SEO News Recap – June 2018

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Welcome to our June’s SEO News Recap! There is a lot of interesting news in the search engine and social media marketing industry just waiting for you to catch up with. Read on about what’s new in Social, Local and Paid Search. Have you heard of Google’s bug called ‘the rabbit hole’, or how a winery decided to sue Google for compromising online reviews of their business? Don’t worry, we’ll fill you in on what you’ve missed out this month!

GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS

LOCAL PACKS FOR HOTELS GET A NEW LOOK

Google is experimenting with new filters when presenting local pack results for hotel-related search queries.

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@dr_pete was first to tweet about the test. Options like “top choices”, “guest favourites”, and “budget options” are meant to help you choose high-rated and good-priced economy hotels of your preference quicker.

THE NEW MAPS’ EXPLORE FEATURE IS NOW LIVE

Last month we covered the news that Google planned a makeover of Google Maps’ Explore feature for more personalized user experience. The rollout is officially on its way to everyone and you are now able to see the redesigned interface, the new “For you” tab and “Your Match” score, as well as the option to create and share lists of locations with your friends.

GMB UPDATE ON BUSINESS DESCRIPTION STANDARDS

By updating their Google My Business guidelines, Google state clearly that you are not allowed to include any personal financial or contact information, government-issued IDs, sensitive records, images, transcripts or URLs that contain personal information in the description of your business.

LOCATION TAG TO ACCOMPANY NEWS RESULTS

Google was spotted assigning a location icon to news results in the organic search. A yellow pin preceding the city and the date, which the news article was published on, are new visual touches to the news results. And even if those results are neither part of the Google News product nor of the local pack, they still offer quite a different experience and are set apart from the standard organic results.

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The location tags in the SERPs for news articles look much the same to those used on Google Maps.

TAG YOUR BUSINESS AS A FOOTBALL-FRIENDLY VENUE

If your business has TV screens showing sport channels, take advantage of the new Google My Business attribute called “Good for watching sports” and pimp up your local listing. You can add the attribute from your GMB dashboard.

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During the FIFA World Cup month, this feature will be visible in the Highlights on the Overview tab of your GMB listing. After that the icon will show up in the “About this business” tab.

QUICK LOCAL PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW ON GOOGLE

Google adds a quick Google Search and Maps performance report on Google My Business homepage. It shows how many views, searches and customer actions, including clicks to your website, direction requests, and clicks on the “Call” button, your business listing has received within the past 28 days.

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The Performance report also shows a comparison between the current and previous period’s stats.

MORE CUSTOMER INSIGHTS DATA AVAILABLE FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES

If you manage the listing of a restaurant or a café, now you have access to a whole new set of valuable information within the Insights tab of your GMB dashboard. The section “What your business is known for” provides you with customers’ opinions based on their experience. When leaving a review on Google, customers can add a number of subjective attributes, for example “Popular for lunch”, “Casual”, “Good for groups”, “Good for kids”, or “Serves healthy options”. Then the most frequently selected attributes will show on your listing for other users to see. Google informs that unless you provide an evidence that a given subjective attribute is incorrect, they won’t remove it from your listing.

YOUR KNOWLEDGE PANEL NOW INCLUDES A RETURN POLICY

Google was reported testing a snippet of retailers’ exchange and return policy within the Overview tab of the Local Knowledge Panel. There is also a link redirecting customers to the full terms of service text on the corresponding company website. The information about the return policy seems to be added by Google and is not yet tweakable by local businesses.

NEW PERKS FOR LOCAL ADVERTISERS

A new feature, named “See What’s in Store”, shows up in the local Knowledge Panel of retailers, who have joined Google’s local feed partnership program.  The feature is free and allows them to showcase their product catalogue. The program also enables retailers to use the services of inventory data providers like yReceipts, Pointy, Linx, and Cayan in order to provide information about product availability to Google instead of using the search engine directly.

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According to the discussions on Twitter the feature shows up either in the “Overview” tab of retailers’ Knowledge Panel or in the new “Products” tab that lists the company’s local inventory ads.

LOCAL LISTINGS GET ASSIGNED DYMANIC BUSINESS DIRECTORIES  

Depending on customers’ search queries, Google local results may now feature a more relevant secondary category that you’ve selected for your business, instead of showing the standard primary one as it was usually the case up until now.

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A “YOUR PAST VISITS” FILTER ADDED TO THE LOCAL PACK RESULTS

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You are able to refine the local results based on your visit history and thus find places you are already familiar with.  

LOCAL LISTING EDITS NOW REQUIRE USER IDENTIFICATION

According to latest observations, Google require user identification as it comes to making an edit to local business listings. The option to select among the business owner or manager, the employee, the customer or another party could be used as a prescreening technique to define the trust score and authority of the individual applying the actual change.

