If you’ve spent much time in the world of digital marketing, or even if you’re just an astute observer of the online search experience, then you know that Google is constantly tinkering with its products, routinely rolling out new changes to the way it presents search results. Often, these changes are fairly minor in scope, but still worth noting for their impact on marketers and search engine users alike.
Recently, Google announced not just one but five upcoming changes, specifically targeting the mobile search experience. Given that mobile devices now represent the most popular way to access Google, we think it’s worthwhile to make note of these tweaks and changeups.
5 Changes to Google Mobile Search
1) Changes to Google Search Shortcuts
One of the most significant ways in which Google has changed in recent years is that there are now way more ways to search than simply typing in a textual search query. Voice search is the most obvious example here, but you can also search by uploading a screenshot, snapping a photo, or even humming part of a melody.
If you’ve never actually tried out any of these advanced search methods, well, you’re in luck: Google is bolstering their visibility within its mobile app, providing prominent, tappable shortcuts at the very top of its iOS app.
While this change may not seem directly impactful in and of itself, it’s evidence that more and more users are conducting searches through non-textual means…and Google is hoping to champion those efforts.
2) Changes to the Search Bar
Another change to be aware of: Google will soon provide a faster way to find things in mobile search, clearly displaying links to search results within the search bar.
In other words, as you start typing a search query, Google will immediately begin populating results, even before you submit your search.
You can probably deduce the appeal of this new feature pretty easily: Users won’t necessarily have to type out an entire search query but will instead be presented with a quick shortcut to the website they wish to access.
3) Changes to Query Refinements
Another way Google is enhancing its search engine is by rolling out a series of query refinement tools, making it a bit easier for users to find the results most relevant to their query.
So, as you type a query into the mobile search bar, Google may propose a few ways to narrow down that query, making it more precise or specific.
For instance, let’s say you start typing out a search query for “best North Carolina cities.” Google’s new feature may prompt you to hone in on “best North Carolina cities for vacation,” “best North Carolina cities for barbecue,” “best North Carolina cities for raising kids,” or similar suggestions.
4) Changes to Google Web Stories
Still another change: Google is seeking to make its mobile search experience a bit more visual, offering a deeper integration of the Google Web Stories feature.
Here, it may be helpful to simply quote Google’s announcement at length. Here’s what they’ve had to say: “[W]e’re also making it easier to explore a subject by highlighting the most relevant and helpful information, including content from creators on the open Web. For topics like cities, you may see visual stories and short videos from people who have visited, tips on how to explore the city, things to do, how to get there and other important aspects you might want to know about as you plan your travels.”
With this new change, a search results page may include links, photos, map results, and more, arranged in a style that resembles iOS widgets.
5) Changes to Text, Image, and Video Search
Finally, Google has announced a plan to turn their mobile search results pages into endless troves of content and information, with all manner of results intermingling on the search engine results page.
In other words, users will no longer need to choose whether they wish to conduct a Web search, a Video search, or an Image search. All three types of information will be blended within the SERP.
When are these Changes Coming?
Google has stated that these changes will all be rolled out within the next few months. Some of them have already gone live, at least for some mobile users.
What’s the upshot? If you market or advertise on Google, then it’s critical to have a clear sense of what the end user is actually experiencing. Any changes to the search experience will be relevant to search marketers.
At enCOMPASS, we’re always keeping a close eye on changes at Google, ensuring our strategies are up-to-date and our clients are fully informed. With any questions about any of this, don’t hesitate to contact our team directly.
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