Right in time for the Back to School shopping season, Google is rolling out three new updates to its shopping tools for online retailers.

By creating new places for your products and promotions to be seen, highlighting your latest promotions, and adding deeper analytics for your online shop, the search giant is making it easier than ever for brands to connect with shoppers and helping shoppers find the products they want for the best price possible.

“Deals Related To Your Search”

Google is creating a dedicated section for products that are discounted or similarly low-priced when users browse products. 

New "Deals related to your search" feature for online retailers

Even better, being included in this section takes no additional work once your shop is set up in Google Merchant Center (which is required for online retailers to be included in any Google Shopping results).

Google chooses which products get included “based on factors such as the discount itself, how popular a product is, how popular the site is, and more,” according to the announcement.

The general “Discounts related to your search” section is already live within Google’s Shopping tab, but the search engine also announced an upcoming seasonal carousel that will show deals related to upcoming shopping events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

New Google Shopping seasonal promotions section for online retailers

New Ways to Customize Promotions

Google says its recent efforts to make it easier to create and manage promotions have received a warm welcome from online retailers, so the company is going even further to give shops the ability to target promotions to new customers and highlight active promotions.

The company describes its new ways to customize promotions:

  • To help you attract new customers with your best deals, you can now indicate if a promotion is only available to customers who haven’t previously bought from you. The title of the promotion could now say “10% off for new users”. While these promotions will still be shown to all, shoppers will only be able to access the promotional price if eligible (e.g. they are making a first-time purchase with the retailer). 
  • To help you reach more customers, you can now highlight your promotions on free listings on the Shopping tab. You can navigate to the promotions tab in Merchant Center to choose which promotions you want to be indexed through organic traffic and appear on free listings or, alternatively, supported with ad spend.

New Merchandise Insights For Online Retailers

Google is adding historical best seller data to its best sellers report to help shops predict upcoming seasonal trends based on how products have performed at similar times in the past. 

Google Shopping best sellers data for online retailers

Additionally, the best sellers report is receiving a new field called ‘relative demand’ which shows the relative demand for products in the same category and country along with recommendations for potential opportunities to stock new products. 

The company says these additions will help online retailers by making it easier to keep up with the changing demands of customers.

“You can use this information during peak sales periods, like Back to School, to explore what’s top of mind for shoppers and figure out how you can adjust your product assortment and campaigns to meet these needs.”

To access the best sellers report, online retailers just first opt into market insights in the Merchant Center.

Google is rolling out a new addition to its “About this result” feature in search results which will explain why the search engine chose a specific result to rank.

The new section, called “Your search & this result” explains the specific factors which made Google believe a specific page may have what you’re looking for.

This can include a number of SEO factors, ranging from the keywords which matched with the page (including related but not directly matching terms), backlink details, related images, location-based information, and more. 

How Businesses Can Use This Information

For users, this feature can help understand why they are seeing specific search results and even provide tips for refining their search for better results. 

The unspoken utility of this tool for businesses is glaringly obvious, however. 

This feature essentially provides an SEO report card, showing exactly where you are doing well on ranking for important keywords. By noting what is not included, you can also get an idea of what areas could be improved to help you rank better in the future.

Taking this even further, you could explore the details for other pages ranking for your primary keywords, helping you better strategize to overtake your competition.

What It Looks Like

Below, you can see a screenshot of what the feature looks like in action:

The information box provides a quick bullet point list of several factors which caused the search engine to return the specific result.
While Google only detailed a few of the possible details the box may include, users around the web have reported seeing information about all of these factors included:

  • Included search terms: Google can show which exact search terms were matched with the content or HTML on the related page. This includes content that is not typically visible to users, such as the title tag or meta data.
  • Related search terms: Along with the keywords which were directly matched with the related page, Google can also show “related” terms. For example, Google knew to include results related to the Covid vaccine based on the keyword “shot”.
  • Other websites link to this page: The search engine may choose to highlight a page which might otherwise appear unrelated because several pages using the specific keyword linked to this specific page.
  • Related images: If the images are properly optimized, Google may be able to identify when images on a page are related to your search.
  • This result is [Language]: Obviously, users who don’t speak or read your language are unlikely to have much use for your website or content. This essentially notes that the page is in the same language you use across the rest of Google.
  • This result is relevant for searches ih [Region]: Lastly, the search engine may note if locality helped influence its search result based on other contextual details. For example, it understood that the user in Vermont, was likely looking for nearby results when searching “get the shot”.