GOOGLE POSTS GET MORE APPEALING

Google Posts got a recent facelift in order to become more engaging for online users:

  • A box grid of six posts features Google Posts’ images and titles. There is also a right arrow enabling you to see more posts;
  • A call-to-action with a link now prompts searchers to view previous business’ posts on Google;
  • Two new Google Post types featuring product information and special offers. The new “Offer” posts are accompanied by a title, start/end dates and times, a “View offer” call-to-action button, as well as a photo/video, coupon code, a link forwarding customers to a web page to redeem the offer, and terms and conditions section. For the new Product posts you are required to add a title and photo or video of the item. You are also able to add a price range and a CTA button sending customers to your website.

GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE PANEL

Google announced recent updates to the verification process of claiming your Knowledge Panel. As a result, now more users and organizations including individuals, brands, sports teams, and media properties, are able to verify their affiliation and thus suggest corrections to their Knowledge Panel.

EXAMINE YOUR URLS

Lately, Google has rolled out several new features to the Search Console to help you better analyze your website’s search performance:

  • A new tool, called “URL inspection”, enables you to look more closely at how Google sees your site pages by providing you with detailed information about how they are being crawled, indexed, and served by Google;
  • A recipe report helps fix recipe structured data errors and thus improve your rich snippets in the search results;
  • New filters in Search Analytics allow you to view how your pages and apps appear on Web Light and Google Play Instant results.

THE FAREWELL OF ADWORDS AND DOUBLECLICK

Google made major updates to their core advertising products:

  • Google AdWords gets renamed to Google Ads;
  • DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 Suite are now all part of the Google Marketing Platform;
  • DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange are reached by the new platform called Google Ad Manager;
  • A new default ad campaign type called “Smart Campaigns” was released. These campaigns are especially designed for small businesses and aim at helping you promote your special offers, get calls from your ads, get foot traffic to your store or drive website traffic. They are still available to U.S. advertisers only and are expected to be gradually rolled out to all online users by the end of the year.

SEARCH ANALYTICS API UPGRADE

If you are using the Google Search Console API to access your website’s performance, you are now able to get your hands on 16-month data instead of accessing the standard 90-day report.

THE “RABBIT BUG” OR WHEN GOOGLE SHOW A SINGLE SEARCH RESULT

The seasoned Spanish SEO, Alex Navarro, just recently shed some light on a quite drastic bug in Google search results. And even if you are not up for exploiting this temporary flаw in the search engine’s algorithm for your benefit, you’d better learn how some of your competitors might outshine you in your niche SERPs.

We’d recommend reading the full piece (here is an English summary if you are interested), to see how adding a table to a well-ranking page on your site, furnishing it with linked content and adding an emoji to that table could actually break the search results and leave your business the last one ranking for the given key phrase.

GOOGLE REVIEWS SPAM – A CAUSE FOR ANOTHER LAWSUIT AGAINST GOOGLE

A local winery found it impossible to handle the persistent review spam of their business listing. The personal attacks could hardly be characterized as reasonably founded customer feedback and thus the business tried to bring the issue to Google’s attention. The search engine did delete some of the false comments, while others that fell under the same category of concreteness still remain for all online users to see.

And while the local business is most probably about to lose its case against the huge search engine monopolist, there is a fine outcome of their efforts: the publicity they gained from taking this to court would prove beneficial to their both offline and online brand image.

INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS

ASK YOUR NEIGHBORS

Google launched a new social app for the Indian market aimed at helping local users reach out their neighbors more easily. Neighbourly is a Q&A platform that enables users to ask questions related to their local community and at the same time share their experience and expertise by providing useful advices and informative answers. Regarding privacy and security, your full name and phone number remain private when using the app. Certain drawbacks include that there isn’t an option to expand the profile photos and that you cannot send direct message to other users.

SEMRUSH’S AUTHORITY SCORE

SEMrush added a new metric to determine domains’ overall quality and popularity, called “Authority Score”. It seems to work similarly to Moz’s DA or Ahrefs’ DR by using a 0 to 100 logarithmic scale. The metric is based on the backlinks data, website traffic data and organic search data provided by SEMrush. The “Authority Score Trend” feature provides information on the changes of the metric’s value within a specific time frame.

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You can access it under the Backlink Analytics report of the SEMRush platform.

INDUSTRY SURVEYS AND STUDIES

THE MOST TRUSTED REVIEW SOURCES AMONG DINERS

CVENT recently conducted a survey (sponsored by TripAdvisor) among 9 500 US and European consumers to determine the top-rated review websites as it comes to the restaurant niche. The majority of the U.S. respondents shared that they firstly turn to TripAdvisor when searching for restaurants on the go (93% are using TripAdvisor, 32% – Yelp, 24% Google, and 7% – Facebook). Interestingly enough the results are almost identical when respondents are searching for a dining place while at home.

SOCIAL MEDIA

NEW RULES FOR FACEBOOK CUSTOM TARGETING

From now on, when you upload a Custom Audience list for your ad campaigns through Facebook’s advertising platform, you will be required to share the origin of that data. So, you need to specify whether the audience’s information is collected directly from your customers, through partners (agencies or data providers), or via a combination of both.

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