Rumours have been circulating about a possible update to the traditional Google homepage that has remained unchanged for twenty years. We explore the mixed signals regarding the new homepage below.
There are hints that the plain white backdrop with just the Google logo and a search bar will be replaced by a design closer to MSN, Yahoo and even Facebook. If these potential changes do roll out, Google will display a newsfeed on your homepage based on your personal searches and trends in your area. This means if you follow a particular sports team, the most recent scores and club news will be right there on your homepage before you search. If these rumours are true, this will undoubtedly impact digital marketing strategies around search engine optimisation.
New Google Homepage: The facts
We first heard about the update in an article on The Guardian which quotes the Vice President of Google Engineering, Shashi Thakur: “You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world.”
The updates have already been rolled out on the Google mobile app across the US and UK. Since then, there has been a great deal of speculation about when the changes will be made to Google’s desktop homepage along with further tweaks to the mobile feed. Ars Technica UK claims Google is hoping to ‘roll some version of the feed experience to Google.com on the mobile web,’ later this year. It would make sense for the Google experience to be consistent across all devices so we predict we will see these changes across mobile web, app, and desktop soon.
Reasons for the new homepage
There are plenty of reasons why Google would want to make this drastic change. They already dominate the search engine market but it appears that Google want to expand into a ‘newsfeed’ territory which Facebook currently rules.
By creating a discovery experience which pre-empts what users are looking for before they search for it, Google is set to become the largest distributor of news in the world. The ultimate goal for Google is to increase the length of time users spend on their search engine. This potential homepage update is certainly one way to achieve just that. The cards would grab user’s attention and draw them in for longer. The newsfeed layout may also encourage users to treat it like Facebook or another social media platform.
What does this mean for SEO?
As industry experts, we ensure that we keep up to date with any changes which may affect the digital marketing landscape. This is definitely one that we will be keeping a close eye on. If these rumoured updates do happen, it could have an unpredictable effect on rankings.
As it stands, the Google app does not have any adverts on the newsfeed. However, this could be unlocked and represent a new advertising opportunity in the future. Google is taking steps to try and keep more and more people on the Google search result page for longer as indicated by knowledge graphs and featured snippets. In recent years, Google has made several changes algorithmically to bring user intent to the forefront of the search experience. The changes to the homepage are a logical next step, with Google tailoring your experience based on your interests before you even search.
The more information rich, up-to-date and useful the content on your site is, the more likely you will get in the optimum position on the newsfeed. For this reason, it is even more important to track the homepage changes closely. Search engine results already vary between mobile and desktop with accelerated mobile pages (AMP) becoming a key feature. It is likely that non-accelerated mobile pages will be demoted in the mobile news feed results. If Google makes these changes to mobile and not desktop it will further increase the differences.
In the short term…
Whether the changes are carried out across desktop or not, we are already seeing the ‘newsfeed’ style homepage on our mobile phones. This promises exciting times ahead for the Google discovery experience. The changes have already been made to the Google app, so download it from the App Store now for a preview.
If you want proactive digital marketing tailored to your business needs, then contact Loom today. We have many years of experience and have successfully adapted to all of the changes introduced by Google and the other search engines. Make sure your future online is a success with our integrated digital marketing service. Call us today on 0117 923 2021.
Article was researched and written by Sophia Massey – our digital marketing intern.
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