SEO News Recap – August 2018

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Welcome to our August’s SEO News Recap! We’ve carefully picked for you the hottest news and updates that happened in the fields of SEO, local SEM, and Facebook marketing. On this SEO News Recap, we’ve got lots of great information on the new additions to Google Posts and the latest tweaks on Google Search Console reporting. You’ll also read about the massive algorithm update on August 1 that lately engaged the SEO community and about the secret deal between Google and Mastercard. We hope you enjoy it!

GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS

TAKING FULL CONTROL OF YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS ACCOUNT

A new feature popped up within the Google My Business dashboard. It enables you to see the email addresses of other people who have access of your business listings.

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The email addresses appear within the “Manage permissions” box when you place your mouse over the name of the user.

BE UP ON YOUR GOOGLE POSTS

Google are consistently marching forward and providing you with helpful new Google Posts features that assist you in your efforts to increase the visibility of your local business and to promote it. Here are the handy new updates Google just added:

    • A quick way to check how your active posts on Google are performing is now available in your Google My Business Dashboard on desktop;
    • A new call-to-action button prompts searchers to view your previous postings when you don’t have any active Google Posts for your GMB listing. The new addition appears at the bottom of your local Knowledge Panel;
    • A new section within the Overview tab of the Knowledge Panel prompts customers to browse through the product items you promoted for sale via the “Products” Google Posts:

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  • A “Posts Tab” is being tested within the mobile search results when searching for а specific local business;
  • A stream of Google Posts showing up separately from the local Knowledge Panel on mobile was spotted being tested. It was placed between the other search results.

 SHOWCASE YOUR MENU ITEMS

Now business owners of beauty salons, venues like restaurants and bars, and services businesses located in all countries and using Google My business in all languages are able to list menu items and services in their Google My Business listing. Customers will see the listed items under “Menu” or “Services” tabs. This feature is only available to businesses that don’t already provided access to the menu editor to third-party menu providers.

RESERVE WITH GOOGLE EXPANDS

At first only available to fitness and beauty salons, the “Reserve with Google” program is now available to the following new categories – museums, galleries and local attractions.

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The feature allows you to book a ticket straight from the Local Knowledge Panel by selecting the “Find tickets” button.

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Currently the new call-to-action button shows up only for local businesses that work in partnership with the ticketing platform Tiqets.

If you offer services that can be booked online and this feature is in interest for you, complete and submit this form to Google.

FORESEE WHAT YOUR HOME REPAIRS WILL COST YOU

Google added a new feature to their Local Service ads aiming to help customers be more informed about the labor and material costs in relation to the home services offered in their local area. The price data is provided by Homewyse, a site for estimates on what various home updates will cost. Also, Google is planning to launch a feature, called Lists, allowing Local Services advertisers to create and send customized quotes to local clients based on information provided by Homewyse.

EMPOWERING VETERANS

A new attribute popped up in the knowledge panel for local businesses:

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You can now identify your business as managed by veterans by enabling the “veteran-led” attribute from your Google My Business dashboard. Thus, the new icon will appear in your listing on Google Maps and Search.

 PENDING EDITS TO YOUR GMB LISTING

Google started showing edits in the Local Knowledge Panel of local businesses that need approval.

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The notification appears to the following types of information: business categories, phone number, working hours, website, and address.

RICHER GOOGLE MY BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Google informed some SEOs that more data regarding the types of searches in which a given local business appears, will be included in the Google My Business Insights reporting. In addition to search queries, e.g. your business name or directions, Google will report on search queries like “what is the phone number of…” or “when does … open”. FYI all of this data is pulled from your Google My Business listing.

HELLO! CAN I SPEAK TO GOOGLE MY BUSINESS?

Colan Nielsen, a Google My Business Top Contributor, noticed that Google have added a phone number on the home page of the Google My Business website to call when needing assistance and you can’t get help any other way.

