Last week we learned that Google made some significant changes to search results by extending the length of titles and descriptions; this week a similar change has been made to mobile search results. We also learned about a new ad unit coming to Google image search, a new mobile friendly testing tool, and the reveal of Google’s new voice assistant. Lastly, the latest search market share numbers are out, which show that Google’s share of the search market is dropping while Bing’s is growing. Full details about each of these top stories are in this week’s wrap up of inbound marketing news.
Google Extends Mobile Title Tags
If this news sounds familiar to you it’s because Google made a similar change to its desktop title tags and descriptions last week. This week it was noticed that mobile title tags have been extended to roughly 78 characters. That’s actually longer than the new length of desktop title tags which come in at around 71 characters. We have reached out to Google for more information about this but have not received a response. How are SEOs supposed to know which length of title tag to implement on their website?
Before you make any drastic changes to the way your site is being optimized it’s recommended that you wait until it’s known for sure if these changes to mobile and desktop title tags are here to stay, or if they are just a temporary test.
Google Ads in Image Search
For the first time ever, Google ads are going to be shown in Google’s image search results. With a slow rollout, Google is beginning this new endeavor with shopping ads only, which will appear in image searches for corresponding products. Google’s image search ads will take up an entire line of screen space that would have otherwise been reserved for organically surfaced images. Google explains its rationale for this new ad unit by saying that people already use image search as a starting point for their shopping.
In addition to a picture of the product itself, Google’s new image search ads will also include the price of the item and where on the web it can be purchased from. Google says the most common questions people have when browsing through images is how much does the product cost and where to buy it. Those are the two questions Google hopes to answer with these new ad units.
These ad units are being classified as product listing ads which are part of the Google display network. That means your current product listing ads will automatically be eligible for display in image search, provided you are already running PLA’s.
Google’s New Mobile Friendly Testing Tool
Think your site is mobile friendly? You can’t be too sure unless you run it through Google’s mobile friendly testing tool. The tool will let you know if your site meets Google’s standards of mobile friendliness. Perhaps you’re familiar with using it already, or maybe you’re just now hearing about it for the first time, either way there’s never a bad time to check to see how mobile friendly your site is.
Realizing the importance of this tool, Google has launched a brand-new version of it. It’s a more streamlined experience which focusses on just three actionable steps you can take once you find out whether or not your site is mobile friendly. You can check individual pages one at a time or you can use the site wide Mobile Usability report found in Search Console to learn more about which pages are working for or against the mobile friendliness of your site.
Google expects this new version to replace the previous mobile friendly test. As it should be, the tool itself is also mobile friendly, so you can check on the status of your site at any time using your smartphone.
Google Has A Voice Assistant
One of the bigger news stories coming out this week is that Google now has its own voice assistant. The assistant, which is simply called Google Assistant, is Google’s answer to the likes of Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. It will live inside Google’s hardware, similar to how Siri is not a standalone service but is integrated within all of Apple’s hardware.
When it launches, it is said to be incredibly easy to use. In fact, you should be able to bring it up from wherever you are in your device and ask it for help. Google Assistant will first be made available in Google Home, which is a new piece of hardware from Google that is similar to Amazon’s Echo. Assistant will also be featured in a new messaging app from Google called Allo. With Allo you will be able to chat with friends, or one on one with the assistant itself. Both Google Home and Allo will be made available later this year.
Google Losing Search Share to Bing?
Is Google losing some of its share of the US desktop search market to Bing? That’s what the latest numbers from comScore indicate. In April, Bing’s share of the search market grew more than Google’s did. In fact, they both grew and fell by the same amount; Bing rose by 0.2% while Google dropped by 0.2%. The numbers make it look as though Google searchers might be migrating over to Bing as an alternative. The rise in US desktop search market share could also have something to do with the fact that Bing is more or less being forced on people with the Windows 10 update considering, it’s integrated throughout the entire desktop operating system.
Even with the recent drop in search market share, Google is still the undisputed king of US desktop search. It’s total share of the search market is now sitting at 63.8%, while Microsoft is sitting at 21.6%. We will have to wait for next month’s numbers to see if this trend is going to continue, or if this was just an odd month. However, it’s still interesting and newsworthy that more people are searching on Bing than before.
It was another busy week in inbound marketing. Google is confusing us with title tags, there’s a new ad unit for image searches, a new mobile friendly testing tool, a new voice activated assistant, and a rare drop in Google’s share of the US desktop search market. If you have any questions about any of this week’s updates, please leave a comment below.