SERPs Updates and What They Mean for Your Content

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing, Search

  • Date:

    August 23, 2022

SERPs Updates and What They Mean for Your Content

Content Marketing Search

With every organic search, there’s an opportunity for your brand to hook a potential customer. But each customer is different: One may prefer a detailed blog post, while another may want to watch a quick video or need only a single piece of information, such as a price.

With its latest broad-core update in May 2022, Google aims to personalize its search engine results page, or SERP, by providing users with different types of content to find the information they need. The update favors visual search results — especially video — by curating video, photography and infographics, while also sprinkling in easy-to-find answers in the form of buying guides and FAQs.

The May 2022 broad-core update was the first sweeping update since November 2021. A broad-core update means Google made an overall adjustment to the algorithm, rather than a targeted update. The latest broad-core update changes how the algorithm interprets websites, so it is likely to affect how your website performs in organic search.

Content optimization best practices still apply, but this update makes it imperative for brands to ground their content strategy in deep-dive content that can be repurposed into a diversity of formats — with an emphasis on video — to claim more real estate on the SERP.

What does the visual SERP mean for your website?

The May 2022 broad-core update ditches the traditional SERP. Instead of featuring a list of links with descriptions that require users to click through to find answers, the visual SERP deconstructs search results.

This new SERP means users can often find answers without having to click a link; while this update applies to various content formats, video reigns supreme. Google is moving away from featured snippets and reviews and moving toward grouped content and visual/interactive components.

Google-curated SERPs include:

  • Videos

  • Images

  • Visual shopping grids

  • Indented SERPs

  • FAQs

  • SERP listings with single and multiple thumbnail images

  • Paid listings with image extensions

  • Buying guides

  • Updated Google Shopping

The May 2022 Google core update, which the SEO community named BERT (bidirectional encoder representation from transformers), is a deep learning algorithm that helps the machine process natural language and understand words in sentences. By emphasizing context clues of keywords, it gleans user intent more effectively and delivers optimal results.

The machine is trying to answer the following questions:

  • Is the user ready to make a purchase?

  • Are they in information-gathering mode?

The Importance of Video to the Visual SERP

If you think video’s importance to content programs is old news, think of this as a twist in our story. According to a recent Wyzowl survey, 73% of respondents said they’d prefer to watch a short video to learn about a product or service. With the rise of TikTok, short-form or snackable video content gains new prominence in the SERP. Google’s update will incorporate short videos into the visual search results page in new ways.

But that doesn’t mean your long-form videos are dead. Make them snackable by adding chapter breaks so users can view only the content they need. Google recommends the following video SEO best practices:

  • Structured data + video site map: Use structured data and a video site map together to help the search engine understand both the page your video lives on and the content of your video to pull relevant information into the SERP.

  • Public-facing: Make your videos public so the search engine can find them.

  • Thumbnails: Provide high-quality thumbnails to gain real estate on the visual SERP.

  • Accessibility: Make videos accessible so Google can grab a few seconds to create previews viewable on the SERP or visualize key moments.

This video shows how a ZIP System™ roof assembly stands up to 3.8 tons of water:

New Google Shopping Features That Take Aim at Amazon

For users ready to make a purchase or at least actively shopping (comparing prices, colors and reviews), Google enhanced the shopping tab. Changes include:

  • Price tracking with the option to create automated alerts

  • Retail locations with stock availability

  • Purchasing on Google

To deliver the most meaningful results, the algorithm emphasizes expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Also known as E-A-T, it’s how Google judges the quality of your website or how well it delivers information users need.

Examples of E-A-T:

  • Blog author bios

  • Deep content

  • Proven thought leadership

  • Testimonials

  • Reviews

  • SSL certificates

The Role of Structured Data in Capturing SERP Real Estate

Even the best content will be invisible to Google without structured data behind it. Structured data tells the search engine what’s on the page and provides information that can be pulled through to the results page. With Google’s new curated approach, structured data becomes even more important.

Use structured data to tell the algorithm not only what’s in each photo, infographic and video but also how it’s relevant to the target audience. For example, someone searching for information about installing bathroom tiles might need to know which tools are required to install tiles and how long a typical installation takes — all data that the algorithm can pull into the SERP’s indented content, video snippet or infographic description for quick reference.

The Rise of the Buying Guide or FAQ

Google now features editorial links, instead of e-commerce links, in buying guides, the drop-down menu results that help the user answer specific questions about a product. It’s not known how the algorithm prioritizes the links featured in buying guides.

This makes it even more important to include editorial blog content that answers specific questions buyers may have along the purchase journey.

Using Content to Build Authority

Whether your brand is B2C or B2B, developing content that showcases knowledge down to the smallest detail is a surefire way to build authority with your audience and the Google search algorithm.

Have questions? Let’s talk.

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