The 1 thing: Google’s latest shakedown

By Naeem Dollie | The 1 Thing

Mar 30

Stay on top on the biggest developments in digital news. We choose the ‘1 thing’ we think you should know about. This week it’s…

Google’s latest SERP shakedown.

You may have thought Google’s were done with their SERP (search engine results page) makeover after last month, but it looks as though they’re only getting started.

We’re just 3 months into the year and already we’re seeing a number of things being tested or changed for good– most of them on Google’s results pages.

As always, Google’s changes are geared toward making the user’s experience a better one, but it’s business owners who’ll be affected most. It seems 2016 is the year we’ll be re-learning that nothing in digital stays static, and it’s adapt or die for websites.

Yes, changes can mean challenges – if you ignore them and you’ll find yourself left behind. However, if you’re quick on your feet there is always a new way to get ahead on Google and these new SERP changes are a chance to do just that.

Here we sum up the 3 major SERP changes that Google have introduced this month, along with a note on how and why they should matter to you:

business-carasoulGoogle Business Carousel

Google has introduced a new business feature on its results page. This feature displays business information and images on the SERP when a user searches for a business or business category.

The information displayed reduces the user’s need to enter a webpage to find out things like location, opening hours, reviews and contact details.

For businesses this provides a new opportunity to take visibility away from competition and communicate specific information to the searcher. If the user gets the information they need from your carosel information they’re unlikely to need to visit the competition.

Links to further reading:
https://searchengineland.com/google-experimenting-with-local-business-cards-in-search-results-243985

More thumbnail images in Search results

Search engine guru Barry Schwartz has picked up that Google is starting to show more and more thumbnail images in search results, which are inline with snippets.

These thumbnails add visibility to listings and steal prominence from competitors – even if they are outranking you by position.

This may seem like a small change, but having these thumbnail images on SERPs is likely to help increase click throughs to websites.

Links to further reading:
https://www.seroundtable.com/google-testing-images-in-search-results-snippets-21815.html

Google Travel Destinations:

This new feature shows searchers pricing overviews for flights, hotels and more – all in the results page – reducing the need to visit a website to book.

So how does this affect you? Well, unless you own a travel website, it doesn’t – for now. But it’s very likely that this will move across the verticals and into other industries in the near future.

It also highlights Google’s penchant for improving user experience by minimising the number of clicks it takes to find relevant information – keep an eye on this one.

If you’d like to learn more about it, have a look at the following articles:
https://googleblog.blogspot.co.za/2016/03/new-ways-to-plan-your-vacation-while-on.html

travel-destinations

Conclusion:

While these changes are likely to cause some disruptions, one major take away is this:

Where there is change there is always opportunity, and the digital landscape offers plenty of both.

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