What Do You Need to Know about “Search On 22”?

With the latest algorithm changes from Google, it might be useful to turn into Search On 22. Here is what you should know about it.

Video transcript:

David: So, I just sat in on Search On 22, which is Google’s focus on what the new product is for searches coming out in the next year. Right before we had this meeting, I had it. So, I thought we might talk about some of the things they mentioned.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: This is bleeding edge stuff, and I never pursued the latest thing. I’m always a conservative person in terms of, let’s see how this pans out before we start optimizing for it.

Tricia: Yeah. Like the algorithm updates when people panic because it’s ranking… That’s just Google figuring it out right. And then, over time, if you just keep doing good SEO, you don’t need to go after the algorithm updates because that’s your long-term goal.

David: Yeah. Yeah. But what I find with these is these are new technologies that I want to use. And sometimes they just totally forget about them and abandon them because no one uses them. Right? For instance, a lot of what they talked about this year in Search On 22 was what they call multi-search, which is the idea that searchers don’t just want to enter a text into a box. They want to use other means to do Google searches, or I should say, use other means to find things. So, voice search is a part of that, right? Image search in the sense that you can upload an image to Google and say, do you know what this is? And multi-search is where Google is going in the future. So, for instance, one of the fun things they did was someone took a picture of a bagel, put it in Google search, and Google identified that this is a bagel. And she typed the word purse after the word bagel. And Google found her a purse that looked like a bagel.

Tricia: Whoa.

David: Okay. Also, you can do an image. Let’s say you wanted a particular plant because you’re landscaping your yard. You saw it at the park. It’s a beautiful flower. You take a picture of it, and you enter the words near me after the image. And it could show you nurseries that have that plant in stock.

Dave: That’s cool.

David: Right? So, they’re integrating a lot with multi-search. Another feature that they’re talking about is shopping features. Now they’re mostly talking about consumer products, like fashion, stuff like that. But they’re integrating things like your favorite celebrity wore this shirt. Google will identify what the shirt is that they’re wearing and where you could potentially buy it near you. Okay. That’s cool. But one of the things I thought was super interesting is Google is almost going backward. We used the word keyword to refer to the words we put in a Google search. Right? But you remember an old time in searches where they used to advertise, enter the keyword this and you’ll find us right. And you’d almost rent a keyword on a search engine, and it would send you to your website. Well, Google is honing, and I wouldn’t call it keywords, but like special modifiers that have special meetings. So, “near me” is a really good one. You enter near me, and Google knows you have local intent to that search, whether it’s a bagel or a flower, or a dress. “Near me,” tells Google that there’s something special about the words “near me.” And it’s not that the words “near me” appear on the text of the page. Right? Google understands that word differently. You don’t have to have the word “near me” to rank for “near me.” But one of the things that they kind of mentioned but didn’t seem to make a big deal of is another modifying word like that called “shop.” So, if you start your search query with the word “shop” and then enter a phrase, “shop handmade soaps.” It’s going to send you to a different kind of search result than if you just Googled “handmade soaps.” So, handmade soaps might be how do you make soap? You know, what are the advantages of handmade soap? But if you add the word “shop” in front of your query, then it knows you want to buy. So, it would be really interesting to pay attention to the word “shop” and see, do you need to have the word “shop” on your page to be found for a Google Shopping query for this. I’d suggest probably not. But we do know that Google is allowing, I’m a little foggy on this, but I’m pretty sure they’re still doing this. They started this during the pandemic, where they allowed you to add a shopping feed organically to Google. Not just for a paid shopping feature. So, you know how some websites will create a shopping feed, and you can use Google Shopping, and you can pay-per-click on those items. Google will allow you, at least they were during the pandemic, and I think they still are, to submit it, and it will affect the Google search results for shopping. And so, my suggestion is that the “shop” keyword modifier relates to organic shopping and probably perfect guaranteed paid shopping as well, mixed in. So that’s worth paying attention to. Another thing, because they’re talking all about multi-search, is the multi-search categories are voice and pictures. Right? So, we really have to be paying attention to the pictures that we put on the websites. Gone are the days when it’s just nice to have a picture for ease of look, right? For, oh, it’s just a lot easier than words. And stock photos are kind of becoming obsolete. So having unique images on our site is going to be really important – especially for shopping. So, if we’re going to take advantage of something like, I want to buy this dress near me. Or I want to shop for this dress. If you have that dress on a picture on your website, Google might be able to find you.

