Recently, Google upgraded several search features, updated its news feed and refined audience targeting.
Google Tests “Search By Photos” In Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Search Engine Land reported on a new photo-centric SERP Google appears to be testing in some markets with certain verticals. Several searches (tacos, dentists, jewelry stores) yielded SERPS that displayed photo tiles, usually “after the fold” but not always. Users can click a photo and be taken to a Google business page or choose to see more photos for more results. Whether Google is running a test or adopting the new SERP permanently is unknown, but businesses with optimized images outperform those without in user engagement, which means this new search result could be a boon for businesses with professional, appetizing photos.
Google Feed Becomes Google Discover
Google Feed, originally conceived as a sort of social media feed populated with user-specific headlines instead of user updates, is now Google Discover. Google Feed was a departure from Google’s usual algorithm, which is based on helping users find what they need through searches. The Google blog explained Google Feed as “the shift from queries to providing a queryless way to get information. We can surface relevant information related to your interests, even when you don’t have a specific query in mind.” Google Discover, only available for mobile, essentially functions the same way by using personal search history to create the feed, but Google Discover has added several updates, including:
- Clickable topic headers users can click to follow or to find more information and similar stories.
- More evergreen content relevant to the user, even if it isn’t breaking or trending news.
- Content tailored to user experiences with specific skill sets, for instance learning an instrument.
Marketers can optimize Google Discover by remembering SEO fundamentals: Create quality content and mix it up with a heavy focus on images and video, partner with trustworthy outlets, focus on relationships with users to increase engagement and keep the user experience (UX) mobile-friendly.
Google Search Makes It Easier To Find Specific Moments In Videos
With so much content online, reading has been replaced with skimming, searching and asking Alexa, but quickly sourcing that one moment in a video has proven tricky — until now. Beginning in September, Google search provides key moments from videos to help users find exactly what they’re looking for. The Google blog explains, “When you search for things like how-to videos that have multiple steps, or long videos like speeches or a documentary, Search will provide links to key moments within the video, based on timestamps provided by content creators. You’ll be able to easily scan to see whether a video has what you’re looking for, and find the relevant section of the content.”
Google Launches Two New Ways To Target Audiences
Google is constantly refining the Google Ads platform and in the coming weeks will be releasing two new ways to more effectively reach target audiences. The Google blog explains the new enhancements as tools to “engage people who are passionate about your products” and “reach the right people at the right time.”
Affinity audiences allow brands to add additional audience layers to their searches. For instance, pairing “outdoor enthusiast” with camping keywords reaches avid outdoorspeople and people searching for tents.
In-market audiences allow brands to reach the right people at the right time. Google clarifies, “In-market audiences are a great way to reach consumers who are actively researching or comparing products and services. With the holiday season right around the corner, new seasonal event segments for in-market audiences on Search and YouTube are ideal for reaching people with timely offers.” For example, by targeting car buyers on Black Friday and Christmas, Toyota saw a 67% increase in conversion rates. The targeting options will be available on the Google Ads user interface (UI) in the near future.
As with all Google updates, the key for marketers is to enhance their marketing strategies to best implement what Google has to offer, while measuring effectiveness. It’s important for marketers to not get too caught up in the bells and whistles and instead capitalize on the changes that provide the most benefits for brands and campaigns.
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