How Google Search Recent Changes Will Affect SEO

author image Written by: Jérôme Léon           Categories - In The News, SEO Tips>Google Search

Google Search Updates To Spark Change In The World Of SEO

Google is currently undergoing significant changes that are going to affect the way we do our research, and subsequently influence the SEO world. Let’s take a look at how these changes will affect SEO.

Google Discover

Google Discover is a content recommendation platform based on your research and online behavior that was introduced in 2016. Discover can be found on the Google homepage. Since it was launched,  the platform has been updated and includes many new features. The new version of discovery currently offers:

  • Better organization
  • More visual content
  • Evergreen content
  • Possibility of customization for more or less content of a particular subject

The Google Discovery revamp has a similar approach to social media apps. Google Discovery can be crucial for SEO as there’s no existing strategy to filter the content of those types of searches. This new way of searching also means that businesses will attract potential clients that aren’t even looking for the relevant terms. It also means that other SEO tactics must be set up to attract the right audience.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is a virtual assistant and improved version of Google Now. Google Assistant is able to figure out exactly what you’re asking, make suggestions and complete your tasks by using other apps. It can also:

  • Search the web
  • Schedule events and alarms
  • Show Google account info
  • Adjust devices settings

But how will it affect SEO? With this two-way conversation system, users can get answers without looking at a search result. It’s a game changer in the search engine world. The more users rely on Google Assistant, the less likely they will rely on Google Search results. To attract the right audience, businesses will have to adjust their SEO strategies to target the kind of behavior that is exclusive to search.

A Big Shift

From Answers to Journeys

For more than just a quick answer, people will soon be able to “pick up where they left off”. This option comes in handy when you need information to complete a longer-running task. You may come back to Search to find information on the same topic, double back or discover new associated ideas. You will also be able to add content to collections and tabs that suggest what to learn about next, personalized to the user’s search history.

From Textual to Visual

Google Searches will now be backed by visual support. New featured videos have also been added to Search, providing an overview on topics that you are interested in. Image search has also been revised so that pages with relevant content and central images are prioritized and have a better ranking. Captions and suggested searches are also another addition.

 What Does It Really Mean For SEO?

Those changes mean that SEOs must find new strategies that consider:

  • Content recommendation engines
  • Social media algorithms
  • Ecommerce product recommendation engines
  • Amazon’s search algorithms
  • Smart devices, smart homes, and the internet of things
  • Mobile apps
  • Augmented reality

SEOs who ignore those changes and don’t act upon them will find themselves losing ground to their competitors. As some doors close, other ones open. SEO specialists should see new opportunities within the industry rather than seeing this announcement as tragic news implying the end of search engine optimization. And while yes, traditional search is coming to an end, it also means the expansion of SEO to larger horizons where algorithms and marketing meet, and new possibilities emerge.

Jérôme Léon

Google Pulling Back Ad Restrictions For YouTube


Google announced that they are lifting some restrictions on YouTube mastheads ads. That means that advertisers who have been limited with their ad publishing until now, can finally publish ads in the following categories:

  • Sports betting (US Only)
  • Alcohol (where legal)
  • Prescription drugs (US, CA, NZ)

Categories for election and political ads, as well as non-sports gambling, remain restricted.

“We’re constantly reviewing our ad requirements to improve our products and services. Given the evolving regulatory landscape for sports betting and following our successful implementation of our new “per market” YouTube masthead format, we believe that this decision balances the needs of advertisers and consumers.” -Google’s spokesperson said.

YouTube mastheads are the ads that users see at the top of the YouTube homepage. Since it’s the most prominent placement, the ads there must comply with all Google Ads policies and YouTube ad requirements.

However, the masthead ad content requirements are much more restrictive than the ad requirements on other platforms. So, even if an ad has been denied for the masthead placement, it can still run somewhere else on Google.

Read More: Users Can Limit Three More Types Of Ads On Youtube

Ad Requirements for YouTube

As mentioned, ad content must comply with certain requirements. Here’s what ad content is prohibited on YouTube:

  • Exaggerated or inaccurate claims – exaggerated or false claims for a product or a service that misleads people
  • Offensive language – obscene or offensive language, derogatory language that incites hatred, discrimination, racism
  • Negative events and imagery – mentally distressing, disturbing, scary content, death, decay, etc. This also means no videos of people weeping at funerals, excessively gory content, dangerous challenges, etc. There are exceptions for movies, TV shows, news channels, etc.
  • Improper content – focusing on specific body parts or health conditions, nudity, racy and sexually suggestive topics. There are some limitations to ads for weight loss, hair loss, skin conditions, swimwear, etc.
Read more: YouTube Launches ‘Search Insights’

Why Is This Important?

Masthead ads are one of many YouTube and Google advertising formats and only a small portion of YouTube’s daily ad impressions. All of the previously restricted categories above can now select that placement for their ads, giving them more choice and options for their ads.

Read More: Should You Create Video Content?
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Instagram Updating Its Ranking Algorithm 


Instagram chief Adam Mosseri announced that Instagram is adding a few changes in order to put more focus on creators and the credit they get. One of the mentioned changes is updating its ranking algorithm with the goal to put more focus on original work. Judging by the number of copy-paste posts we’ve seen so far, this update should have been made a long time ago.


Read More: Instagram’s Main Feed Going Full Screen

Making Sure The Credit Goes To Those Who Deserve It

Instagram announced the following changes:

  • Product Tags – it will now be available to everyone. So, no matter who you are, you will be able to tag products and drive traffic and attention to a business, creator or a company that they like.
  • Enhanced People Tags – now, you can add a category for yourself (into profile, edit profile) which will show up when you are tagged in a photo or a video. This makes sure you have your identity be what you want it to be, and credited according to your wishes.
  • Ranking – people that actually created something from scratch should be more credited for that, so the algorithm will focus more on that kind of content.

“We are going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to reposted content. So, more to come there as well.” – said Mosseri in the announcement.

But, what does it exactly mean? As mentioned in SocialMediaToday, the changes in ranking are not that well explained and it’s not clear if any penalization will happen.

Read More: Instagram Subscriptions Tests Three New Features

What Will Affect The Ranking?

The Twitter community did have some questions regarding the originality of content and asked about editing outside of the app. If you remember, Instagram started down-ranking content that was re-shared from other apps. So, if you will be re-posting your TikTok with a watermark on it, your content will still be penalized. However, if you only edited it off the Instagram app, that shouldn’t be a problem and won’t affect your rank.

Still, Mosseri admits that Instagram can’t know for sure if a content piece is an original or not. They only build classifiers that will show how likely something is to be an original, but they can never know for sure. It’s still a work in progress.

Posting History Is Also A Factor

Content aggregators are the focus of this update, and Instagram will be able to determine this with the account’s posting history. Instagram is more likely to detect that an account is an aggregator if it re-posts a lot of content from other accounts.” So if you’re re-posting a lot of content from other accounts, you’ll likely see a drop in reach.

The main goal of the whole update is, as we mentioned, to give more credit to original creators, but the system is not yet perfect. However, Mosseri said that Instagram will continue to improve its detection features over time to better distinguish where the content comes from and who posts original content, to promote the real creators and reduce the influence of big farm accounts.

It looks like it’s time to say goodbye to reposting trending memes in order to boost engagement.


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