Google: from search engine to answers platform

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It’s fair to say Google is the world’s go-to search engine. The brand is so synonymous with searching the web that its name is now widely used as a verb for searching the internet, which Google has bemoaned many times. However, most marketers still see it as a gateway to their brand’s website rather than the platform it has recently become — much to the disservice of their brand and Google.



Google has proven itself to be an unstoppable juggernaut of web search. Clickstream data for 2018 has indicated that 90 per cent of all web searches in 2018 were done on Google properties (search, maps, images, YouTube, etc), with more than 60 per cent coming from Google Search alone. This made search engines owned by Alphabet — Google’s parent company — the three largest platforms in 2018. The biggest non-Google property? Yahoo, with 2.4 per cent of searches.

Over the years, Google has made quite a few changes to its search engine to provide the most relevant results to users as quickly as possible. These have been much more than the algorithm updates that have changed how marketers optimise company pages for search. They include a restructuring of how users interact with the site.

If you search for an answer to a question on Google now, you’ll likely see an answer at the top of the results, in what we can refer to as position zero. This answer is extracted from a web page that has been specifically optimised for the question being searched, but it doesn’t necessarily drive traffic to the site directly.

Likewise, searching Google for a key figure or company in a particular industry might give more than the company’s website. Chances are, you’ll be presented with an information box with a range of details about the brand, from geographical location on maps to phone numbers. You might even have a few posts from the person or company listed, which is made possible with Google’s useful My Business profile.

However, a lot of B2B marketers often seem to overlook these features when approaching search engine optimisation (SEO), preferring instead to prioritise link building, keyword embedding and attribute optimisation. There’s no doubt these factors are as important today as they have ever been, but to neglect the business profile Google builds for your brand puts you at a disadvantage.

Google’s My Business serves as a cross between a social media platform, particularly with the posts feature, and an SEO tool that can help users quickly and easily engage with your company. It’s part of what seems to be a conscious effort from Google to be more interactive and natively helpful.

For marketers, this means you’re going to want to have a My Business fully set up and up to date. It also means that you’ll need to have good schema markup on your site so that Google pulls all the right information. Having a handle on schemas will also help in the future as voice search becomes increasingly prevalent. Of course, you’ll still need to have the right content to ensure you’re found — things change, but content is still king.

If you need a hand with your digital marketing, are unsure where to begin with Google My Business or don’t know your schema from your SERP, get in touch and we can help. You can either call us on +44 (0) 1785 225 416 or search “how do I contact Stone Junction?” on Google.

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