Hi, guys! It’s time for our July SEO news recap, in which we’ll sum up the latest Google tests and updates. We’ll talk about the new messaging feature within Google My Business, the updated GMB insights reports and some recent tests within the local search results. We’ll also cover the recent update of Screaming Frog, as well as the latest Facebook and Microsoft solutions for small businesses. Let’s dive straight in.
GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS
CHAT WITH CUSTOMERS IN THE SEARCH RESULTS
You are now able to enable customers to text you directly from SERPs. You can activate the messaging option from your Google My Business dashboard. You first need to provide an actual phone number that can receive text messages, which Google will verify by sending you a text message with an unique code. You can opt in and out of the service at any time. The new feature is currently only available for local business located in the U.S.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS DASHBOARD REMINDER IN SERPS
Google is testing a new feature within the local search results in an attempt to prompt more local business owners to update regularly their business listings. A scaled-down version of your GMB dashboard shows up when you are logged into your GMB account and conduct a branded search on Google for your business. The feature provides you with quick access to editing your business data, responding to reviews, adding new images, and viewing a summary of your listing’s insights.
GMB DEEP DIVE INTO REPORTING
Google My Business updated its Insights with two new reports – “Photos” and “Phone calls”. Now you can download performance reports about how many views your listing’s images have earned and how many calls your business has received from your GMB listing. The data is available for both single and multiple business listings. The analytics of the two new reports are also added to the monthly GMB Insights reporting email along with information about the number of website visits, reviews, type of searches that evoked the listing to show up in SERPs and some additional monthly trends.
TESTS IN THE RESTAURANT SEARCH RESULTS
Here are two of the most prominent experimental add-ons in the Knowledge Panels for restaurants:
- A search for а particular restaurant chain on Google returns other available locations of the given chain. This is currently a test and if it rolls out officially it will contribute positively to the overall brand awareness as customers and prospects will find more information about the business without leaving the search results;
- A new tab is being tested in the KP for restaurants in the mobile search results, offering online users a quick access to the menu of the given restaurant.
BOOK BEAUTY-RELATED SERVICES DIRECTLY FROM SERPS
US consumers can now book a beauty service straight from the Local Knowledge Panel, Google Maps, or the “Reserve with Google” page. The latter option has been available since March 2017, though it has been in testing since 2015. Google confirmed that they’re planning on expending the feature in new regions and service categories (you can already book wellness and fitness classes through Maps and Search). So, if you have a website or mobile app for your local business and online booking is part of your offering, you can complete this form to integrate with the Reserve with Google program.
NEW FILTER IN THE HOTEL SEARCH RESULTS
Google is testing an “Accommodation type” filter, which sorts vacation rentals alongside the hotel search results. Google may be taking the first step towards competing with vacation rental search sites like Airbnb and FlipKey.
WHEN ONLINE MEETS OFFLINE
Small Thanks with Google is a new service that creates high-quality, well-designed posters that local business owners can print and place in their physical stores. You are just required to enter the name of your local business and you can choose a poster from the autogenerated designs. If none of the listed artworks fits your needs you can customize one by yourself.
NEW CALL-TO-ACTION BUTTONS IN THE LOCAL KNOWLEDGE PANEL
Google is testing two new CTA button in the local mobile search results. The first one prompts the searcher to share his experience about а given local listing.
Last year Google experimented with the straightforward “Write a Review” call to action, which now they rephrase as a “Rate and review” tab placed underneath the Review Summary section in the KP:
The second CTA button called “Questions & Answers” on the other hand encourages searchers to ask or, respectively, answer already added by other users questions about the given business.
GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS
Q&A IN GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Google is rolling out a new intelligence functionality in its analytics tool. If you wonder how your business website is doing in terms of bouncing rates, session durations or conversions, you can get a quick specific answer by typing or asking your questions via voice search in the new feature. Here you can check out a list of all questions you can along with the feature’s limitations.
CHANGES IN GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
Google Search Console is now showing more accurate data for lower positions. If you have seen an increase in impressions or a drop in the average rankings, don’t worry because it doesn’t necessarily mean that there was a real reduction in your rankings. Google confirmed that the discrepancies were just part of the reporting due to the update and your actual rankings weren’t affected.
MARKUP YOUR VIDEOS AND RECIPES FOR IMAGE SEARCH
Google Images now show videos and recipes on mobile devices. A small tag in the lower left corner of the image will inform you if a video or a detailed recipe is available for the given result.
SOLUTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES FROM MICROSOFT
Microsoft introduced a new set of tools. The goal is help SMBs owners save their time and efforts by assisting them in the management of their local business listings, email marketing campaigns, and invoicing. Through the Microsoft Listings Dashboard business owners can distribute their business information across Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp, as well as manage their business listings on those platforms and monitor online customer reviews.
WELCOME TO THE SCREAMING FROG’S SEO SPIDER 8.0
The Screaming Frog team just launched the latest version the SEO Spider. The update includes:
- modern user interface adapted for high definition monitors;
- a “Link Metrics” feature that allows users to integrate Majestic, Ahrefs and Moz APIs and get real-time external link metrics;
- “Custom Configuration Profiles” function through which users can create multiple profiles and switch between them;
- HTTS Support – the SEO Spider indicates the presence of insecure links and prompts users to fix them by using the HTTPS version;
- Hreflang Auditing In XML Sitemaps;
- Fetch & Render Screenshots Exporting.
FACEBOOK MESSENGER BOTS – CLOSING THE GAPS IN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Facebook introduced several new enhancements in its Messenger to help business owners improve their use of the app. Here is what the new features looks like:
- Business page owners are now able to integrate the “Buy Now” button in the Messenger webview and to manage user payments in a more flexible way. Thus customers can go through a one-step process when purchasing;
- Five more call-to-action buttons are now available for businesses: Shop Now, Get Support, Get Updates, Play Now, and Get Started;
- Businesses that use Global Pages with pages associated with one app ID will now be able to use the chat extensions.
Thanks for reading. If you’ve enjoyed our SEO news digest, don’t hesitate to share it. We’ll see you again next month for the new SEO news catch-up. Take care!