As expected, Google’s Search On conference this week brought tons of new announcements and previews of new features coming to the search engine. Though most of these features are not publicly available yet, they show that Google is intent on revamping many aspects of its search engine to make searching easier and more engaging.

Below, we are going to talk about the 5 most exciting and essential changes that both users and companies hoping to improve their online visibility should be aware of.

Google Search Shortcuts

Over the past decade, Google has steadily expanded the ways users can search for information beyond just entering a text query.

You can upload an image to find other similar images, take a pic of an equation to get help solving it, or turn on the microphone to help identify a song playing – just for a few examples.

The problem is that Google has not always done the best job of promoting these new ways to search or making them easily accessible to users.

Now, that is all changing as Google is adding advanced shortcuts on the front page of the Google Search app.

You can see what this looks like in the screenshot below or, if you have an iOS device, you can see the feature for yourself by simply opening the Google app.

In-Search-Bar Results

Typically, users have to at least enter their query before they have the chance to click on a relevant result. Coming soon, however, that won’t always be the case.

Google announced that it will soon be delivering results to users even as they are still typing in the search bar.

You can see what this might look like in the example below, where Google delivered a link to a location page directly within the search bar:

For now, it appears Google will be limiting this feature to just one result in a search bar, though we will know more when it rolls out later this year.

Enhanced Query Refinements

Along with the results like described above, Google is also adding new ways to refine your search query for the most useful results.

As you are typing a query into the mobile search bar, the search engine will start populating the bar with options to make your search more specific.

For example, when searching for queries like “best Mexico cities”, Google will suggest refinements like “to visit”, “to retire”, or “for families”.

More Prominent Web Stories

Google is making web stories a bigger part of mobile search by giving them a more prominent place in mobile search results.

As the company said in an announcement:

“So we’re also making it easier to explore a subject by highlighting the most relevant and helpful information, including content from creators on the open web. For topics like cities, you may see visual stories and short videos from people who have visited, tips on how to explore the city, things to do, how to get there and other important aspects you might want to know about as you plan your travels.”

One Page For Text, Image, & Video Search Results

Instead of making users switch between web, images, or video result tabs when searching, Google is unifying them all into one endless search result feed on mobile. 

“We’re also reimagining the way we display results to better reflect the ways people explore topics. You’ll see the most relevant content, from a variety of sources, no matter what format the information comes in — whether that’s text, images or video.”

When users would typically encounter the end of a search page, they will be given the option to either show more results or continue scrolling vertically to explore a more specific search – as seen below:

Though Google has not announced exact dates to expect these updates, the company says they will be rolling out to mobile search in the coming months.

Brands across the US are increasing how much they spend on search advertising, with the overall US search ad spend predicted to reach almost $112 billion by next year. That is nearly double the amount spent in 2019, according to the new report from Insider Intelligence.

US Search Ad Spend 2019-2026 graph

This year, the data says $99 billion is being spent on search advertising. Much of this is driven by Google, which receives about 56% of the total ad spend. Google is in fact driving much of the growth in this area, outpacing all other traditional formats. 

While Microsoft remains the second-leading search ad platform, the data indicates that other platforms like Apple and Amazon may eventually overtake it. 

Data shows that Apple Search Ads will receive $5 billion dollars alone in 2022 revenue thanks to new ad and placement options which allow brands to find less competitive ad space.

Meanwhile, Amazon is gaining ground as the best platform for bottom-of-funnel customers. 

Interestingly, the report indicates that TikTok is also a growing force in search ad spending. The new data shows that up to 40% of 18- to 24-year-olds in the US already prefer to use TikTok and Instagram for their searches instead of Google. This may explain why recent studies showed that brands spent 60% more on overall advertising on the platform. 

Mobile Vs. Desktop

Unsurprisingly, mobile search advertising spend is far outpacing desktop by about two-thirds and shows no sign of slowing down. 

One indication of this is the fact that more than half of the U.S. population was reported to have used a smartphone to make an online search in 2016. By next year, that number should reach 70% by 2023. 

Privacy-Focused Platforms Lose Steam

After years of slow growth, privacy-first platforms like DuckDuckGo appear to be losing traction with US searchers. This is reflected in other recent reports, including data showing that DuckDuckGo had fallen to less than 100 million daily searches in June. 

For more findings about the current state of search advertising, download the full report from Insider Intelligence here.

Google’s much-talked-about ‘helpful content update’ is officially rolling out.

The company announced it had begun the process of implementing the new algorithm update via the Search Central Google Search ranking updates page.

As the update posted today says. “[Google] released the August 2022 helpful content update. The rollout could take up to two weeks to complete.

What Is The Helpful Content Update?

