Google image search results tests new related searches box

Google is testing a new “related searches” box in the mobile version of the Google Image search results page. Robin Rozhon spotted the change and posted a screen shot on Twitter of this new box. I cannot replicate the new user interface, but it does look like others are also seeing this test.

Here is what it looks like:

Google frequently tests new user interfaces, so we are not sure if this new one will stick or fade away over the next couple of weeks.

Google tests 'more results' mobile search interface and new search refinement buttons

Google has confirmed it is testing a new mobile search interface and a new search refinement button. The new search interface shows fewer search results on the mobile search results page, with the option to click on a button labeled “more results.” In addition, Google is testing showing buttons to refine your search directly in the search results snippets.

A Google spokesperson told us “We constantly experiment with new search formats and experiences to deliver the best experience for our users.”

Dan Brackett shared screen shots with us on Twitter, but many others are noticing these new tests.

‘More results’ feature on Google mobile search

Here is a screen shot showing the “more results” link, often Google is showing as few as two or three organic search results on this page. To see more organic results, you will have to click on the “more results” link, and Google will then dynamically load more search results below.

You can also see the refinements at the top of the screen shot above. Here is another screen shot of these refinements directly in what is called a featured snippet.

Google has been testing both of these at least for the past few weeks, and more and more searchers are beginning to notice it.

This is just a test, and we do not know if or when Google will release this to a wider set of test users or to everyone.

'SEO Snippets' — new Google video series to help webmasters & SEOs

Google has announced a video help series aimed at helping webmasters and SEOs with short answers to their webmaster and SEO questions. Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller introduced the series, saying they hope to cover topics including “404 errors, how and when crawling works, a site’s URL structure [and] duplicate content.”

The series available on YouTube and has already six videos. Here are those videos:

The videos will address questions commonly seen at the Webmaster Central Help Forum – get your questions in over there to have them possibly addressed in the series.

Google launches new Rich Results testing tool with some rebranding

Google has announced it has launched a new version of a structured data testing tool for rich results at https://search.google.com/test/rich-results.

The company also said it will be calling rich snippets, rich cards or enriched results “Rich results” from now on and group them all together.

Google said the new testing tool “focuses on the structured data types that are eligible to be shown as rich results.” This new version enables you to test all data sources on your pages, including the recommended JSON-LD, Microdata or RDFa. Google said this new version is a “more accurate reflection of the page’s appearance on Search and includes improved handling for Structured Data found on dynamically loaded content.”

The tool currently only supports tests for Recipes, Jobs, Movies and Courses. Google said it will be adding support for other rich results over time.

Here is a screen shot of the tool. Note it works on desktop or mobile:

You can check out the new rich results testing tool over here.

Data bug with Google Search Console's Search Analytics report

Google has posted about a data anomalies bug with the Search Analytics report found in the Google Search Console. The specific issue shows up when you use the “AMP non-rich results” search appearance filter and look at the clicks and impressions between December 14, 2017, and December 18, 2017.

Google said there “was an error in counting AMP non-rich results impressions and clicks” between those dates and you “might see a drop in your data during this period.” It did not impact the actual search results; it was just an analytics bug.

Here is what the report might look like for you:

The data should return to normal on or after December 19, 2017, but those few days will have some inaccurate data.

Google offers advice on how to get ready for the mobile-first index

Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

Google has posted on the webmaster blog more advice around getting ready for the mobile-first index.

Google confirmed it has rolled out the mobile-first index “for a handful of sites” and said the search team is “closely” monitoring those sites for testing purposes.

You will know when your site moved over by checking to see a significantly increased crawling rate by the Smartphone Googlebot in your log files and the snippets in the results, as well as the content on the Google cache pages, will be from the mobile version of your web pages. Again, Google said only a small number of sites have migrated.

