Hi, SEO enthusiasts, it’s time for your monthly dose of SEO updates and innovations from OptiLocal. The January SEO News Recap is fully packed of exciting SEO and local marketing news: the introduction of an app from Google to help you tell local stories, the launch of new Google My Business features, the global release of the new Search Console, as well as the renewed Facebook News Feed. We are also going to explore latest industry trends and the reintroduction of Google’s Featured Snippets.
GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS
ALL YOUR VIDEOS IN GMB
You can now discover a new section within your Google My Business dashboard, called “Videos”. This new feature allows you to both post your own videos as a business owner and to view videos uploaded by Google users that are related to your business. Currently you can share up to 30 seconds long videos. You are also allowed to report inappropriate video content via the GMB dashboard.
The ability to upload videos to your local business listing will help you grab customers’ attention in just a few seconds, explain who you are, what you do and why they should visit your location.
The uploaded videos will show in the “Photos” section within the Local Finder.
There is a video tab with all your business videos.
LOCAL STORYTELLING FOR MOBILE
The new application called Bulletin is designed to help people generate stories related to their local area and community without having to build their own personal blog or website. All they need is a smartphone. The service prompts Google users to publish both textual and visual content (comments, tags, photos and videos). This content can be distributed via Google search, social networks, or links sent by email and messaging apps. The product is currently available in two cities – Nashville, Tennessee and Oakland, California.
IMPROVED GMB WEBSITE BUILDER
Since its global launch as part of the Google My Business suite, the Website Builder underwent several changes including:
- Integration with Google Posts, which enables you to add up to 3 posts to your site content. There is a “view all” option to see the complete list;
- You don’t need to choose your website domain name prior to its publishing. You can pick your web address after the site gets live;
- With the new photo gallery design you can now display up to 9 business images on the page.
GET CLOSER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH GOOGLE Q&As
Last summer Google introduced the “Questions & Answers” feature to the local Knowledge Panel, displaying both business and consumer generated questions and answers. Initially the product was available for mobile search only and later on it rolled out to desktop as well. The Q&As provide local business owners with another valuable channel where they can engage with their target audience. As you can’t opt out of it, all you can do is to craft a strategic plan on how to effectively manage it by following Google’s guidelines:
- Monitor what questions customers ask you and make sure to provide comprehensive responses that directly addresses their concern;
- Еncourage your satisfied customers to upvoter Q&As they’ve found useful in order to bring them higher in the A&As list;
- Keep an eye on your top-rated question as it receives the highest visibility on your local Knowledge Panel;
- Don’t set stations at your physical store just to ask for Q&As as this is obviously against Google guidelines;
GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS
SPEED UP YOUR MOBILE PAGES
It’s always been a good thing to make page speed improvements in order to boost your rankings and traffic. As Google is even more focusing on mobile, the announcement that the page speed will become a ranking factor for mobile searches isn’t a surprise. The “Page Speed Update” will be launched in July 2018 and will impact pages that tend to load the slowest. However, as Google points out the content relevance and uniqueness will be more important factor than the speed.
THE FAREWELL OF ADWORDS REVIEW EXTENSIONS
AdWords is retiring its reviews extensions. This feature along with its performance data will be deleted from AdWords accounts in February 2018. Before this change, you were able to opt in for serving your search ads with non-Google reviews pulled from third-party review sites. Now you have the option to show another additional information with your ads like seller ratings, dynamic structured snippets, prices, or phone numbers.
MORE FEATURES COMING SOON TO GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
Initially available only for a limited number of users, in the coming weeks all GSC users will have access to the new Search Console features including:
- Analyze search performance trends covering longer periods of time (16 months of data will be available);
- Index Coverage Report which shows you correctly indexed URLs, potential issues, and the crawl errors;
- AMP Issues report which provides you with insights about AMP URLs’ errors, as well as the ability to fix the issues;
- If you publish job listings on your website, you can now use the Job Posting report to track job listing search results, indexing problems and feedback about the fixed issues. Also, you will be able to promote your job listings directly through Google for Jobs.
Till the complete release of the features, you will be able to use both versions of the Search Console, which are linked in the navigation bar.
THE ABC’S OF GOOGLE’S FEATURED SNIPPETS
Google made an official post putting together all the important bits of information about Featured Snippets. The guide goes through every aspect of the short direct answers at the top of search results, including – what they are, when, and why they appear and why you could trigger more than a single featured snipped per search query.
Featured snippets can appear as textual and/or visual content.
INDUSTRY SURVEYS AND STUDIES
LOCAL MARKETING PREDICTIONS
The Local Search Association curated a survey in which our agency and 60 more LSA members shared their predictions of local marketing trends and shifts in 2018. Here are some of the forecasts from the survey:
- The threat of a complete monetization of the local pack;
- A sustained period of ranking volatility and an effort to improve local with more personalized results;
- Facebook to become the second largest local search player;
- Predictive and prescriptive analytics to advance local intelligence through 2018;
- The increase in the chatbot usage in the SMB space.
FACEBOOK STEPS UP ON MORE “MEANINGFUL SOCIAL INTERACTIONS”
Less business and media content and the prioritization of local news are the new tweaks to Facebook News Feed. The new focus is providing more content generated by friends, relatives, and Facebook groups. In order to be ready for those changes as a local business, all you have to do is to create helpful and engaging content that will encourage Facebook users to share it with their community.
So, there you have it! Hope you’ve gain some confidence that you’ve become a bit more knowledgable of the SEO realm. And because sharing is caring, don’t forget to share our SEO News Recap with your friends and team members.