28 April 2016 | Asad Imam

4 Google features from the US elections that brands should adopt

The 2016 Presidential candidate election is one of the most buzzing events in recent history. This buzz is fuelled further by audience engagement in form of online search, video views and social media interactions.

To meet the rising need for instant election information, Google has introduced several features that serve as a window into its future plans. Brands interested in staying ahead of the curve should learn from these features and make changes to their websites now to future proof their site.

#1 Knowledge graph for query-based searches

For factual queries such as ‘where to vote’ or ‘who is on my ballot’, all users need is to provide is an address and Google lays out information in a simple, easy to navigate format.

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Catering for such queries will be a key part of organic search optimisation in the future, especially as more and more users enter query-based searches. Brands should target this through knowledge graph optimisation. Above is an example of how content is presented if organised in a knowledge graph-friendly manner.

 #2 Google posts

In January 2016, Google launched a service called Google posts through which it allowed Presidential candidates to publish their message in a horizontal carousel at the top of the search page; much like Twitter messages that appear for candidate searches.  This is an interesting feature by Google which at present is non-paid and invite-only, but in future it could offer brands the possibility of paying a price for their content to feature in such a prime SERP position.

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#3 Google trends, using data science and predictive modelling

In February this year, data scientists at Google were able to accurately predict that Donald Trump would win the South Carolina primary. Such predictions were based on data science applied to Google trends data, search queries data combined with rigorous data mining and artificial intelligence a.k.a machine learning. Use of such predictive analytics is currently pioneered by internet giants like Google, Facebook and Yahoo; however it will be no surprise if brands across the spectrum begin implementing data science for a range of different needs.

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#4 Accelerated Mobile Pages

In February this year, Google rolled out its Accelerated Mobile Pages project for all brands. Accelerated Mobile Pages are expected to load 85% faster than regular mobile or responsive pages. While not a direct product of the US Presidential election, its impact is very clearly apparent for any election-related queries or news stories.

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Future proofing your website is a key part of any digitally active brand and often clues on how to plan ahead come from seemingly unrelated events. The on-going US election is no exception and is proving to be an interesting insight in predicting what the future holds for organic search strategies. Brands learning from these trends and making changes now are truly setting themselves up for success in the future.

Asad Imam

Asad Imam

Search Director - Responsible for directing SEO strategy and implementation to achieve industry-beating results for all agency clients.