Google has been working behind the scenes to redesign its dominant search engine. The official changes were announced late in September at its annual search event, called Search On. The goal, making assumptions based on the changes, is to keep searchers on Google's properties (i.e., YouTube, etc.) longer.
The best way to understand the latest update is with an example. If you are searching for women's shoes, Google will present results that include links to review videos from YouTube, blogs, and links to retailers. It will also make recommendations and help users compare prices without ever leaving the search results page.
In the past, Google had no problem sending searchers away from their properties, as long as the sites provided the best possible user experience. While Google did include links to reviews and retailers in the past, they are now more refined and focused on the key element a person is searching for.
This also means that less traffic may be clicking on your site simply because Google is trying to keep them in place.
Another notable change is that search results pages will show images for many of the results displayed next to the page text. Along with just making search results more visually appealing, it helps searchers know if the page has what they are looking for. Before this update, images were only seen in the uppermost portion of the page, as a suggestion to change to a Google Images search. Not only will images make things more visually appealing, but this may also impact how many results are seen per page.
As a small or medium business owner, you may wonder what this means for you and if you can do anything to keep your traffic up. I'm here to break it down and help you better understand what this update will do and how it will impact your site in the coming months.
How You Can Mitigate the Potential Losses
As a business owner or marketer, your job just got a little harder. For example, you must now ensure your product (in this example, women's shoes) are one of Google's recommended products.
This requires more focus on search engine optimization (SEO), answering customer queries quickly and concisely, and posting content regularly-- including on Google's other properties, like YouTube. After all, that's what Google wants.
Unfortunately, there are no official guidelines from Google available that let you know what to do to stay "relevant" in the search engine's eyes. Instead, these tips are based on announcements from Google about what is changing along with my several years of experience in the SEO and marketing realm that helps me understand how changes will impact your website and business.
Improving Your Results
Google is relying on artificial intelligence (AI) more and more with every update released . Because of this, you have to continue making updates to your own site. As Google gets smarter, your site must follow suit if you want to remain relevant.
With the latest search update, it is imperative to avoid any "fluff" and unrelated information on your site. If you don't, you may find that your site falls in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) or that less and less traffic navigates to your site to see what you offer.
It's also important to remember that Google's goal has always been to provide searchers with the best answers to their queries. If you are focused on the same end goal, your business's website should maintain its position and authority in Google SERPs. However, like anything else, there are no guarantees. Because of this, you may need to implement A/B testing and similar processes to ensure you are getting the best results for your business.
Remember, when it comes to Google, things are always changing. Because of this, you must remain flexible in your efforts and how you present your business to the world. In some cases, reaching out to a marketing pro can help you improve your efforts and meet Google's changes-- both now and in the future.