The Search Results Page is Changing: What You Need to Know
“Change in all things is sweet.”
Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, had a knack for memorable quotes.
But with all due respect, he didn’t have to deal with search engines.
If he did, we’re not so sure he would view this ever-changing landscape as “sweet.”
Aristotle said “Change in all things is sweet”, But he did not have to deal with search engines. tweet this
Google’s search algorithms are constantly transforming, and if you’re not aware of the recent changes, you won’t stay ahead of your competitors. You have to adjust marketing strategy accordingly to appear on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP).
Why should you care that Google is changing its results page?
The numbers speak for themselves:
Google has a little over 72% of the search engine world market share. Google has 1.6 billion unique monthly visitors.
Compare that to:
- Bing – 400 million
- Yahoo – 300 million
- Ask – 245 million
- AOL search – 125 million
You can’t afford to ignore Google. The word has even entered the parlance as a verb (e.g. to “Google” something).
Take a look at Google’s latest changes and what they mean for you.
Longer title tags and descriptions
Title pages are the clickable blue links on the search engine results pages. The description is the two-line explanation of what is on the website.
These two elements are vital because they influence where you appear on the search engine results page (SERP).
Expanded text ads have replaced old text ads. This means you have a bit more space to optimize keywords and to push your result higher on the page.
Major transformations in the local pack
If you Google a location, the SERP will display a map and three business listings. Previously, it listed seven.
While there’s a link at the bottom of the list that will take you to additional results, the bottom line is that there will be greater competition for quality Google real estate.
What can you do to improve your chances of being in one of the coveted top three Google local pack spots?
Be sure all your webpages have vital information.
Naturally, the first step is to ensure that your business entry has complete information—and that you’ve claimed your Google My Business. Be sure to include hours of operation, an accurate list of the services you offer, your location and business category.
Verify your information
If Google sees different phone numbers and different addresses for your business, it isn’t sure which one is correct. This negatively affects your ranking (and frustrates potential customers!)
Don’t forget to edit your page if you’ve moved or opened a second location.
Are your links sending the right signals?
Take advantage of inbound links to your page.
- Have you claimed your Google My Business Profile?
- Have you included any location-specific links?
- Do you have links from credible sources?
All of these will help.
Remember best practices still apply
It goes without saying that the best SEO practices should be business as usual.
This means optimizing your Google My Business entry by adding photos and responding to reviews
Structured data helps Google not only find relevant information, but it also provides a context for that information. For example, if you have a recipe on your website, Google will recognize it as a recipe and not a list of food items.
As a result, Google produces rich content to present your information in a visually compelling way. It’s a great way to enhance your content.
We’re not going to harp on the importance of having a mobile responsive website. (We already did that in a previous blog post.) However, Google will be AMP-ing up rankings for mobile streamlined sites that meet the standards they set forth in the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project.
This project was designed to let mobile users get to the sites they want almost instantly, even in areas where they have little cell service. At a minimum your website should be mobile friendly, but you should consider taking it to the next level with AMP.
Remember: More than half of online searches are done on mobile devices…and more than 57 percent of users won’t recommend a business with a poor mobile site.
In addition, roughly half of those who Google your business will walk in your door with in the next 48 hours.
“More than half of online searches are done on mobile devices” tweet this
Is your marketing company keeping an eye on Google’s algorithm changes?
While these are a few of the changes Google has on the horizon, we can promise you one thing:
These algorithms will change again.
Advances in artificial intelligence means that search engines are getting smarter and “learning” which rich content users need and prefer. These advances mean your marketing strategy may have to adjust as well.
When it comes to website visibility, you can’t “set it and forget it.” tweet this
That’s why we continually keep our eye on the latest developments. We have a staff dedicated to keeping a pulse on these changes and how they affect our clients. It’s a key element in how we’re amplifying messages.
Need to know more about what these changes mean for you and your business? Check out:
How to Market My Medical Practice
How the Pros Market Medical Practice Websites
How Today’s Patient Finds Your Practice
Established in 2000, Proclaim Interactive is an award-winning, think-out-of-the-box digital marketing agency located in Wilmington, NC. Proclaim Interactive provides website design, social media management, SEO and general marketing services designed to amplify clients’ messages. Contact us for more information.
Patel, Neil, “Everything You Need to Know About Pigeon.” Search Engine Land.
Moz. “Google Algorithm Change.”
Search Engine Watch. “Google’s Recent SERP Changes and Tests: Everything You Need to Know.”
Search Engine Land. “Google’s Take on Recent Changes to Results Pages.”
Search Engine Land. “Local SEO Ranking 2016 and Beyond.”
Wired.com. “Google, Facebook and Microsoft Remaking Themselves Around AI.”