The expanded “About this result” section is rolling out to English-language U.S. users already and is expected to be widely available across the country within a week. From there, Google says it will work to bring the feature to more countries and languages soon.

One of the most frustrating aspects of search engine optimization is the time it takes to see results. In some cases, you can see changes start to hit Google’s search engines in just a few hours. In others, you can spend weeks waiting for new content to be indexed with no indication when Google will get around to your pages.

In a recent AskGooglebot session, Google’s John Mueller said this huge variation in the time it takes for pages to be indexed is to be expected for a number of reasons. However, he also provides some tips for speeding up the process so you can start seeing the fruits of your labor as soon as possible.

Why Indexing Can Take So Long

In most cases, Mueller says sites that produce consistently high quality content should expect to see their new pages get indexed within a few hours to a week. In some situations, though, even high quality pages can take longer to be indexed due to a variety of factors.

Technical issues can pop up which can delay Google’s ability to spot your new pages or prevent indexing entirely. Additionally, there is always the chance that Google’s systems are just tied up elsewhere and need time to get to your new content.

Why Google May Not Index Your Page

It is important to note that Google does not index everything. In fact, there are plenty of reasons the search engine might not index your new content.

For starters, you can just tell Google not to index a page or your entire site. It might be that you want to prioritize another version of your site or that your site isn’t ready yet. 

The search engine also excludes content that doesn’t bring sufficient value. This includes duplicate content, malicious or spammy pages, and websites which mirror other existing sites.

How To Speed Up Indexing

Thankfully, Mueller says there are ways to help speed up indexing your content.

  • Prevent server overloading by ensuring your server can handle the traffic coming to it. This ensures Google can get to your site in a timely manner. 
  • Use prominent internal links to help Google’s systems navigate your site and understand what pages are most important.
  • Avoid unnecessary URLs to keep your site well organized and easy for Google to spot new content.
  • Google prioritizes sites which put out consistently quality content and provide high value for users. The more important Google thinks your site is for people online, the more high priority your new pages will be for indexing and ranking.

For more about how Google indexes web pages and how to speed up the process, check out the full AskGooglebot video below:

Google’s take on the popular Story format hit a big milestone, as the company recently reported more than 100,000 new Google Web Stories are getting added to the search index every day. 

Combined, these daily new stories have helped accumulate more than 20 million Web Stories total since the launch of the content format. 

The report also notes that more than 6,500 new domains have published their first Web Story since October 2020, when Web Stories were launched for Android and iOS devices, as well as being added to Google Discover

This led to a significantly larger reach for Google Web Stories and a significant increase in interest from brands.

“Last October, we created a home for Web Stories in Google Discover so users could find a personalized stream of the best Web Stories from around the internet. The goal with Web Stories is to enable publishers and creators to easily build and take full ownership of their content.”

Unsurprisingly, putting the short video clips front-and-center on Google’s content discovery page has also helped millions of users check out and engage with Web Stories every day.

For those who are still skeptical about Google Web Stories, or those who just want to improve the stories they are putting out, Google compiled data from users to create five suggestions for creating the most engaging and exciting stories for your audience. 

Five Tips For Engaging Google Web Stories

  1. Lifestyle content, complete with inspirational imagery and messages, informative how-to info, or relevant product-partnerships drive the most engagement of any vertical.
  2. Thanks to a diverse array of visually engaging topics and videos, the Arts and Entertainment and Food and Drink verticals consistently get the most impressions.
  3. Users show a clear hunger for new Arts and Entertainment, Celebrity, and Sports/Gaming content. “With new TV, movie, and game releases rolling out all the time, these verticals offer opportunities for growth.”
  4. Though Google has seen successful Web Stories of all sizes, users are typically willing to click through an average of 11-15 pages before ditching a Web Story. 
  5. Users watch an average of 1.7 Stories for every Web Story opened on Google Discover. However, this can vary significantly across industries and demographics. 

For more information about Google Web Stories, check out the latest announcement in this blog post or explore Google’s playbook for creating the most engaging Web Stories here.

We all know that the search results you get on mobile and the ones you get on desktop devices can be very different – even for the same query, made at the same time, in the same place, logged into the same Google account. 

Have you ever found yourself asking exactly why this happens?

