SEO News Recap – July 2018

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Hi, guys! The warmer temperatures have finally become constant and probably right now you are enjoying your summer vacation, catching some sunshine with cold beverages in hand (…we nobly envy you for that 😊). In case you missed the release of the new action button within Google Posts, the new Google Ad’s local campaign type, and the integration of Yext with Amazon Alexa, here is our July’s SEO News Recap to help you stay on the leading edge of SEO, PPC, and social media marketing updates.

GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS

GET MORE CALLS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

A new add-on was spotted within the Google My Business dashboard that enables you to add a “Call Now” button as an action button to your Google Posts.

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Till now you were allowed only to include action buttons with links to your web pages.

The calls are redirected automatically to the initially set phone number in your Google My Business and you don’t have the option to use another tracking number.

KEYWORDS USED TO FIND YOUR BUSINESS

Be on the lookout for the new Insights’ feature within your Google My Business dashboard. It shows the most popular search queries for your business by unique users. Currently you have the option to see data only for the past week or a month. The feature is still experimental and available to a limited number of GMB users.

AUTOMATED ADS FOR YOUR STORE

The biggest takeaway for local business owners from the latest Google Marketing Live event is the announcement of a new ad campaign type exclusively designed to increase their offline store visits. By using the Local campaign type, you will enable Google to automatically optimize your ads in order to boost the foot traffic to your store. You will only need to set the budget for your campaign and to upload the creatives and an information for your location extensions. The new feature will be rolled out globally over the next few months.

Also, Google announced the merge of the sponsored hotel content on Google Search and Google Maps with their advertising platform Google Ads in order to help hotel groups and travel agencies simplify their ad management and campaigns’ optimization.

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This type is currently available to a limited number of travel agencies, including Despegar.com and Koddi.

ESTIMATE YOUR STORE VISITS

Google Ads platform continues to improve its location-based ad analysis for small businesses. They released a Per Store reporting available to large and small advertisers around the world with any size budget. With this new feature, you will be able to roughly calculate the number of times customers visit your location after clicking your ads. By default, in this report you will see the following data:

  • how many impressions your local ads have earned;
  • the number of clicks on your action buttons “Call” and “Get directions”;
  • how many website’s visits you gained after customers clicked on your ads;
  • the estimated number of times people visited your store after clicking your ad.

Check out the requirements you need to meet in order to be able to measure your store visits conversions.

MEET US AT OUR EVENT  

A new feature was spotted being tested within the Knowledge Panels for hotels, restaurants, and resorts. It shows the events that are happening today and tomorrow at a given place. The information is currently imported from partner event sites like Eventbrite.

GET AROUND YOUR HOTEL

A new “Location” tab and a “Location Score” were captured to show up into the Knowledge Panel for hotels.

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Both experimental features aim to help hotels’ visitors understand how close the hotel is to must-see attractions, activities, airports and transit possibilities, as well as to discover major landmarks to take in the sights near the hotel.

BOOK A HOTEL ROOM AT THE BEST PRICE

Another testing feature popped up on hotels’ Knowledge Panel. It presents comprehensive insights regarding the prices for a hotel during a specific timeframe. A notification, warning that the prices of the searched hotel are higher than similar hotels nearby, shows up together with a CTA button “Explore Insights” letting you see a detailed price comparison between the given hotel and other hotels. You can also see Google’s recommendations when to book a room based on price variations and a graph displaying the prices for the chosen date range compared to the usual hotel’s prices.

GET NOTIFIED WHEN YOUR BUSINESS IS LIVE ON GOOGLE

Soon you will be notified by Google when your new business listing is officially published on Google Search and Google Maps. However, the feature will be limited to business accounts with fewer than 100 listings and for those who have set their preferred language to “en-US”. Bulk accounts and agencies that do bulk submissions will not get these email notifications.

SPICE UP YOUR EVENT

Great news for those of you, who are organizing and managing local events. Google announced the upcoming updates of their event search feature (initially presented in May 2017). In addition to the date, time, location and the ability to purchase tickets from ticket providers’ websites, users will be able to save and share the events with their friends. Moreover, the event search experience is going to be more personalized. A new tab, called “For You” will display happenings suggestions based on users’ interests.

If you list events on your website, don’t forget to markup them in order to make it easier for users to discover them on Google.

MAKE YOUR LOCAL SERVICE ADS MORE APPEALING

Google was spotted testing two new features into their latest local search products – Google Local Service Ads. Now more local advertisers can add photos of their business and service.

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Keep in mind when uploading the images that the photo size can be up to 10MB.

Along with that you are able to add highlights to your business profile directly from the Google Local Services Ads dashboard, for example, “Veteran owned & operated” and special offers including  “Military discount available” and “Free consultation”.

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Google recommends adding 2-5 attributes in your business profile to make your business more tempting to prospective local customers. The Better Business Bureau rating highlights need to be verified by Google in order to appear on your ads.

KEEP UP WITH YOUR COMPETITORS

Google was spotted testing a new portion of insights within the home page of Google My Business dashboard in order to prompt you start actively creating Google posts and to ignite some content inspiration.

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The new addition is showing what businesses, operating in the same sector as your own, are posting.

GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR CUSTOMER DEVICE JOURNEY

A new reporting called “Cross Device” is coming to your Google Analytics over the coming weeks. The feature is meant to help you better understand your clients’ customer journey and what devices were used from the customers you have acquired. You will be able to see when customers visited your website from two different devices. Keep in mind that Google only tracks anonymized data from users who have allowed Google to store their personal information from their products, as well as their activity on websites and apps that partner with Google in order to see more personalized ads.

