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Search Engine Recap - Week 49

On a weekly basis, we delve into the innovations of the search engine and what else is happening in the search marketing industry. We analyze these developments so that you are informed and get our input on what you can - and should - do for your company to stay ahead of the competitors.

This week we'll discuss both algorithm updates and a summary of a record-high Black Friday sale.

But first, some AI news from Google…

Google Introduces Gemini - The Most Advanced AI Model Yet

Google has introduced a multimodal AI model named Gemini - a significant leap forward in artificial intelligence.

Developed by Google DeepMind, Gemini stands out with its ability to process and integrate different types of information - text, code, voice, image, and video. This makes Gemini an all-round tool that works across different analytical areas.

The model comes in three variants - Ultra, Pro, and Nano - each tailored to specific tasks. For instance, Gemini Ultra has language comprehension skills that surpass human experts. Particularly, Gemini's 'multimodal' design deviates from classic models, enabling more efficient and comprehensive data analyses.

For us in marketing, the integration of Gemini in Google's SGE and Bard offers immense - and partly transformative - potential. It leads to faster and more accurate search results with improved AI interactions. Additionally, by understanding search intentions, Gemini can provide more personalized experiences. This opens up more opportunities and also places greater demands on marketing strategies.

Below you can see a walkthrough of Gemini from Google itself.

Google Comments on the Direction for Bard and SGE

Following the same topic, Yury Pinsky, Director of Product Management at Google Bard, recently spoke about how Google will continue to develop its chatbot in the future.

The focus is on integrating the chatbot 'Bard' into workflows to develop concepts, programming, and understand advanced topics. Bard and Google Search will be different but complementary products, with Bard focusing on promoting creative thinking.

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Like OpenAI's product, ChatGPT, Bard is seen as a creative partner that helps in developing and generating innovative ideas.

Google will therefore focus on ethical AI development, addressing issues with bias and misinformation, and will focus on user needs by integrating the tool with Google's apps and services.

Google with SGE Patent

In line with its focus on AI and improved user experience, Google - as most know - is working on deploying a generative AI view in its search results under the name 'SGE' (Search Generative Experience). Now, Google has patented a method for creating summaries of search results using large language models (LLMs). The patent supports Google's experimental search engine SGE.

The LLMs in SGE are designed to understand the context and content of websites, generating accurate and relevant AI-driven results. These results include links to high-quality websites for further information. This will show more nuanced and context-rich content in search results.

Therefore, your SEO strategy must adapt to be in line with this development, and you should already today focus on comprehensive and user-friendly content that can match the searches that will be generated with SGE in the future.

Google Updates on Video and 'Vacation Rentals'

In the middle of the busiest time of the year, Google continues with updates that affect both the algorithm - and therefore the search results - as well as the opportunity for how your company can be displayed.

The first focus here is video.

Earlier this year, Google updated its algorithm to only show thumbnails (cover images for video) next to a result on the search engine if the video was the primary part of the content. Now, Google has expanded this to also apply in their "video mode" search, connecting users and video content faster.

The update will take about a week to roll out, and it will mean that those who have had top rankings and traffic on video searches, where the content was not the primary part, will likely be surpassed by pages with videos where this is the primary content.

Therefore, you should first determine what you want with your videos, and what type of searches and traffic you are after. Once you have decided this, you can optimize and work to make videos the primary part of the content where you wish. Overall, this gives you the opportunity to beat competitors who do not keep up or do not optimize in time.

Here is an example of a video that is primary content and 'above the fold':

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Here are some examples of page types where the video is supplementary to the text content and not the primary content on the page:

  • A blog post where the video supplements the text rather than being the primary content on the page.

  • A product page with a supplementary video.

  • A video category page listing multiple videos of equal importance.

When the update is rolled out, you will also be able to see the impact of it in Search Console. Videos that are not the primary content on the page will appear as "No video indexed" in Search Console.

Google Adds Markup Support for Vacation Rentals

Google has once again added more structured data options, allowing companies to be more visibly displayed in selected formats of search results.

This time it's about 'vacation rentals', which means that rental partners can now use specific markup to improve the visibility of their rentals in search results.

This is particularly timely as we are now entering the holiday season, which increases demand for these types of rentals.

The update supports Google's direction to provide users with more detailed and relevant information. Here for those searching for vacation rentals, which can make it easier for potential customers to find and choose holiday homes.

Black Friday's Record Sales Indicate E-commerce in 2024

This year, Black Friday saw a record sale, with total sales through Shopify webshops increasing by 22% compared to last year. Definitely a good black-week year for e-commerce companies.

Shopify, a CMS (Content Management System) that provides e-commerce and payment solutions to companies, subsequently saw a significant increase in its stock price during the month.

Now, that news in itself is not a new development from the search engines, but I still think it's relevant to comment on, given the timing.

For what the Black Week numbers and Shopify's stock price actually tell us is that despite issues like inflation and high interest rates, we have seen increased online spending.

This could be due to increased positivity among consumers (after a couple of challenging years), and there are more and better online shopping opportunities. Especially the latter, I believe plays a role, as we can more easily and later pay with the "buy now, pay later" method, as Klarna, for example, provides.

We know this can increase the conversion rate - and from a search marketing perspective, this is also a good idea if you want your visitors to come back and buy.

So yes, it will be exciting to see what time we are entering in the new year, especially for e-commerce. The numbers indicate a good year, where it's about keeping up with the high competition and development.

Takeaways and Recommendations

The headlines overall are primarily Google's great focus on its AI development. Both SGE and Bard are advancing in their development - now with Gemini - and hence there are direct as well as indirect tasks for all who want to be completely up to date in the field of results.

Therefore, a direct task is to understand the mechanisms that will control Google's search results in the future - and which are important to adapt to now. With a better search engine comes even more users. It's just a question of whether your company should be at the forefront or not (and no, you can't 'just' wait and see, because then it's already too late).

Another thing is that Google continues to update the current algorithm with ways in which the user gets information. This time it's about humanity's favorite format; video and more information for the holiday season with a focus on rental properties.

Therefore, it would be wise for your company to optimize this and generally focus on structured data.

Last but not least, we have Shopify's Black Friday success. Shopify experienced a significant increase in its stock price after a record-breaking Black Friday in 2023, indicating strong consumer demand despite ongoing inflation.

Shopify's success therefore highlights the resilience of the e-commerce industry, with increasing online spending, especially due to more opportunities for both businesses and consumers with more pedagogical payment solutions.

This trend for e-commerce will likely continue and offer significant growth opportunities for e-commerce platforms and similar companies in the coming years - especially in 2024.

Thomas Bogh

CPO & Partner

Thomas er CPO samt Partner, hvorfor fokus til dagligt ligger i evig analyse af Googles algoritme og udvikling af SEO som produkt. Thomas har arbejdet med SEO i flere år med stor passion for at sprede know how på, hvordan man som virksomhed implementerer SEO bedst i sin forretning. Ved siden af Bonzer bidrager Thomas med viden til læserne hos bl.a. Search Engine Journal, DanDomain og Detailfolk. Herudover har han også undervist i Digital Mediestrategi på Copenhagen Business School i København. Har du ønsker eller spørgsmål vedr. SEO universet, kan du altid kontakte ham på [email protected].

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A brief meeting, where we review your position in the market and present the opportunities.