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According to the conversation on Twitter the number shows up only when you aren’t logged in and the call center seems to be established with focus on new business listing setup and verification.

GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS

TECTONIC MOVEMENTS IN SEO

In the begging of August, the conversation in the SEO online community revolved around the last Google’s broad search algorithm update that caused swings and changes in both organic and local rankings. Despite the significant amount of assumptions that this update is specifically targeting the medical/health websites, Google denied the rumors that it’s a “Medic” update and stated that it was a “happy coincidence”. Although it’s still not clear what does the core algo update impact, Google once again advise SEOs to focus on providing high-quality content to users. .

SKIPPING ANONYMOUS QUERIES

Google decided to stop tracking data from anonymous search queries, for example queries that contain personal or sensitive information. This data won’t be displayed in Google Search Console’s report charts when you apply the “Queries not containing:” filter. It’s worth noting that Google warns that this update might cause a decrease in the number of clicks and impressions for websites that receive a large number of this type of queries. Additionally, Google made changes regarding these filtered queries in Google Analytics. The placeholder with “other” for these filtered queries will be removed from the platform.

SEARCH CONSOLE IMPROVEMENTS

The latest Search Console upgrades to ease your work include:

    • The ability to open an URL in a new tab directly from the console by hovering over it:

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    • An upcoming feature enabling you to download a report with the latest links to your web pages:

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  • An automatic verification of your Search Console account, if you are an owner of a given property was added in Google Analytics. This eliminates the need to manually enable Search Console data sharing with Analytics.

GOOGLE AND MASTERCARD IN SECRET DATA DEAL

A recent investigation conducted by Bloomberg revealed that Google and Mastercard silently reached an agreement under which, in addition to their earlier arrangements for exchange of information Mastercard will now provide credit card data to Google in order to help them link online Google ads to offline-store purchases. It’s considered that Google approached Mastercard and other payment companies in relation to the recently launched test program “Store Sales Measurement”. For now, Google denies speculations on ad revenue sharing agreement and notes that they don’t have “access to any personal information from their partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do they share any personal information with their partners.” They also reassure that customers can anytime opt out of tracking their online activity using Google’s “Web and App Activity” service.

INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS

TRAVELING WITH GOOGLE

A new useful tool allows you to better plan your next travel by checking price trends and comparing price changes over time for hotels and flights. You can search for flights between two cities and see the trends in how prices vary depending on the date of your departure. Also, you can search for the best hotel deals during a given holiday in 10 cities and get ideas on what to do in those locations. Currently, you can explore price changes and get information for three holidays, including Thanksgiving, December and New Year holidays. The flight price trends are for now available for 25 popular flight routes in North America. The data is based on historical data pulled from Google Flights, Google Hotel Search and the top saved things to do saved by users on Google Search on Maps for the cities you can select from on the tool.

CHANGES ON BBB BUSINESS PROFILES

Better Business Bureau, one of the most reliable sources of online local business data in United States, Canada, and Mexico, announced an update to the BBB Business Profiles format. They launched an 1 to 5 star scale for individual Customer Reviews and an “Average Star Rating”, which will be included in the business information. The new star rating will be based only on information from the customer reviews in comparison to the previously used “Composite Star Score” which used data from both BBB ratings and review factors. Additionally, BBB changed the URL structure for each business profile aiming to improve its online visibility on search engines.

SOCIAL MEDIA

FACEBOOK REVAMPS THEIR REVIEWS FEATURE

Facebook made big changes on their review system for business pages. Customers are now asked to recommend or not a given business instead of leaving reviews on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Facebook still prompts users to give more details regarding their experience with the business.

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The former 5-star ratings are still visible and all recommendations are still posted to the “Reviews” tab of the business pages.

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Facebook also added two new features – relevant review tags according to the business type and the ability to add images when posting a review.

We hope our August SEO News Recap once again helped you catch up with the hottest industry news. Hit the share button, if you enjoyed it 😊