Google are always looking to improve user experience in new and fresh ways. Whilst this occasionally involves complete algorithm changes and updates it often just means smaller new features that all aim to help the user in what they are looking for. Below are some such changes you may have noticed about Google searches, or they may have passed you by…
Through their map data Google are now giving mobile users the opportunity to discover distances between any two locations, no matter how great. Search results include the image of the journey on the map at the total distance at the top of the search results page.
- Its ability to answer complex questions and produce complex answers
When asked complex questions Google would return results that were similar or related but that didn’t necessarily answer the question outright. Now, through their Knowledge Graph, Google itself will answer the questions with this in an ‘answer card’ (see below) at the top of the search results page.
- Produces ‘answer cards’ for results
This means that Google provides the most relevant search result or answer in a box of its own at the top of the SERP. They are seemingly trying this out for local results, so when a user searches for a particular business in a given area it will show up in this highlighted box with all the key information that is most likely to be useful to them (eg. name, address, phone number) with the usual snippet (and other possible relevant ones) below.
If it’s a more general search for a given area, and with more than one result then it will highlight this altogether in a list form (including location on right hand side on a map).
- Upgraded stock ‘cards’
They are also highlighting key stock information when corporate businesses are searched online. Where previously this information would show up in a box on the right hand side of the SERP it now appears right at the top of the search and with much more detailed stock information.
- Date selection option in results for hotels
Some users can also now see a date selecting option for the carousel of hotels that appears at the top of search results. So now they will be able to see a snapshot image, address, review score all with the option of entering dates there and then, rather than necessarily having to click on another link to take them to a booking page.
- Search options have become streamlined
The drop down ‘more’ options for types have searches are now more geared towards user preferences. What is deemed to be more popular for a user will have higher prominence in their ‘options’. Google have said this feature has always been present but now it is more commonly put in to practice.