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It’s no secret that Google likes to tweak its search engine result pages – in fact, it’s common to see frequently tested tests. Whether it’s to adapt to new user research methods or to increase the number of clicks on their ads, one thing is certain: when it comes to SEO, we need to evolve to keep pace.

Most important in 2020 is the unfortunate and devastating arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to reactive changes from Google to ensure that users get the most up-to-date, accurate and clear information online. on the subject. Find out what has changed this year and how you can adapt to keep your website visible in search.

End of 2019

Personalized Google Shopping recommendations

In the United States, Google’s new shopping interface has landed, namely to compete with Amazon. Users will now be able to browse recommendations based on their purchase history and search history. They will then have the option of purchasing online or locally in store (if supported).

“Buy on Google” is now a checkout option, highlighted with prominent cart icons. Users will be able to pay with payment information stored in their Google accounts.

Originally launched in France, it is only a matter of time before it arrives in the UK.

Google local search option

A new “search by photos” option has appeared in some local search results on mobile devices. For example, « pizza near me ».

This option does not have a fixed position in the SERPs, but always seems to be below the local pack in search results.

This feature lets you scroll through photos of local businesses and works especially well for products that rely on aesthetics and reviews to encourage click-through. In cases where good visuals are not necessarily important, the option is not displayed – for example for local plumbers.

When a user clicks on it, they are redirected to the company’s Google My Business profile.

January 2020

Black ad labels and URLs are integrated with desktop search

In May 2019, Google launched a new look for mobile SERPs. For ads, we have seen the arrival of black « Ad » labels on the base green. This has helped Google’s ads integrate with organic results more than ever before, and it certainly isn’t the first time Google has made changes to achieve this.

As per the ad wording changes, the green URLs are also gone and replaced with black URLs at the top of the result.

For organic results, we saw the arrival of favicons (site / URL icons), placed in the same place as the ad labels.

In January 2020, we saw these changes start showing up on the desktop version of Google’s search results. With black ad labels appearing for Google Ads, and black URLs and favicons appearing for organic results.

Shortly after launch, Google experimented with removing favicons from Google desktop search and decided to move that option permanently – keeping favicons only to mobile search results.

Featured Snippets no longer have a repeat list in the results

In early 2020, Google announced that it would «  declutter  » its first page of results by removing the regular duplicate result from a featured snippet. This meant that if you were lucky enough to get the featured snippet of a search term, you wouldn’t find the normal organic result below.

March 2020

Featured Snippets From Right Sidebar Removed

Featured Snippets right sidebar variant was removed in March 202019. From that date, Google placed them in the main results column. It was part of the movement following the deduplication of snippets in search results.

Google Coronavirus results

As you already know, 2020 has unfortunately been synonymous with one thing in particular: the coronavirus. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Google responded accordingly with their search results. And it had to – after all, where is the first place people go to look for information today? People trust Google’s responses, so we had to make sure to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Google’s desktop and mobile search results quickly adapted to provide a coronavirus information dashboard; This includes ‘Top Stories’, ‘Case Map’, ‘Local News’ and ‘Health Information’ covering symptoms, prevention and treatments information from the NHS.

Option to mark businesses as «  temporarily closed  » made available

Google Maps and Google Search have started to show whether a business is temporarily closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. An option has been made available to Google My Business users to allow them to mark their business as temporarily closed, alongside the usual « Permanently closed » option.

April 2020

Google Search Tips

In April, Google introduced a new feature that aims to help users reformulate their query when the search engine can’t find relevant results on the web.

According to a Google spokesperson, this message would only appear for a «  fairly low proportion of queries  ». The post gives you tips on how to get better results, including simplifying and making your queries more precise, as you can see in the example below.

Featured snippet instances not in 1st Position

There appears to have been an update in April where featured snippets were spotted lower in organic results (around 2nd or 3rd position), not necessarily at the top of the SERPs. However, these seemed to only show for a very specific type of queries and had functionality similar to knowledge panels.

Now, later in 2020, it has been difficult to reproduce them, leading us to believe that they are no longer in use.

May 2020

Announcement – AMP will not be required for featured articles in 2021

Along with the announcement of the page experience update, Google announced in May that AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) would no longer be a requirement to earn a place in Google’s Top Stories section on mobile. This change won’t take effect until 2021, when the page experience update goes live.

Google suggestions based on recent user activity

Google has started showing search suggestions based on your recent activity. An example provided by Land search engine was « Disney », where Google suggested a search for « disney streaming ». This was because a previous search had been done for « streaming services ».

Itof seems like users had to be signed in to their own Google account for this to appear. However, later in 2020, we will not be able to replicate this in the SERPs.

August 2020

Home Activities Rich results made available

A new Rich Result was made available in August to match home activities and events. Currently limited to terms related to fitness, this rich result has been made accessible in response to the coronavirus with more people attending events and online classes.

September 2020

Other attributes added to Google My Business listings

Google My Business Listings now allow business owners to highlight efforts to keep visitors / customers safe with additional attributes. comprising:

  • Appointment required
  • Mask required
  • Staff wear masks
  • Staff get temperature checks
  • Checking the required temperature

Why you should care

Google is constantly changing the way it serves its results, as well as the experience it offers to its users. This in itself reflects the importance of constantly adapting when it comes to SEO. You might think that optimizing your meta once means you’re ready, or setting up a Google My Business profile and never logging back in is enough – but it really isn’t. In other words, if you want to stay visible in the search.

Complacency is the enemy. It’s important to stay ahead of Google updates and be open and prepared for change. Otherwise, your competition will. Before you know it, your business will be in the background.

Today, it’s not enough to update your content. As Google offers more options to improve your results, technical SEO is more important than ever.

Google wants to blur the lines between organic search and paid search with Google Ads becoming more and more subtle every year. The more clicks Google Ads generates, the more value they gain, which increases Google’s earning potential.

With more Google Ads, code snippets posted more frequently, and new types of structured data markup being introduced every year, we’re seeing standard results become a thing of the past.

Adapt … or be invisible

Today, PPC should be seen as a normal part of your inbound marketing mix to ensure you stay visible in the ever-changing SERPs. No matter how good your organic SEO is, today users have so much to crawl at the top of the search engine results that you need to cover all the bases.

However, it’s worth remembering that Google can only push things this far before they get pushed back. Hisarrived beforeGoogle has been fined a record £ 2.14 billion for abusing its dominance in the search engine market by creating its online shopping service.

Adapt but still not found?

If your website is lost in the SERPs, we can help. Contact us today and speak to one of our SEO experts – we’ll find you in no time.

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