

Get in touch

Google’s introduction of the text-only search filter represents a nod to simplicity in an era of increasingly complex search results. While it’s a return to the basics for some, for most users and brands, the dynamic and feature-rich search results will continue to be the norm. As always, staying informed about these updates ensures you can adapt and optimise your strategies accordingly.

If you have any questions about how this update might affect your search strategy or need assistance with optimising your website for search engines, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts at Space & Time through our contact form.