If you’re extremely pushed for time we’ve condensed this month’s post into the short video below.
Your to-do list this month!
- Select some service areas for your business if you serve your customers at their location
- Check you’re happy with the logo you’ve assigned in your Google My Business (GMB) profile
- Read Google’s post about core updates
- Find out what changed with featured snippets
Service areas and logos more prominent on Knowledge Panels
Filed under: Local SEO > Knowledge Panel
A topic being discussed on the excellent Local Search Forum last month caught our eye.
They were discussing a change to how service areas were being displayed on mobile Knowledge Panels. Last month it hadn’t rolled out here in the UK, but now it has.
Whilst this new feature isn’t visible by default – if you click on OVERVIEW or the ‘More about ***business name here***’ link (highlighted below left), it’s in a very prominent position just below the address (below right).
If having this sort of information available on your profile would be useful, then you need to add your service areas via your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Google are pretty clear in their guidelines about how to add or edit service areas.
A business can have both a physical address listed on Google Maps – should they have a bricks & mortar presence where they welcome customers during the hours stated in their profile – and service areas, should they personally deliver their products or services to their customers locations.
The Fireplace Company for example have a showroom for their fireplace and stoves in Crowborough (I’m sure they’ll thank me for this keyword-rich, in article, anchor text link) and also deliver to and install products at their customers houses. So they have a regular GMB listing and service areas specified within it.
Whilst we’re on Knowledge Panels, you might have noticed that the logo taken from your GMB listing is now also appearing, on mobile and desktop, as below.
If you don’t have a GMB listing for your business – that would be the place to start. Before you start the process, you must decide if you need a regular listing (your business has a physical presence that customers can visit unannounced during stated hours) or a service-area listing (i.e. does not welcome ad-hoc customers during stated hours). If you opt for the former, and you provide a service at your clients locations, you should add service areas too.
If you’re not happy with the logo being displayed for your business, go ahead and change it.
Another month, another Google Search core update
Filed under: The SERPs > Algo updates
As you probably know by now, if you’re a regular subscriber to SEO you need to know, we don’t get to hung up on announcements about core updates to Google Search.
We believe if you’re applying the good practice suggested by Google, these updates shouldn’t be much cause for alarm. If anything, they should be a wholly positive experience!
But report on them we should. You may have experienced fluctuations in your keyword rankings for a period from 13 January when the latest update rolled out globally.
Google, as is their way these days, pre-announced this update on Twitter.
They provided a link to their What webmasters should know about Google’s core updates blog post, to preempt the ‘what should I do?’ questions they were likely to be inundated with.
Read the aforementioned post, or re-read if you haven’t recently.
If you’ve not got time to read the whole thing, just scan to the questions section and look at the categories for each; i.e. Content and quality questions, Expertise questions, Presentation and production questions and Comparative questions. This should give you an idea about what you should be doing with your content and how to display it on your website.
Deduplication of featured snippets
Filed under: The SERPs > Featured snippets
Google also announced last month – also on Twitter – a change to the way content that appears in coveted featured snippet positions are displayed elsewhere on their SERPs.
The change is a pretty simple one. They’ll only appear once on the first page from now.
Briefly, a featured snippet is a type of content snippet, that is displayed for some (but not all) searches, above the other snippets in the organic listings, towards the top of the first page.
Until 23 January 2020, they were also repeated further down the page. But not any more, as per the before and after screenshots below.
We think this is perfectly sensible of Google. It reduces clutter.
SEO’s have historically used the position of a content snippet as a gauge for the feasibility of earning a featured snippet for a client. It was widely agreed that it would be pretty unlikely to earn that position until the content appeared in any position on page 1. So that kind of goes out of the window now.
You just need to decide whether going after featured snippets is still a tactic for you. Some studies – including one by ahrefs – suggested that content snippets in positions 1 – 2 on the SERPs attract more clicks than featured snippets.
Whilst we can’t argue against this – we haven’t performed our own study looking at over 2 million SERPs with featured snippets on them – our gut feel is that we’d continue to recommend our clients target these positions.
If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat it in the first page of results. This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 23, 2020
Favicons on desktop SERPs, did you see them?
Filed under: The SERPs > Design/Features
Favicons – which incidentally is a word I’m happy pronouncing fave-icon or fav-econ – is the name given to the small, square, logo that you can populate with your own branding on your website. Currently they are visible in the tabs at the top of most browser windows, and in the content snippets of the SERPs on mobile, as below.
From the 13th of last month, they appeared in content snippets on desktop SERPs too, but only for a short time until they were pulled.
My reading of this is that this change was widely disliked and that Google were swift to react to this feedback.
For the record, we quite liked the change, but there you go.
Add a Favicon to your website if you haven’t already. They show them on mobile search, so there’s no reason not to do this. Plus I wouldn’t rule out that they’ll be back on desktop SERPs sometime soon.
An important update! We’ve heard your feedback about the look. We always want to make Search better, so we’re going to experiment with new placements for favicons on desktop. Please see here for more: https://t.co/R4RjQ53cXe
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 24, 2020
Two more videos released in Google’s Search for Beginners series
Filed under: SEO resources > Video
We’ve said before that we’re really enjoying this series on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel. The two videos released last month don’t disappoint either. We’re pretty sure we’ll be referring to these when explaining the concept and importance of SEO to our future clients!
Episode 6 – Search Console explained (and why you need it) – includes the line “it helps you understand whether your site is on Google and how Google Search and the world sees it.” I couldn’t, and probably haven’t, summarised it better myself.
Episode 7 – Top 5 things to consider for your website – gets straight to the point. I’m looking forward to the video they’ve got in the pipeline for tip 5.
Watch, like and subscribe.