Changing the look of your Search Result Pages

I love Google, I seriously do. What I don’t like too much is them adding more and more fluff to my search result pages (or SERPs) that I really don’t want or need. Most of us know about their new Terms of Service now, right? No reason to show me that box all the bloody time.

I also hate the suggested person box. I understand I could (and probably do) drive traffic through that, but I don’t need it. And I hate their new ad sitelinks even more. The first organic result is almost below the fold now…

Luckily, this is all easily fixed. Most browsers support a feature that’s called a user stylesheets. This is a CSS file on your computer that is applied to each page you’re looking at, on top of that page’s stylesheets. The location is different for each browser / operating system combination, so you might need to Google a bit if you’re not using Chrome, for which I’ve listed them below:

  • Chrome on Mac:
    ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/Default/User\ StyleSheets/Custom.css
  • Chrome on PC:
    C://Users/Username/AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\User StyleSheets/custom.css

This article (while a bit old) seems to have good ways of making a user stylesheet for other browsers.

User styles to hide ads, TOS warnings and suggested persons

So with this small addition to that stylesheet, you can hide the specific sections you don’t like:

/* Hide the Ads */
#tads, #mbEnd, #bottomads {
display: none;
}
/* Hide the suggested person box */
#rhs_block {
display: none;
}
/* Hide the TOS warning nonsense */
#bb_pp_tos_ack {
display: none;
}

Now my search result pages are nice and clean again, gotta love it.

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20 Responses

  1. Steven DonBy Steven Don on 22 February, 2012

    Here’s another suggestion:

    /* Hide "Hot on Google+" */
    .Te.ch {
    display: none;
    }

    which I use to clean up the clutter on Google+.

  2. Peter KnolBy Peter Knol on 22 February, 2012

    There is this Chrome Extension called Stylebot which enables you to restyle (say: hide) every element you want on any website and save it. It works quite easy due to wysiwyg-ish editing: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/oiaejidbmkiecgbjeifoejpgmdaleoha

    • Peter KnolBy Peter Knol on 27 February, 2012

      Stylebot http://stylebot.me/ goes social today: share your restyled css tweaks of any website. (I don’t have any interest, I just think it’s way more convenient using stylebot :) )

  3. ErikBy Erik on 22 February, 2012

    And make a bookmark, when you want to see the items.

    javascript:document.getElementById(‘tads’).style.display=’block’;alert(‘done’);

  4. Jeremy CaseyBy Jeremy Casey on 22 February, 2012

    Any chance that you could post a before and after screenshot?

  5. Andy TriggBy Andy Trigg on 23 February, 2012

    I appreciate ads can be annoying, and companies need to use them wisely, without taking the p**s, but an internet without ads is a dead internet. How would you like your ads stripped out? I know my site would not be on the internet without ads and I believe my site is a valuable resource – as is Google..

    • BarbaraBy Barbara on 23 February, 2012

      I agree about leaving ads on when possible. If a site has ad pollution I don’t turn the ads off, I go to a different website.

      Personally, I think it’s rude to use content without giving the site a chance to make money, but likewise I don’t have to stick around and be abused by pop-ups, et al. It’s a balance, treat your visitors with respect and, hopefully, they will do likewise.

      @Erik, great tip about bookmarking. Always good to keep your options open! ;)

  6. Steve McGrathBy Steve McGrath on 23 February, 2012

    Thanks for this…the main point I wanted to make was that I really love your email. You dont clutter them with loads of articles and I always want to read the ones that you put in the emails. Less is definitely more in your case. Thanks.

  7. Bryan CarterBy Bryan Carter on 23 February, 2012

    Nice one — Removing the ads makes a huge difference. Thanks for the tip.

  8. SteveBy Steve on 23 February, 2012

    Great stuff,

    Is there any custom css for gmail?.. or wound that be ‘having a free lunch’ while using their email services.

  9. Niall FlynnBy Niall Flynn on 23 February, 2012

    Let’s hope google isn’t watching :) nice info though new SERP are getting busy alright.

  10. Ramesh PawarBy Ramesh Pawar on 24 February, 2012

    This is what I really want, now I’m happy with clean results.

  11. GaneshBy Ganesh on 24 February, 2012

    Also if you want to browse without any clutters, here are few more options. Check this

    • GaneshBy Ganesh on 24 February, 2012

      Sorry something went wrong. Here is the link

      • Ramesh PawarBy Ramesh Pawar on 24 February, 2012

        Checkout comment rules, use tags properly.

  12. Govind ChoudharyBy Govind Choudhary on 26 February, 2012

    I was searching for it..Thanks for this great tweak :)

  13. EddBy Edd on 28 February, 2012

    Yep, have to agree with the others, adds can be a pain in the kneck sometimes but the internet would sure be a bit lifeless without them. Like a lot of things that can be bad, ok in moderation!

  14. SimonBy Simon on 29 February, 2012

    Yeah almost every internet user is aware about the privacy policy of Google so it shout not pop up every time we search any thing!

  15. InsomnimeBy Insomnime on 4 March, 2012

    What I really want to know is how you make your search result have your website and sections of your website below it. I see it for some websites but not mine.

  16. Mark ChooBy Mark Choo on 6 March, 2012

    OMG…. Yes, this is so annoying! Thank you for the fix, I am going to try that.

    By the way, I got alot of great tips from this site since I have found it! ~ Mark