The Week in Search is a weekly column produced by the Studio team to keep marketing professionals and ecommerce merchants up to date on changes in the search industry, and provide valuable context on what it all means. If you have questions or think we missed something, email us directly.
Google Announces Updates to Search Console, Messages & Package Tracking Feature
In addition to a major revamp earlier this year, Google has added yet another feature within Search Console to help maximize founder productivity. Now, users will be able to open their messages without navigating away from pages, increasing accessibility and improving overall workflow. Messages will now also be categorized according to types such as Performance, Enhancement and more, creating a more cohesive overview at a glance.
Google also announced a new feature that will allow shippers to supply shoppers package tracking information right in Google search. Shipping companies will now be able to enroll in Google’s Early Adopters Program for a new package tracking feature wherein a RESTful JSON or XML API returns a package’s real-time tracking information to anyone with the tracking ID. Any shipping company can sign up and provide feedback on how to improve the feature for the future.
Studio Takeaway: It’s a fast-paced world and Google is continually looking for ways to meet the demands of business owners who rely on making highly informed decisions quickly and with as little extra effort as possible. Features like these help to simplify user experience and improve accessibility.
Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin Resign
Larry Page and Sergey Brin have stepped down from their executive positions at Alphabet, the Google parent company, this month. The resignation was prompted by a mutual desire to simplify the company’s management structure after 21 years of growing and refining the complex tapestry of services, new technologies and subsidiary companies that helped Alphabet and Google dominate such a vast chunk of the technological sector. Page and Brin emphasized that they continue to be deeply invested and active at Alphabet as Board members, shareholders and co-founders, and that the change is in the company’s overall best interest.
Studio Takeaway: Progress requires change and forward thinking companies like Google know that keeping the status quo can quickly lead to innovative stagnation. By stepping away from their current responsibilities, Page and Brin not only simplify their company’s structure, they’re able to free up valuable time and energy to pursue other ambitious endeavors.
Google Releases Details on November 2019 Local Search Update
Google has officially confirmed a local update to add neural matching to regional search queries.
The way users search has evolved substantially since the advent of Google, and today with the help of speech to text assistants and voice query technologies, targeted keyword-specific phrases are becoming less common. In an effort to provide users with the best matches to their queries, Google uses an AI-based system to understand how word searches might be impacted by user intent.
Google advises that the update was not designed to crack down on poor business practices, but rather to improve user experience. If you did notice a dip in organic traffic and think you might have been impacted by the update, don’t despair. Algorithm changes like this typically result in some inconsistencies that level out over time as the AI learns how to effectively prioritize.
Studio Takeaway: Neural matching isn’t new, it’s been a part of Google’s normal search algorithm since 2018. It’s the intelligence that helps Google to understand how queries relate to concepts, and now Google wants to apply this technology to local results. That means instead of having to rely solely on your business’ name and description, Google will use language, not just proximity, to determine the best result for a user’s query.
Other Interesting Links
- Beginner’s video on how Google search works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0QOePCkyK4&feature=emb_title
- Google search algorithm update this week: https://www.seroundtable.com/december-4th-google-search-ranking-algorithm-update-28638.html
- John Mueller gives advice on differentiating your site when you have commodity content: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-says-to-differentiate-your-site/338475/
- What to do after the audit, SEO poll: https://www.seroundtable.com/after-the-seo-audit-polls-28630.html
- John Mueller says BERT update does not impact indexing: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-bert-does-not-impact-indexing-28622.html
- If you have content syndication, Google recommends rel=”canonical”: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-canonical-syndicate-28615.html