PLAY WITH SOME CODE ON YOUR SEARCH CONSOLE

Google Webmaster team announced that web developers are now able to get up to 25 000 rows of data per request within the Search Console Analytics API. In the coming weeks Google will also add a feature that gathers filtered queries into “(other)” in the Search Console API.

A NEW REFERRAL SOURCE WITHIN GOOGLE ANALYTICS

In the next few months a new referral source URL will be available within Google Analytics allowing you to determine when your website traffic was brought via Google Images. The new referrer URL will be https://images.google.com  and will be part of the HTTP header. For those making software to monitor website traffic, Google recommends that you consider the update and take into account the new referral source to your tools.

BE THE NEXT GOOGLE PRODUCT EXPERT

Google’s Top Contributor program, Google’s community of passionate Google product enthusiasts, is getting rebranded to Google Product Expert Program this fall. During the upcoming Product Experts Summit 2018 on October 31 – November 2, at Moffett Place, Sunnyvale, United States, Google will officially represent the new program’s look and perks. There will be also daily workshops for attendees to discuss relevant and current community issues and solutions with Google’s community managers and other participants.

“HEY GOOGLE, WHAT’S IN THE NEWS?”

Google Assistant can now read sections of news stories highlighted by publishers thanks to the new schema.org structured data specification called “speakable”. If you are interested in having your content read by Google Assistant, you need to include speakable structured data to your news media web pages, as well as to meet the product’s eligibility requirements. Currently, the new feature is accessible for Assistant users located in the US and are using the product in English.

THE PAGE SPEED UPDATE IS NOW LIVE  

Earlier this winter we covered the news that Google planned a launch of a new ranking factor for positioning websites for mobile searches. The rollout is officially on its way to everyone and the load speed of your mobile pages will now affect your rankings and your mobile traffic. However, rather than just trying to improve your loading speed, you should still focus on providing your website visitors with relevant and helpful information, because as Google points out your pages may still rank highly if they have content that satisfies the user intent.

UPDATED GUIDANCE ON WEBSITE’S LINGUAL TARGETING

Google updated their guidelines on how to easily implement the lingual and geographical targeting of your website when your website supports different languages or has different landing web pages for visitors from different areas of the world. The latest edition provides information and best practices regarding:

  • the three ways of pointing Google at your different web pages’ versions;
  • the identification of the language scripts and the country codes;
  • the usage of the x-default tag for unmatched languages;
  • identifying and removing common issues, for example missing return links and incorrect language codes.

IT’S TIME TO ADOPT THE HTTPS STANDARD

With the rollout of the latest Chrome version, Chrome 68, all people using it as their primary browser, will start seeing a “Not Secure” warning next to the URLs of HTTP sites.

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Previously, website visitors would only see the “Not Secure” warning when clicking the information icon next to the URL, which showed the message “your connection to this site is not secure” together with a suggestion not to enter any private data on the page like passwords and credit cards in order to avoid being compromised by hackers.

INSPECT YOUR WEBSITE LINKS

The recently launched tool “URL inspection” is now officially available to all Google Search Console users. It helps you examine how Google sees your web pages and provides information about AMP errors, mistakes with structured data, and indexing issues that need to be debugged.

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The tool can be found on the home page of the Search Console.

PIMP UP YOUR DATA IN SERPS

A new feature was released on Google Search to help you make a useful information like data tables, charts, and images showing data within a document or a web page more visible and appealing on SERPs. The new type of markup schema, called Datasets, enables you to provide data pieces such as tables’ names, descriptions, creators and distribution formats as structured data.

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Google is testing how the structured data appears on the SERPs with several news companies, including ProPublica. The new version is on the right.  

INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS

YEXT TEAMS UP WITH AMAZON

Yext is entering into the voice search industry by integrating with Amazon and submitting business listing directly to Amazon Alexa. This strategic move provides you with the ability to keep your local business contact information like name, address, phone number, and working hours most  up-to-date on the voice assistant.

STRATEGIC DEALS WITHIN THE DATA AGGREGATION INDUSTRY

One of the primary data sources of business data for major search engines, Acxiom, decided to sell their Marketing Solutions division to the marketing agency holding group Interpublic Group (IPG). The Marketing Solutions division makes up most of Acxiom’s business as it collects and manages consumer data from retailers, financial services firms and other businesses. As the access to personal data becomes increasingly difficult and complex for marketing objectives with the instalment of new data privacy rules and data protection regulations, the $2.3 billion deal is crucial for IPG.

A NEW TOOL TO GET LOCALIZED SEARCH RESULTS

Last fall Google started automatically redirecting users to search engine results pages for their current location even though trying to use Google’s “No Country Redirect” feature. As a result, when you use google.com and google.bg, you will get the same search results. However, with the help of Valentin Pletzer’s new tool, you can easily check Google results pages for any keyword at any location without the need of using any additional VPN service.

SOCIAL MEDIA

MORE WAYS TO BE CREATIVE ON FACEBOOK

A new tool is now available within Facebook’s Ads Manager app allowing you to create and edit ad images directly from your smartphone. As Facebook states it is designed based on your aims, saving time for you to focus on your advertising message, campaign execution and optimization.

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The tool includes the following features:

  • Text overlay to add and adjust text within your ad;
  • Text policy checker that indicates when your text length goes beyond Facebook’s recommendations;
  • Image cropper to tune your photos to specific dimensions in order to fit in your ads;
  • Easy-to-personalize templates, where you can add your brand’s logo and use different stickers, text and shapes;
  • Color filters to enhance the tonal range of your ads’ images;

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share our SEO New Recap with your team members if you care in order to help them stay up-to-date with the latest digital marketing news and trends. We wish you an exciting summer and be sure to enjoy your time!