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.

Twitter is saying goodbye to Fleets, its take on the popular Story format across most popular social networks, after launching the feature just nine months ago.

In a recent announcement, the company said it would stop supporting Fleets as of August 3, 2021.

As Twitter explained, it had hoped that Fleets would help drive new engagement and new users. From what they’ve seen, that just wasn’t happening.

The official statement stated:

“We built Fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts. We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter.

“But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets like we hoped.”

That isn’t to say the feature wasn’t being used. Instead, the people who took to using Twitter Fleets were already active and engaged on the platform before the feature was rolled out. 

“Although we built Fleets to address some of the anxieties that hold people back from Tweeting, Fleets are mostly used by people who are already Tweeting to amplify their own Tweets and talk directly with others.

“We’ll explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter. And for the people who already are Tweeting, we’re focused on making this better for you.”

It is somewhat surprising to see a company be so candid about an underwhelming launch, though Twitter isn’t treating the shutdown of Fleets as a loss. Instead, they say they will apply what they’ve learned towards future improvements.

What Comes Next

When Fleets are removed from the platform, Twitter will use its current place to highlight live audio streams and chats through Spaces.

“The top of the timeline continues to be a good spot to highlight what’s happening right now so you’ll still see Spaces there when someone you follow is hosting or speaking in a live audio conversation.”

There’s no need to worry about lost content, however, since Fleets were already designed to disappear after 24 hours.

Facebook Groups have been a clever way for entrepreneurs and business leaders to establish themselves as an important figure in both their local community and their national industry. Now, Groups are getting the chance to formally tag those authority figures as the experts they are.

In a new update, Facebook Groups administrators gained the ability to tag specific group members as “subject matter experts.”

This title will come with unique labels when posting or participating in streams or audio chats, as well as a few unique abilities to help generate and lead discussions. 

According to the social network, the new tag is designed to help acknowledge those who regularly share helpful knowledge and provide a bit of clout to those voices. 

“There are more than 70 million admins and moderators running active Facebook groups around the world. Many of these groups are home to subject matter experts who love to share their knowledge, from fitness trainers to highly skilled crafters.

“Now, it’s easier than ever to help experts stand out in groups and offer ways for them to engage with their communities.”

What Comes With Being a Facebook Group Expert?

The most obvious perk of being a Facebook Group Subject Matter Expert is the small badge that displays under your name when posting in that group. 

This will make it easier to spot comments that may have important information among even the biggest comment chains.

Along with this badge, Facebook is also working on a few unique ways for group experts to help generate community discussion, including:

  • Ask Questions: When people write a post that looks like a question in their group, the post will automatically be upgraded to a format that encourages others to share advice, information or perspective. 
  • Create Live Audio Rooms in Groups: A low-pressure way for subject matter experts and communities to get ideas and inspiration from each other through audio-first conversations. Live Audio Rooms are coming to Groups this summer.
  • Host Q&As: A way for people to lead real-time question-and-answer sessions with their communities, in a text-based format. Answered questions are featured in an interactive, swipe-able stack, while all questions may be viewed in the Q&A’s comment section.

How To Designate a Facebook Group Expert

There are two ways for group admins to mark someone as an expert.

The first way is by searching the group member list for an individual by name, then selecting “Make group expert” from the member menu.

The other method is by choosing the option within the drop-down menu on posts or comments.

Note that this role must be accepted by the member in question, and admins can revoke the title at any time.

YouTube announced that it is introducing an entirely new feed to the front page of its mobile app to help users find videos and creators they’ve never seen before. 

As such, the “New to You” feed also aims to introduce creators and channels to wider audiences.

The announcement – in the latest Creator Insider video – says that users have been increasingly complaining that their video recommendations are getting boring. Not only do they tend to show the same type of content over and over, YouTube’s recommendations also have a bad habit of suggesting videos you’ve already watched. 

To address this, the video platform created a feed exclusively containing videos and channels from a wider range of sources – and excluding anything you’ve already seen.

