Google Updates: November 2018

Every month Google makes hundreds, sometimes thousands, of changes to the algorithm. What most don’t consider is how it affects the visual or functional aspects of search results and how a user interacts with them on mobile, or on a laptop. We’ve packed a few of the most recent and impactful changes we’ve seen in the SERPs this month.

Google One Navigation Box

Google recently added a navigation prompt to both mobile and desktop search, which is honestly pretty handy. They’ve been building a set of great features into search results lately that have, in my opinion, created a much better experience for users.

The double-edged sword is that as Google adds their own services to the SERP, we have to find new SEO strategies and ways to work within their format. As SEO’s, we’ll have to adjust our schema and on-page content to fit what Google wants to display users. Over the next few years, I think you’ll see Google make organic results an afterthought as they include AI in almost every new feature from search to Android.

Navigation SERP Update | Buhv Designs Blog

Local 3-Pack Features include Images

Photos are as important as ever today for both social and search results, and unfortunately, many business owners simply don’t take the time to upload images worth viewing. This is Google’s call to action for all of us that images are going to play a huge part in search results moving forward. I would expect to see imagery in organic at some point and not just as a carousel at the top of the page.

Images in 3-Pack | Google Updates Nov 2018 | Buhv Designs

Images in Search Results

We’re already seeing images being added within mobile as shortcuts below sitelinks. Take the example below, where Wikipedia results also attach sitelinks that are easy for users to tap, similar to what you are seeing in ChatBot and tools designed to improve engagement.

SERP Image Results | Google Updates NOv 2018 | Buhv Designs

AI & Content Production

In a recent blog post from Google, Ben Gomes, the VP of Search, News, and Assistant, laid out three very important “shifts” coming to Search in the near-term. It gives us a great idea of how Google is changing the entire Search experience and how it works with Android.

“As Google marks our 20th anniversary, I wanted to share a first look at the next chapter of Search, and how we’re working to make information more accessible and useful for people everywhere. This next chapter is driven by three fundamental shifts in how we think about Search:

Point number two is what everyone has been feeling for the last two years. It’s the feeling that Google is reading our minds – because it kind of is. Pair that with points 1 and 3 above, and you have an immersive experience in a search engine that allows for a user the freedom to never visit a website. Exciting and scary all at the same time.

Designers, developers, and marketers should take note. This is our wakeup call to start testing and cracking the code to utilize all available aspects of the SERP.

To further the point about using AI and tools to increase engagement, Google is actively changing what it believes to be the ideal search experience for both mobile and desktop users. Whether we agree is irrelevant, it’s coming and we have to adjust and add to our normal approach.

What’s more pressing is the need to figure out the process to implement strategies that take advantage of the new features being added weekly. It’s difficult to stay up to date on the most recent changes and it can create issues for clients or SEO’s to keep track of the many available options to them.

Check back here for updates to new SERP features and insights into how to influence them for your business.


Robert Lane

Founder | Buhv Designs

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