SEO News Recap – April 2018

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April is over already, and it’s time for our monthly SEO News Recap. In this issue you will get a summary of the latest Google Search tweaks and Google My Business developments that might affect your business in the coming months. We will cover the following topics:

GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION WITH UPPER POSITION IN THE LOCAL KNOWLEDGE PANEL

Last month Google made it possible for you to add a business summary to your Local Knowledge Panel. The description used to appear within the “From the Business” section at the bottom of your GMB listing. Now it gets the catbird seat. Thus, it’s worth crafting a short and eye-catching business story on the top of your Knowledge Panel in order to better engage with searchers looking for companies like yours.

SHOWCASE YOUR SERVICES

Google rolled out a new feature within the Google My Business dashboard allowing you to highlight your business services directly on your Knowledge Panel. You can access the feature from the “Info” tab of your GMB dashboard. From there you can you add or edit the name of your service, it’s description and price.

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Currently only online mobile users can see what your business offers by visiting the “Menu” tab within your Knowledge Panel.

REVIEW-GATING? THINK AGAIN!

Google updated their Review Guidelines on Google Maps to clear up that you shouldn’t only prompt customers who have had a positive experience with your business to leave a review on Google. Now you have to allow unhappy customers to leave a review publicly in order to prevent complete removal of your reviews.

NEW GUIDELINES FOR ADDING EVENTS

If you’re organizing events and want this kind of information to appear in your local Knowledge Panel be aware of the following changes according to the new policies for events on Google Maps:

  • Your events should be real and be hold at a clearly defined location;
  • You should avoid using event titles to promote your business as well as your products and services, for example including prices or calls to actions such as “70% off”, “$50 off”, “a limited time offer”, or “visit our store today”.

IMPROVED Q&A NOTIFICATIONS

Google improved their Questions & Answers notifications to help you follow users’ conversations regarding your business. You are now be able to see the customer’s name within the subject line of the notification email.

GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS

HOW TO COOK YOUR RECIPE MARKUP

If your website features recipes, it’s worth paying attention to the changes in Google’s requirements for recipe structured data. Now if you want Google to display your recipe images on the Image Search along with the badge “Recipe”, you need to mark up your site images using the ImageObject or including the image’s URL.

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BROWSE IN SILENCE

One of the latest updates of the new version of Google’s web browser, Chrome 66, protects you from some of the most annoying web experiences – autoplay videos. The new feature automatically mutes sites that playback media with sound except sites on which you have previously engaged with videos (the engagement is measured by the Google’s Media Engagement Index). The restriction also applies when browsing on mobile devices unless you have saved a particular site on your device.

TESTS IN SEARCH RESULT PAGES

Google confirmed testing a new button, called “More results,” within the mobile interface of Google Search which eliminates the need to click to the next pages in order to see all search results.

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The experiment with the vertical scroll is part of making Google’s product more mobile-friendly and to ensure that it uses more mobile intuitive elements.

Google was also spotted experimenting with a new search feature notifying users for price changes regarding previously searched products:

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You are able to opt in or opt out for receiving reminders of price updates for the items that you have looked at.

GOOGLE SEARCH SUGGESTIONS ON YOUR SITE 

Google is testing a new search functionality on the mobile version of Chrome that is prompting website visitors to leave the website they are currently visiting in order to get more search results regarding the topic they are reading about.

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There is a bar at the bottom of the page that encourages users to browse through new search results.

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When clicked, it takes them off of your website and shows them to a new set of search results.

IMPORTANT CHANGES TO GOOGLE PARTNERS

Google removed three major features within the Google Partner platform as part of the rollout of the new AdWords interface:

  • Google Partner Search – potential prospects will no longer be able to search for your advertising agency in the Google Partner Search portal. Along with that the metrics “Search views”, “Profile views”, and “Lead inquiries” won’t be available in the Analytics tab of your “My company” page;
  • Insights – you’ll no longer be able to use this source of useful information including industry-specific researches, case studies, and product trainings;
  • Leads section – Google eliminates the ability to contact an advertiser from the “Leads” page and perform changes to the status of your leads.

Despite all the above changes, you are still able to edit and maintain your Partner Profile, as well as to place a “Google Partner” badge on your website with a link to your complete Partner information.

INDUSTRY SURVEYS AND STUDIES

THE CONTENT THAT ATTRACTS CONSUMERS’ ATTENTION

The Meyocks’ recent “Mentor Branding” survey supports the evergreen marketing tip that producing informative and useful brand content is what mostly engages customers. The majority of respondents shared that they prefer brands to provide details on how to get the most out of a product (77.3%) along with a product usage information (73.4%). Nearly half of the consumers are expecting from brands to share educational materials featuring product-related topics.

Moreover, the survey revealed that consumers endorse companies that advocate with environmental issues and show social responsibility on a regular basis.

WHEN WORK MEETS PLEASURE

EARN YOUR LOCAL SEO BLACK BELT  

Colan Nielsen from SterlingSky created a quiz challenging you to test your local search knowledge. The quiz prompts you to answer 19 questions about the GMB policies and guidelines for representing a local business. There are also questions regarding the latest Google Search features, like Q&A and Google Posts and their impact on search rankings. Good luck with finding what is your local SEO belt color!

Thank you for reading our April SEO News Recap. Hopefully, you enjoyed it! Be sure to drop in on our blog in the beginning of the next month for a new portion of SEO news!