Google is known to be the world’s best search engine. It was announced by Google in the event “Future of search” held some days ago that they are shifting their focus from answers to journeys. It is quite important for marketers to understand this concept. Now the marketers have to be concerned about not just the answers but also the entire journeys of their customers.
Google was originally founded for organizing information from all around the globe and giving it a shape that it would be accessible by the people. Sergey Brin and Larry Page were the students behind this idea. It’s been 20 years since Google has come into being. For celebrating these years, the event was organized in San Francisco where the concept of shifting the focus was revealed.
There are three main shifts that Google has announced along with some features that align with this shifting.
- Shifts from answers to journey
- Shifts from questions to a question-less way
- Shifts from blank textual data to graphical and visual information
1. The shift from answers to journeys
The search of a user is like his journey. People mostly come back to search for the same or related thing in the future. A user is always in need of something to help him throughout in search journey. He may be planning to buy a car or going on a holiday etc. Google has kept this in mind and brought following cool features for making this journey easy and fun.
No matter what the journey is, it contains steps. Activity cards are used to trace these steps and help you in showing them when you are in need. Your own personal history of search will be surfaced by Google so that you could easily trace without the need of browser windows or lengthy bookmark lists.
When a user re-visits some query that he has already visited, activity card is shown on the top containing relevant pages that user has visited before or any other thing that may help him in solving his query.
This feature has great significance as it has enhanced user’s experience by providing personalized results. One of the current examples of this feature is that they extract information from Gmail like flight details etc. into search results.
As the name suggests, collections” is a feature that collects the useful information a user finds while searching. It is an easy way to navigate your search history entirely. It is like a bank containing relevant content that users can refer back to whenever they want.
Users can add the content they have surfaced in activity cards in the collections section. They can organize their content and easily access it whenever they want. Apart from your own collection based on your previous searches and your collections Google also suggests you add pages that may be relevant in your journey’s next stage.
‘Collections’ features is a great help for marketers. Rather than focusing on scattered information about a customer they can focus on a user’s collections and some relevant searches. By successfully analyzing the data there, they can market the relevant content to their customers.
Organizing search results dynamically
When a user searches for a totally new subject, there are chances that he may get confused really easily. Users in that scenario mostly don’t know what piece of information they need for the next stage. Google knows that every journey of a user is as unique as the user himself and that’s why it has created this unique feature within the knowledge graph panels named as dynamic cards for its users.
Google almost handles 3.5 million searches per day, 40,000 per second and 1.2 trillion per year. With these huge stats, we can say that over the 20 years Google is doing its work excellently in managing the relationship between topics, information, searches, and intents etc.
First of all the available content is analyzed by the topic layers and sub-topics are created. Then the useful information is extracted from the sub-topics so that Google may provide it to the users. The relation between sub-topics is analyzed so that Google may surface the content it thinks a user need to access next.
All the information that may be important for a user, the information they may want next etc. is present within the knowledge graph panels. Eventually, it becomes a hub containing all the necessary information about a certain topic and provided at the top of user search results.
A user will get all the necessary information about the topic he searched for. For example, if a person searches for cats, he may want to know a lot of information about cats like what do cats eat, how to take care of them, how to bath them etc.
2. Shifts from questions to question-less search
Google has done this shift so that you won’t have to ask a question instead Google will show you desired content on its own.
Discover is the new feature added by Google by doing a little change in the previous Google interface. It consists of many new things that help you in finding relevant information without actually looking for it. This shift also provides you a brand-new cool look. This ‘Discover’ tab will also be present for the cell phone device users on their Google homepage.
Google predicts a behavior of search for the user and provides a card that sits under the header of a topic. When a person taps on a topic it takes him to further cards containing articles, images, videos and many other things related to that particular topic. In this way, more and more content will be served to the user which means they won’t have to search anything on their own.
One great thing about this feature is that Google tends to show content to a user according to his level of expertise. ‘Topic layer’ helps in this matter. For example, there is a beginner level guitar player searching for information related to learning guitar etc. He will only be shown content related to his level of expertise like basics and learning chords etc.
There is a slider element which can be adjusted by the user so that he may see more or less information according to his needs. The information is available in multiple languages like Spanish etc.
The significance is crystal clear now. Users will get the necessary information without actually searching for it. It’s like getting every day ready on their plate. The information will also be personalized according to their needs, and level of expertise etc. Marketers will also get a lot of benefit from it by easily highlighting their content so that more people would reach it.
3. Shifts from textual data to graphical and visual data
It is easy to understand a thing by looking at it rather than reading about it. Google knows this and trying to bring a shift from a textual way of representing data to graphical way.
Just like Instagram and Snapchat stories, Google has created AMP stories that allow publishers to develop visual content. Google has rolled out this cool feature into its new ‘Discover’ and images tabs so that users can experience visual content.
Publishers will create stories using AMP and AL stories. If a user wants to read a blog or get any other type of content, that would also be available.
This feature will be provided to all content publishers if it becomes successful. So if you are a marketer you can get ahead of the curve by knowing what kind of visual content you need to create.
Users can find the videos that would be most relevant to their needs.
For example, you’re deciding to visit a country. Apart from thinking about the comfort of flight, ticket booking, and other things etc. you will also be concerned about the fact that what are the good places to visit in that country. This feature will show you popular places to visit so that you may save your time and money.
For marketers, this feature opens a whole new path for brands video content. By supercharging the production strategy of their videos, marketers can target a lot of people.
Google images changes
When a user searches for an image, he wants to get information more than just an image. Google understands this so it has brought changes in its images.
The page on which is the image is present is very important. It must contain information that may help the user in his search journey.
More weight has been put on the following things while ranking image search results:
How much fresh the content is
- Where the image is placed
- Authority of the page which contains the image
- The heart of these changes is AL.
A lot of people use images to search for different things. These changes will help them find quality content. The best thing is that the authority of the page gives you the satisfaction that you will get authentic data.
By understanding the users, what they search for, why they search for it and what they will need next, Google is on the path of bringing remarkable changes. These changes are and will surely bring many advantages for users and marketers.