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November 27, 2013

What’s Google Got in Store for 2014?

Google
Photo Credit: toprankonlinemarketing via flickr

Getting or keeping search placement on Google is a fulltime job! In a wonderful and insightful review of what Google has in store for 2014 titled “Future SERP: a Glimpse at Google 2014” by Dr. Peter Myers for the Moz Blog, you’ll learn what he thinks Google has in store. I have to say I think that this is one of the very best articles I have read about what Google is doing for the year ahead.

Here are a few tidbits from the article interspersed with my own insights and experience.

1. Google is focused on mobile. With smartphone use way up, Google’s got to find a way to monetize mobile to continue to build profits. As the mobile user reacts with search differently on their device than when using a desktop, Google is doing strong testing to identify what works and is relevant to mobile users. Expect to see the things that are being tested in mobile move to the desktop arena in the near future. For our clients, this means location specificity in your content and on your website pages is very important as are location extensions used in Google AdWords. Having a mobile responsive designed website is also becoming important and a key algorithm factor for organic placement.

2. Google is expanding the Knowledge Graph using more informational topical content from authoritative websites in their organic search results to answer search questions. Questions about topics cover about 10% of all Google searches. This presents a wonderful opportunity for your own content to place in Google when you write a blog post or have content on your website that helps to educate or answer a question in your business niche.

3. Google is testing new ad formats that blur the line between organic and paid ads. If you’ve searched recently with your smartphone, you’ve seen some of these new formats. Some are colored the same as the organic results with a small goldenrod colored ad box in front, others are interspersed within the actual organic results. No longer are ads on mobile necessarily at the top or bottom of the page.  It is very important to know that this testing is mainly happening on mobile right now, but will move to the desktop when vetted. One of the big reasons for interspersing ads into the organic results, especially for mobile, is that there are only two ad slots using the old format for mobile – but there are more advertisers!

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4. Boxed design with expanded information for the top search result in the organic listings. Google is actively testing these results now.  See the image above, this was taken when I did a recent search for ‘Sushi Bar Chicago’. Although I did not see the box design as noted in Dr. Peter Myers’ article, what I did see was a new black bar across the top with reviews from Google+ Local pages and Zagut (Google’s new review property) plus a large map on the right with points detailed in the search results. The black bar is an eye grabber. This is just another of the new layouts Google is testing that is not even mentioned in the article.

5. Google Now Cards. If you use search on your smartphone, you’ve already seen Google Cards. This is a button/boxed shaped section with personalized information that appears when you open Google mobile to do a search. You can customize these cards and Google also delivers location specific information in these spots based on your actual location. If you are using an Android phone, you’ve also seen that even if you turn Wi-Fi off, Google is turning it back on to know your location at all times to deliver location related content.

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6. Utilization of personalized search and information from your Google+ activity. We’ve been seeing this for almost a year now, but take a look at the image above to see how far Google has come on personalized search results and the final layout. With maps and links as well as references to the number of followers from your Google+ page, Google is integrating Google+ Local and your Google+ personal information; delivering content that is truly customized to your past search history and is predictive based on what you have searched for previously based on a deeper understanding of your search query. The key here is relevancy.

This focus on relevancy is the keyword for 2014 in regards to all changes Google is testing and making. By making their search results and ad results more relevant, you will continue to preferentially search on your smartphone and other devices using Google properties.

One of the key takeaways for this article is to now review your own website content. Are you addressing relevancy and helping customers to understand you and what you do transparently? Is your entire Internet focus on creating authority and relevancy for the customer, plus feeding Google the information to classify you and your content appropriately? Are you monitoring your website bounce rate to help Google rate your customer engagement by striving for a low bounce rate (Google will evaluate this to determine your relevancy to search queries)?

If you need a consultant to assist you with a strategic plan to review and then update your online presence, I invite you to visit our website to find out how we can help you position yourself for 2014.

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Nancy McCord is the founder and President of McCord Web Services LLC which provides blog writing services, Twitter and Facebook status updates, and Google AdWords account set up and management. Since 2001, Nancy McCord has developed a reputation as an expert on Google AdWords and how to use social networking for business. You can visit Nancy and her firm at www.McCordWeb.com. Connect with +Nancy McCord at Google+, @mccordweb on Twitter and on Facebook.

