SEO Industry Updates – October 2018

search industry updatesGoogle Maps “Follow” Button Provides New Way for Businesses to Connect with Users

Summary

In Mobile Search, Google Maps now has a “follow” button to business listings. Once a user follows a business, the business sends updates to the user through the “For You” tab. This was announced in May and rolled out in June of this year. It is an area within Google Maps where curated recommendations are sent for users based on preferences they’ve shared.

With this newest feature, new businesses can list their business and location profile via Google My Business three months prior to their open date, giving users a heads up on what’s to come with new location openings.

“And for those of you who want to be in the know about all the new places opening around town, you’ll start seeing profiles for places before they even open on Google Maps for Android and mobile search—just look for the opening date in orange,” stated Google Maps product manager, Paul Cole.

Once a user clicks on the “follow” button within a business listing, Google Post updates from that business are delivered to the user’s “For You” tab.

Why should we care?

Google Maps and Google My Business are key to Local Search Marketing. Now with the new “follow” button added to these profiles and business listings, it allows companies to engage with their customers in a new and improved way.

Takeaways

  • This newest Google Maps feature is rolling out.
  • The “follow” button was rolled out on Google Maps for Android devices, but Google did not mention when the feature will be released on IOS devices.
  • Once you “follow” a business listing, Google will send recommendations based on your preferences to your “For You” tab.
  • Businesses in Google Maps can now open a Google My Business listing three months prior to their scheduled open date.

Google Search Console Data Now in Search Results

When a site owner searches for queries related to their site, Google now displays a brief summary of Google Search Console (GSC) metrics directly in the search results. This information is only visible to verified users or property owners who are signed into Google, using the same account that is connected to GSC.  

Metrics include clicks, impressions, and average position over 7 days, compared to the previous 7 days. Expect to see this dashboard when you search for your branded keywords, as well as some high-ranking, non-branded keywords.

It appears Google is testing this new feature to make GSC data more accessible to site owners. Google has rolled out major upgrades to GSC this year, and this preview in search results is a way for site owners to be more aware of the data available to them.  

Also included in the “see ways to improve” expansion tab are links to the full Google Search Console report, as well as some best practices for helping people find your site on Google.

DuckDuckGo is Making Waves

Summary

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that’s focused on user privacy. In early October, the company announced on Twitter that they’ve reached an average of 30 million queries per day. According to Founder Gabriel Weinberg, they have been growing about 50% per year.

Why Should We Care?

While this rise draws attention, it is meek in comparison to Google’s tens of billions of searches a day. However, the recent attention to privacy regulation in the U.S. have some users wary of their online security. This may lead to continued growth for DuckDuckGo, which claims to not rely on collecting personal data.

For website owners and marketers, DuckDuckGo can cause a snag in analytics. Currently organic traffic from DuckDuckGo is attributed as referral traffic in Google Analytics (GA) rather than organic. Setting up an advanced filter in GA can be a solution.

DuckDuckGo features advertising in the form of sponsored links that are syndicated through Yahoo!, as part of the Yahoo-Microsoft search alliance. Ads set up in Bing Ads will automatically be included in DuckDuckGo, as it is part of Bing’s distribution channels.

Takeaways

  • DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine with an increasing number of queries – reaching 30 million queries a day in October 2018.
  • Public awareness of privacy regulation may mean continued growth for DuckDuckGo.
  • Google Analytics attributes DuckDuckGo organic traffic as referral, but advanced filters can force organic attribution.
  • Sponsored links in DuckDuckGo are syndicated through Yahoo! and part of Bing’s distribution channels.

Google Redesigns Hotel Search Listings

Overview

Following previous updates to their flights and hotel listings earlier this year, Google has rolled out a new hotel search results experience for desktop. Searches such as “hotels in San Diego” will now allow users to view information on hotels including photos, nightly pricing, and booking options.

The new interface allows filtering for additional attributes, such as hotel amenities, ratings, and deals. In addition to filtering options, users will also be able to view information about the neighborhood the hotel is located in with a score for its proximity to local landmarks and attractions.

Takeaways

  • By updating the interface, Google wants to be the first stop in travel search over Tripadvisor or Yelp.
  • While visitors still have the option to book through third-party sites such as Hotels.com or Expedia, Google has also recently updated their hotel ads platform to allow businesses to appear in their search listing.
  • As searches for travel plans become more frequent through mobile devices, Google is also providing city guides that include articles about main attractions and events. If your business is in the travel and hospitality industry, this could be an additional opportunity to gain traffic to your site.

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