Howdy, SEO fans! Welcome to the September edition of our SEO News Recap. This time we are going to cover the following digital marketing news: the Google updates on Google local listings, tests on indoor maps within the local Knowledge Panels, new features in the Home Service Ads, improved Analytics reporting for Accelerated Mobile Pages, key takeaways from the BrightonSEO Conference, as well as the tests on new Facebook ad formats.
GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS
QUICK TWEAKS ON YOUR GMB PROFILE IN THE SERPS
In our last two editions of SEO News Recap (the July’s issue and the August’s issue) we wrote in great detail about the experimental feature within the local search results that reminds business owners to update their local business listing information. The mini version of the Google My Business dashboard is now live to all GMB listing owners.
YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING HAS BEEN EDITED
Local business owners are now getting email notifications regarding recent changes of their Google local listings. Until recently when you were logged into your GMB dashboard, you were notified that “some changes had been made” to your listing but no specifics were given as of what the actual updates were. The new version shows the exact changes that Google users applied to the listing both via email and via the GMB dashboard, offering you the ability to review, confirm or deny the edits.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE PANELS WITH BUILDING NAVIGATION
Google was spotted showing for the first time indoor floor plan images of buildings directly in the local Knowledge Panel.
The ability to navigate within airports, retails, libraries, malls, museums, or sport venues online is already available within Google Maps for selected locations. You can also upload indoor plan images of your business building to Google Maps by visiting maps.google.com/floorplans/find and following the provided instructions.
FIND EBOOKS FROM YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY IN SERPS
Google launched a new feature allowing searchers to borrow e-books from local libraries right from the SERPs. Along with the option to buy the searched e-book from e-reading platforms, the results now bring up a list of nearby libraries where you can check it out from. To download it you have to choose your library and enter your membership information. The new feature is rolled out for U.S. libraries only.
CHANGES IN HOME SERVICE ADS
A number of changes are taking place for Google’s search results for home service professionals:
- A new Home Service Finder was launched. It features both organic service-area business listings and Google guaranteed professionals. Here you can check out the conditions for appearing in the section “Google guaranteed business listings”;
- Customers can now schedule a free in-home estimate from the local SERPs. After selecting the “In-home estimate” icon you will be redirected to a page where you can choose an appointment time that is convenient for you.
GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS
ENHANCED ANALYTICS FOR AMP PAGES
If you have started using AMP pages to make it better optimized for mobile users, you can now get better insights into how engaged customers are with those pages. Google introduced a new service called “AMP Client ID API” that tracks whether “a user on your non-AMP pages had ever visited an AMP page displayed by Google.” In order to access this data you need to implement a new code on both your AMP and non-AMP pages. Google warns that in the beginning you might see a decrease in the Analytics metrics like number of new users or sessions. This results from the better metrics assessment due to the new integration.
AMP PAGES AVAILABLE FOR ADWORDS CAMPAIGNS
In May this year, Google presented the beta implementation of AMP landing pages in search text ads. All AdWords advertisers can now take advantage of the new technology and improve their advertising performance and customer experience. This document can help you set up AMP landing pages for your campaign and link them to your search ads. Google will initially support only Chrome browser caching on Android devices.
GOODBYE FETCH AS GOOGLE FOR APPS
“Fetch As Google for Apps” feature in Search Console will no longer be available. Google explained that the main reason is their attempt to avoid of “unnecessary duplication” with the testing tool of their app indexing protocol “Firebase App Indexing”. The app indexing sends users from Search to a given app. If users already use a given app, they can launch it directly from the SERPs while new users are presented with a link to a page prompting them to install it.
LEAVE OUT THE SECOND DESCRIPTION FIELD IN YOUR ADS
AdWords decided to remove the additional description line from its Expanded Text Ads shortly after its first tests. This feature presented advertisers with the ability to create extra long ads by adding 80 more characters. The already created ads will still be active but they will be missing the content from the second description.