Gary Illyes from Google posted several tips to get ready for the mobile-first index:

Make sure the mobile version of the site also has the important, high-quality content. This includes text, images (with alt-attributes), and videos — in the usual crawlable and indexable formats.Structured data is important for indexing and search features that users love: It should be both on the mobile and desktop version of the site. Ensure URLs within the structured data are updated to the mobile version on the mobile pages.Metadata should be present on both versions of the site. It provides hints about the content on a page for indexing and serving. For example, make sure that titles and meta descriptions are equivalent across both versions of all pages on the site.No changes are necessary for interlinking with separate mobile URLs (m.-dot sites). For sites using separate mobile URLs, keep the existing link rel=canonical and link rel=alternate elements between these versions.Check hreflang links on separate mobile URLs. When using link rel=hreflang elements for internationalization, link between mobile and desktop URLs separately. Your mobile URLs’ hreflang should point to the other language/region versions on other mobile URLs, and similarly link desktop with other desktop URLs using hreflang link elements there.Ensure the servers hosting the site have enough capacity to handle potentially increased crawl rate. This doesn’t affect sites that use responsive web design and dynamic serving, only sites where the mobile version is on a separate host, such as m.example.com.

For more information, check out our mobile-first index FAQs.

Google: Fundamentals of writing meta descriptions don't change with longer search snippets

Earlier this month, Google confirmed they have extended the search results snippets from 160 characters all the way to a maximum of 320 characters long. Google told Search Engine Land that even though the snippets can be longer, the “fundamentals of writing a description tag” have not changed.

Google may or may not show 320 characters; Google may or may not show your meta description; and Google may or may not show content from your page. A lot of how Google decides what search result snippet to show is based on the searchers’ query and the content on your page. A Google spokesperson told us “there’s no need for publishers to suddenly expand their meta description tags, if they feel their current ones are adequate. … We now display slightly longer snippets, which means we might display more of a meta description tag.”

In short, if you are happy with the way your meta descriptions show to your searchers, then leave them. If you are not, you can try changing them. Either way, meta descriptions do not play a role in search rankings, they do play a role in what searchers see in the Google search results and can have an impact on your click-through rate from the Google search results.

Here is Google’s official statement on the snippets change:

The fact that our snippets have gotten longer doesn’t change the fundamentals of writing a description tag. They should generally inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. We now display slightly longer snippets, which means we might display more of a meta description tag. However, we never had a limit on meta description tag length before, as we covered earlier this year. So, there’s no need for publishers to suddenly expand their meta description tags, if they feel their current ones are adequate. As a reminder, our snippets are dynamically generated. Sometimes, they use what’s in a meta description tag. More often, they are generated by showing content from the page itself and perhaps parts of the meta description tag, as is appropriate for individual queries. For more guidance on meta description tags and snippet generation, we recommend publishers read our recent blog post on the topic, our help page and the “Create good titles & snippets” section of our SEO starter guide that was just updated this week.

John Mueller from Google also commented about this in detail in a recent Google Hangout at the 29:41 mark in that Hangout. Here is what he said:

There’s a lot of talk about expanded and meta descriptions but people are split on whether or not SEO should update existing metas or let Google expand them for us. What’s your take?

So I saw some discussion around this I don’t know what what people have been discussing.

So in general what one of the things we’ve been experimenting with [is] showing longer descriptions in the search results and I believe that’s something that more and more people are seeing.

So for the descriptions that we show we try to focus on the meta description that you provide on your pages but if we need more information or more context based on the user’s query perhaps then we can take some parts of the page as well. Essentially from from a purely technical point of view these descriptions aren’t a ranking for anything. So it’s not the case that changing your descriptions or making them longer or shorter or tweaking them or putting keywords in there will affect your site’s ranking. However it can affect the way that users see your site in the search results and whether or not they actually click through to your site. So that’s kind of one one aspect there to keep in mind.

