Kapil Pershad / March 1 2017
February 2017 SEO Updates

LATEST HAPPENINGS IN THE WORLD OF MOBILE ADS AND LOCAL SEARCH FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 2017

MOBILE FIRST INDEX: TOOLS THAT WILL HELP YOU PREPARE FOR THE IMPACT

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GOOGLE’S MOBILE INTERSTITIAL RANKING DEMOTION

YAHOO IS TAKING IT’S LAST BREATH!

GOOGLE HAS INTRODUCED AUTOMATED CALL EXTENSIONS ON MOBILE ADS

FACEBOOK IS GOING TO PLAY MOBILE ADS IN THE “MIDDLE” OF ITS VIDEOS

  • Google My Business’s photo management platform has just been updated. The new interface is very user-friendly and lets you organize the photos with ease. However, they are rolling this update slowly. So if you haven’t witnessed the change yet, have patience as you will be able to see it in near future.
  • Google has introduced business location insights in the Google My Business API. It will let the business owners know about the current trends, number of searches, views, and actions performed. Find out more about this update on their blog.
  • Safari for iOS is now showing click to call button in its instant answers section bypassing Google. The information is being pulled from Yelp, TripAdvisor and the business’ website.
  • A search for some money keywords might return with local inventory ads instead of the local pack. Currently, Google is testing it and might roll out in near future.
  • Soon you will be able to book hotel rooms at the best possible rates, thanks to Google as it “might” start showing price trends for hotel listings.

LATEST HAPPENINGS IN THE WORLD OF LOCAL SEARCH FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 2017

Bing is testing a new look for their local listings. The have also added a Google-like “Popular times” feature.

  • Bing has come up with this unique feature called “Send directions to your phone”. As of now, it’s in the testing phase.
  • Wouldn’t it be great if you can see all the events “happening today” in your town directly on the map? Google is trying to do just that. Take a look at the screenshots shared by a user.
  • No need to visit different sites as you can now read book previews directly in the Google search results. Here’s an example.

  • After helping us with the traffic, Google is now going to help us with parking too. If everything goes as planned, it will be one of the best features

Getting support for your Google My Business needs is not that easy anymore. People are reporting that Google has removed the “Contact us” link, and getting help from the team requires continuous efforts. However, this direct link is still working so save it for future. And if that link suddenly leads you nowhere, you can follow these steps published by Mike Blumenthal:

To get in touch with Google My Business Support you need to:

    1. Log into your Google my business dashboard http://www.google.com/mybusiness
    2. select support from upper left hamburger menu
    3. A help screen will appear to the right
    4. It used to be just a scroll down to contact us
    5. But now you have to dig into the specific problem
    6. Click though to the appropriate help page
    7. Read the help page and then
    8. Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose most appropriate contact method for you (some are not always available)

MOBILE FIRST INDEX: TOOLS THAT WILL HELP YOU PREPARE FOR THE IMPACT

When you enter your website’s URL, it displays your websites mobile friendliness and also sends you reports to your email stating what your website is lacking. Not only that, it also provides you with ideas on how you can improve it. Make sure the maximum use of it.

Google is going to roll out the mobile first index very soon and those who haven’t opted for responsive websites should go for it as soon as possible. Also, if this the first time you have heard about “Mobile first index” then leave everything and just click here to know the details about this major shift. There have been two shifts in preparation:

Search Console Reports

Google often does not openly discuss upcoming changes but this time they are doing whatever they can in order to inform people about the major shift. John Muller recently said that those who are going to get impacted by the shift will receive warning and guidelines within their Google Search Console accounts so that they can resolve the issues before the changes take place.

“We will inform people when we get closer, when we actually have a date, so there is sufficient time for people to kind of resolve issues that they may need to resolve.

We’ll try to also inform sites where we recognize issues, so if we recognize that maybe your mobile version doesn’t have all of the same content or markup that your desktop version has then we’ll try and let you know about that through Search Console as well, so that you kind of are aware of these issues and kind of have time to resolve them.”

New TestMySite Tool

Google has also introduced a new tool using which you can check the mobile friendliness of your website: https://testmysite.withgoogle.com. This new tool replaces the old search console mobile friendly tool.