In short, the helpful content update intends to make content written specifically for search engines (sometimes called “search engine-first content”) less prevalent in search results while increasing the presence of content that is most valuable to actual users.

Announced a little more than a week ago, the update is being applied sitewide, meaning it will be a factor for all search results. At the same time, Google has indicated that the update will impact online education, arts, tech, and shopping more than other websites.

Early rumblings and statements from Google suggest this may be the biggest update to the search engine in years, and may radically shake up the search results users receive. 

Two Week Rollout

As with most algorithm updates, the company is gradually implementing the helpful content update. Over the next two weeks, most sites will likely see fluctuations in search performance as the update is rolled out before search performance stabilizes. Additionally, it may take even longer for the full scope of the helpful content update to become apparent following the completed rollout.

What To Do

With the update rolling out, brands hoping to make changes before the impact is felt may be cutting it too close to save their rankings. However, you can still remove any search engine-first content from your site to minimize the update’s impact on your site. 

Beyond that, there is little you can do now other than monitor your rankings over the next two weeks and beyond to track the impact in real-time.

While most of the online marketing world is still abuzz over the recent announcement of the upcoming ‘helpful content update’, Google has quietly revealed it is preparing a product review algorithm update that will go live this month.

This algorithm update seeks to improve the quality and value of reviews Google highlights in search results. 

Since the new update is coming so soon after the release of the helpful content update, many are speculating it may be tied to the helpful content update in some way – such as using the helpful content update to better identify high-quality reviews which show firsthand knowledge of a product or business.

Here’s what Google actually had to say about its product review update:

“We know product reviews can play an important role in helping you make a decision on something to buy. Last year, we kicked off a series of updates to show more helpful, in-depth reviews based on first-hand expertise in search results.

We’ve continued to refine these systems, and in the coming weeks, we’ll roll out another update to make it even easier to find high-quality, original reviews. We’ll continue this work to make sure you find the most useful information when you’re researching a purchase on the web.”

While Google hasn’t released specific guidance for this algorithm update, it has previously given a list of questions to assess your product reviews. 

Do your reviews:

  • Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?
  • Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
  • Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
  • Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?
  • Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
  • Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it?
  • Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision?
  • Identify key decision-making factors for the product’s category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas.
  • Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says?

Today, Google revealed it is preparing a massive update called the Helpful Content Update that may be the biggest change to the search engine’s algorithm in years.

The update is aiming to filter out sites that have large amounts of content that are written solely for the search engine, without providing value to actual users.

Or, as Google simply put it in its announcement:

“The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.”

Here’s what we know about the update so far:

What Is The Google Helpful Content Update?

Philosophically, there is little about the helpful content update which is all that different from what Google has been working towards in the past. 

The algorithm update aims to help users find the most high-quality content which will be the most helpful. What sets it apart is how it aims to achieve this.

In this instance, Google plans to improve search results by targeting and removing what could be called “search engine-first content” or content written expressly for the purpose of boosting rankings without actually delivering quality content to readers.

While the algorithm will be applied to all Google search results when it rolls out, the company said four specific types of sites are most likely to be affected:

  • Online educational materials
  • Arts & entertainment
  • Shopping
  • Tech

Content in these niches seem to be most prone to being written specifically for search engines rather than humans and Google hopes to improve the quality of results in these areas.

As a representative from Google told Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz:

“If you search for information about a new movie, you might have previously encountered articles that aggregated reviews from other sites without adding perspectives beyond what’s available elsewhere on the web. This isn’t very helpful if you’re expecting to read something new. With this update, you’ll see more results with unique information, so you’re more likely to read something you haven’t seen before.”

Is your site safe?

Rather than provide a simple checklist of things companies can do to prepare their website, Google offered a series of questions that can be used to determine if you’re creating content for humans or search engines:

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you? 
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

Additionally, the Google Search Central article provided a similar list of questions you can use to avoid search-engine first content in the future:

  • Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
  • Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
  • Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
  • Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
  • Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you’d write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
  • Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
  • Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No, we don’t).
  • Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?
  • Does your content promise to answer a question that actually has no answer, such as suggesting there’s a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn’t confirmed?

When Will It Arrive

The helpful content update is due to roll out next week to all English-language search results in the U.S. The company plans to expand the update to other languages and countries sometime in the future.

A new video from Google focuses on helping e-commerce brands stand out on the search engine, including specific strategies for ensuring your listing is eligible for search features that make your listing more prominent and visible.

For starters, the video lists three general guidelines for making your products stand out:

  1. Images help visitors understand your products
  2. Product reviews and star ratings increase trust in your brand
  3. Pricing and availability information allows shoppers to choose the best seller for their needs

With that in mind, Google’s Alan Kent then breaks down six ways to make your site more visible on the search engine.

