The Week In Search & SEO: September 1, 2017

The Week In Search & SEO: September 1, 2017

Top stories in SEO and search for the week ending September 1, 2017 includes major knowledge panel changes, video on Google maps & more.

Top SEO News

Share Video On Google Maps
Google Maps video

Local Guides on Android can now add video to Google Maps. This is a great features for restaurants and other businesses that can use the fueature to really showcase their products.  I’m also seeing this as a big win for tourism boards and travel companies. My only hope is that the maps don’t get too crowded.

New Sitelinks Being Tested
Google is testing a new sitelink format on mobile. The new format includes and expandable format allowing used to click on a category and the section expands to display a carousel of sub-categories. It’ll be interesting to see how this test goes but it makes a lot of sense.

Google Testing Ads In Local Business Knowledge Panels

Google is testing ads in the local business knowledge panel. Essentially this means that when people search for your businesses by name – you’re no longer safe, even in your knowledge panel. On the other side of the coin, this is a great opportunity for sites like Groupon to display deals for businesses right to those who are looking for them.

Dealing With Recurring Events
John Mueller of Google passed on some advice on dealing with recurring events. An example would be an annual conference – once the new conference is being discussed on the site what do you do with the old content and where should you put the new? Read the post for John’s answer and his explanation as to why Google doesn’t follow their own advice.

Google Adjusts Trip Planning
Google Trip planner

Google has made some adjustments to the way their trip planners work and I have to say – I like it and hope others follow.  The new system makes it extremely easy to determine which times and dates it’s cheapest to travel. It’s quite intuitive and I can honestly see them posing a big threat to the travel market if they keep pushing forward. There are also some other major improvements and definitely a recommended read.

Find Parking On Google
Google has added a ‘find parking’ feature to Google Maps that gives directions to to nearby parking lots in 25 cities (at this time) and also indicates how difficult it will likely be to find parking there.

Google Displaying Website Mentions
Google is now displaying whether a website mentions core keywords in a query within the local pack results.  For example, if you search for “climate control storiage in phoenix az” Google will, in the results, specify whether ‘climate control’ is mentioned on resulting sites.

Google Testing Infinite Scroll In Mobile Search
Google is testing a new infinite scroll in the results on mobile.  Rather than displaying the ‘Next’ button at the bottom of results as they traditionally have they are testing a new ‘See more results’ that simply loads additional results similar to what we’re all used to on Google Image search.

Top PPC News

New Look For Local Inventory Ads
Local inventory ads in the knowledge panel just got a lot more real estate. Not surprisingly, Google is giving a lot more real estate to the ads section of the knowledge panel to those willing to pay for it.  The local inventory is a great feature and it’s a good move for Google but I have to wonder if it’s a good move for businesses.  Someone searching for a business may not search for their product via the knowledge panel rather than on their site. While faster this is searching in a section that costs the business money and also doesn’t provide the same opportunity deal with products that are out of stock or unavailable.

Cross-Account Reporting In AdWords Editor
Google can now enabled cross-account reporting in AdWords Editor allowing manager who use the tool to see key metrics across all the accounts they manage.

Google Testing Sitelinks Drop-Down
Google is testing the addition of a ‘More’ link among the sitelinks that opens to display additional ones giving more options to AdWords advertisers. I suspect it’ll get little use and disappear or perhaps better said – be replaced by a carousel but interesting to see what they’re trying to accomplish.

Google Shopping Get Top Spot Impression Share & Product Diagnostics Reporting
Google has added some additional metrics to their shopping campaigns allowing advertisers to know how often their product(s) are in the top position. They’re also making it easier to diagnose problem products with a graph featuring products ‘ready to serve’ vs ‘disapproved’ and performance metrics to make understanding your products and their successes far easier at a glance.

Top Social Media News

Facebook Engagement For Brands Down 20%

Buzzsumo analyzed over 880 million Facebook posts published by brands and publishers and discovered that the average number of engagements fell from 340 to 264. In their write-up they’ve reported on why this may be as well provided links to other reports that found the same thing. Perhaps most importantly is their reporting on what types of posts took the hit. Highly recommended reading if you care about Facebook maketing.

Instagram Supports Portrait And Landscape Photo And Video In Galleries
Instagram is now allowing it’s users to post portrait and landscape videos and images to their galleries stepping away from the square we’ve all become accustomed to. If you don’t see this option yet just wait, it’s being rolled out gradually but like winter … it is coming.

Internet Marketing-Related Tech

Researchers Teach AI To Write Fake Reviews
And here’s what’s worse – they’re believable. The reviews are undetectable and considered reliable by readers. This is obviously a serious problem for search engines, review sites and businesses and in my mind they don’t necessarily have to be positive and I could see some low-cost negative review options coming to a spam offer near you very soon.

Multiple-Assistant Smart Speaker
In an announcement I’m very pleased with speaker manufacturer Sonos is p;roducing a device that will support multiple assistants. So rather than having to have multiple devices for multiple assistants one will now do. In v.2 I’d love to see product price searching that pits Google against Amazon but we’ll see. For now I’ll just look forward to a video of the device appearing to have multiple personality disorder and debating with itself.

Alexa And Cortana Can Chat
In what I can only assume is a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” Amazon and Microsoft are teaming up to make their two personal assistants talk to each other. This would give Amazon easy access to users at their desktop and Microsoft access to user’s searches from their Echo. A win-win in the battle against Google.

OK Google, Buy More LG
LG is going to be adding Google Assistant to more of their speakers and appliances. This was announced at the German consumer electronics and appliances show and other manufacturers are on board as well.  This will greatly increase the uses for the assistant and it’s integration into our everyday lives. A bit creepy to be sure but potentially we’re finally getting the world of the Jetsons that we were promised.

Siri Get A New Boss
Apple SVP Crag Federighi has taken over leadership of Siri development. This change highlights the important Apple is placing on AI and gives us a glimpse into the future. We can expect a LOT more from Apple in the coming months – it’ll be interesting to see how they compete with Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

Best Opinion Pieces

A Brilliant Description Of AI & Why We Should Be Worried & Excited

Pretty much any time Avinash Kaushik writes you should pay attention and his latest post is no exception.  In his post he describes very well some of the core issues and advantages of AI, why it can outperform humans (Collective Learning). He discusses not just what the risk is for us and our jobs but also some of the great things on the horizon and happening today that benefit us greatly. It’s a frightening and exciting read.

Why Sites Rank In One Geography And Not Another
In a very good Whiteboard Friday Rand Fishkin covered the topic of what to do when a page/site ranks in one geography and not another. He does a solid job of outlining how to figure out what the cause is and perhaps more importantly – what to do about it.