Hi guys, we hope that you had a great time this April, especially an Easter full of happiness, peace and chocolate eggs and bunnies 🙂 For all of you SEO savvies we have selected the most interesting Google updates and prominent SEO and local marketing news stories that deserve your time and attention! So let’s get this news recap started.
GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS
LISTING INSIGHTS IN BULK
Google My Business updated its Insights feature and now you are able to download data for your multiple locations in bulk. The report provides the following information for each verified listing:
- Total searches
- Direct searches
- Discovery searches
- Total views
- Search views
- Map views
- Total actions
- Website actions
- Directions actions
- Phone call actions
You can download the information into a spreadsheet and then access and export information for each location by using macros.
THE URL ATTRIBUTES OF YOUR BUSINESS
Google updated its optional feature and along with the “yes/no” attributes, menu URL attributes are now available into the Google My Business Dashboard for single business listings. If you want to link to the online list of the food and drink items or the available services at your business, you have to enter the web addresses into the attributes reference spreadsheet.
Additionally, Google testes a new feature called “Products and Services” in the local Knowledge Panel. It redirects the online users to company’s products and services menu.
REPORT GMB DATA FOR LONGER PERIODS OF TIME
No matter if you are managing one or multiple listings on Google My Business, you are now able to export up to 18-month analytics data for your listing. This will help you better evaluate and compare your business information to previous months and identify new trends over time.
BEST LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS
Google is testing prefiltered results in the local pack based on users’ ratings. When the searches contain words like “best”, “great” and “awesome” Google shows local business results that have ratings of 4.0-stars and up. Google reviews are very important as they are becoming an important local search engine ranking factor. Moreover, they can influence searcher opinion towards your business in either a positive or negative way. If you want to master the art of a review gathering, download our free e-book “How To Get Online Reviews: Implementing a Review Acquisition Strategy”.
GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS
GOOGLE ANALYTICS WITH NEW LOOK
Google updated the landing page of its analytics tool. In place of the current Audience Overview report, which is focusing on metrics like number of sessions, unique visitors, page visits, number of viewed pages per visit, the latest version of Google Analytics’ home page displays data from various reports – real-time data, website traffic sources, user location, devices, etc. The new features on the home page allow you to filter data for different time periods like “last 7 days” and “last 30 days”.
UPGRADED GOOGLE REVIEWERS’ PROFILES
Google is trying to help online users assess the credibility of Google reviewers by showing the total number of reviews they have submitted on Google. This new feature will help searchers to easily skim through all reviews for a given business and skip those left by onetime reviewers. Currently the new update has rolled out for the mobile version of Google Maps only.
WELCOME GOOGLE CUSTOMER REVIEWS
Google replaced Trusted Stores, a ratings and certification program, with Google Customer Reviews. The new program gathers reviews and feedback from customers through Google surveys for free. The program can be accessed through Google Merchant Center. After agreeing to the program’s terms, you will get a survey opt-in code to add to your site. This is an option to pimp your website with a badge, allowing you to demonstrate to your website’s visitors your Google seller’s rating. Moreover, displaying your seller’s rating on your Google Shopping and AdWords text ads can contribute to a better ads’ CTR.
INDUSTRY STUDIES AND REPORTS
FAKE LISTINGS ON GOOGLE MAPS
Google shared a report on Google Maps abuse. Last year Google teamed up with the University of California, San Diego to analyze over 100 000 Google maps business listings that were suspended for black hat SEO tactics between June 2014 and September 2015. The report categorizes the different types of abuse, the top business categories associated with abusive listings, and the countries associated with the highest number of abusive listings. It also analyzes how spammers find a way around protections against fraudulent business practices and how they profit from referring traffic to legitimate businesses.
Here are the key takeaways from the research:
- 7% of all abusive listings were categorized as locksmiths, followed in popularity by contractors such as plumbers and electricians (14.6%), restaurants (7.3%), and hotels (5.4%);
- The United States was the country with the highest local listing abuse rate (56.5%) followed by India (17.5%) and France (5.0%);
- 8% of all abusive listings were verified via mail or phone;
- Fewer than 0.5% of local searches lead to fake listings.
Google highlighted that as a result of the report they have improved the verification process and are implementing new advanced verification methods for spammy verticals:
- “We detect and disable 85% of fake listings before they even appear on Google Maps.
- We’ve reduced the number of abusive listings by 70% from its peak back in June 2015.
- We’ve also reduced the number of impressions to abusive listings by 70%.”
ASK THE CHAT BOT FOR HELP
Bing is testing a Skype-powered chat bot which helps searchers by answering questions with local intent. The new feature is currently available for searches about restaurants in the Seattle area. The chat bot answers questions related to directions, parking options, recommended dishes, reserving options, price range, available discounts and the required dress code.
SHARE AND REQUEST LOCATIONS IN TWITTER DIRECT MESSAGES
Twitter added a new feature for local business in its Direct Messages. Companies can now request and share locations with people in order to provide better and more customized customer experience on the social media. This functionality helps people find more easily a nearby location, make a booking or place an order on the go. The new Direct Message API is still in beta version and you can access it by filling this form.
A NEW PLAYER ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF SEARCH ENGINES
Snapchat launched a new update allowing users to find accounts and Snap stories by entering a specific topic in the search field. For example, you can find a story for your favorite night club, football team or clothing brand. It is currently available in selected cities. If Snapchat rolls out this new feature globally, it will be a new channel through which customers can find and interact with brands and thus businesses improve their online visibility.
Thanks for taking your time to read this blog post. We hope it has enriched your SEO knowledge! Any feedback is greatly appreciated and don’t forget to share it with your colleagues and friends!