SEO Industry Updates

search industry updatesNative Scroll Depth Tracking Plugin Added to GTM

Google is making it easier for webmasters to more easily track how users are consuming content on websites. Google Tag Manager now natively includes a scroll depth trigger tool plugin to report scroll tracking in Google Analytics.

The concept of tracking scroll depth isn’t anything new. Webmasters have traditionally needed to use third-party options for capturing scroll-tracking data. Some of the more commonly used plugins are the Scroll Depth jQuery plugin by Rob Flaherty and Scroll Tracking Recipe by LunaMetrics.

IMI recommends implementing scroll tracking because of its beneficial reasons:

  • Helps measure engagement metrics
  • Provides better data for content-heavy websites, e.g. infographics/long-form content
  • Combining scroll depth data with bounce rate to tell a better story

Scroll tracking can be applied to specific pages or the entire site. The new plugin will track both vertical and horizontal tracking, however, it does not track specific HTML elements. In order to achieve this, a webmaster would need to utilize the Element Visibility Trigger.

New Feature Alert: Booking Buttons Through GMB

There is now a feature, accessible to searchers through Google Maps or Google Search, to add a ‘book online’ button to local businesses. Users can select their appointment time, see pricing, and submit their information to reserve a time.These booking buttons have already been available and seen in the past for specific local panel results. Most recently seen when booking salon and spa appointments (July 2017) and previously, booking fitness classes (December 2016).

From Google: “Fitness and beauty are just the beginning. More service categories will be coming to the Reserve with Google bookings program.”

And now we can see that this statement is true. These booking buttons are now available. However, we are still not certain of the specific local businesses that will have the opportunity to use this feature in the future. [Stay tuned for more information to come].

How does it work?

Log into your Google My Business account

If you already have an account with one of GMB’s supporting schedule providers, the booking button will be added automatically.

If you don’t have an account yet, you will see a button on the main screen asking you to sign up.

Depending on if you have an account set up or not, you will be taken to a page to choose your booking provider (scheduling partners) that your business will work with best. Once you have been enrolled, your account will be eligible to accept bookings through Google.

After a few days, your booking button for your local business should be up and running.

How do we analyze the effectiveness of booking integration?

Specifically through GMB booking reports. This will show you:

  • Your bookings
  • How much money you made with these bookings
  • Each individual booking

How can this help your business?

When searchers are online looking for the ideal salon or gym (or other local businesses specific to their needs), they are trying to decide on the best possible choice. These booking buttons can help your business stand out from the crowd.

All in all, this new feature makes it easy for the searcher to quickly become a customer.

Extra bonus: you can quickly track how many bookings you are getting directly from your GMB dashboard.

Status Update: Mobile-First Index Rollout

Words from Gary Illyes: “The mobile-first index has started to slowly roll out, at least for a “few sites,” relative to the Google index. The reason behind the rollout to only a limited number of sites is to better test mobile-first.”

What is the Mobile-First Index?

Google is now creating and ranking its search listings based on the mobile version of the content, even for listings being shown to desktop users.

Why has Google decided to do this?

More and more searches are happening on mobile, and Google wants its index, as well as results, to represent the majority of users.

The mobile-first index rollout is still being tested, will be a very slow process, and there is no foreseeable time when this rollout will be fully implemented.

When we first heard talk of this new rollout, we were not expecting to see the start of it until 2018. Positive test results have encouraged Google to move forward earlier.

So, how does Google select the sites to be switched over?

Google has set up “classifiers” to determine how ready a site is for mobile-first index. Classifiers determine how comparable the desktop site is to the mobile site when it comes to content, links, schema, multimedia, and more.

If these classifiers all match at 100%, Google is more likely to take the site to the mobile-first indexing stage.

In comparison, if the classifiers are at 80%, Google is more likely to wait and communicate to the webmaster about changes that need to be made to the mobile site to reach 100%.

Gary Illyes: The tests seem to be going very well, and will gradually roll out to more sites. The rollout will go incredibly slow, and Google will communicate the process to webmasters along the way.

Be on the lookout for a Google blog post to help webmasters and SEOs understand the process as well as a timeline or ETA on the newest rollout.

Searches Correspond to User Location Instead of Domain

Google announced this month that they are now aligning search results to a user’s location, not domain. This means that if you are in the United States, your Google Search results will automatically be generated just from the U.S. If you travel to a different country, your results will correspond with your new location. According to Google, one in five searches is location-related, which makes these relevant results even more valuable.

This information furthers what Google has explained in the past about country code top-level domain names, such as for Canada, for example. Google says, “Typing the relevant ccTLD into a browser will no longer return various country services. Instead, users must go into their settings and select the correct country service if they don’t see the country they want while browsing.”

This change will be rolled out for both mobile and desktop usages.

How do these updates affect your marketing?

The goal of this update is to provide a more accurate search experience for users by automatically using their location. For your marketing, this doesn’t change much. It means for your local geographical area, you will continue to be found for relevant searches. Google’s goal is to help businesses and consumers find the right information, faster and this location-based change will help accomplish this.

Want more SEO news? Read [IMI POV] Google Industry Updates October 2017.

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