This Week in Search: Goodbye Google Instant, Hello SOS Alerts

Pure SEO’s This Week In Search series takes a look at the top SEO and SEM news stories from the week.

From the removal of old Google features to the introduction of new ones, it’s been a week of big changes. These developments signal that the search engine giant is continuing its push toward a mobile first, virtual assistant dominated world.

Google Has Removed Google Instant

Google Instant is or was Google’s way of showing search results as you type them. A few days ago Google removed this feature, after seven years of use.

Google says they have implemented this change to keep in line with mobile devices and the way users are searching nowadays. Over 50% of Google searches are on mobiles, and now Google will show you search suggestions as you type. You’ll get the results when you click on them.

‘OK Google’ Voice Search to be Removed From Chromebooks

Google is removing its ‘OK Google’ voice search command from Chromebooks. It appears Google is making this change to make room for Google Assistant on Chromebooks with the upcoming ‘Eve’ model. ‘OK Google’ will still be available on Google Home and Android devices.

Survey Shows Users Prefer AMP Content

A survey from 9to5Google suggests users prefer Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) over regular content. The survey asked the question: ‘Are you more inclined to click on an AMP link than a regular one?’ Nearly 1500 people responded, with over 50% agreeing with ‘Yes, I prefer the stripped down versions of websites when reading something.’

Other responses included:

  • No, if I want to read something, I will open the link whether it’s AMP or not (24%)
  • No, I prefer loading the entire website (13%)
  • Yes, but only when my device is using mobile data and I don’t want to load a full website (9%)
  • Other (2%)

AdWords’ New Features

Google AdWords has introduced two new features: n-grams and call bid adjustments.

N-grams can be viewed in the campaign overview, in the ‘words’ tab in the search box. This feature provides an n-gram view of all the words included in the search terms that have triggered ads in the campaign. The darker the border around a word or phrase, the more impressions it’s received. You can hover over a word or phrase to see a list of search queries that contain it, and the impressions, clicks and conversions of each word or phrase.

Bid adjustments for calls can be used to get call extensions to show more or less often in mobile search campaigns. This appears to be the first part of what Google is calling bid adjustments for ‘interactions’. These can be found in the Advanced Bid Adjustment section.

Google Adds SOS Alerts to Search and Maps

Google’s new SOS Alerts is the latest addition to its crisis response features. Its aim is to give users more information when a crisis occurs, so they can keep up to date and act promptly.

The SOS Alerts will appear at the top of search results related to an incident, or searches for the location where the crisis has occurred. On Google Maps, users will find a tappable card that shows relevant information.

Alerts will include maps, top stories about the crisis and local information from authorities when available. Users who are geographically close to the crisis may get mobile notifications as well.

Rachel Matela

Rachel is a Filipino Kiwi with a passion for the arts. Having graduated with an Arts Degree in English from UoA, she found writing work at PureSEO as a Junior Copywriter and quickly moved on to the role of Editor. In her spare time, she reads Austen and teaches dance classes in the weekend.

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