If you’re extremely pushed for time we’ve condensed this month’s post into the one-minute video below.
Your to do list this month!
- Keep publishing Google Posts
- Have a look at the new feature on Google Maps and mention to your network that they can now follow your business there
- Read a whitepaper about what influences your chances of ranking in a local pack
- Publish some services on your Google My Business profile
Google Posts demoted on the SERPs, but offered a lifeline?
Filed under: Local > Google My Business optimisation
We’ve talked a lot about Google Posts over the last 12 months, in various episodes of SEO you need to know, in a how-to blog post and of course to our clients. Google have suggested new ways to use them, introduced new features, which was why we, like the good people at DealerOn were surprised to see them demoted on knowledge panels on search engines results pages (SERPs) of late.
We only need to go back to June of this year to see they were positioned just below the key business information (below left) and now they’re almost at the very bottom of the panel, way below the fold (right, keeping scrolling down!).
The situation is the same on mobile. sadly I can only find a screenshot from a mobile SERP from the end of 2017, but you can see how prominent the Post was here (below left), compared with now, where they are only visible when you click on the tab, Posts (below right).
Well my guess is that the uptake on Posts has been poor, although we can’t find any data to back this up. It is surprising since they are easy enough to create. The main issue has been they only have a SERP-life (see what I’ve done there?) of seven days, unless they’re promoting an upcoming event. This is partly the reason why we recently introduced these services to help business owners create them.
Interestingly, Google announced towards the end of last month a new feature on Maps where users can follow businesses of interest to them. This is only available via the Google Maps App on Android devices at the time of writing this. It looks highly likely that businesses that are creating Posts and being followed on Maps, will feed information to their followers through the format of Google Posts.
So on one hand they’re being downplayed, the other they’re being promoted, so it’s anyone’s guess what the future is for Google Posts.
And finally whilst we’re on Posts, be aware that if you do plan to publish them, that Google do have a profanity filter in place, should you be planning to use any of the more Anglo-Saxon words in our vocabulary. Some of the words are highlighted in this Post courtesy of Sterling Sky, should you fancy a chuckle.
We suggest our clients continue to create Google Posts, they can attract clicks, and they improve your coverage on the knowledge panel.
Discover brings the content you’re interested in, to you
Filed under: The SERPs > Discover
Towards the end of September, on the occasion of their 20th birthday, as highlighted right here last month, Google made a series of announcements about how they planned to revolutionize search over the next two decades. One of these was the re-branding and redesign of the Google feed, which is now known simply as Discover.
You’ll no doubt have seen it if you’ve used Chrome recently.
They claim they’re making it easier than ever before to bring the news you’re interested in directly to you, and who are we argue? Certainly it’s easy to remove content you’re not interested in (see below), and the majority that’s in my feed, sorry Discover (you try talking about Discover without using the word feed!), looks pretty relevant to me.
Whilst not exactly a revolution in my eyes, and not strictly speaking related to the SERPs, as you see Discover before you conduct a search, this is something you need to be aware of if you’re a content publisher and/or are interested in SEO, as Google have provided another way for users to find what they’re looking for directly on their search engine.
Study provides new evidence about what it takes to rank in the local pack
Filed under: Local > Local pack
We read an interesting whitepaper last month, and in what could be deemed a slow-news month, we thought we’d cover it!
STAT, who’ve recently joined forces with SEO-industry-behemoth Moz, published a study they’d completed into the factors that influence the likelihood of a businesses appearing in the local pack (i.e. the map). They inputted over a million keywords, broadly split into three groups – those with ‘near’ local intent e.g. [restaurants near me], potentially ‘far’ local intent [restaurants Haywards Heath] and a base set which had no geo-modifiers at all [restaurants] – as we know that searchers are stating their location less and less in the keywords they use, since they know Google know where they are!
I’m not going to get into the findings here, some of which was very much what I would have expected – i.e. the location of the searcher continues to play a huge part – but if you are interested in what it takes to rank in the pack, then devoting 20 minutes to reading this whitepaper might be a very good use of your time.
Show off your services on your knowledge panel
Filed under: Local > Google My Business optimisation
And finally this month, we wanted to highlight something that was actually announced back in April, but we didn’t see it until last month, as with a lot of these announcements from Google, they can take a little while to travel across the pond.
It was actually a webinar held by our SEO tool provider SEMrush, which featured a presentation by renowned local SEO expert Joy Hawkins that brought this to our attention.
You’ve been able to add Services to your Google My Business profile for a few months. What we didn’t realise was that they’ve been displaying on your knowledge panel – most likely since April of this year – but on mobile devices only (as per the screenshot below).
Since we hadn’t seen them on desktop view, we assumed this was one of those features that hadn’t been fully rolled out yet – like Messaging for example – but it just goes to show, that in all the hustle and bustle of the search industry, some things can get past us! In our defence, we are human.
If you have Services you’d like to promote, login to your Google My Business dashboard and add them. You don’t have to include a price for each service if you don’t want to.
Main image by Couleur