On June 10, 2023 Google rolled out the much-anticipated Perspectives feature in the mobile search results. This was teased at Google I/O in May and aims to bring more personal experiences to the SERPs. For example, many people append “Reddit” to their searches to find personal recommendations and advice. Google basically knew that was a fail on their end and crafted Perspectives to address the situation.
With Perspectives, Google explained it would provide a filter that users can tap to access content from forums, social networks, short-form video platforms, and more. Here is a quick example of what the Perspectives filter looks like:
But that’s not it. Google also announced that there would be a sister search feature that would also contain perspectives. That hasn’t officially rolled out yet, but I have been in a number of tests where that carousel shows up. Here is a tweet where I provide some screenshots of the carousel:
So, how powerful is the new Perspectives feature? Like many other things in SEO, there’s a nuanced answer. I will attempt to address that below, along with my observations based on testing Perspectives, and the new Perspectives carousel. Let’s jump in.
First, some definitions. It’s confusing…
I know there is a lot of confusion about the various Perspectives features Google has rolled out recently, so I’ll quickly list them below.
The Perspectives Filter:
This is the official Perspectives filter that Google rolled out officially on June 23, 2023. It sits at the top of the SERPs with the rest of the filters and can show up first, or not.
The Perspectives Carousel (still in testing):
This is the sister SERP feature to the Perspectives filter that I mentioned earlier. I’ll cover more about the carousel later in this post. I have seen this in several tests over the past few weeks and I expect it to roll out soon. Notice how there is both the filter and carousel below.
The Perspectives News feature:
Google also announced a Perspectives news feature that works with Top Stories. This rolled out before the Perspectives filter, and yep, it’s also labeled “Perspectives”. Confused yet? It’s meant to provide different perspectives about a specific news story.
Featured Snippets Containing Multiple Sources (formerly called “Perspectives”):
Well before the latest Perspectives filter rolled out, we saw a test of featured snippets containing multiple sources. That feature was initially labeled “Perspectives”, but then Google dropped the label. You can still find this feature in the wild containing multiple sources in gray bubbles (but without a Perspectives label). Again, it’s a bit confusing based on the use of “Perspectives” for various features.
For the rest of this post, I’ll be referring to the Perspectives filter and its sister carousel feature. I won’t be focusing on the news feature or featured snippets containing multiple sources.
What Types Of Content Are Surfacing Via The Perspectives Filter?
The content being surfaced in Perspectives is heavily sourced from forums, social media platforms, video platforms, etc. Based on my testing, there is a ton of content from sites like Reddit and Quora, but you can also see niche forums there as well. From a video standpoint, there is a lot of YouTube video being surfaced in Perspectives. And to a lesser extent, TikTok videos are surfacing as well. And as you can guess, there are often tweets being surfaced in Perspectives as well.
So, just like Google explained in its blog post about Perspectives:
“Tap the filter, and you’ll exclusively see long- and short-form videos, images and written posts that people have shared on discussion boards, Q&A sites and social media platforms. We’ll also show more details about the creators of this content, such as their name, profile photo or information about the popularity of their content.”
Meet The Perspectives *Carousel* – The Sister SERP Feature To The Filter
I mentioned the sister SERP feature to the filter earlier and it’s another mechanism for surfacing Perspectives in the search results (and in a more visible way). I have been in several tests where the Perspectives filter shows up at the top of the SERP, but there’s also a Perspectives carousel containing several cards leading downstream to forums, social media sites, video platforms, etc. The content in the carousel seems to be extremely forum-heavy at this stage, but it can contain links to social networks, video, and more.
So, if Google really believes you want to find various perspectives on a topic, you might see both the filter and the carousel. Again, that jumps the visibility of Perspectives greatly.
Visibility Challenges for Perspectives – Needing to swipe heavily to view the filter.
Although the Perspectives filter triggers an interesting SERP containing forum threads, videos, social media posts, and more, you need to find it first in order for it to be helpful. The filter’s position is fluid, meaning it sometimes shows up as the first filter in the list, but it can show up much farther in. And when it’s located farther in, I question how many people will see it, tap it, etc. You basically have to swipe through many filters to see it…
For example, I had to swipe through nine filters to see the Perspective filter for this query. I’m not sure anyone is seeing the filter when searching for this topic:
Tracking Challenges – Google Needs To Bring A Perspectives Filter To GSC!