INDUSTRY CONFERENCES AND EVENTS
During the second BrightonSEO of 2017 leading SEO experts from around the world come together to share their knowledge and expertise about search marketing. We’ve put together some of the most valuable insights from the presentations:
- Greg Gifford, Director of Search and Social at DealerOn, Inc, shared tips on how to build a good local link profile. He put an emphasis on the fact that relationships and exchange of value are an integral part of the process of gaining local links. According to him local business owners need to be active in their local communities in order to improve their local visibility. Check out the ideas he shared on where you can search for local links:
- Local meetups
- Local directories
- Local review sites
- Event sponsorships
- Local resource pages
- Local blogs
- Local newspapers
- Local charities
- Local clubs/organizations
- Local calendar pages
- Local interviews
- Local business associations
- Local food banks
- Local shelters
- Local schools
- Ethnic business directories
- Local art festivals
- Local guides
- Homeowners associations
- Neighborhood watch sites
- During her session “Setting AMP for Success”, Aleyda’s Solis shared 7 do’s and don’t on how to use AMP pages, the key ones you could read here:
- You must verify whether you can implement your current mobile web UI and functionality with AMP in order to keep them consistent;
- Check your AMP visibility potential to prioritize your implementation accordingly;
- Avoid implementing AMP when you have an independent mobile web version;
- Validate your AMP implementation before and after launch with SEO crawlers to minimize issues;
- Monitor your AMP implementation with the Google Search Console AMP report;
- Don’t link to your AMP URLS, unless you don’t have a mobile friendly site;
- If you don’t want to keep your users in AMP take them to your canonical mobile web version.
- The Search Director at Tecmark, Stacey MacNaught, discussed the latest changes in keyword analysis. According to her nowadays the process involves more of an audience behavior research and could be split into three main stages:
- “Top of the funnel” – identify the main audience demand drivers and use surveys to look at your products/services through the eyes of customers;
- “Mid to bottom of the funnel” – audit keywords that already drive traffic by using tools like Google Search Console;
- “Those who aren’t thinking about your product at all” – check out review site, Amazon and eBay to find new keywords that people are using to describe products and services similar to yours.
- Stephan Spencer shared some tactical ideas on how to hire the right SEO specialists like: “Test SEO candidates’ attention to detail, by requiring them to solve a riddle or leave a voicemail message to apply.”
- Duane Forrester from Yext talked about markup, augmented reality, and the changes in user behavior. He shared that the augmented reality is no longer a science-fiction, so if you want to win the race no matter the size of your business, you need to markup and bring your products and services online.
UPDATES FOR FACEBOOK ADVERTISERS
Facebook quietly released the following changes for advertisers:
- The interface of Ads Manager was revamped by merging it with the Power Editor and combing features from both tools;
- New interactive catalogue-like ads were introduced. They are called the “Lifestyle template”and look like print catalogues. Users can buy items directly from the ads just by clicking on the shown products;
- Facebook Canva ads can now run across Instagram Stories. Until recently they were only rolled out on Facebook and the Audience Network;
- Facebook introduced new rules for monetizing your branded content.
FACEBOOK’S PREDICTIVE INTELLIGENCE
Facebook is testing a new ad format based on predictive targeting. Together with the standard notifications like friends’ comments, post likes, or event invitation, Facebook users started receiving notifications about nearby local businesses worth visiting based on their past behaviours. As you can see from the image below, a map with business listings opens when clicking on the notification. The listings contain detailed information about the local businesses like star rating, number of reviews, a product/service’s description based on customer reviews or posts. Clicking on a given listing redirects users to the business’ Facebook Page.
INSTAGRAM’S BLUE CHECK MARKS ON THE BLACK MARKET
According to recent reports there are shady practices on Instagram. Brands and influencers are buying Instagram verification for prices up to $15,000. The main reason for omitting illegal activities is that the verification is exclusive and Instagram users can’t submit a blue verification badge request like its done on Facebook or on Twitter.
Thanks for reading. We walked you through some of the most important SEO, local and search marketing news. Hope you’ve enjoyed the recap and as usual feel free to share it on Twitter, Facebook, or with friends.