Google’s ‘Russian invasion of Ukraine’ results includes new search features

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Google sometimes updates its search engine outcomes web page (SERP) step by step, by testing out new options or updating current ones. Nevertheless, the corporate could roll out extra drastic redesigns and new search options beneath sure circumstances, corresponding to when there may be heightened demand for details about a brand new subject, like there was through the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Demand for details about the tragic occasions unfolding in Ukraine could have prompted Google to revamp its SERPs for associated queries (like [Ukraine Russia]). Whereas a number of the new options could also be particular to the battle, the corporate could finally roll out these options (or related ones) for extra queries, which may impression natural visibility alternatives for manufacturers.

The “2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine” SERP. One apparent distinction between different SERPs and the SERP for queries associated to the battle in Ukraine is the headline that seems on the high: “2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Google's 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine search results page on desktop
Google’s 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine search outcomes web page on desktop.

Our analysis confirmed that the headline didn’t at all times seem, even for a similar question (when signed into the browser, in comparison with personal shopping mode). Whether or not the headline was current or not, most search options remained constant for this question.

Different distinct search options embody:

  • Estimated losses part– This new part exhibits particulars concerning the variety of deaths, non-fatal accidents, displaced civilians and destroyed buildings. On this particular occasion, Google is sourcing these figures from Reuters.
  • Images carousel – That is distinct from the picture carousel that sometimes seems in the primary column of search ends in that they’re not Picture search outcomes. As a substitute, these images are licensed from Getty Pictures and customers can solely scroll by them (customers can’t click on on them). 
  • For context part – This function seems in the primary search outcomes column and incorporates articles that present background data on the subject. Within the instance above, the articles within the For context part are a number of days previous, which contrasts with High tales articles and different natural, non-rich outcomes which are displaying content material printed throughout the final day. A variant of this function was spotted in 2020.

Our analysis additionally revealed {that a} information panel could present for these queries. Whereas it doesn’t present within the instance above, within the circumstances by which a information panel was current, it included the Estimated losses part in addition to the pictures carousel.

For queries associated to the battle, Google appears to be displaying search outcomes from well-known media shops, which is in step with its emphasis on experience, authoritativeness and trustworthiness for “Your Cash or Your Life” (YMYL) matters.


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The cell model. The cell model of Google’s search outcomes for related queries appears to be like extra like the usual cell expertise, with just a few notable carryovers from the particular desktop SERP.

Google's 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine search results page on mobile
Click on to increase (opens in new tab).

As proven above, the cell SERP also can present a headline, Estimated losses, the For context part in addition to the pictures carousel.

The Russian model of the SERP. Customers in Russia are proven a distinct model of the search outcomes — one that’s rather more just like generic SERPs, which can downplay the magnitude of the battle for customers.

One purpose the SERP differs is because of Russia’s censorship legal guidelines, which prohibit the publications that Google can present to customers in Russia. As you may see from the instance, there is no such thing as a Estimated losses part or pictures carousel.

Why we care. The final time we noticed a SERP redesign like this was for the COVID search outcomes, and components from that UI have since appeared on extra SERPs. Likewise, the format or options from the “2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine” SERP could finally obtain a wider rollout.

Options just like the For context and Estimated losses part are doubtless for use for SERPs associated to conflicts and pure disasters, however the impacts of those modifications will be laborious to foretell. As an example, the outcomes for [corona] as soon as prominently talked about the beer model, however for the reason that pandemic, these mentions have been pushed under the fold. As with all change to the SERP and its options, there will be a wide range of implications for manufacturers, relying on the implementation and question.


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About The Writer

George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, masking natural and paid search. His background is in journalism and content material advertising and marketing. Previous to coming into the business, he labored as a radio persona, author, podcast host and public college trainer.

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