Now, you might be thinking that tracking the feature in Google Search Console (GSC) will enable you to view how the filter’s placement impacts impressions, clicks, and click through rate. But, that’s not an easy thing to accomplish. As of now, you can’t isolate Perspectives in GSC.
It’s also important to note that tapping the filter does not trigger a new query with a fresh SERP, so tracking Perspectives is going to be incredibly challenging. For example, if I search for “X”, there is the initial SERP containing the default search listings. Those initial listings gain impressions based on the search. But if I trigger the Perspectives filter, a fresh list of content surfaces, but the query doesn’t change. Then the new Perspectives listings technically receive impressions (but for the same query as earlier). And if I tap one result to visit the forum, video, etc., then that listing receives the click. But… site owners won’t know if someone clicked through the original SERP or the Perspectives SERP. Confusing, right?
To me, a Perspectives filter in GSC is absolutely necessary. Then you would be able to filter by Perspectives and view impressions, clicks, click-through rate, and position for the content that ranked in the feature. Without the filter in GSC, good luck.
Here is a mockup of what the filter could look like in Search Console:
YMYL – It’s a sensitive situation.
For many “Your Money or Your Life” queries, the Perspectives filter doesn’t trigger at all. Google is clearly being very cautious with YMYL topics for now… This could change since there are many forums focused on health and medical topics, financial topics, etc., but Google does not want to drive users to risky information when searching for sensitive topics. Time will tell, but it’s worth noting that the filter is not present for many queries focused on YMYL topics.
“Best” Queries – A Big Heads-up For Affiliate Marketers
For affiliate marketers out there, this is a giant heads-up that the Perspectives shows up often for “best” queries. And when it does, it’s often showing up first in the list. When you tap the filter, the affiliate content on page one could disappear and the user is presented with forum content, short videos, social media posts, etc. This could obviously impact affiliate revenue heavily. If you provide reviews content, then I would keep a close eye on this. And again, a GSC filter would be amazing for tracking this… If not, it will be hard to identify what’s going on with the Perspectives filter and carousel. You might see clicks and click-through rate drop if people are heavily using the Perspectives filter for “best” queries impacting your site. I haven’t seen that situation yet in GSC… but it could happen based on the Perspectives filter.
Filtering the Filter: Google Can Control When The Perspectives Filter Shows Up Based On Referring Source or Surface
After searching for product recommendations, you can often see a “More products” card show up in Discover. When tapping that button, Google drives you to a fresh SERP with a search for that product (or product category). I noticed that when that happens, you don’t see a Perspectives filter show up at all. But if you visit Google directly and search for that query, the filter does show up. So Google is basically filtering the Perspectives filter when you are visiting from that Discover card. Just an interesting note that the filter can be filtered based on referring Google surface.
First, here is a “More products” card in Discover driving me to Google Search:
But when I visit Google Search, the Perspectives feature doesn’t show up at all. But it does show up if I visit a fresh SERP and search for that query. Here is the SERP without the Perspectives filter after tapping the “More products” card in Discover:
The Perspectives To Explore Connection – Understanding Google Explore just got more important.
I have covered Google Explore heavily since it started being tested in the spring of 2022. It’s a Discover-like SERP feature containing large visuals and links to publishers, video content, etc. You can often see Explore show up at the end of a mobile SERP.
Well, a funny thing is happening with Perspectives… The Perspectives SERP rolls right into Google Explore! If you scroll down in Perspectives, you will eventually see Explore show up. And that’s why I dubbed this scenario the “Perspectives to Explore Connection”. It’s just another angle to Perspectives that I would review if you are publishing a lot of content.
And by the way, you can’t track this easily in GSC either.
You can see a video below of the transition in action where I scroll through Perspectives revealing Google Explore at the end:
Summary – Will Perspectives Drive Change In the SERPs?
After heavily testing Perspectives, I think it’s an interesting feature containing a range of content. But, it’s sometimes unfortunately buried in the filter list. And the content is questionable for certain queries (with dated content surfacing or content that’s not relevant to my current situation). The addition of the Perspectives carousel could help with visibility and usage, but that hasn’t fully rolled out yet. And the lack of tracking in Search Console will make it very difficult for site owners to understand when users are engaging with Perspectives content. Time will tell how Perspectives evolves, but for now there are some challenges for adoption, usage, etc. I’ll update this post if Google implements bigger changes on this front. Stay tuned.