Google latest Speed Update to raise the bar for retailers’ web user-experience is now live. But what does that mean and how can you make the most of it?
Google now shows 9.1 organic blue links for retail-related searches, down from 10 traditional URLs, says a new ’Universal Search - Retail’ study by Searchmetrics.
Some 31% of retail-related mobile searches include Google’s knowledge graphs, which displays popular facts, images and links from the websites it trusts, with 46% triggering the search engine’s shopping product listing ads and 10% lead to mobile app suggestions being displayed in the search results.
Here are six critical insights retailers need to be au fait with to keep in line with Google’s search filtering benchmark.
Knowledge Graphs, which Google introduced to display popular facts, images, and links alongside its traditional results
More than a third (31%) of mobile and desktop (34%) retail searches appear alongside Google’s knowledge graphs. This presents an opportunity for retailers to get onto the search engine’s first results. The way it works; google pulls the information and images used within knowledge graphs from Wikipedia, links to retailer’s own website and social media channels or Google + and its Google MyBusiness listing.
Retailers must have a user-generated mobile presence on this websites. Information that is well structured, with headling and bullets is more likely to appear amongst top-searches. It is a good idea to encourage customer reviews and ratings as they are often included in a retailers’ knowledge graph listing.
Some 20% mobile and 25% desktop retail-related searches include at least one image box. To optimise for images boxes, retailers must use high-quality pictures, with image’s file names, titles and alt attributes including words that are relevant to the topics that are being displayed. Image file sizes should not be too big as this slows down page speeds and puts Google crawlers off to including them in the search.
Some 16% mobile and desktop (18%) retail news are displayed on Google. Retailers must recognise competition not only amongst other businesses but also online publications and blogs that provide retailing insight. Retailers are also advised to feature in critical media publications to increase their chances of appearing in Google’s top-searched results.
Nearly half (46%) of retail-related searches are part of Google’s shopping product listing ads (PLAs)
Google’s shopping product listing ads (PLAs) 46% of retail-related searches, with 21% of that displaying on desktops. Whereas, mobile searches appear above organic results, allowing users to slide through a variety of ads related to the search topic or phrase. However, the small mobile screens squeeze out PLAs organic results, resulting in lost traffic and sales.
For 10% of retail-related searches on mobile, Google integrates at least one app pack box suggesting one or more apps that are related to the search term. Retailers that appear on app pack boxes have an opportunity to attract app downloads to transport searchers into the closed
environment of their app. Retail marketers can try to increase their chances of inclusion by following app store optimisation (ASO) techniques, including carefully researching and selecting the keywords and descriptions used in their app store titles and descriptions. The number and frequency of app downloads and positive user evaluations all play a role in whether Google chooses to include an app in relevant search results.
The Direct Answers boxes appear when Google senses that searchers are asking a question, with search terms including words like ’how’ and ’what.’ They are positioned above the organic results and usually include content from a relevant search listing which searchers arrive at if they click on the box. Direct answers can potentially generate a lot of organic traffic and are highly sought after. For retailers, however, as they only appear in around 2% of mobile and 4% of desktop retail search.
“Getting onto Google’s first page for important search terms is a necessary goal that many retail and ecommerce brands aspire to, and the universal search elements give them an additional way of appearing there,” said Marcus Tober, founder and chief technology officer from Searchmetrics.
He concludes:“Retail marketers need to get familiar with the universal search integrations that
commonly appear for the topics and keywords their target customers are searching for and optimise their web content to increase the likelihood that Google will feature it in search results.”
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