SEO News & Updates
Oh the ever-changing game of SEO. Coffee in hand? Good.
Here is the latest SEO news and updates for your reading pleasure.
EU Asks Google To Publicly Reveal Ranking Factors
According to Reuters, Google could face new European Union rules on their commercial practices with businesses that use their services.
The European Commission is currently drafting a new regulation that will require Google to be more transparent in how they rank search results.
The new proposal aims to address harmful trading practices and address the negative impact dropping from search results can have on business revenue.
It was only last year that Google was hit with a 2 billion dollar fine for favouring its own shopping service over that of its rivals.
Under the new proposal, operators of search engines, app stores and e-commerce sites such as eBay, will be required to specify the “most important parameters determining ranking.”
The proposal will not force said companies to disclose their algorithms but to explain “how and to what extent the relevant ranking mechanism takes account of the quality of the products and services offered.”
A notice period of at least 15 days for changes to terms and conditions will have to be given. They will also have to provide individualised descriptions of why businesses have been de-listed or suspended.
The proposal is set to be published in April, after which it will have to be agreed by national governments and the European Parliament. Right now, it is simply a proposed rule and not in effect.
Google My Business Updates
Business owners can now see a heatmap of locations from which searchers request directions to their businesses.
This allows businesses to track which areas customers are requesting directions from. It will show you where on the map customers request directions to your business and the most popular places people request from.
How does this benefit the digital marketeer? The information provided will allow for better, tailored marketing.
New Business Descriptions
According to Search Engine Land, Business owners might soon have the option to write and edit descriptions in Google’s local knowledge panel. These descriptions could appear alongside the local panel in search results.
As always, watch this space.
Advertisers will soon be able to re target searchers with YouTube ads. In other words, any YouTube viewers who have previously searched for related products and services.
Search Engine Land gives this example,
“If a person recently searched for ‘best wireless headphones’, they may be shown ads from headphone manufacturers the next time they visit YouTube.”
To be eligible to display ads to ‘custom intent audiences’, simply create a keyword list for your specific video campaign. Google even recommends combining custom intent audiences with TrueView for action. This allows you to customise a call-to-action in your video ad.
Other Google Ad Updates
• Being rolled out over the next few weeks – advertisers will have the ability to leave annotations on performance graphs.
• An ‘Opportunities’ page will now direct advertisers to the most actionable fixes for their accounts.
• Advertisers can now view their performance score
Formal Reporting Changes
In 2016, Google rolled out a click to-message extension for Adwords. The message extensions allowed users to message a business directly from the ad.
Now, there will be formal reporting for messaging which is being rolled out in the US, UK, Canada, France, Brazil and Australia.
Just remember, if you are to use message extensions then you need to ensure that message reporting is turned on in account settings.
Each session will be charged as a click.
What will it measure?
• Chat Rate
• Start Time
• Number of Messages Exchanged
Read Google’s best practices guide for message extensions.
Google Images Update
In a bid to add more context to image results, Google will now display a caption alongside an image in mobile search results. These captions are pulled from the page title tag and will be shown below the image and above the page URL.
The rollout is global and will be implemented for mobile browsers and the Google App for iOS and Android.
Google has been investing a lot of time in expanding visual search features. Last year, we had the badges rollout and the related searches box as well as the removal of certain buttons last month.
For now, Google will take the captions from web titles but they are ‘continually experimenting with ways to improve the experience.’
Read the full announcement here.
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