Date posted

20 Nov 2023

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Google Notes and Follow: The next evolution of search?

In a bid to enhance the user experience and provide more personalised search results, Google is rolling out two new search features:

Google Follow

The Follow feature will let you follow topics. You can click the “Follow” button to subscribe to a topic and will then see related content in your Discover feed and Google Search when you revisit the term in the future.

Google Notes

Google Notes will allow users to annotate search results. Google hopes this functionality will “work hand-in-hand with existing content on the web, adding a new layer of human insights to your search results”.

A more personalised experience for users

Google has faced criticism for its poor quality results, particularly when it comes to niche questions, with many users preferring to use sites such as Reddit that provide more authentic responses. Follow and Notes will provide a more personalised experience by:

  • Adjusting search results so that they are more personalised to a user’s interests.
  • Giving users more influence over what
    they see in search results.
  • Providing useful context and first-person perspectives on search results through Notes.

Follow and Notes could have an enormous impact on SEO, but we’ll have to see how they are received by audiences. Notes, in particular, will require significant levels of engagement from users.  We’re also yet to see how Google will police any spam and harmful content. 

Next steps

Notes is being rolled out in the US and India now, while Follow is launching in the US in the next few weeks. There is no date confirmed for a UK launch for either feature.

Notes, in particular, is an Opt-in Experiment as part of Google’s Search Labs initiative, meaning its current impact will depend on engagement levels. With this in mind, the next steps are to:

  • Monitor traffic levels for US or India clients, focusing on blog and informational content.
  • Review Google Discover traffic. Discover is crucial for the Follow feature, so spikes may indicate its rollout.
  • Look for any traffic increases to social posts and blogs. Google’s algorithm update aims to “display more first-person perspectives in results.”