Google tests shopping guides in mobile search results
Google is testing “Shopping Guides,” a new mobile search results feature that presents users with various drop-down menu options to learn more about the product they’re looking for, the company confirmed to Search Engine Land.
Hats off to Brian Freiesleben for bringing this to our attention.
Why we care. Editorial content – not e-commerce links – appears in the various drop-down options in the Buyer’s Guide, which could be another place in the SERPs where your content marketing can appear.
“Brands” was one of the drop-down options in the buying guide I saw, so it’s safe to assume that the same Brand section will appear in many buying guides. Brands will want to make sure they appear in buying guides for as many of their products as possible – being omitted when your competitors are presented to users puts you at a disadvantage.
How it works. A price range is shown at the top of the Buyer’s Guide, just below the title of the search result feature. The Buyer’s Guide drop-down menus cover several features that might help buyers narrow down their options. Tapping on a drop-down menu displays the user’s editorial content; Google hasn’t specified how it categorizes the content that appears in these sections.
The “Types” and “Brands” menus showed carousels that users could interact with to toggle the information displayed (for example, users could select “Composite”, “Aluminium”, “Hybrid”, and “Wood” from the Types menu to find more about bats of the selected material).
The other drop-down menus were intended to answer a single question. For example, the “Size” drop-down menu provides a search list and preview that answers the question “What is the average size of a bat?” »
For the query I was able to trigger this test for (“baseball bats”), the shopping guide appeared as the fifth organic, non-rich results listing, under 3 ads, a shopping carousel “Raves of popular baseball” and people also ask box.
Statement from Google. “It’s an experience that helps shoppers discover relevant features of a product by highlighting attributes such as price, brand, and type,” a Google spokesperson told Search. Engine Land. “We’re always testing new ways to improve our users’ shopping experience, but we don’t have anything specific to announce at this time.”
There are a few issues to resolve. In terms of understanding a user’s query and matching it to relevant content, Google has come a long way over the past few years, touting advancements like BERT and MUM. However, he still makes mistakes from time to time.
I used the query “baseball bats” to trigger the Buying Guide feature, and while most of the drop-down categories and results for baseball bats were relevant, the results for “Body” and “Age” were for bats, the flying mammal (as shown above).
Whether the irrelevant results are because Google’s systems confuse baseball bats with animal bats or because buying guides are still being tested, it’s clear that this feature is not fully ready for wider deployment.
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