Two Ways To Explore New To You

The new feed will be available on the homepage in two distinct ways.

The first way is called New to You on refresh and is reachable through a dedicated button at the top of the page, within the topic carousel. 

YouTube's New to You Feed on Refresh

When tapped, the page will refresh with content from the New to You feed. 

New to You on prompt is the second way to explore the feed.

YouTube's New To You feed on prompt

This triggers if you scroll far enough down the main feed without selecting anything to watch. 

After scrolling down far enough, a prompt will appear which suggests checking out the “New to You” feed.

How New To You Differs From The Explore Feed

At first glance, the New to You feed might seem very similar to YouTube’s existing Explore feed, though YouTube was quick to establish how they are different. 

The main distinction is that YouTube Explore helps users find trending content from a specific topic. However, the content is not necessarily personalized for users.

The New to You feed, in comparison, is entirely personalized based on your own viewing habits. 

This means the New to You section may be more likely to show channels and videos directly related to your interests, instead of videos which all fit under a broad topic like “video games” or “music”. 

It is unclear exactly when the new feed will be available to all users, but you can find out more about the New to You feed in the announcement video below:

TikTok announced this week that it is extending the maximum length of videos on its platform, tripling the limit from sixty seconds to three minutes.

The update began rolling out to users over the past few days. As users get access, they will be notified with a notification in the app, as shown below:

As the company says in the announcement:

“There’s so much that can happen in a TikTok minute, from crowdsourced musicals and sea shanty singalongs to feta pasta recipes, roller skating revivals, and more. Now we’re introducing the option for our global community to create longer videos – paving the way for even richer storytelling and entertainment on TikTok.”

Keeping with how videos have always been handled in the app, users can record, edit, and share their videos entirely within TikTok, or choose to upload pre-edited videos.

Is TikTok Challenging YouTube?

For the most part, videos on social media have tended towards short-form clips. From Vines to Snapchat Stories and YouTube Shorts, most platforms have prioritized keeping videos easily consumable while on the go. 

Until now, TikTok has worked within these limits to establish itself as the platform for bite-sized videos. 

This marks the app’s first foray into longer videos, which can demand more attention and focus from users.

The question is whether users will be willing to invest this energy in longer content, though the announcement is optimistic:

“With all the ways our community has redefined expression in under 60 seconds, we’re excited to see how people continue to entertain and inspire with a few more seconds – and a world of creative possibilities.”

In a video shared across social media recently, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, emphatically stated that the social network is about more than just sharing pictures. 

These days, the app has expanded into a more multifaceted social platform and will continue to by prioritizing four key aspects of its services.

Instagram’s Four Big Priorities Moving Forward

As a social network, Instagram’s first priority is and will always be its users, particularly the creators who fuel the platform with new engaging and exciting content every day. To further this goal, the company is emphasizing providing creators with ways to earn a living through new monetization approaches.

The second priority for Instagram is developing its video services. The social network has expanded the ways users can both create and discover videos and will continue to do so in the future. As other popular social video platforms like TikTok have provided new competition for Instagram, the platform is experimenting with new approaches to mobile-first video to keep users coming back to the social network.

Following the meteoric rise in online shopping during the COVID pandemic, Instagram is also prioritizing expanding its online shopping tools and services. While Mosseri didn’t offer specific steps Instagram is taking to achieve this goal, he said that he sees the shift to online shopping continuing to grow as shoppers find new ways to confidently and safely purchase the products they see across the platform.

Lastly, Mosseri says that Instagram is prioritizing bolstering its messaging tools. The company head explained that users are moving away from sharing everything publicly in their feeds and stories, and instead want more tools for sharing content in private messages.

Instagram’s Big Video Plans

Of the above priorities, Mosseri spoke most at length about Instagram’s big plans for investing in video tools and services moving forward.

Though the platform has widely been seen as a primarily photo-based app, Mosseri bluntly stated “we’re no longer a photo sharing app.” 