1) Title Tags

As one of the first things any searcher will see, title tags are crucial for helping searchers understand your web pages. This is why site owners should take extra care when preparing the titles for their pages – especially product pages.

“A good title link can greatly help users understand your offering, bringing quality traffic to your site. … Low-quality title links can harm a users’ impression of your site.”

While Google will rewrite title tags if it believes the existing titles do not adequately describe the related page, it is better to deliver informative titles on your own.

Kent also advises against adding time-sensitive product details like pricing or availability in titles because they may be outdated by the time this information is updated in search results.

2) High-Quality Images

Improving the quality of your product images can make shoppers feel more confident about your products and their potential decision to purchase. 

As Kent says, “we’ve observed that users generally respond well to high-quality images and recommend that key images be at least 1200 pixels wide.”

Once these images are in place, Kent suggests checking the Max Image Preview metadata as that provides Google with guidance on how to handle images within search results.

Additionally, best practices indicate you should use product structured data to allow Google to pick the best images to display in search results.

Lastly, he provided some broad guidance for product photos, encouraging e-commerce brands to focus on creating product photos that best help shoppers understand their products. For example, you might highlight different angles or provide size comparisons within product photos.

3) Share Rich Product Data

Google uses structured data to more easily understand web pages and enable them to be shown as rich results or “special presentation treatments”. 

Specifically, Kent emphasizes that these details should always be included in structured product data:

  • Product Title
  • Description
  • Images
  • Ratings
  • Price
  • Availability

Kent also encourages brands to regularly use the Search Console URL Indexing tool and Rich Results Test tool to ensure you don’t have any issues with structured data on your site.

4) Share Price Drop Data

Google uses special price drop presentations to highlight special deals in search results. Still, e-commerce brands must share pricing information with the search engine and include the Offer property in the product structured data to be eligible.

However, there is no guarantee your listing will be shown in a special price drop presentation once you’ve provided these details.

5) Identify Products You Sell

Use accurate product identifiers – such as GTIN identifiers – along with Google Merchant Center data and structured product data to make your site eligible for product carousels.

6) Create a Business Profile Listing

Kent advises brands to create a Google Business Profile via the Google Business Profile Manager if their shop also has a brick-and-mortar location. 

This enables your site to be included in local search results which makes your physical locations more visible in search.

Google My Business is officially gone as the GMB mobile app has finally stopped functioning.

Now, instead of being able to edit your local listing, see your insights, or respond to customers, business operators will only see a short message reading “the Google My Business app is no longer available” if you open the app.

Google My Business shutdown notice

Of course, the shutdown of the GMB app is not sudden. The company announced it would be discontinuing the app when it revealed it was rebranding local business listings to Google Business Profiles.

Thankfully, you do have other options if you have still been using the GMB app to manage your listing. 

Along with being able to update your listing through Google Search, you can also manage your listing through the Google Maps app. 

With this, Google has finally eliminated the final remaining artifact from Google My Business in favor of allowing businesses to manage their listings directly within Google Search and the existing Google Maps app for a more seamless experience. Though not explicitly stated, the goal seems to be simplifying managing your local SEO without the need for an entirely separate platform like GMB.

In an update to the help documentation for Googlebot, the search engine’s crawling tool, Google explained it will only crawl the first 15 MB of any webpage. Anything after this initial 15 MBs will not influence your webpage’s rankings.

As the Googlebot help document states:

“After the first 15 MB of the file, Googlebot stops crawling and only considers the first 15 MB of the file for indexing.

The file size limit is applied on the uncompressed data.”

Though this may initially raise concerns since images and videos can easily exceed these sizes, the help document makes clear that media or other resources are typically exempt from this Googlebot limit:

“Any resources referenced in the HTML such as images, videos, CSS, and JavaScript are fetched separately.”

What This Means For Your Website

If you’ve been following the most commonly used best practices for web design and content management, this should leave your website largely unaffected. Specifically, the best practices you should be following include:

  • Keeping the most relevant SEO-related information relatively close to the start of any HTML file. 
  • Compressing images.
  • Leaving images or videos unencoded into the HTML when possible.
  • Keeping HTML files small – typically less than 100 KB.

Ecommerce websites have become a major part of the internet as online shopping has taken off in recent years. However, the unique nature and structure of these sites can make them uniquely tricky to optimize. 

Product variant pages, annual sales, and the need for lots of high-quality images may make it difficult to optimize these pages using some traditional SEO strategies, while other techniques remain essential for high rankings.

