SEO News Recap – September 2018

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Hey SEO addicts, get the scoop of what’s going on around in SEO and social media marketing with the September edition of our SEO News Recap! Have you heard that Google has finally moved its Search Console out of beta and launched several new reporting features? Also, this month Google improved its Google My Business Insights and review management features. The “Stories” wave is still on the rise and Google decided to jump on the bandwagon. We will also introduce you to the new LinkedIn ad type. Did we catch your interest? Then please read further…

GOOGLE LOCAL EXPERIMENTS

EASIER REVIEW MANAGEMENT ON GOOGLE  

Sometimes making changes to or deleting your reply to a review left on your Google My Business listing can be a lot of time-consuming. The pain is in the past as Google decided to improve their feature. You are now able to edit your responses directly from the local Knowledge panel instead of doing this from your Google My Business dashboard. All you need to do is to log into your GMB account in order to see the new option.

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An edit button appears below your initial response within the Reviews tab of your business listing.

LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR OPENING SOON

Planning to start a new local business? No doubt having a properly set and managed Google My Business listing will affect positively your local business online visibility. The good news is that Google is testing a small but nice tweak to the local Knowledge Panel, allowing you to inform searchers when you will be opening your business’ doors:

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Damian Rollison from Brandify, who were the first to report the test, informed (after making several feature experimentations) that you can add manually the specific opening date in your GMB dashboard only one day beforehand. Otherwise, you can only enter the month and the year, which triggers an indicator like “Opens November” with no specific date within your Knowledge Panel.

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After the opening date, a new “recently opened” indicator shows up within the local KP.

IMPROVED GMB INSIGHTS

Google pimped up the visual appearance of the Insights feature within the Google My Business dashboard.

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The layout has three new tabs – Acquire, reporting on how customers have searched for your business for a given period of time, Engage, showing the number of customer of actions taken on your GMB listing, and Compare. 

GOOGLE GLOBAL EXPERIMENTS

THE NEW SEARCH CONSOLE FINALLY COMES OUT OF BETA

Google officially moved the Search Console out of beta after of a wild testing year. Now you will be automatically directed to the new version when logging in to Google Search Console instead of the old one. However, you can access the old version by clicking on a link located in the left sidebar of the homepage of the new GSC. Together with that Google added a new feature to the URL Inspection tool that allows you to test if your live URLs can be indexed.

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You can also submit a request for indexing those URLs.

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Google also brought in some old features like the “Manual actions” report with redesigned interface to the new Search Console.

A BUNCH OF FRESH NEW SEARCH UPDATES

Google just added several new features to its search engine. Here is a summary of some of the most important updates, which the giant introduced at a small press event in San Francisco:

    • Similar to Instagram and Facebook Stories, Google will soon adopt this popular visual format and bring it to search and image results. Google informed that they are planning to use artificial intelligence to generate the stories and to help publishers make their content more appealing to their target audience. When rolled out the first stories will be focusing on famous people like celebrities and athletes;
    • A new “activity card” was added at the top of the search results that shows pages you’ve previously visited together with the queries about the topic you are searching for. It’s worth to note that you’re allowed to delete data from your activity card:

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    • You are now able to save content from “activity card” into a unit, called “Collections”. Later based on the things you’ve saved and your search history, the search engine will recommend you new content for your collections when browsing;
    • Google will bring a new “Discover” feed to its mobile app and the home screens of Google’s Pixel devices. The feed will be based on your saved preferences and will display recommended content like videos and news.
    • A new feature called “Pathways” will be launched, aiming to help you learn new skills in order to increase the chances of getting the job of your dreams. When you search for job-related information, search results will show relevant training programs and open job positions in your area. The initial test of the feature will be in Virginia:

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  • A new “featured videos” card including a collection of preview videos relevant to your search will start to play automatically in search results. When you click on one of the videos you will be able to watch the video to the end;
  • A “Google Lens” update to Google Images will enable you to select certain objects within an image and view other images in relation to the items you’ve selected.

