Google I/O 2023: Changes coming to SERPs

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Google I/O 2023: Changes coming to SERPs

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been hearing reports of how Google will change Google Search in the wake of artificial intelligence (AI). At Google I/O 2023, the tech giant’s annual developer conference, many new features and technologies were announced. The updates shared at Google I/O are a leap forward in search engine technology and will greatly impact Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Recap of Google I/O 2023

Google I/O 2023 shone a spotlight on the tech giant and its generative AI developments, but there were also new mobile hardware updates. Here are some of the top announcements at the event:

  • Pixel 7a, Google Pixel Fold and Google Pixel Tablet – Google’s first foldable phone, updated graphics for the 7a and updates to the tablet.
  • Google Perspectives – a feature highlighting long-form videos, images and posts offering diverse viewpoints.
    Duet AI for Workspace – Google is rolling out AI across its suite of apps, products and services.
  • AI updates for Search – Search Generative Experience (SGE) will enable the search engine to return AI-powered results to your queries through snapshots.
  • Bard’s wider availability – Google’s AI chatbot is now available across 180 counties and more features are being planned, such as image generation.
  • Android 14 AI customisation – Magic Compose is a new feature in Android Messages whereby you can respond to texts using auto-suggested responses.
  • Magic Editor for Google Photos – Magic Editor is a new AI feature allowing you to make significant edits faster and easier in Google Photos.

The future of Google SERPs

Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) play a vital role in Google’s ecosystem by providing users with relevant and valuable information in response to their search queries. SERPs are the pages displayed by search engines, primarily Google, after a user submits a search query.

The importance of SERPs lies in their ability to connect users with the information they are seeking quickly and efficiently. When a user enters a search query, Google’s algorithms analyse billions of web pages to determine the most relevant and useful results to display on the SERP. This process involves various factors such as relevance, authority, user signals, and more.

Google’s Bard and generative AI will be incorporated into SERPs, offering users more content sites and sources. Bard allows for more natural, super specific queries vs. the traditional keywords or question fragments we see today. SERP changes were already making competition fierce, but in addition to the changes from AI chat interfaces in search, the competition will be even fiercer as companies ramp up their content creation and compete for that increasingly-limited Google real estate.

Improved Search Relevance and Quality

With Search Generative Experience (SGE), people using Google Search will be able to ask entirely new types of questions in a conversational mode and receive an overall lay of the land on a topic with links to relevant search results. Google searchers will be able to accomplish more by generating creative ideas and drafts right in the Search interface. This will result in better Google search accuracy, more visually-rich options and a more personalised search experience.

Google says “this new search experience places even more emphasis on producing informative responses that are corroborated by reliable sources.” Google plans to reduce the number of steps it takes for searchers to accomplish a task through better understanding user intent and delivering higher quality results.

Voice Search and Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing, or NLP, makes it possible to understand the meaning of words, sentences and texts to generate information, knowledge or new text. Google Search mainly uses natural language processing in the following areas:

  • Interpretation of search queries
  • Classification of subject and purpose of documents
  • Entity analysis in documents, search queries and social media posts
  • For generating featured snippets and answers in voice search
  • Interpretation of video and audio content
  • Expansion and improvement of the Knowledge Graph

Google Voice Search is being made more conversational and context-aware in order to enhance voice-activated results. As Voice Search continues to increase in popularity with Google users, SEO strategies need to align with this to ensure they reflect the browsing behaviours of Google users.

Voice Search improves the user experience, so if a user discovers your website through a Google Voice Search, this is likely to have a positive impact on your overall SEO rankings.

What are the Implications for SEO and Website Owners?

With a flood of new content competing for just a few existing site link spots, it’s become more crucial now than ever to diversify your SEO strategy and distribute your content via multiple platforms including social media sites. Google Perspectives brings more social content to SERPs so this is where your brand’s content needs to be.

Optimising for mobile, voice search, visual search, and interactive experiences has become increasingly important in the evolving Google search landscape. These trends have changed the way people search for information and interact with search engines. Here’s a few SEO best practices to enhance visibility following Google I/O 2023:

Mobile Optimisation

Mobile optimisation is crucial because the majority of internet users now access the web through mobile devices. Search engines prioritise mobile-friendly websites and provide better rankings to those that offer a seamless mobile experience.

Voice Search

Optimising for Google Voice Search involves understanding the natural language patterns people use when speaking rather than typing queries. Long-tail keywords and conversational phrases should be incorporated into your content. It’s also important to provide concise, direct answers that align with the user’s query.

Visual Search

Visual search allows users to search for information using images rather than text. Optimising for visual search involves optimising images on your website by using descriptive file names, alt tags, and providing relevant context.

Interactive Experiences

Interactive experiences engage users and can significantly impact user experience and conversions. Incorporating interactive elements such as quizzes, calculators, surveys, or interactive infographics can enhance user engagement and dwell time on your website. This, in turn, can positively influence your search engine rankings.

Is this the end of SEO?

The short answer is no. SEO is always evolving just like every other discipline in the technology and science industries, and the use of AI becoming more mainstream will make SEO even more important going forward. We can work side by side to complement the robots. AI technology can be used as a tool, not as a replacement. The robots need a prompter, and they need someone with experience to create content for them to consume, because search engines will refine their own AI-powered algorithms.

As more companies adopt AI and we see the explosion of content competition and AI in SERPs, the need for quality SEO is on the rise. Google I/O 2023 brings about many exciting new features, developments and opportunities from the Google Pixel foldable phone, Google Perspectives and Bard to snapshots and Search Generative Experience. These updates will ultimately create a shift in how customers and brands interact with technology and AI.

Stay ahead of the game in technology and AI changes by partnering with us for your SEO needs. At Cariad, we offer professional SEO services and affordable SEO packages. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, we’re committed to enhancing your online presence without breaking the bank. Contact us today to explore the benefits of our affordable SEO solutions.

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