Google has today held its annual SearchOn event, where it provided an overview of its latest Search and discovery updates and experiments, which look to align with evolving consumer behaviors and shifts.
And there are certainly some interesting projects in the works. Here’s an overview of all the major announcements from Google’s SearchOn event, and what they could mean for marketers.
First off, Google announced that it’s expanding its ‘multisearch’ feature to more regions, which enables users to search using images and text simultaneously.
Initially launched for testing in the US back in April, Google is now expanding its multisearch beta to more than 70 languages, while it’s also adding a new ‘multisearch near me’ element, which will enable searchers to take a picture of an item, then find it at a local place nearby.
That could have significant implications for retail brands, and it’s likely worth updating both your own site product listings and your business and product info in Google’s Merchant Center, while there may also be value in keeping tabs on the latest search queries in your niche to tap into any rising trends as a result.
Google’s also making these more advanced Search tools easier to access by adding new links to your additional search options beneath the main Search bar in the app.
As you can see in this image, you’ll soon see new prompts that enable you to quickly shop based on images in your screenshots, translate text with your camera, ‘hum to search’ and more.
Yep, ‘hum to search’. It’s probably used more than you would think.
Google’s also looking to add more insights based on real people’s experience into Search results, with a new ‘Discussions and forums’ element to link you through to related, topical discussions.
As per Google:
“Forums can be a useful place to find first-hand advice, and to learn from people who have experience with something you’re interested in. We’ve heard from you that you want to see more of this content in Search, so we’ve been exploring new ways to make it easier to find. Starting today, a new feature will appear when you search for something that might benefit from the diverse personal experiences found in online discussions.”
So as shown in the above example, if you’re searching for something like ‘the best cars for a growing family’, Google will still show you the regular results, but it will also now include in a new breakout element within that display, which links to forum posts ‘that include relevant advice from people, like their experience with minivans for transporting multiple children’.
If you’ve not considered the potential value of Reddit, or other forum sites in the past, this could make it a more relevant consideration, as a means to help maximize your contextual Search performance. Keep an eye on the SERPs for your target keywords to see if these forum listings start showing up.
Google’s also looking to enhance its eCommerce potential, through a range of new shopping features within Google Search.
First, in an effort to make Google more synonymous with online shopping, it’s rolling out a new way to get Shopping results quickly and easily – by simply adding ‘shop’ to the start of any query.
“In the U.S., when you search the word “shop” followed by whatever item you're looking for, you’ll access a visual feed of products, research tools and nearby inventory related to that product.”
Google says that it’s also expanding its shoppable search experience beyond apparel to all categories – ‘from electronics to beauty, and more regions on mobile (and coming soon to desktop).’
Google’s also adding a new, Pinterest-like ‘shop the look’ option, which will enable users to find similar items to those displayed in an image, while it’s also adding a new trending products feature in Search, which will display products that are popular right now within any category.
Google’s also expanding its 3D display option for certain products, while it will also soon launch a new, automated process to help retailers build 3D visuals of their products from static images.
“People engage with 3D images almost 50% more than static ones. Earlier this year, we brought 3D visuals of home goods to Search. Soon you’ll find 3D visuals of shoes, starting with sneakers, as you search on Google.”
Twitter previewed a similar option earlier this year for its ad tools.
Google’s also adding a new ‘Buying Guide’ feature, which will highlight insights about specific product elements, from a wide range of trusted sources, while it’s also adding new Page Insights to provide more info about the website you’re on, and/or the product you’re researching.
Google’s also adding more personalization tools for shopping results, including new tools for users to set their preferred departments and brands, along with suggested styles based on what you've previously searched for.
Users will be able to control these personalized results, but from a marketing perspective, it’s worth noting that Google will be looking to filter results in this way, which could further benefit established brands.
Also worth noting for SEO analysts – Google’s looking to provide more direct matches for queries directly within its auto-complete listings. Which will mean that appearing on Page 2 of Search results will be even less valuable than ever.
On another front, Google also shared a preview of its evolving 3D mapping tools, which will add more context to Google Maps results for landmarks, and eventually businesses.
“Say you’re interested in meeting a friend at a restaurant. You can zoom into the neighborhood and restaurant to get a feel for what it might be like at the date and time you plan to meet up, visualizing things like the weather and learning how busy it might be. By fusing our advanced imagery of the world with our predictive models, we can give you a feel for what a place will be like tomorrow, next week, or even next month. We’re expanding the first iteration of this with aerial views of 250 landmarks today, and immersive view will come to five major cities in the coming months, with more on the way.”
I’m not sure how much the addition of weather simulations will enhance these listings. But it looks cool, and it points to how Google’s tools are evolving in this respect to provide even more context on listings.
In summary, there’s a heap of Search updates coming, which will have varying impacts on how people see your webpage listings. Which means that if you’re looking to maximize your SEO performance, you need to take note of these shifts, and the behaviors that Google’s looking to lean into with these updates.
More ways to search, more personalized results, and more potential influence from forums are some of the key considerations for future SEO performance, and it’s worth digging deeper into these trends and shifts to consider how you can best align your online listings with these updates.