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!
- Learn about Local Teasers and why they’re important
- Find out what the confirmed Local Search algorithm update may mean for your business
- Check your messages from Google in Search Console
- Watch the latest Search for Beginners videos
Local Teasers; the full reveal
Filed under: Local SEO > Local Pack
Our lead story this month highlights the rise of the Local Teaser feature, particularly on mobile search engine results pages (SERPs), and why you need to be aware of them.
A Local Teaser is very similar to the Local Pack feature.
A Local Pack is often returned for searches with local intent e.g. [kitchen showroom near me], as below.
Note, the screenshot above was taken from a desktop computer.
The screenshot below, for the same query performed from the same place, was on a mobile device.
Can you see the major difference?
That’s right, there are no website links on the second.
Packs with no website links are sometimes known as Local Teasers.
Sometimes they don’t have links to call a business, as per the mobile SERP below for the search [chip shop near me].
Google decide what information to show, alongside the business name, and they base this decision on the search and the device.
But why am I mentioning this now?
I think this is really important for business owners to understand, as SEO tracking tools like SEMrush, which are commonly used in this industry, can’t easily distinguish between Local Packs and Local Teasers.
SEMrush provide ranking data as if they were the same – but they can’t provide Local Teaser ranking information for any competitors being tracked.
The best way to illustrate this is via the screenshot below.For the search [gynecomastia surgery] in Bristol on mobile, Mr Sherif Wilson FRCS (Plast) is correctly reported as appearing in position 1, yet Bristol Plastic Surgery are reported as appearing in position 9 when you can see they actually appear in this Local Teaser in position 3.
Position 9 is where their content snippet appears in the organic results.
We understand why it’s difficult for SEMrush to report this correctly. We hope they solve it as this would make their already fantastic resource even more useful!
The other reason we wanted to mention this here is that you should take this into consideration when assessing the performance of your SEO agency or consultant.
Many SEO’s measure their successes in terms of clicks. However, the proliferation of Local Teasers mean that less clicks are generally available.
Your SEO may be doing a good job, but this may not always convert to website clicks.
Are you tracking your keyword rankings on mobile devices? Are there Local Teasers on the SERPs for these keywords? It’s probably worth taking a look as mobile continues to grow as the device we use to perform our searches.
Local Search algorithm update confirmed by Google
Filed under: The SERPs > Algo updates
In last month’s SEO you need to know we suggested there had been a Local Search algorithm update in November.
At the start of December, Google confirmed that there had been, they provided some useful insight about it and trademarked it the Nov. 2019 Local Search Update.
The long and the short of it is that they’re now using neural matching to better understand search queries with local intent – in much the same way as they have been for all other queries since 2018.
Our understanding is that Google now look way beyond basic information like the business name, when it comes to deciding which businesses to rank highest.
This is great news for businesses that deserve a decent ranking, but don’t have keyword-friendly business names, and haven’t added keywords to their business name field (which goes against GMB guidelines!).
You can read all about the update via the Twitter thread below. There’s nothing as such that business owners need to do.
Google have previously provided advice on how to improve your local rankings, and we’re told that advice has not changed.
Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines updated again (a little!)
Filed under: Content > Guidelines
The changes made this time were far from radical. If you did want to compare and contrast, the best place to do this is this article on Search Engine Land.
We created a digest of these guidelines fairly recently, which admittedly don’t take into account these latest revisions, but we’d encourage you to read this should you not have the time to read all 168 pages.
Messages from Google are back in Search Console
Filed under: Reporting > Google Search Console
Google announced at the start of December that the messages they send to webmasters are available in the ‘new’ Search Console.
Google periodically email Search Console profile owners with information about their websites.
This feature has now been carried across from the old version and can be found on the right hand side of the dashboard by clicking on the bell.
What’s more, they’ve introduced categories for these messages, namely; Coverage, Enhancement types, Performance, and others, and highlighted that messages are available back to 23 May 2019.
Take a look!
Two more videos explaining Google Search released
Filed under: SEO resources > Video
The former clearly explains the key processes of crawling, indexing and ranking. I can see this is one I’ll go back to regularly when explaining the concept of Search to clients. It’s well worth a look if any of these terms confuse you.
The other introduces the site command search and explain how you can submit content to Google.
All good stuff.
Take a look at the new vids. And, as Adam Buxton would say, like and subscribe.
Or keep it locked to SEO you need to know for further updates.
New photos showing as Posts on Google My Business (GMB)
Filed under: Local SEO > Google My Business optimisation
Here’s an odd one. When you add new photos to your GMB profile, as well as being added as you’d expect, they are displayed where your Google Posts would normally show.
If you’re not familiar with Google Posts you should read the blog post we wrote about them a couple of years ago – it’s still relevant.
Whilst this was reported as a potential bug in the GMB Help forum it turns out this is in fact a new feature.
We quite like it, but be aware, you can’t – at the time of writing – remove the photos from being displayed in the Google Posts section.
Keep adding relevant photos to your GMB profile, it’s what we’re told to do by Google.
Choose area introduced to Local Packs on mobile
Filed under: category > sub-category
You may have noticed this one yourself.
Towards the end of last month, we started to see a choose area option, appearing at the top of Local Packs on mobile devices.Whilst not a revolution in itself, it does show Google are trying to help users even more, by making it easier for them to choose an alternative location.
We like this change. Google shouldn’t assume all searches with local intent without a location-specific geo-modifier are for the location when the search is performed.
None, we just wanted you to be aware of the change.