Vital details you must be aware of:

  • Demotion has been applied on a page by page basis.
  • Giving legal notices using popups is now fine.
  • However, delayed popups will come under the radar.
  • Language popups for the global website will get affected from it.
  • Keep in mind that it will lead to a lower ranking, the sites will not get penalized.
  • This demotion will get triggered by the on-scroll popups too!
  • It has nothing to do with Mobile friendly test.
  • Web sites will not get negative rankings for showing exit popups.
  • Action bars, slide-ins, and banners are allowed.

Google’s Mobile Interstitial ranking demotion went live on Jan 10th as confirmed by Google’s John Muller in a tweet.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GOOGLE’S MOBILE INTERSTITIAL RANKING DEMOTION

YAHOO IS TAKING IT’S LAST BREATH!

It’s ironic that a search engine that was supposed to acquire Google is being killed by the same. Google has pulled out the plugs and Yahoo is taking the last breath. However, they have decided to donate the organs and Verizon and Alibaba has come forward to receive it.

You might be aware that Verizon is acquiring Yahoo and the rest of Yahoo is becoming Altaba, once the process is completed. Be informed that Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer and co-founder David Filo will leave the company as soon as the deal get closed.

However, we don’t have any stakes in the company but still are feeling a bit sad that a company, which was there from the very start will be no more. Millenials are surely going to miss the Yahoo messenger and the rest will miss the all loaded home page of Yahoo.

But like it’s said, the change is often painful but necessary, so maybe it’s possible that Verizon will infuse new life into the company and we will be able to witness a new and improved search engine that is ready to compete with the King of search engines “Google”.

GOOGLE HAS INTRODUCED AUTOMATED CALL EXTENSIONS ON MOBILE ADS

From now on, call extensions will be automatically generated and will be displayed in Mobile ads. You don’t need to manually put it in your ads, just highlight it on your landing page and Google will do the job for you.

Google has predicted that businesses will get 19% more calls from mobile search engines as compared to the mobile landing pages. After-all, who will not love the convenience of contacting the business directly from the search.

However, not all business owners will be very excited about this new update because they may like to be contacted through other mediums and some may not like to pay for the clicks from search engines.

These business owners can simply opt out by following the below steps:

1. Go to the Ad extensions tab and select “View automated extensions report”

2. The click on the automated extension options (advanced) and then click on Edit.

3. Check the “Do not use specific automated extensions for this account” option available at the bottom.

Keep in mind that after Feb 6, you will have to remove any automatically generated call extensions from under the Call extensions section.

You may have noticed a little too many videos on your news feed lately, even from pages that you hardly visit. Facebook was even recommending video from various pages to the users and now it has become clear that what was the reason behind it. At current, visual content is the most engaging of them all and when we hear the word “Videos” we automatically turn to “Youtube”. Facebook wanted to change that.

They were aggressively pushing the video content from quite some time now, and even introduced a very controversial way of counting views. Facebook counted even a 3 sec engagement as a view despite the fact that the video starts to play automatically on Facebook. So the number on the papers were going high, but it was far from the actual reality. Some of the “Experts” were even predicting that in the near future, Facebook will come equal to the “Youtube”.

It doesn’t matter how much views you got on your videos because there was little to no direct earnings from the videos. Many big publishers such as Buzzfeed complained to the Facebook that they are earning minimal amount from the video content. So as we know that Facebook actively looks onto matters and takes every “Genuine concern” into account, it reacted the way nobody was expecting.

They are now going to play Video ads in the MIDDLE of the video. Yes, you read that right. Facebook will play ads after a user has watched at least 20 seconds of the video to ensure maximum engagement rate. They will also share a mammoth 55% of the profit with the publishers, same as the YouTube.

Now, this strategy of Facebook is beneficial from several aspects. Firstly, they will ensure the maximum engagement rate of the users, secondly, they will encourage the publisher to make long and engaging videos so that they can retain the users till 20 seconds and last but not the least, they will ensure that advertisers get the maximum bang for their bucks.

So this strategy is not only beneficial for the Facebook, but also for the users, advertisers, and publishers as well. Win win situation for every party involved.