Today In SEO & Search News: March 21, 2017

Today In SEO & Search News: March 21, 2017

Today’s top SEO and search news update is written from a condo in beautiful Whistler, BC.  Yesterday’s post was eaten by a day on the mountain that looked like:

Skiing atop Whistler Mountain in Whistler, BC

You’ll have to excuse that I couldn’t quite drag myself away from it and had to focus on client work upon my return to my desk.  The perk for you in today’s read is that there’s even more to cover so let’s get to it and look at what’s been going on since last Friday.

AR For Ecom

Apollo Box image of AR applied to products.

Over on TechCrunch they covered a technology that was bound to evolve and that’s both useful and fun in a gimmicky kinda way.  Apollo Box has pushed to all it’s vendors the ability to send images or models of the product for Appolo to create augmented reality files for.  After that consumers can view the product in it’s natural habitat.  There are other companies doing this but Apollo is reportedly the only one integrating the solution with an ecommerce backend.

Visual Marketing Stats
Carole Alalouf over on the Exaltus blog pulled together an array of stats related to the impact of visuals on engagement, impact on visitors and usage.  It’s an interesting post with an array of data that anyone who produces content will find interesting and useful.  For example: Did you know that pages with visual content have double the time on page? Now you do.

Google Ads On Google Home
Matt Southern over on Search Engine Journal discussed the issue that Google is facing pushing ads to users of their Google Home device.  Last week many users of Google Home received the following message added to their daily update:

“By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast opens today. In this version of the story, Belle is the inventor instead of Maurice. That rings truer if you ask me. For some more movie fun, ask me something about Belle.”

Google denies this was an ad and rather was an experiment with providing information that might be interesting to the user.  Of course I personally question this based solely on the lack of diversity – the only “experiment” involved this one product.  If you’re not easily offended you can read what people though of this over on Reddit.

Google’s 2016 State Of Security Update
Google reported yesterday in their annual State of Security update that there has been a 32% increase in hacked sites year-over-year. They point out the 84% of sites that are submitted for reconsideration get cleared but also mention that 61% of all webmasters never receive a notice because they’re not verified via the Search Console.  Who are these 61%? I have no idea but it’s a must-do step for all webmasters (and not just for security).  The doc by Google covers some good advice on security and keeping your site safe and what to do if you get hacked so is recommended reading.

Semantic Search For Retailers

Twiggle semantic search for online retailers.

Greg Sterling over on Search Engine Land covered the Semantic API launch by Twiggle.  I hadn’t heard of Twiggle prior to this story but it’s a company founded by two former Google employees and who’s board includes Udi Manber who was (from 2010 to 2014) responsible for all search products at Google. The Twiggle API opffers plug-and-play semantic search to retailers and reportedly can work alongside existing enterprise search. If you or your clients are in the retails space this is highly recommended reading as it would (working properly) allow smaller retailers to have search capabilities competing with the likes of Amazon.

How To Use AdWords IF Functions
Back on January 31 we covered the announcement that AdWords is now supporting IF functions.  Google gave some solid example of their use and it’s an excellent function but with a lot of under-utilization presently. To help address this Brad Smith over on Search Engine Journal took the time to write a lengthy post on what it can do and how it can be utilized (with examples). If you manage AdWords campaigns it’s a must-read.

How Entities Impact Local Search

Why and how entities are shaping location marketing

Adam Dorfman wrote a great piece over on Search Engine Land on how entities impact local search. Anyone who knows me or has read any of my own articles knows I’m incredibly interested in entities as they relate to search.  I didn’t expect to like this piece as much as I did and it covers a lot of useful and interesting ground making the case not just for the impact of entities on local search but also outlining some of the actions local business owners (or their SEOs) can take.  While not incredibly detailed on a technical level it is very well-written to aid the layperson in understanding what an entity is and what they can do to make their business a stronger one in the local market.

Google Tappable Shortcuts
Starting in the US today Google is rolling out tappable shortcuts and on the Google app for Android and iOS.  The idea is to reduce the need for search by providing tappable shortcuts right to the home screen for the most useful or used pieces of information and services.  It takes into account your location and presumably will learn over time about your preferences. It’s an interesting adjustment which I’m sure will be well-used and gives Google another mechanism to steer users in the direction of paid ads by crafting the path they take to information.  Here’s what it looks like:

Android O To The Rescue (Of Your Battery)
David Pierce reported for Wired on some revealed functions of the next Android OS.  It’ll curb notification overload and work better across devices but the big win in my books is the attention the developers are giving to maxing out the power an app can use when in the background. The OS won’t be launching until the I/O Conference in May and I’m looking forward to hearing what else is coming now that I’ll have the battery power to use it.

Google Home Will Find Who Has A Product Near You
The battle for the personal assistant dominance wages on between Google and Amazon but Google is putting out one of the aces up its sleeve. Over on CNBC, Harriet Taylor covered the announcement that Google Home will soon allow users to request information on who has a specific product in stock near them.  They’re pulling in specific retailers including Saks, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. and will obviously be opening it up as time goes on.  This is a big win in the battle for usefulness and of course – a path to AdWords profitability for the device.

And that’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another batch of the top SEO and search news from around the web to keep you … our valued readers … up to date.