Tricia: Sorry. I’m making a note. I have a question. So, when you’re saying unique images on your website, I really believe in this completely what you’re talking about because it also ties in with what they’re doing on Google Business Profiles that I’ve seen recently with images. I think the whole image thing is really important. And also, you were saying unique images. That’s something that they have come out on the Google Business Profile saying, that you should upload your own unique images and that they should be clear, and you should be able to see what it is, which is really important. So, now, for shops, I know with a lot of bigger shops, if people are doing things like dropshipping and they’ve got inventory, a lot of them have the same images. So, are you saying that they’re better, even though they might put stock images to get something up, to go in, and once they can get unique images to do that?

David: This is so cutting edge. It’s speculation at this point.

Tricia: Okay.

David: I would suggest it probably would be worth your time to have a little bit different image. It would at least, at the very least, help you stand out from a bunch of people who have the exact same stock image on your website.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Right?

Better. If there’s a human model wearing the clothes if it’s clothes. Right?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: So, the time and effort to create unique images is going to be huge. They talked a lot about maps in Search On 22.

Tricia: Ah, okay.

David: And they did talk a lot about images in maps and using maps to search for stuff in the “near me.” So, this brings up two important points. Number one, if you have only unique images in your Google maps, you’re going to be sending people to a Google product, not to your website.

Tricia: Yeah, the ones that have products. I know a lot of my clients have services.

David: Right.

Tricia: And so, they’ll either send them to the Contact page or put a Call Now.

David: Right. And that was another interesting thing on Search On 22. Everything was products and consumer products, at that. Not B2B products. And not services. So, what will be really interesting to see is if we learn that. For instance, I feel that Google has been teaching us for years to use the word “near me.” Will Google teach us to use images to search for services?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: And what will that look like? If I’m a plumber, do I need to have a picture of me doing plumbing, and will the AI be smart enough to understand that that’s a plumber doing plumbing and not DIY?

Dave: I have to go. You guys keep on going.

Tricia: Bye, Dave. I’ll be really quick at this. So, one of the things I know that a lot of people say is to sometimes put things up on your website to run it through Google’s AI to see what Google says. Like, if a client, let’s say a dentist. Well, what does Google see that says it’s a dentist there? Or do they just see somebody smiling? You know, what is it? And so, yeah, I definitely think that’s important.

David: Yeah. Yeah. And while we’re talking about images, remember the idea that words still matter.

Tricia: Oh, yeah.

David: Right. I know that everybody likes AI. But adding alt text that’s descriptive of what’s in the picture is super important. Google’s ability to understand an image is really, really good at this point. But when it comes to services, it can help you help Google determine the difference between you selling plumbing fixtures and you selling plumbing services or you selling classes on how to become a plumber.

Tricia: Yeah, for sure. Right.

David: So that alt text is going to be important.

Tricia: I also know that Google is trying to emphasize to people that offer services to make sure that they are in the picture as well. For example, let’s say a pet center, it should not just have pictures of lots of dogs, but should have pictures of you with the pets, with the dogs. I’ve even heard of clients having trouble on their accounts because Google would think with all those images that they’re selling pets. And they’re like, no, not at all. We’re a pet center. So, that’s one of the things to make sure that you don’t just get the item, but somebody doing it, the people walking the dog, the plumber doing the work.

David: Yep. So, yeah, that’s always been good usability, not usability, but a good practice. You know, people do better than things.

Tricia: Yes. It’s one thing I have a hard time getting clients to get on board with. It’s like, yeah, but I don’t want my picture up there. I’m like, but it will make you stand out.

David: Right. Well, you’ve had a really good point recently when we pointed out that someone’s employees are wearing t-shirts from the business. They kind of reiterate this is an employee.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: They saw what the employees look like, and you can see that these are trustworthy people.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: And that’s not even thinking about the search aspect of it. Right? That’s just thinking about, hey, we want people to look at these friendly-looking people. You’d feel safe with these people in your house. And the last thing I’ll mention from Search On 22 that I noticed is just how Google is pushing everybody to their apps.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: They really want people to use the Google app and the maps app.

Tricia: Sorry. And it’s kind of funny that they’re doing that, and the Google Business Profile, formerly the Google My Business app, is going away. But that’s where the business does it. But now, you go into Google maps, and you can access it there.

David: So anyway, Search On 22. You can look it up on YouTube. I’m sure it’ll be on YouTube. It might be worth it. It’s only a 45-minute video. Okay. It’s kind of weird and creepy and big brotherly, and there are a lot of beautiful people with like unnatural smiles on their faces. It’s almost a parody of itself, in a way. But it was still good to look at what’s coming. I remember this happened a couple of years ago, and they’re like featuring things that never came to be. So, don’t take it as this is absolutely what’s going to happen. But it’s interesting to look at where they would like to see the future going.

Tricia: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Okay. Perfect. Well, thank you so much.

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