22 Responses to “What’s Google Got in Store for 2014?

    avatar Tony Ramirez says:

    Thanks for the updates Nancy….I am prefer content over PPC any day!

    avatar Tony Ramirez says:

    I meant “I prefer”….darn autocorrect

    avatar custom logos says:

    These are amazing features and will get more attention from users. Google’s new ad format is amazing one which will help visitors to select a right one according to their requirements. I hope in 2014 Google will get more searches but its algorithms are killing webmasters as well as SEO experts.

    avatar Hamizan says:

    Many things that can add knowledge and insight by reading this article

    avatar Bejoy says:

    I think future of search is mobile, that is for sure, its better to make mobile apps and mobile friendly responsive web designs now, with which we can target more mobile audience

    avatar Just me says:

    Google is not after improving search relevance, otherwise people wouldn’t click on the ads anymore.

    avatar Jim Morris says:

    Thanks for the Updates Nancy that is very informative and useful for my work in the coming year, thanks a lot again and keep up the good work….!!!

    Good Work Nancy the post is very informative according to my career, its nice to know some thing before rather then it hits on the face anyways Thanks a lot for that and keep up the good work.

    avatar SAK says:

    I love Blogging via google Blogger,

    No one can Beat Search Criteria and Expertiesof Google Search engine , Social Promotions by +1s and Now i ‘ve got a Google+ Badge also on my blog U may check it

    thanks Google!

    avatar Button says:

    Thank you for the post, Nancy. This is such an informative article. I totally agreed with you on the importance of a mobile website for a company to accomodate the growth of the mobile audience.

    avatar Ty Whalin says:

    Some interesting insights. Of course the percentages are increasing for mobile users, but it has tapered off some recently. But the new year is approaching and the holidays are going to bring new phones to use from gifts and special offers being dispersed by the telecommunication companies. So look for the mobile industry to have another significant impact soon.

    avatar Pawel says:

    AdWords and more and more $ from it, is Google’s only interest! Nothing is important, hope they will pay for this someday and users will stop using this money machine as it is no longer a search enigne…

    avatar Pixelrage says:

    I always laugh at the Google fanboys in comment sections. Google is the best search engine? Seriously? Is that just a blind faith statement or based on your studies? Google is an ad casino for big brands. The company only cares about its shareholders and end of year profits, it is slaughtering small businesses and start-ups with its algorithms and making it impossible for any business to stay alive in organic search. In fact, organic is being eliminated as the years go by, with things like Google Shopping (big spenders like Walmart/Best Buy/Target always win), AdWord$ (same corp’s win here, too) and perhaps if visitors happen to scroll down to the organic section, they’ll even see more big brands like Amazon & eBay now cemented to the top for every product search imaginable. Google is scum.

    I think small biz should take this opportunity especially the new features on enhanced localization search via mobile devices. We definitely saw a major increase on web visits/sales to our client’s site and hope it will stay that way. Well.. it’s part of big G’s promise (some time ago…) in helping boost small biz and all…

    Thanks Nancy for sharing some insights.

    avatar Ian Anthony says:

    As a full time pro singer and tribute artist with my own self-managed and developed website (Tom Jones Tribute Act) any quality information on what Google is up to next is very valuable to me.

    More and more people are now using the internet to directly source entertainers for their events, rather than using agencies, so keeping at or near the top of the search tree is vital for me as an artist.

    Thanks for the information and please keep the quality info coming!

    avatar Russ Chaplin says:

    This is a great article. It’s a shame a lot of detail has to be left out of website design to accommodate the smaller screen of the mobile device. It’s good to know that quality content counts for more and I will always favour organic rankings over paid ads.

    avatar Bear says:

    more informations, more control, more money… Google rules!

    avatar Ritesh Reet says:

    Well I will say that no one predict about Google, what he is going to do in the future. Many Thanks to Nancy for sharing this info with us.

    avatar Jerry Leach says:

    The mobile and local pieces have been coming at us for quite a while now. I would agree that 2014 is the year these things come to the forefront as real drivers in search. It makes for a massive opportunity to get clients sites ‘mobile enabled’. First problem is convincing them they need to do it!

    avatar John says:

    Very informative article, many thanks:
    Bounce rate: causes concern for one client who repairs marine engines, high % come to the site for the phone number when in trouble – number of course is on the home page. Don’t see the logic of burying it in a sub page to reduce the bounce rate.

    avatar Ty Whalin says:

    You know, I have a client as well who has a fluctuating bounce rate as well. It can be high at times and then next week much lower. I believe it has to do with the customer visiting the page just needing the telephone number. Have done the same thing myself.

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