What’s new in local search?
For Android users, Android Police have reported that the new Google Maps interface is currently testing category suggestions such as ‘restaurants’ and ‘petrol stations’ based on your location. If this test is successful, it would encourage further personalisation of search, making local search more effective, useful and user-friendly.
Google Posts is now allowing users to upload videos as well as pictures, so people and businesses can add content directly to Google to appear for their brand terms.
This is great news for brand search because these posts can further promote brand messages and create intriguing content users will want to engage with.
It’s available on desktop and mobile search, therefore brands should ensure that any videos made are suitable for mobile viewing, as we’re moving closer to the mobile-first index.
Customers will now be receiving notifications from Google My Business to let them know businesses have responded to their reviews.
This is a really useful move from Google as it’s always important to handle feedback from customers, whether it is positive or negative, so now there is further motivation, aside from a good relationship, for business owners to interact with their customers.
Google will be providing tips in the next few weeks to optimise the responses sent to users.
Updates confirmed by Google
You heard it here! We’ve been keeping an eye out this month for updates from Google confirming useful updates that us digital marketers should be aware of.
More mobile first index talk
There has been further development of the move towards the mobile-first index after it was spotted on Twitter that there have been more reports of sites receiving confirmation emails that this change will be happening to their site.
This should act as a further reminder (I know we add this in every month!), that you should make sure your mobile site is suitable for ranking and indexing, as Google will use this version for search performance once you have been eventually notified.
Google’s John Mueller confirmed what kind of components are not a ranking factor for featured snippets. The authority of a site does not necessarily mean it will rank in the snippets, this is because Google claims it is the quality of the content provided for the snippet which has a large influence on who will rank for it.
Fluctuations are normal
Google has confirmed it is completely normal for sites to experience big ranking fluctuations once content changes, even good ones, have been published.
This is because Google over or under-estimates where the content will rank when it initially indexes new content. Within a few weeks, the fluctuations should begin to level out to the position that Google deems appropriate for the site, which is worth keeping in mind if you come to experience large rises or drops when reporting visibility, especially when your site contains recently updated content.
The much talked about GDPR updates could be affecting your site (of course, we had to add it in). If you use interstitials/pop-ups to alert users about GDPR changes, content on your site may not be crawled by Google if the pop-up is intrusive.
Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that you do not need to use this kind of pop-up to alert users of GDPR changes and there is no exception for using an intrusive pop-up. It is important to ensure pop-ups are restricted for mobile use because using them can lead to penalties.
PDFs on mobile
Google has confirmed the obvious, there is no kind of ‘mobile-friendly’ PDF. Search Console is marking even small mobile optimised PDFs as ‘not mobile-friendly,’ which should serve as a reminder that content should always be mobile-friendly.
Not only should this content be mobile optimised but you need to ensure that it aligns with Google’s mobile-first guidelines.
And one from Bing…
Bing rolled out ‘intelligent answers’ just before the turn of the New Year and we’re now seeing that it has been updated to include answers from more than one source. This allows it to utilise all forms of search answer, making their answers relevant in many ways.
Bing will only display answers that rely on multiple resources to support one answer.