Instead, the company’s goal is to keep users entertained with a variety of content types.

Particularly, the company is working to bring itself inline with other massive social video platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

This is a broad initiative which will influence many of the company’s upcoming tools and features, with some being publicly tested over the next couple months. 

For example, one new test involving showing users video content from accounts they may not be following yet started rolling out last week, while another test allowing users to control which topics they want to see more or less of is being launched this week.

“We’re also going to be experimenting with how do we embrace video more broadly — full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video. And so you’ll see us do a number of things, or experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months.”

If you want to see the full video statement from head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, check it out below:

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.

Following the massive success of online shopping through Facebook and Instagram, Facebook announced it is bringing Shops to WhatsApp along with a slew of other new e-commerce features.

According to the announcement, nearly 75% of people said they use Facebook-owned social networks to discover brands or products online. 

Even more, some industries have seen wild gains with over 85% of people surveyed saying they had purchased a fashion, beauty, furniture, or electronic product they first found through a Facebook platform. 

Now, the company’s goal is to streamline the process while bringing in new features and expanding shopping capabilities to the often forgotten WhatsApp.

To achieve this goal, the latest updates include:

  • Bringing Shops To More Places
  • Introducing Customer Reviews on Instagram
  • Creating Personalized Shop Ads
  • Opening AR Features To More Brands

Let’s look at each of these a bit more in-depth.

Bringing Shops To More Places

Facebook Shops on WhatsApp and Marketplace

When setting up a Shop, brands have been presented with two options for where their products can appear: Facebook and Instagram. Now, those options are finally getting expanded. 

First, brands in the U.S. will have the option to also showcase their products in Marketplace.

With over one billion people using Marketplace every month, it only makes sense that Facebook would be making it easier to get their products included.

Additionally, businesses in several countries around the world are also getting the ability to put their shop on WhatsApp, the popular Facebook-owned message and phone call app. 

With this, users will be able to browse your entire product catalogue, share products with friends, and ask you questions they might have about your products without leaving the app. 

Best of all, you only have to set up your store once to have it up and running on all three apps. 

Introducing Customer Reviews on Instagram

In the coming months, users will begin getting the ability to rate and review products they’ve purchased in Shops on Instagram. 

Instagram Product Reviews

Similar to most modern online product reviews, users will be able to leave a simple star rating, write a longer in-depth text review, and share pictures of the real-life products with others. 

Brands will also be able to leave responses to address any concerns or manage customer-service opportunities. 

As the announcement says:

“We always want shoppers to feel confident in the purchases they make, so we’re giving people more information before they buy…

“These changes will help people make more informed decisions on what to buy, and will let businesses know if they are meeting customer expectations.”

Creating Personalized Shop Ads

Facebook is introducing a new type of personalized ads for shops which will showcase curated collections to those most likely to purchase. 

Personalized Ads For Product Collections

By comparing past shopping behavior, the platform is attempting to connect users with the products most likely to excite them. 

Facebook says:

“Personalized ads are often the beginning of the shopping journey and businesses want to offer shopping experiences that are seamless and personalized. That’s why we’re introducing Shops ads solutions that provide unique ads experiences based on people’s shopping preferences.”

Opening AR Features To More Brands

Augmented Reality (AR) has been predicted to be a major force in product advertising since the earliest days of the internet, and it is finally making good on that promise. 

Smartphone cameras and increasing processing ability are making it possible for users to virtually “try on” products without having to deal with dirty dressing rooms or pushy attendants. 

The last hurdle is making these tools widely available to brands that don’t have millions to spend on developing AR systems. 

That is exactly what Facebook is hoping to do by developing new APIs that will make it easier for brands to integrate AR into their product catalogues. 

The APIs will begin rolling out to beauty product brands in the near future, with support for other industries coming shortly after. 

Along with these features, the social network says it is testing a new ad format which would use AR technology to allow users to “try on” products from your ads. Though it is only in testing currently, Facebook says it expects to roll out the ads to more brands by the end of the year.

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: