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How Google's SERP interface might look by the end of 2014
Robert Charlton

 5:59 am on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Last week, on Friday, Nov 8, Moz's Dr Pete Meyers presented a talk at an informal San Francisco Bay Area SEO community meetup on "Future SERP: The Face of Google in 2014", giving us a unique and data-driven glimpse of how he thinks Google SERPs will look by the end of 2014. I was in the audience, and was hoping Pete would share the material publicly.

He posted this article in the Moz Blog yesterday....

Future SERP: A Glimpse at Google 2014
Dr. Peter J. Meyers
Nov 14, 2013


...This post is an attempt to take all of the things I've seen in the past six months and tell a story driven by real data. This is the story of how I think Google will look by the end of 2014, and what that implies about their direction and core philosophy.

In April of 2012, I launched "Project Algo Alert", a prototype that would later become MozCast. What was originally one "weather" station, designed to measure daily fluctuations in top 10 rankings across 1000 keywords, has evolved into 11 stations and three unique systems. One of those systems is Feature Alert, which was based on a simple idea how could we detect when Google launched new SERP features, without any prior knowledge of what those features would be?

Feature Alert solves this problem by cataloging the basic building blocks of Google's source code, the container names and IDs in CSS....

As Pete describes it, "the system checks each building block against an archive," and if the block is a new object, it's cataloged, and he is alerted to a possible new feature. Pete's original expectation was that "something new might pop up a couple of times a month. As of writing this post, the system has captured 2,441 unique building blocks."

Key to Pete's approach in visualizing what the SERPs might look like in 2014 is to combine the desktop data with what he's seen on mobile...
When we see a new feature in testing and then realize it already exists on mobile, odds are good that that change is coming to desktop soon.

It's a fascinating article, which ties in with many other current Google developments, including the expansion of the Knowledge Graph and the importance of mobile.



 7:10 am on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks Robert -- I don't visit moz often these days, basically since the last time someone [actually a couple of people I do regular work for] sent me there a year or two ago so they could point out how important keyword density was since moz included kwd in their presentation of "ranking factors" [or whatever they call/called them], which was data collected and averaged from something like 100,000 pages [could have been more or less or could have even been sites, idk, because once I heard kwd I basically tuned it out, but I looked even though kwd hadn't been a direct factor for quite some time before their report was issued/pointed out to me] and even if kwd were still a factor it would have to be niche specific, plus you would also have to have the co-occurring phrases related to the topic/niche within "norms" to actually rank better based on it, so 100,000 pages [or whatever] of averaged kwd doesn't say anything "actionable" to anyone since those pages really have to be across different niches or the % presented could only possibly apply to one niche, but the info presented and the way it was presented seemed to indicate kwd was "still important", not only to me, but to the people who wanted me to check out the moz report so I could see how important it was for rankings, so the info/way things were presented really "turned me off" -- Anyway...

The info presented in the link you cited was definitely interesting and seemed to be based on fact, so thanks for sharing it.


 2:55 pm on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

The following 5 messages were cut out to new thread by robert_charlton. New thread at: google/4623820.htm [webmasterworld.com]
10:33 am on Nov 16, 2013 (PST -8)

Robert Charlton

 8:20 pm on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Moderator's note: I've cut out a number of posts that were on a tangentially related but basically different topic and moved them to a thread of their own...

Are unstable Google rankings a sign of fundamental Google problems?
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4623820.htm [webmasterworld.com]

In the moved posts, Aristotle made the observation about changes in rankings, not about the search interface, which sent the discussion in a different direction...

Unstable search results, in which rankings repeatedly undergo drastic changes, are a clear sign of fundamental problems in Google's approach.

It's an interesting topic which deserves its own discussion. Let's keep discussion about Google rankings in that thread.

This thread is about the evolution of the Google SERPs interface as described in Dr Pete's article, and about the longer term trends those interface changes suggest. Neither the article nor this thread are about the day-to-day ranking algorithm, though the changes in Google's approach will ultimately affect a great many websites.

I've changed the title of this thread from "How Google SERPs might look by the end of 2014" to "How Google's SERP interface might look by the end of 2014", to clarify.

I should add that it will help to read the article before posting in this discussion. ;)


 10:26 pm on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

That's a great find. Revamped advertising formats might refresh the niches that were previously considered "adwords-blind."

One thing I'd like to add is that we might be underestimating Google's urge to become the reputation engine.

They might want to incorporate new layout elements to make a better use of reviews.

This is a screenshot of me pretending I'm from USA, searching for Denver Hotels:

The horizontal strip does look a bit alien and since I don't always get it, I'd assume they're still testing it.

And I don't get the Reviews Strip when I search for something else locally, like Denver Florists or Denver Barbers. So, there's plenty of room to expand. In fact, now that Google understands (sort of) the intent of the search query, it could serve the Reviews Strip for any local search.

The main question is how reliable those reviews are because we still hear stories of fake 5-star reviews being bought in bulk, nevertheless I see Google focusing on reviews more and more.


 2:20 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I should add that it will help to read the article before posting in this discussion.

Robert Charlton
I apologize for straying off topic. Actually I did scan through the referenced article before I posted, but was somewhat confused because of mentions of things like "Google SERPs", "daily fluctuations in top 10 rankings across 1000 keywords" and "keyword density" (in the second post). I still don't understand what "the system has captured 2,441 unique building blocks" means. Anyway, thanks for creating the new thread from the off-topic posts.


 3:59 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

the system has captured 2,441 unique building blocks

I think this means 2,441 types of result (set) or ad (set).


 4:12 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

The "card-based design" concept is interesting, and it's certainly a major change from the current SERP layout. I think it's obvious that _something_ needs to be done to make Google's SERP layouts less cluttered and more cohesive.

Still, if the recent design changes to Google+ are any guide, a lot of users are going to experience sensory overload as Universal Search tries to serve up too many different things at once.


 6:57 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

The impression I got is that the focus is very much on mobile, and in mobile search the first result is everything - literally the only result above the fold. Unless it is awful (and for money terms it won't be, as AdWords advertisers aren't apt to waste money and Google will do their best to show the best ad), that's it right there. A one result SERP, for all intents and purposes.

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