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Here Is What Google Search May Be Launching At I/O

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Robot Snacking Google Logo

For the past couple of weeks now, we’ve been hearing reports of how Google will change Google Search in the wake of AI and changes in searcher behavior. As many of you know, I cover a ton of Google Search user interface changes and I put together a collection of some of those changes we found that I think Google might announce at I/O as the future of Google Search.

A couple of weeks ago we covered the NY Times piece of Project Magi, an “all-new search engine” that Google is working on to bring in a personalized search engine with a lot of AI-power. Then over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal wrote about the new search engine coming from Google that is more “visual, snackable, personal, and human, with a focus on serving young people globally.” The article talks about short videos, which Google has had since 2020 but now Google might show a lot more of them. It also talks about adding Bard-like features directly to search and more.

So here are some new features that I think Google may be announcing at I/O related to this new search engine.

As I was writing this up on Sunday, Glenn Gabe posted and summed up some of those featured nicely in this tweet, but let me dig into them more:

Bard (of sorts) Integrated Into Google Search

This is the only screenshot I mocked up myself to demonstrate how Google Bard, or something similar, can be integrated in place of featured snippets in the Google Search results. The rest of the images below are all tests we have seen from Google in the wild:

click for full size

Visual Grid Formats

A couple of weeks ago, we spotted a more visual grid format for the search results. Here are some screenshots:

This was spotted by Brandon on Twitter who posted a video cast of this in action, here is a still screenshot from that video that you can click on to enlarge:

Google Local Results Grid Format

Here is another one from Valentin Pletzer on Twitter:

click for full size

And one from Jen Cornwell on Twitter:

click for full size

More Short Videos

We’ve been seeing Google show more short videos recently, with it launching in November 2020 and started to add sources of short video content beyond YouTube, also Instagram and TikTok and Facebook video – we’ve even seen them tested on desktop. Even more recently by adding short videos into accordion menus. So Google may be showing them even more often after I/O?

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Google Short Videos

Google Explore

Google Explore has been in testing since June 2022 and since then, it has lost its title and has made its way into more areas like local explore areas. Google also did announce this feature later, but Google has been known to re-announce features at events.

Explore Within Snippets

Google just started testing explore within search snippets.

Google Search Snippet Explore

Perspectives

Since August 2022, Google has been testing perspectives, which it actually took live in March 2023. We also recently saw Google testing perspectives in the search menu.

Here is what that looks like:

Google Perspectives Filter Search Menu

And this version:

Google Search Perspectives

Online Forums Q&A

We have seen tons of variations of the forums carousel, where Google brings in questions and answers from popular online discussion forums.

Here are some screenshots but there are more variations than I can post here:

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Google Search Forums Carousel

click for full size

And conversions & discussions and forums:

click for full size

click for full size

Pros and Cons in Videos

Google was testing highlighting pros and cons in its search video results:

Google Video Results Pros Cons

More Visual Knowledge Panels

In July and October of last year and March of 2023 Google has had these more visual knowledge panels:

click for full size

Also for locations:

Google Search Get There Card

Other Features

There are just too many to list but here are some others we might see from Google at I/O:

And just so much more, scan through all those Google user interface changes – some are pretty wild.

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Forum discussion at Twitter & WebmasterWorld.



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Google Again Says Ignore Link Spam Especially To 404 Pages

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Google Robot Blindfolds

I am not sure how many times Google has said that you do not need to disavow spammy links, that you can ignore link spam attacks and that links pointing to pages that 404/410 are links that do not count – but John Mueller from Google said it again.

In a thread on X, John Mueller from Google wrote, “if the links are going to URLs that 404 on your site, they’re already dropped.” “They do nothing,” he added, “If there’s no indexable destination URL, there’s no link.”

John then added, “I’d generally ignore link-spam, and definitely ignore link-spam to 404s.”

Asking if it would hurt to disavow, after responding with the messages above, John wrote:

It will do absolutely nothing. I would take the time to rework a holistic & forward-looking strategy for the site overall instead of working on incremental tweaks (other tweaks might do something, but you probably need real change, not tweaks).

Earlier this year we had tons of SEOs notice spammy links to 404 error pages, John said ignore them. In 2021, Google said links to 404 pages do not count, Google also said that in 2012 and many other times.

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Plus, outside of links to 404 pages, Google has said to ignore spammy links, time and time again – even the toxic links – ignore them. The messaging around this changed in 2016 when Penguin 4.0 was released and Google began devaluing links over demoting them.

Here are those new posts in context:

And in general, Google says it ignores spammy links, so you should too (not new) but this post from John Mueller is:

And then also on Mastodon wrote about a similar situation, “Google has 2 decades of practice of ignoring spammy links. There’s no need to do anything for those links.”

Forum discussion at X.

Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Passover.

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Google Needs Very Few Links To Rank Pages; Links Are Less Important

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Gary Illyes Serp Conf

Gary Illyes from Google spoke at the SERP Conf on Friday and he said what he said numerous times before, that Google values links a lot less today than it did in the past. He added that Google Search “needs very few links to rank pages.”

Gary reportedly said, “We need very few links to rank pages… Over the years we’ve made links less important.”

I am quoting Patrick Stox who is quoting what he heard Gary say on stage at the event. Here is Patrick’s post where Gary did a rare reply:

Gary said this a year ago, also in 2022 and other times as well. We previously covered that Google said links would likely become even less important in the future. And even Matt Cutts, the former Googler, said something similar about eight years ago and the truth is, links are weighted a lot less than it was eight years ago and that trend continues. A couple of years ago, Google said links are not the most important Google search ranking factor.

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Of course, many SEOs think Google lies about this.

Judith Lewis interviewed Gary Illyes at the SERP Conf this past Friday.

Forum discussion at X and image credit to @n_minkov.



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Google Core Update Flux, AdSense Ad Intent, California Link Tax & More

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Google Core Update Flux, AdSense Ad Intent, California Link Tax & More


For the original iTunes version, click here.

The Google March 2024 core update is still rolling out, almost 6 weeks now, and we saw two shifts of ranking volatility, both mid-week and the weekend before. Google’s Danny Sullivan went on the defensive on search quality and forum listings in the search results. Google’s site reputation abuse spam policy will be fought both algorithmically and through manual actions. Google responded to The Verge mocking its search rankings over best printer. Google Search Console has a new unused ownership tokens page. Some sites may see the Google Indexing API work for a limited time on unsupported content types. And having two sites won’t result in your sites search ranking decline. BingBot now fully supports Brotli compression and will test Zstd compression soon. Google Search is testing thumbs-up and down buttons for product carousels. Google is testing new sitelinks designs. Google Notes on Search may not go away in May. Google Maps no longer supports draft reviews. Google Maps released a bunch of new maps, directions, travel and EV features. Google Ads Demand Gen campaigns now support AI image generation. Google Ads is testing a similar product carousel. Google Ads reminds advertisers that ad customizers are going away. Google Ads is testing a new horizontal ad card format. Google AdSense has these new ad intent formats. Google AdSense publishers are reporting lower RPM earnings since mid-February. Google threatens to drop links to California news publishers amongst link tax bill. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

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