One site owner did and recently got the chance to ask one of Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller.

In the recent SEO Office Hours Session, Mueller explained that a wide range of factors decide what search results get returned for a search query – including what device you are using and why this happens.

Why Are Mobile Search Rankings Different From Desktop?

The question asked to Mueller specifically wanted to clarify why there is still a disparity between mobile and desktop search results after the launch of mobile-first indexing for all sites. Here’s what was asked:

“How are desktop and mobile ranking different when we’ve already switched to mobile-first indexing.”

Indexing and Ranking Are Different

In response to the question, Mueller first tried to clarify that indexing and rankings are not exactly the same thing. Instead, they are more like two parts of a larger system. 

“So, mobile-first indexing is specifically about that technical aspect of indexing the content. And we use a mobile Googlebot to index the content. But once the content is indexed, the ranking side is still (kind of) completely separate.”

Although the mobile-first index was a significant shift in how Google brought sites into their search engine and understood them, it actually had little direct effect on most search results. 

Mobile Users and Desktop Users Have Different Needs

Beyond the explanation about indexing vs. ranking, John Mueller also said that Google returns unique rankings for mobile and desktop search results because they reflect potentially different needs in-the-moment. 

“It’s normal that desktop and mobile rankings are different. Sometimes that’s with regards to things like speed. Sometimes that’s with regards to things like mobile-friendliness.

“Sometimes that’s also with regards to the different elements that are shown in the search results page.

“For example, if you’re searching on your phone then maybe you want more local information because you’re on the go. Whereas if you’re searching on a desktop maybe you want more images or more videos shown in the search results. So we tend to show …a different mix of different search results types.

“And because of that it can happen that the ranking or the visibility of individual pages differs between mobile and desktop. And that’s essentially normal. That’s a part of how we do ranking.

“It’s not something where I would say it would be tied to the technical aspect of indexing the content.”

With this in mind, there’s little need to be concerned if you aren’t showing up in the same spot for the same exact searches on different devices.

Instead, watch for big shifts in what devices people are using to access your page. If your users are overwhelmingly using phones, assess how your site can better serve the needs of desktop users. Likewise, a majority of traffic coming from desktop devices may indicate you need to assess your site’s speed and mobile friendliness.

If you want to hear Mueller’s full explanation and even more discussion about search engine optimization, check out the SEO Office Hours video below:

Wish the process of updating your Google My Business listings was a little more streamlined? Well, your wish has been granted as Google has made it possible to edit much of the information in your local listing without ever having to visit a dedicated dashboard or profile page. 

Since last year, Google has been introducing the ability to edit your business listings directly from the search results or map pages, and the latest move brings that ability to all businesses – as well as expanding what type of information can be updated this way.

Now, rather than just updating your address and basic information, you can edit your services and hours, implement takeout or delivery tools, and even create Google Posts without having to access the Google My Business dashboard. 

To help understand everything possible without leaving the search results pages, let’s review exactly what parts of your listings you can now edit directly from the search results.

Add/Edit Your Services

Businesses providing local services (such as hair stylists, plumbers/electricians, and lawn care companies) can quickly update the services they offer on their GMB listings, as well as the local areas covered. 

Create Google Posts

In a bid to raise the awareness of Google Posts and make them more accessible for brands, Google will now let you create and publish new Posts directly from the search results. 

Even better, the company is introducing the ability to create posts specifically for highlighting upcoming events which will be available to brands next week. 

With these posts, you can show what type of event you are putting on, when/where it is occurring, and whether it is in-person or entirely virtual. 

Manage Takeout & Delivery Services

While Google My Business has allowed brands to integrate takeout and delivery tools through third-party services for some time, this typically required manually integrating the services through the Google My Business dashboard. 

In the coming weeks, however, businesses providing takeout and delivery services will be able to directly add or update your online ordering options from Google Search, including specifying whether your brand’s takeout/delivery preferences help customers make the most informed decision. 

To top this off, GMB is also letting restaurants and other food providers update their menus from search or maps by clicking ‘Edit profile’.

Implement Pointy To Highlight Your Physical Products

Retailers will be excited to see that it is easier than ever to add in-store product inventory info on their Google My Business listings through improved integration with Pointy. 

Pointy is a Google-owned service which aims to help you digitize your in-store inventory listings without having to manually update every product listing. 

Importantly, Pointy is also free for all businesses now until September 30, making now perhaps the best time in history to take your inventory online. 


To update any of these listings, simply sign into your associated Google account and make a search for any query that will return your local business listing. Then, click “Edit profile’ on your business listing and update any information you desire.

Despite the difference in how the pages are used created and generally thought about, Google’s John Mueller says the search engine sees no difference between “blog posts” and “web pages.”

In a recent SEO hangout, Mueller was asked by site owner Navin Adhikari about why the blog section of his site wasn’t getting the same amount of traffic as the rest of his site. This, combined with the way Google emphasizes content within its guidelines, has made Adhikari suspect that the search engine may be ranking blog content differently. This would explain why the rest of his site would be performing consistently well, while the blog was underperforming.

However, Mueller says this isn’t the case. In fact, Mueller explained that while the distinction between blog content and other areas of a site is something the search engine does not have access to, it is also not something the company would heavily factor into results if it could.

Google’s John Mueller Says Google Sees All Pages Similarly

In most cases, Mueller says the distinction between “blog posts” and “web pages” is entirely artificial. It is something provided for convenience on a website’s content management system (CMS) to help creatives generate content without the need for code skill and to help keep pages organized. 

So, while the blog part of your site may seem entirely separate to you while you are creating posts, it is just another subsection of your site in Google’s perspective.

“I don’t think Googlebot would recognize that there’s a difference. So usually that difference between posts and pages is something that is more within your backend within the CMS that you’re using, within WordPress in that case. And it wouldn’t be something that would be visible to us.

“So we would look at these as if it’s an HTML page and there’s lots of content here and it’s linked within your website in this way, and based on that we would rank this HTML page.

“We would not say oh it’s a blog post, or it’s a page, or it’s an informational article. We would essentially say it’s an HTML page and there’s this content here and it’s interlinked within your website in this specific way.”

Why A Blog May Underperform

If Google wasn’t ranking Adhikari’s blog differently, why would his blog specifically underperform? Mueller has some ideas.

Without access to in-depth data about the site, Mueller speculated that the most likely issue in this case would be how the blog is linked to from other pages on the site.

“I think, I mean, I don’t know your website so it’s hard to say. But what might be happening is that the internal linking of your website is different for the blog section as for the services section or the other parts of your website.

“And if the internal linking is very different then it’s possible that we would not be able to understand that this is an important part of the website.

“It’s not tied to the URLs, it’s not tied to the type of page. It’s really like we don’t understand how important this part of the website is.”

One way to do this is to generate a feed of links to new content on the homepage of your site. This helps to quickly establish that your blog content is important to your audience.

To hear the Mueller’s full response and more discussion on the best search engine optimization practices for Google, check out the full SEO Office Hours video below:

A representative from Google announced the search engine began rolling out a broad core update (appropriately titled the June 2021 Core Update) this week. Surprisingly, the announcement also revealed a second update is expected to roll out next month. 

Note that this is not the Page Experience Update which Google is planning to launch in mid-June.

Typically, Google rolls out a broad core update every few months. For example, the last update before this came nearly six months ago, in December 2020. The gap between updates before that was even longer, with the previous update arriving in May 2020. 

Obviously, this raises some questions about why the company felt the need to start releasing a two-part algorithm now, rather than waiting to roll it all out at once next month. 

Google being Google, details about what the broad core updates will change are relatively scant. Still, here’s what we do know:

Why Two Core Updates?

Based on statements from Google liaison Danny Sullivan and others, it seems the search engine simply didn’t want to sit on some of the completed updates while it waited for the rest to be finalized. 

Sullivan did note that some effects from the first part of the update may be temporary, however, as the second part rolls out. 

“Of course, any core update can produce drops or gains for some content. Because of the two-part nature of this release, it’s possible a very small slice of content might see changes in June that reverse in July.”

What You Should Expect

As with most broad core updates, Google is giving somewhat mixed signals about how big the impact will be. 

On one hand, the company says most sites won’t notice any changes to their presence in search results. At the same time, Google says the update will produce “some widely noticeable effects.”

From past experience, we can predict that sites producing quality content and keeping up with overall Google guidelines will be largely unaffected. Those within more controversial or less reputable industries (online gambling, some medical niches, law, etc.), may be more likely to see some fallout even if they have been doing everything “right”. 

