The new Google Search Perspectives tab and what it means for community-focused sites

We asked Matthew Harfield, SEO Manager at The Student Room what Googles new Perspectives initiative (currently being rolled out in the US) could bring if we see it transition over to the UK.

Perspectives is a new Google feature that aims to help users verify and find different views within their search results, and pulls information from forums, Q&A sites and social platforms. There are a couple of elements being tested here – a filter that can be toggled on for some results to show different views from experts around the web, a feature that showcases a carousel of ‘noteworthy’ sources for specific news items, and a potential ranking boost for content that displays unique expertise and experiences.

If this is rolled out further (currently it’s US-only and in test), it could mean some improvements to The Student Room search visibility – we offer a wealth of experiential content from real students, exactly the kind of content that would fit these features. For the user it’s about validating their Google searches with information from sources they can trust.

While there isn’t any official optimisation guidance out yet, we’re making great progress in the following areas:

  • Building authority – experts are flagged in content and we feature authoritative voices wherever possible (such as using quotes from our members in editorial content to offer an experiential angle). Universities could help massively here by providing unique input from their own experts and Official Reps
  • Encourage and showcase diverse perspectives – TSR does a great job of this already, and our Community team stimulate conversation around specific topics with campaigns, polls and other initiatives
  • Structured data – we already use schema markup but have been exploring using AI to help users and Google to understand longer threads
  • Reviews on The Uni Guide – we’ve recently updated our uni page reviews for 2023 and are currently exploring how to improve their visibility further

It’s worth noting that traditional SEO results will remain regardless of how or if this feature is rolled out more broadly. Perspectives is simply an enriching of the current SERP, and as such may only make a small impact to our search visibility – however, considering we are a site comprised mostly of unique views, opinions and conversation we’re in a great place already to capitalise on this update.

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