Google has introduced new tools for website owners, including those managing social media sites and discussion forums, to improve the visibility of their content in Google’s search results. This initiative is in response to the increasing dominance of user-generated web content over SEO-optimized material in today’s online landscape. In May, Google rolled out a new “Perspectives” search filter to prioritize posts from discussion boards, Q&A sites, and social media platforms in its search results. Initially available on mobile, this feature was later extended to desktop users along with other search updates.
Google has updated its ranking algorithm to elevate firsthand perspectives in search results for greater accessibility.
The new tools empower websites hosting first-person perspectives to communicate their structured data to Google. This ensures their content is accurately featured and as comprehensive as possible in Google’s Search Results.
For instance, the new ProfilePage markup allows sites where creators post content to showcase their creators’ profiles directly in Google Search results, displaying details such as their name, handle, profile photo, follower count, and content popularity. Google’s Perspectives feature and Discussions and Forums feature can both benefit from this markup.
The DiscussionForumPosting markup improves Google’s recognition of conversations from any online forum or discussion site. While Google already identifies major forums in its Search Results, this markup enhances the indexing, categorization, and ranking of other smaller sites by Google’s algorithm.
To assist site owners in implementing these changes, Google is updating its Search Console with new reporting to display errors, warnings, and valid items related to their marked-up pages. Both features will also be available in the Rich Results Test for testing and validating any markup adjustments.
Google’s alterations to content categorization and ranking aim to combat the proliferation of SEO-optimized, machine-written content in its search results. While Google continues to outperform many of its search competitors, there are concerns about the potential dominance of AI-generated content over real people’s thoughts and opinions.
While the implications of this trend are yet to unfold, Google’s ranking changes seek to enhance the indexing, visibility, and categorization of forums and social sites in search results.
Google’s ventures into next-generation search extend beyond these changes. The company is testing its own generative AI answer engine, Search Generative Experience, and has announced an experiment to allow users to annotate web pages with notes. This could serve as a contingency plan in case Reddit restricts its site behind an API to prevent its use as a source for AI training data without compensation. Although annotations are currently an opt-in experiment, if successful, Google could essentially create its own Reddit directly within its platform.