SEO News Recap – June 2019

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Hi, folks! We hope you are all enjoying your summer holidays in this glorious weather. June was pretty calm in term of SEO and social media news. However, we want to ensure that you don’t miss the latest features in Google My Business, search core updates and local digital marketing news, so keep reading our latest edition of the SEO News Recap to see all the updates.

GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS

LOCAL SERPS TWEAKS

Here are the latest local SERP tests that took place during June:

  • The local SEO expert Mike Blumenthal reported on Google experimenting with a new type of local pack for mobile search results.
  • 1-local-pack-carousel-min.jpg

    Google is showing up to 3 carousels with results in form of cards in place of the well-known listing format.

  • A new button allows you to select an area in order to filter the local search results for your query:
  • 2-local-search-results-select-an-area-feature-min.png

    The feature pulls out several areas and there is also an option to specify the results by using your current location.

  • Google was spotted using a “More Businesses” CTA instead of “More Places” for some business categories, including plumbers and HVAC:
  • 3-Local-finder-more-business-button-min.png

  • Google was spotted showing relevant Google posts to your search query within the Local Finder with the label “Related to your search”:
  • 4-local-finder-related-to-your-search-google-posts-min.jpg

    UPDATED SOS ALERTS

    Google made changes on the alerts that they are showing during natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes in the Search and Maps. The alerts now provide more detailed information about the disaster– its location, real-time visual data, links to news sources covering the crisis, the contacts of rescue services, as well as route recommendations in order to stay away from the affected area.
    5-google-maps-disaster-SOS-allerts-navigation-min.png

    LATEST GMB UNDATES

    The following recently released GMB features will assist you with your local marketing efforts:

    • The process of verifying your GMB listing through Google Maps has been shortened by going straight to the verification process;
    • Shorter names and the short URLs “g.page/[yourcustomname]” are now available to all verified GMB accounts. The both features are great for including in your marketing materials such as brochures, posters and business cards. Moreover, customers will soon be able to search your business in Google Maps by typing your shorter name:
    • 6-GMB-short-name-min.png

    • You are now able to manually include a cover photo for your Google My Business profile:
    • 7-GMB-listing-add-cover-photo-min.png

    • Your brand logo is now more prominent and appears at the top-right corner of your GMB profile if you have added essential business information like phone number, working hours, description, etc;
    • A new dynamic photo module on your profile will feature all photos uploaded by you. In the coming months you will be able to add captions to your images, too;
    • A new website named Marketing Kit With Google will assist you in creating offline marketing materials such as posters, brochures, and stickers;
    • You can now offer discounts and special promotions to your new GMB listing followers by using the new “Welcome offers” feature:
    • 8-GMB-welcome-offer-min.png

    • A new badge “Local Favorite” will be used for businesses that rank in the top 5% of reviews in a given category. According to Google, the label will be awarded to businesses that “consistently deliver a great experience for people”;
    • You’ll be able to check how searchers are interacting with your local Google Posts in real time in the coming months;
    • The Product editor within the GMB dashboard is now available to the majority of business verticals. Similar to the Menu feature SMBs owners can use the Product editor in order to display their products to customers within their GMB listings;
    • If you are using a third-party resource to showcase your menu or services on your Knowledge Panel, now your Menu or Service Editors within your GMB dashboard will have no data. If you make any change to the lists, they will be deleted. The only way to recreate the lists is by adding them via the Menu or Services Editor within the Google My Business dashboard.
    • The “Posts” tab featuring your Google Posts was renamed to “Updates”:
    • 9-GMB-Updates-Tab-min.png

      CUSTOM BUSINESS PLANS FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

      Google introduced a new website called “Google for Small Business”. Based on your core business information such as your business name, website, how and where you serve your customers and your business goals, the platform will generate a personalized plan with recommended Google products regarding your business needs.
      10-Google-for-small-business-0-min.png
      The personalized plan contains info about the most suitable Google products for your marketing goals.

      SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTONS BY DEFAULT

      The option to specify your social media buttons in your local Knowledge Panel is no longer available because Google stopped using the social profile markup. Now the profiles are automatically discovered by Google. If you have claimed your Knowledge Panel you can also suggest any social profiles that are not included.

      GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS

      THE LATEST CORE UPDATE HAS ARRIVED

      On a regular webmaster hangout, John Mueller from Google discussed the latest search core algo update that has been officially launched on June 3rd. The update covers website’s issues in relation to content quality – freshness, unknown or unidentifiable authors and using stock photography instead of actual photos of you, your team, products, etc.

      The update didn’t generate a big buzz throughout the search community about large volatility in search results. However, big business news sites such as CNN and UK’s Daily Mail reported high volatility and over 50% drop of their mobile organic traffic.

      MORE DIVERSITY IN SERPs

      Danny Sullivan from Google announced a new SERPs update aiming to provide more variety of results from different sources. The update will mainly affect big websites. Searchers won’t see more than two listings from a same site in the top results. However, Google hedged on the change and stated that they will make exceptions in some cases when the search engine decides it is relevant to display more than two results from the same source in the top 10 results.

      GOOGLE SEARCH IS GETTING MORE VISUAL

      After several experiments, the new look of the Search menu is finally rolled out. It contains icons right next to the different Google products (News, Videos, Images, Maps, Books, Finance, Shopping, etc)
      11-search-menu-icons-min.png

      IMPROVE YOUR CONVERSION RATE

      All advertisers using Google Ads services are now allowed to choose specific conversions for their search and display campaigns. Thus, they will be also sure their ad budgets are spent for the intended actions. Before that if you managed several campaigns with different goals and budgets, you needed to create multiple accounts in order to optimize them separately. The new feature will be available to video campaigns later in 2019.

      GOODBYE PREFERRED DOMAIN SETTINGS

      Google stopped supporting the feature allowing you to select your preferred domain in the Google Search Console.
      12-GSC-domain-site-settings-min.png
      Before that you were able to see data for both a WWW or non-WWW version of their site.

      Now the setting chooses the default site version based on canonical, sitemap, and redirects data.

      GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE TOOLS UPGRADES

      In June Google launched a couple of small features in GSC in order to boost your SEO efforts:

      • A new functionality within the Rich Results Testing Tool allows you to check how Googlebot smartphone or desktop sees the structured data on your web pages.
      • 13-url-test-tool-update-min.png

        The update comes in help of website owners to get ready for the mobile-first indexing.

        • Google extended the time range for Search and Discover reports. You are now able to see historically data related to your site’s traffic and impressions from the Discover feature back to 90 days instead of the initially defined 28 days.
        • You are now able to search the markup within the following testing tools – AMP Test, Rich Results and URL inspection tool. You just need to paste the code of your web page in order to check the rendered markup and start making tests with it.
        • You will be now notified on a weekly basis by email for the performance of the top queries for your website.
        • REPORT SUSPICIOUS SITES

          If you have any doubts regarding the authority of a website you can now use the new “Suspicious Site Reporter” Chrome extension to report it. You can send an alert to Google for the following problems:

          • Symbols or odd characters that are used in the website’s domain;
          • The website doesn’t appear in the top 5K sites;
          • You haven’t visited the website in the last three months.
          • Additionally, a new warning shows up when the website’s links cause confusion if they look similar to web pages you’ve recently visited. For example: “exampleofyourwebsite.com” vs “exampl3ofyourwebsite.com”.

            INNOVATIONS

            NEW WAYS TO SPARK YOUR CREATIVITY

            Google launched a new website “Create with Google” featuring a set of tools to help you find ideas for generating your marketing presentations, videos, and ad campaigns:

            • The YouTube Mockup tool enables you to create a preview of your videos in full screen, mobile and desktop formats prior publishing them on YouTube. You can use the feature to simulate a YouTube video by sharing your demo to clients and team members;
            • The Audience Connect tool allows you to engage the audience of your online presentation by showcasing results or replying to comments in real-time. You just need to allow people to connect to your Google Slides presentation on their smartphones. The tool is currently available only in English;
            • The Creative Downloads is a source of downloadable files to improve your Google Ads knowledge including how to make six-second YouTube ads that customers can’t skipped, how to create engaging in-stream video ads and how to decrease the “Skip Ad” button clicks of your ads, how to improve your Display ads, how to build VR videos and many more;
            • The Director Mix will assist you in creating customized dynamic YouTube videos by adding texts, images and sound based on audience’s location, behaviour and interests.