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Google Updates 2017 (Part 2): More of Mobilegeddon

By vivian on June 21, 2017

Google Updates 2017

If you read through the first part of our Google Updates series, then hopefully you’re able to gain some valuable insights into some of the new or updated Google features that could potentially help with your marketing efforts.

However, you may have noticed that all seven updates covered in part one of our series focused mostly on desktop-based use, although there were a couple of updates that affected both mobile and desktop users. For this segment, we are going to focus solely on important Google mobile features that were updated this year.

The following are 7 Google updates that could have an impact on your mobile marketing efforts and what you should be sure to look into:

1) Tappable Shortcuts

Tappable shortcuts are another way that Google is attempting to streamline the user experience on their mobile search engine. Typing in search queries on a mobile device can sometimes be a hassle. Google aims to eliminate this hassle by offering mobile users access to basic information with a carousel of shortcuts that can be swiped through.

These shortcuts include subjects such as food, entertainment, weather and more. A user can click on one of these and be directed to a results page immediately without having to type anything in.

As you can imagine, this is only helpful for you if your site appears as a result of the user clicking on one of these shortcuts. This makes local SEO even more important since these tappable shortcuts will take into account the user’s location in order to deliver relevant results.

2) Fake Google Maps Listings

Over the last couple of years, there’s been a serious problem with the abuse of Google My Business in terms of fake listings created to defraud businesses as well as to extort customers. These fake listings often use Google Maps to appear authentic. For example, many of these fake listing creators pose as locksmiths, plumbers or other contractors.

Google Updates 2017

Obviously, this is bad for all businesses.

Additionally, roughly 10% of these fake listings actually belong to legitimate businesses that scammers have managed to claim ownership of online. This means that if a customer reserves a room at a fake listing for a real hotel, the real hotel will actually be defrauded as well since they will have to pay referral fees for organic interest.

Fortunately, Google has cracked down on fake Google Maps listings, reducing the number of fake listings by 70% since 2015, which is when they were present at an all-time peak.

Some of the steps that they have taken to remove fake listings are to prohibit bulk registrations and to require additional verification from businesses that are relocating long distances from their original address. They have also improved their ability to detect text in address fields that has been intentionally mangled to try and confuse Google algorithm.

This crackdown on fake listings should benefit any legitimate business, especially those focusing on mobile.

3) Similar Items

Google Updates 2017

Similar Items is a feature that Google recently implemented that will help mobile users find items that are similar to what they searched for, thereby improving their mobile shopping experience. The feature will support both apparel and home and garden products.

If your business sells such products online, then you’ll want to improve your chances of appearing as a similar item in user queries by adding schema.org product metadata to the pages of every product that you want to include. This feature could be incredibly helpful at not only increasing potential mobile sales, but also for increasing brand awareness.

Keep in mind that it can take up to a week for Google to recrawl the information and to add it to its search. However, you can test it in live search results by simply typing in site:yourdomain.com into the Image Search.

4) Style Ideas

Style Ideas is another feature meant to help improve the mobile shopping experience. In fact, it’s very similar to the Similar Items feature and one that even compliments it. Considering this, it should be no surprise that this feature was announced within a few days of the Similar Items feature.

Google Updates 2017

Style Ideas is meant to enhance image searches on the mobile web.

When a mobile user clicks on an image after performing a search for a particular product, a grid of images will compliment the selected image. These additional images come up as a way to provide examples of how the selected product can be worn or used in real life.

For example, if a user searches for a scarf and clicks on the resulting image, a grid of images showing how the scarf can be worn or what types of clothes and apparel the scarf can be worn with will be displayed. This feature can be particularly beneficial to clothing and apparel companies; however, Google has yet to provide any information in regards as to how you can ensure that your products are displayed as Style Ideas.

We recommend following the same guidelines used to improve your chances of being displayed with the Similar Items feature for now.

5) Personalized Gboard Search Results

Google is currently testing out new methods for training its AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms via Android smartphones. The way that they are doing this is by collecting data from Gboard in order to personalize the search results of each individual mobile user. Basically, when a user chooses a Gboard selection, the app will remember what suggestions were selected and which suggestions were not. This data will be aggregated into a single new update for Gboard users.

Google Updates 2017

What’s particularly unique about this feature is that it still maintains user privacy. This is because the AI training being implemented is what Google calls Federated Learning. Federal Learning will allow mobile phones to learn a shared prediction model while keeping all of the data on the device instead of sharing it to the cloud.

So how can this feature help you? Customers or potential customers who have searched for your business before using their smartphones will have an easier time accessing your information at a moment’s notice, whether it’s store hours or directions to your store.

6) Google Assistant Updates

Google Assistant at the moment is more about fun and receiving basic information, but that is likely to change. However, until then, Google recently added 20 more conversation actions or services to its virtual assistant program. Google Assistant now has a complete beer guide and slang dictionary at its disposal.

How can this help you? Well, say you sell clothing products. Google Assistant will be able to provide fashion tips to users based on the weather outside. However, in the future, it will be able to make suggestions based on user preferences, which means that it could help you increase your sales with existing customers.

7) Automatic Local Review Translations

Local SEO has been an important focus for Google over the last few years and they continue to take make improvements on that front. For example, they’ve made a minor upgrade to their local reviews that could have a big impact on businesses, both big and small. This upgrade is the automatic translation of local reviews.

Google Updates 2017

Google will automatically translate the reviews of local locations to the language that your device is set to.

This means that if you’re running an Italian brunch restaurant in Manhattan and a couple of Japanese tourists are looking for looking for Italian brunch nearby, they’ll be able to look at local reviews of your restaurant because they will automatically be translated to Japanese on their devices.

Although this may seem like a minor upgrade, it could have a big impact on local businesses that attract a lot of foreigners, such as businesses that are geared towards tourists. This feature has been implemented on Google Maps for both desktop and mobile users.

Keeping Up With Google Updates

All of these Google updates have been implemented in order to strengthen Google’s search engine and make it more intuitive for mobile users. However, these updates should be beneficial to you as well as long as you consider how you can use them as you continue your marketing efforts throughout the rest of the year.

While some of these features may not be immediately helpful in moving your product, they are worth keeping an eye on as they are enhanced and updated further in the future.

What do you think of these Google updates and how does it help with your businesses so far? Share it with us in the comment box down below!

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Updated: 4 December 2022


About Vivian

Vivian is an anthropologist lost in the world of digital marketing. She has an interest in learning about the science of marketing and the creativity that businesses use to transform themselves into purple cows.

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