YOU HAVE BEEN AUTOMATICALLY LOGGED IN

The latest version of Chrome (Chrome 69) now has a new syncing feature, connecting the browser with other Google products. It automatically logs you into Chrome when you enter your login info into Gmail or YouTube. Google released the update with the intention to bring more convenience to users. However, it raised criticism in terms of privacy. Google tried to calm the situation down by explaining that your browsing history data isn’t automatically send to them if you haven’t opted in for that.

Along with this update, Google decided also to get rid of the protocol and “trivial subdomains”, including “www.” and “m.”, from the displayed URL in the new Chrome. This raised security concerns among SEO specialists about misleading users when browsing through different sites. For example, the site m.tumblr.com will now appear as “tumblr.com” in the URL bar, though the property is not owned by Tumblr. You can disable this feature by visiting “chrome://flags and selecting the “Disable” option within the section “Omnibox UI Hide Steady-State URL Scheme and Trivial Subdomains”.

SEARCH RESULTS GETTING MORE VISUAL

Google is getting a lot more visual in order to keep you on the search results pages. SEO specialists spotted Google testing image thumbnails in the sitelinks carousel within the mobile search results snippets.
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MASTER YOUR STRUCTURED DATA

Google officially published a guide for adding and validating several types of structured data to your site. The 29-min tutorial walks you through the basics of including structured data to a HTML site, avoiding common mistakes like syntax problems and forgetting to add a required property as well as how to test your structured data.

DATA STUDIO NO LONGER BEING TESTED

Google’s free tool for turning raw data into reports finally moves out of beta. Moreover, if you use Google’s Marketing Platform, you will be able to access the Data Studio reports within other Google’s tools like Google Analytics and Tag Manager.

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Moreover, you are now able to combine data from several resources in a single chart with data blending.

MORE TRAFFIC FROM MOBILE

Between September 17th and September 19th Google had a mass campaign of rolling out its mobile-first indexing to more and more websites.

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Many SEO specialist reported on getting email notifications that their sites have been moved. Don’t forget to check your Google Analytics account for increased traffic flow from mobile devices in case of receiving a message from Google.

INDUSTRY “OUT-OF-THE-BLUE”

STRATEGIC MOVES IN THE LOCAL SEARCH FORUM

The local Search Forum, the place for sharing and seeking for local SEO tips and information, now has a new owner – the company of the SEO expert, Joy Hawkins. Linda Buquet, who founded and till now ran the forum, decided to go into full retirement due to health issues. Not so long after that with the acquirement, the new owner launched a new forum design and decided to start running a new forum software, Xenforo.

SAY GOODBYE TO ANONYMOUS URL SUBMISSIONS ON BING

After Google retired it’s feature for public URL submissions to its search index a couple of months ago Bing also decided to kill off its method of submitting anonymous URLs. The decision was taken in an attempt to protect the quality of search engines’ results and to get rid of the spam. You can now submit content through the Bing’s Submit URL tool only after logging into the tool and verifing your site.

SOCIAL MEDIA

LINKEDIN PIMPS UP ITS ADVERTISING

LinkedIn launched a new advertising method called Dynamic Ads. According to LinkedIn the new ad type generates twice the CTR of traditional display ads.

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This ad type enables you to add a more personalized touch to your ads by featuring LinkedIn users’ information like profile image, first name, company, and job title.

You just need to setup the campaign, create your ad content and then LinkedIn automatically personalizes your campaign for the members you choose to target. The new advertising type also has an auto-translation feature that will help you catch the attention of your audience, no matter the language they use. Dynamic Ads are available in the following formats:

  • “Follower ads” to increase your followers base;
  • “Spotlight ads” to drive website traffic and promote your products, services, newsletter or events;
  • “Content Ads” to generate leads or to trigger content downloads (Note that if you want to use this format you need to contact a LinkedIn sales representative).

Do you have anything to add to our September’s SEO news digest? Don’t hesitate to do it in the comments below and don’t forget to hit the share button, if you enjoyed the post!