Thankfully, Google’s own Alan Kent has produced a short video full of SEO tips specifically for ecommerce sites. I’ll embed the full video at the bottom of the page, but we’ll also be sharing the highlights below:

8 Tips for Ecommerce SEO

  1. Cover the Basics: Basic technical SEO like allowing Google to crawl your site or using proper page titles is crucial for helping Google find and understand your website. For starters, make sure page titles feature your brand name and product details (such as color) and use structured data to make your product pages easy for Google to sort through your online store pages.
  2. Create Content for Every Stage of the Shopping Journey: Google knows that searchers are often looking for information rather than wanting to buy right now. This is why the search engine prioritizes sites with a wide array of content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. To help you get started brainstorming, Kent suggests providing gift ideas, highlighting reviews, and including detailed information about your products.
  3. Markup Product Variant Pages: To keep product variants well organized, ensure every variant has a unique URL and establish a canonical page.
  4. Reuse Regular Sale URLs: Preserve URLs from sales so they can be reused later. For example, you’ll want to use the same URLs every year for holiday sales.
  5. Performance: When shoppers are ready to buy, they want to do so as quickly as possible. When your page is competing against a similar product page for a spot in the search results, speed is often the tiebreaker that will help you come out ahead.
  6. Be Patient: SEO takes time to gain momentum. In many cases, it can take months for changes to impact your rankings. Don’t try to rush things or change strategies because you’re getting restless. Just keep working on improving your overall SEO.
  7. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help: Every site is unique and may not benefit equally from Google’s broad advice. Don’t hesitate to ask SEO experts how to best optimize your site or how to adopt these strategies to your needs.
  8. Focus on Users: At the end of the day, Google wants to provide the best possible site for users. Be that site. 

Have you ever wondered what the most searched keywords and phrases on Google are? 

While the search engine regularly details trending search topics and trends, the company does not share details on the top overall search terms. Thankfully, Ahrefs used data from over 19.8 billion keywords to list the top searches in the U.S. and worldwide on their own.

To generate the list, Ahrefs looked at the number of times search terms were used each month and averaged these monthly totals over the course of a year. 

Below, we will share the top 50 Google Searches in the U.S. and worldwide. For complete lists of the top 100 searches and lists of the most frequently searched questions, check out the full report here.

Top 50 U.S. Google Searches

#KeywordSearch volume
1facebook160,000,000
2youtube151,000,000
3amazon121,000,000
4weather103,000,000
5google70,000,000
6walmart63,000,000
7gmail59,000,000
8google translate42,000,000
9home depot41,000,000
10yahoo mail39,000,000
11yahoo38,000,000
12wordle34,000,000
13election results33,000,000
14fox news32,000,000
15december global holidays28,000,000
16ebay28,000,000
17food near me28,000,000
18instagram26,000,000
19costco24,000,000
20restaurants near me24,000,000
21nfl24,000,000
22nba24,000,000
23google maps24,000,000
24amazon prime23,000,000
25starbucks23,000,000
26weather tomorrow23,000,000
27best buy22,000,000
28cnn22,000,000
29walgreens21,000,000
30translate20,000,000
31espn20,000,000
32lowes20,000,000
33mcdonalds19,000,000
34craigslist19,000,000
35usps tracking19,000,000
36news19,000,000
37zillow18,000,000
38traductor18,000,000
39nfl scores17,000,000
40calculator16,000,000
41twitter16,000,000
42target16,000,000
43wells fargo15,000,000
44netflix15,000,000
45restaurants15,000,000
46bank of america15,000,000
47food14,000,000
48chick fil a14,000,000
49cvs14,000,000
50indeed14,000,000

Top 50 Google Searches Worldwide

#KeywordSearch volume
1youtube1,163,000,000
2facebook1,033,000,000
3google513,000,000
4whatsapp web490,000,000
5weather400,000,000
6gmail394,000,000
7translate367,000,000
8amazon348,000,000
9google translate332,000,000
10instagram301,000,000
11traductor235,000,000
12hotmail206,000,000
13cricbuzz196,000,000
14tiempo170,000,000
15fb146,000,000
16satta king123,000,000
17yahoo mail121,000,000
18yahoo119,000,000
19weather tomorrow110,000,000
20google maps108,000,000
21погода99,000,000
22tradutor89,000,000
23sarkari result86,000,000
24переводчик85,000,000
25yandex83,000,000
26tiempo mañana78,000,000
27walmart76,000,000
28ebay74,000,000
29traduçoes72,000,000
30nba72,000,000
31flipkart67,000,000
32google traduction65,000,000
33çeviri64,000,000
34wordle63,000,000
35meteo62,000,000
36bbc news61,000,000
37satta60,000,000
38hava durumu53,000,000
39ютуб52,000,000
40dolar51,000,000
41home depot50,000,000
42вконтакте48,000,000
43dr46,000,000
44cowin46,000,000
45xsmb46,000,000
46amazon prime45,000,000
47snaptik45,000,000
48ipl45,000,000
49wetter44,000,000
50december global holidays44,000,000