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Talk Social: 12 December, 2017

Google tests fewer results on mobile search


Google is testing a new mobile search option that reveal far fewer organic results than the current norm.

The test is returning between two to five organic listings, but never more than that. In addition, there is no longer an option to click on to page two and beyond, the page just has a button stating ‘see more results’ which then dynamically loads more results.

Google is no stranger to testing search optimisation variables, clearly hedging its bets that the majority of people don’t scroll past the first few results on mobile. However, the impact for brands is clear – page one is shrinking and if you’re not on it, you’re nowhere.

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Further changes to Google search include more related content


A further change to search results from Google is the expansion of  several key parts of page one and the introduction of a new way to find relevant content.

The biggest changes users will notice are the addition of more content in Featured Snippets, suggestions for related content in Knowledge Panels and a new related topics carousel.

Featured Snippets now include more images, while suggestions for related searches can now appear in Featured Snippets but will not be visible in all searches, with Google saying the extended format will only show up for select snippets.

Knowledge Panels – normally containing a brand’s vital details – have also been expanded with related searches from social and the internet so users can now directly find out what ‘people also search for’.

A new carousel of related topics may appear at the top of search results after multiple searches have been carried out. If you were to search for the name of a film and click on ‘people also search for’ suggestions, Google would display a carousel of topics related to both the results that were viewed.

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Instagram messaging app on the way


Instagram is developing a standalone app for DMs, to replace the Instagram inbox.

Called Direct, the app is Instagram’s way to provide users with a separate social messaging space, away from their main feed.

This follows the route taken by Facebook – Insta’s parent company – which faced criticism 2014 when it split messaging into a separate app but in retrospect, that move was a success.

Messenger now has more than 1.3 billion users with more total users on the top four messaging apps than the top four social platforms.

Direct seems to resemble Snapchat. When you open it, the camera is the first thing you’ll see. Swipe left and you’ll see a profile screen, where you can access your settings, swipe right and you’ll go to your messages inbox.

On Instagram, messaging has been on the rise. In April, the network reported a leap in messaging activity, growing from 300 million users in November 2016 to 375 million, almost half of its 800 million user base.

From a marketing standpoint, it’s hard to say how the arrival of Direct might have an impact. With messaging on the rise, businesses should be considering this clear shift towards more private interactions.

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Celebs provide search answers straight from the horse’s mouth


Whether you watch them on TV, listen to them on a podcast or read about them online, it’s inevitable for people to spend time thinking about their favourite celebrities. In the US, it’s now possible to find answers to questions about high profile people on mobile Search. What’s more, they’re coming directly from the source.

A hand-picked selection of stars have recorded selfie-style clips answering the most common questions that crop up on social and the internet about them.

The self-recorded videos are being piloted with responses from the likes of actors Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and James Franco, that share their perspectives and answer some most-asked questions.

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Google Maps tells you where to get off the bus


Google is adding an update to the Maps app that provides live guidance and real-time notifications and updates during journeys.

The most striking feature is that Maps will now remind people when their train or bus is nearing their stop.

The notifications are interactive, allowing users to scroll through the steps of their travel route, keeping track of their progress.

The updates mean that transit notifications have a similar feel to using Maps while walking, cycling or driving. The update is expected to go live soon.

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