Those using tactics which can be seen as more “spammy” such as republishing content, using user-generated content in overbearing or spammy ways, or using questionable guest-blogging practices may also be likely to see some negative results as the update rolls out.

Ultimately, we will all have to wait and see as the update finishes, which Google says should take about two weeks. 

What To Do If You Are Affected

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about broad core updates is that you can be impacted even if you aren’t doing anything ostensibly “wrong”. Some pages may see negative ranking shifts despite following all of Google’s guidance. 

This makes recovering a tricky proposition, but Google has provided some advice for brands negatively impacted. 

Specifically, the company suggests asking yourself the following questions about your brand:

Content and Quality Questions

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  • Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  • Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  • Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

Expertise Questions

  • Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
  • If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
  • Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
  • Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
  • Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?

Presentation and Production Questions

  • Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
  • Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?

Comparative Questions

  • Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

While not hard and fast guidance, these questions can help you evaluate your site and find areas to improve upon before the next broad core update. 

Thankfully, in this case we know the next update is coming quite soon – July 2021 – so there is a chance any negative effects from the ongoing update will be short-lived. 

Have you gotten your brand’s website ready for the upcoming Google Page Experience ranking signal update? 

If not, Google Developer Martin Splitt says there’s no need to panic. 

In an interview on the Search Engine Journal Show on YouTube, host Loren Baker asks Splitt what advice he would give to anyone worried their site isn’t prepared for the update set to launch in mid-June. 

Giving a rare peek at the expected impact of the impending update, Splitt reveals the Page Experience signal update isn’t going to be a massive gamechanger. Instead, it is more of a “tiebreaker.”

As a “lightweight ranking signal”, just optimizing your site’s Page Experience metrics isn’t going to launch you from the back of the pack to the front. If you are competing with a site with exactly the same performance in every other area, however, this will give you the leg up to receive the better position in the search results. 

Don’t Ignore The Update

While the Page Experience update isn’t set to radically change up the search results, Splitt says brands and site owners should still work to optimize their site with the new signals in mind. 

Ultimately, making your page faster, more accessible on a variety of devices, and easier to use is always a worthwhile effort – even if it’s not a major ranking signal. 

As Splitt says:

“First things first, don’t panic. Don’t completely freak out, because as I said it’s a tiebreaker. For some it will be quite substantial, for some it will not be very substantial, so you don’t know which bucket you’ll be in because that depends a lot on context and industry and niche. So I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

I think generally making your website faster for users should be an important goal, and it should not just be like completely ignored. Which is the situation in many companies today that they’re just like ‘yeah, whatever.’”

As for how he thinks brands should approach the update, Splitt recommended focusing on new projects and content rather than prioritizing revamping your entire site upfront. 

… For new projects, definitely advise them to look into Core Web Vitals from the get-go. For projects that are already in maintenance mode, or are already actively being deployed, I would look into making some sort of plan for the mid-term future — like the next six months, eight months, twelve months — to actually work on the Core Web Vitals and to improve performance. Not just from an SEO perspective, but also literally for your users.”

Much of the discussion focuses on the perspective of SEO professionals, but it includes several bits of relevant information for anyone who owns or manages a website for their business. 

To hear the full conversation, check out the video below from Search Engine Journal:

Google’s upcoming Page Experience ranking update – initially believed to be exclusive to mobile search – will also be coming to desktop search results in the future. 

The reveal came during part of Google’s annual big I/O event this week, by Google Search product manager Jeffrey Jose. 

Since the announcement of the Page Experience update, which will implement new ranking signals based on “Core Web Vitals” which assess the user friendliness of a site, was going to be rolled out to only Google’s mobile search results. 

As Jose explained, however, the update will also be coming to desktop search – at a later date.

“Today I am happy to announce that we are bringing Page Experience ranking to desktop. While we’re launching Page Experience on mobile soon, we believe page experience is critical no matter the surface the user is browsing the web. This is why we’re working hard on bringing page experience ranking to desktop. As always we’ll be providing updated guidance, documentation, and tools along the way to help your pages perform at its best. Stay tuned for more details on this.”

The specific wording of the announcement suggests the desktop update may use its own set of unique or modified ranking signals or criteria. This is reasonable considering users are likely to have different usability expectations depending on which platform they are using. 

While the launch of the desktop Page Experience update is unknown, the mobile version is still scheduled to begin rolling out in June and be completely implemented by August.

To learn more about the Page Experience update and to see the announcement for yourself, check out the video below: