Hi, folks! We hope you are enjoying these lovely end-of-summer days with refreshing water sports, leisure activities and good reads. However, we want to ensure that you don’t miss the latest digital marketing news, so check out our fresh August edition of the monthly SEO News Recap. You will learn about the new feature allowing video upload on Google local listings, the rollout of the FAQ section on Google Maps, and the ad tag tests in the Local Pack. You are also going to catch up with the new features on the local social network Nextdoor and Facebook’s tests on targeting ads to users who’ve already visited your given physical store.
GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS
RELEVANT KEYWORDS TO CLIMB UP THE LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS
A new feature within the local pack results is showing if a given business website contains the keywords of the searcher’s query. It’s still a test and Google hasn’t confirmed when and whether it will be rolled out officially. The keyword indication is supposed to help people filter search results and avoid visiting websites with irrelevant content.
Q&A IN THE LOCAL KNOWLEDGE PANEL
The mobile users of Google Maps are now able to ask questions about a given local business directly in the Local Knowledge Panel and get advices and information from business owners and online users in general. Business owners are also able to add frequently asked questions and respective answers to their business listings. Moreover, they will get notified via the Google Maps app when a new question is asked or answered by online users. There is also an option to upvote both questions and answers. Thus, the most helpful and popular content will be boosted and will appear at the top of the list.
MONETIZING THE KNOWLEDGE PANEL
Google AdWords is once again experimenting with displaying ads in the Local KP. This time the ads appear between the description and the detailed location info. They feature a “View deal” link to the offer. It’s still not clear whether all types of advertisers including competitors would be able to target specific Knowledge Panels as ad placements.
WHAT’S IN YOUR LOCAL STORE
The Knowledge Panel for local retailers are now featuring a new version of the local product listing ads. Local retailers can promote their products within the KP by submitting their product inventory feeds to Google Merchant Center. Here’s how the new ads look like:
- The updated ads occupy larger space in the local panel;
- “See what’s in store” headline separates the ad unit from the other business information;
- The ads consist of a simple search box, tags linking to product category pages and a carousel of product listings.
VIDEOS WITHIN GOOGLE MAPS
Together with reviews, photos, and information online users can now watch short videos of a given local business in Google Maps. For now the Local Guides are the only ones allowed to upload the videos. The new feature could prove to be really beneficial to local business owners, because they can use it as another way to prove that their business is real, while helping their customers feel the true atmosphere of the venue.
LOCAL PACK PIMPED UP WITH REVIEWS
The new test in the local pack features teasers with customer reviews. The reviews appear under the main local business information. Accompanied by star ratings, the short review snippets add additional value and save online users’ time by giving them quick insights about the given local business.
BOOK AN APPOINTMENT RIGHT FROM YOUR GMB LISTING
Google is putting more control back in the local business owners’ hands and is expanding the optional URLs into Google My Business dashboard. If your business website has a page, where customers can make an appointment, you can now add the URL to that web page and it will appear in your Google My Business listing. The new feature is available to all types of businesses from restaurants, to medical and law practices.
TOP TO-DOS FOR YOUR GMB LISTING IN THE SERPS
In our July’s SEO News Recap we wrote about the recent test of the mini version of the Google My Business dashboard within the local search results. A new CTA in the GMB dashboard, called “Top to-dos for your business”, prompts you to update your business information, add photos, respond to users’ reviews, and view listing insights.
GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS
REMINDER FOR HTTP WEBSITES
Google once again reminded owners of HTTP websites that from the beginning of October 2017 Chrome will mark HTTP pages as “Not Secure” in the following situations:
- If the HTTP pages require Chrome users to enter any type of data, including password or credit card information;
- When the HTTP pages are visited in Incognito mode.
The new warning is part of Google’s long-term plan to mark all pages served over HTTP as “not secure”.
GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE WITH NEW FEATURES
Two new experiential features were introduced to the Search Console:
- Index Coverage report that provides insights about the number of indexed pages together with a diagnosis of the indexing problems and how to quickly fix them;
- AMP fixing flow within the AMP Issues report that will provide you with detailed information and examples about your AMP issues. Moreover, once you resolve them, you can request Google to recrawl them quickly.
At first it will be a private beta, with a limited number of users having access to the features.
Is your website using Flash plugin? It’s better to say goodbye to it soon and replace any Flash content with open web technologies because Chrome will officially stop supporting Flash by the end of 2020. The announcement was made shortly after Adobe shared their plans that they are about to stop updating their product. Migrating your site to a new format will bring you the following advantages:
- Your web pages will load faster and will be more power-efficient;
- Your site will be more secure and provide safer experience to its visitors;
- The new formats work both on mobile and desktop.
THE CUSTOMER NEXT DOOR
Have you heard of Nextdoor? It’s a free platform for neighborhood communities offering new opportunities for local business owners. In August, the social media launched a new real estate section where brokers can easily reach out to local residents by creating both official business pages and paid branded listings in a specific neighborhood section. The paid program is currently available for a limited number of markets including the greater Atlanta area, Austin, San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, and San Diego. Check out how a “Neighborhood Sponsor” paired with organic content looks like:
INDUSTRY STATS AND STUDIES
LOCAL SEARCH DEMAND CHANGES
According to a recently released Google’s Customer Insights Report there is a significant decrease in local searches with location qualifiers like “nearby”, “near me”, addresses, and zip codes. This doesn’t mean that the searches with local intent have dropped, but that users expect results to be automatically relevant to their location thanks to the mobile search algorithm.
NEW MARKETPLACE OPPORTUNITIES
Facebook announced the expansion of its Marketplace product to Europe, aiming to help more individual users and businesses buy and sell goods in their local communities. Marketplace was initially released last fall in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico and New Zealand and now it will be rolled out to another 17 countries including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Facebook is also testing new features and categories for the given product:
- The Daily Deals feature allows users to browse eBay’s special offers on Facebook Marketplace;
- Business listings will soon be available and their offers will be pulled from the Shop section of Facebook’s Business Pages;
- Jobs Listings and Selling and Purchasing Tickets will be two newly released categories.
TARGET YOUR STORE VISITORS
Facebook is testing a new ad targeting option, allowing advertisers to make a Custom Audience list featuring people who have previously visited their physical stores. The new option is aiming to help local business owners create customized adverts to bring customers back to their shops, or to target offline customers with online products. For now, the feature is available to a limited number of advertisers with multiple locations. Facebook uses wi-fi, Bluetooth and enabled Facebook’s location services data to determine if people are within the locale of the specific business location.
Thanks for reading. We hope you’ve enjoyed our August SEO News Digest and feel free to share it on Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else you’d like to. Also, we would love to answer any question you might have in the comments below.