Before I give you details on what might be the future of search and how Google is gradually shifting from search engine to portal, let me show you this. Type “World Cup 2019” in the Google search bar.
You are most likely to see this result:
The Google card here is letting the searcher know of the current scoreboard information followed by some additional context just below the card. This section (see img. below) is indicating the latest news stories related to the search query.
I can also click on this drop down in the image shown here (encircled in red) and see the scores for each game all the way through to the end of the World Cup series.
This shows how immersive the search results pages have become today.
Likewise, if you search with terms like “buy”, “shop” etc., you would find sponsored results on your right-hand side consisting of product listings that match the key phrase you used in the search bar.
What I’m trying to explain here is that the Google search results are evolving dynamically. The results are displayed in a way that it will make it easier for a user to gain information literally at their fingertips.
The change is not just on the surface. “Google is becoming less search engine and more portal,” said Jessica Bowman, the CEO of SEOinhouse.com.
This journey is basically changing the traditional search pattern of Google. The search engine giant is enabling users to get tasks done without having to visit a website. They bypass the whole process; users may also fulfill transactions in future within the search interface itself.
Google search results today is almost unrecognizable compared to what it looked like a couple of years ago. Whether this transition is a boon or bane is debatable.
How to Protect Your Business When Google Shifts from Search Engine to Portal?
An SEO expert at Stan Ventures, Dileep Thekkethil, offered several plans of action for SEO to stay prepared for this change. A few of them are listed here;
Make your Brand Popular
When it comes to a product or service website, take for example Amazon, people usually type the brand name in the search bar or type the URL in the browser and go directly to the website to make a purchase. So, if you’re a product or service business, make sure you grow as a brand that is easily recognizable by your target audience.
This way, you can reduce the subjugation that Google has put on all online websites.
However, there are possibilities wherein Google may have to deal with legal issues in the future. Take, for instance, the recent case where Genius Media Group Inc. accused Google of the drop in its web traffic. Google directly lifted up copyrighted lyrics from the website and displayed it in its search results. The complaint comes amid mounting concerns over the business practices of Google and other tech giants.
No one knows what plans Google has for the future, but if predictions are to be followed, it’s going to be a win-win situation for both the business and the search engine.
If you’re thinking “how,” then take a look at the hotel ads below:
Google is displaying a list of hotels by fetching all the necessary information from the hotel websites. It also provides a platform for the user to compare hotel prices and reviews in different locations and then finally make a booking. The final payment tab on Google actually redirects the user to the host website, and thus, the rest of the sales process takes place. This way, the website does not lose out on its web traffic too.
This means that Google is providing a marketplace for merchandisers to advertise and create a healthy competition without taking away the web traffic of a website. Thus, also ensuring the best user experience, all with just a few clicks.
At the In-house SEO Exchange, Ms. Bowman also suggested a few ways to protect a website from the changing dynamics of the Google Search Engine Results.
Build an Excellent Team of SEO Experts
SEO will be more important than ever in the days to come. Every role in an organization has activities that directly or indirectly affect SEO. Ms. Bowman tells businesses to identify a team of members who do this and train them. In addition to this, larger companies should incorporate SEO into their daily vernacular.
Any non-SEO efforts will contribute to 80% of the impact on the overall optimization process of the brand. It’s only up to the management and the core SEO team to manage and empower the non-SEO employees.
Explore the Different Writing Competencies
Product or service information, how-to-guides, trending stories, and other types of content have the potential to receive higher visibility on SERPs only if they can appear within a carousel in a Knowledge graph or as a featured snippet. Ensure that your writers are able to create comprehensive and authoritative content to compete for organic reach and visibility.
If your SEO team can master the implementation of schema, then it will help crawlers make sense of your content and gradually increase the odds of your content getting visible as featured snippets.
Of course, the rich snippet, the “Similar queries section”, the knowledge graph, and other rich results illustrate the portal-like interface nature of Google.
Google is supporting a lot of markups for various content types such as the FAQ, content supporting voice search, and more. Thus, making schema a valuable tool for modern-day SEO.
If you’re using WordPress’ CMS, Yoast has revamped its schema implementation to streamline structure data entry. However, it’s still important to verify the quality of the code.
Bowman also mentioned that although there are search engines that are less sophisticated than Google have the potential to draw a decent amount of traffic in international markets.
Monitor and analyze mobile SERPs
Bowman pointed out that because we are always working on computers, we barely notice Mobile. From 1st July onwards in 2019, every new site will be indexed based on Google’s mobile-first indexing, with older sites being watched and assessed for mobile-first indexing readiness. Since the majority of searches happen over mobile, brands have to closely examine mobile search results and optimize content based on the devices that their audiences are using.
Big Data to Simplify SEO Efforts
Bowman said that hiring a data scientist is a better option than hiring an SEO to study data. She believes that since data scientists are better equipped to identify trends, commonalities, and make predictions; they can improve the SEO efforts of an organization and improve the content marketing strategy for enhanced user experience.
Bowman also recommended during her Keynote that brands can make use of Chrome’s User Experience Report to analyze site speed, compare UX metrics from popular destinations across the web, and thus, be more proactive.
According to MOZ and SEM Rush, there are about 16 different types of search result features currently shown by Google. So, don’t be surprised if there are ten new SERP features added by the next year.
Hopefully, this post has given you some clarity on the kinds of opportunities that the evolving Google SERPs will bring and the kind of challenges that it may throw at online businesses. You can gear yourself up with these tips to optimize your content and website to different types of search features and rich results. It seems like Google is doing everything to ensure its users continue to use its services a little longer before one inevitably clicks away, and you can do nothing but work according to Google’s changing and challenging updates.