And with that aspect sometimes it does make sense to make sure that the description that you’re providing to search engines, that’s perhaps being shown to users when they search for normal things on your website. That description is something that explains what your service is where your page offers, maybe the the unique proposition that you have on your page. That kind of encourage[s] people to click through to your page that probably makes sense for a lot of cases. And sometimes it makes sense to say well I know how to describe this best, therefore I’ll write it up in the description and if Google can show this then my hope that people will see my site is being clearly superior to all other ones and click on my site rather than some of the other ones that are ranking in the same search results page.

So with that in mind. It’s not a ranking factor. It can affect how your site is visible in the search results. So with that I definitely see see it as something legitimate where you might say well I want to make sure that my my kind of proposition is out there in full and therefore I’ll try to write something a bit longer and show that in my meta description.

The one thing to kind of keep in mind there is that we adjust the description based on the user’s query. So if you’re doing a site query and seeing this in your search results for your site that’s not necessarily what a normal user would see when they see a search as well. So make sure to check in search console and search analytics what the top queries are that are leading to your pages and try those queries out see what your site search results look like. And if you want to change the snippet that’s shown for your site for individual pages on your site then by all means go off and do that.

So check out your analytics, look to see if you can improve your click-through rates on your popular pages in search and see if it makes a difference to your bottom line.

Google Search Console beta adds 12+ months of data to performance reports

The new beta version of Google Search Console has now added over 12 months of historical data to the performance reports.

Here is a screen shot showing the options of date filters for the report, including last seven days, last 28 days, last three months, last six months, last 12 months and full duration:

Glenn Gabe of G-Squared Interactive also is able to see it in his beta Google Search Console reports:

On the first day of Christmas, Google gave to me… *12 months of data in the new GSC*!!

OMG, here we go folks. I'm seeing 12 months of data in the Search Analytics beta. I asked and I've been told I can share this screenshot.

Happy Holidays to all SEOs. 🙂 pic.twitter.com/VhL5qsMlRW

— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) December 13, 2017

I suspect the “full duration” means Google will be showing even more than 12 months of data in these reports, although that is unconfirmed and unclear at this moment. We will keep you posted on Google’s answer to that question.

If you are part of the beta, you should be able to access this information now.

Google has been hinting it would be giving webmasters longer-term data since 2013, and now, a few years later, we’ve got it, at least in beta.

Google revamps its SEO Starter Guide

Google announced that it has retired the old PDF version of the SEO Starter Guide originally released in 2008, over nine years ago, with a new web-based version of the guide.

The last time Google updated this guide was several years ago.

The new guide merges the Webmaster Academy and the old SEO Starter Guide PDF into this one resource section. “The updated version builds on top of the previously available document, and has additional sections on the need for search engine optimization, adding structured data markup and building mobile-friendly websites,” Google said.

It is also currently available in nine different languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.

The new SEO guide can now be accessed online over here.

Have a question about Will Ferrell? Google may show you a video response directly from him

Curious if Will Ferrell can actually play the drums? Or if Tracee Ellis Ross can sing? Now, when you ask Google a question about a specific celebrity, you may get a self-recorded video from them answering your question.

“When you search for your favorite personalities, whether they’re rising stars or well-known celebs, their answers will appear in the form of selfie-style videos with a uniquely personal, authentic and delightful touch,” according to Google’s The Keyword blog.

Google has taken the most often asked questions about a select number of celebrities and had the celebrities record their answer so that they can now be served up for mobile searches related to the query.

The new feature is currently only available in the US and only works on mobile. It also applies to a very select list of well-known personalities. Google says it is piloting the feature with self-recorded video answers from the following list of celebrities:

Priyanka ChopraWill FerrellTracee Ellis RossGina RodriguezKenan ThompsonAllison WilliamsNick JonasMark WahlbergJames FrancoSeth MacFarlaneJonathan YeoDominique Ansel

According to the announcement, this new feature is a “snapshot of what’s to come,” and more videos are likely to be added during the upcoming months.