SEO in April: Google update and more!
1. GOOGLE LAUNCHED ONE OF THE BIGGEST CORE UPDATE IN RECENT YEARS IN MARCH 2019
Google launched a massive algorithm update between March 12th & 14th. It was one of the biggest updates in recent years. Because it was a broad core update, Google came out to confirm that they have indeed launched a massive update and called it March 2019 Core update. Many SEO’s also termed it as Florida 2 update.
None of our client’s websites were affected by this update.
As per observations from other sources, the sites that were hit by August core update 2018 soon recovered from it. Seems like Google rewarded them for adding quality content, building high-quality Google friendly links and improving the user experience.
While some enjoyed the reward, some sites got punished. It may be because of the thin content present on the site and lack of basic on-page SEO factors.
Although the March update affected many industries, “Your Money Your Life” industry was hit the hardest. If you are wondering what exactly is Your Money Your Life, here’s a brief explanation:
Websites asking for personal information, such as identification numbers, bank account numbers, drivers license numbers, etc., which could be used for identity theft.
· Websites used for monetary transactions.
· Websites offering medical or health information.
· Websites offering advice on major life decisions.
· Websites offering advice on major life issues.
If your site was hit by this update or in general is not performing well, you can get in touch with our experienced team to help you out.
2. DOES YOUR BUSINESS QUALIFY FOR A GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING?
A verified Google My Business listing can take your company to new heights. When your listing is verified, it not only gets a major boost in the SERP, but also appears on Google Maps & local pack. Having a verified listing on the GMB increase chances of your website appearing in front of your prospects since Google puts so much emphasis on the location of the searcher. But over the years, Google has made their policy strict and now it’s harder than ever for some business (especially those who are in the service industry) to get their listing verified. So let’s find out if your business qualifies for it and will also try to explain how Google sees it.
A. Brick and Mortar
A traditional office, store, warehouse or shop gets the fastest approval from Google.
B. Shared space
1) Business inside another business
If you have a store or office inside a commercial complex it means that you share that location with other businesses as well. Although you are entitled to a verified Google My Business Listing, you might face some issues since Google will be extra cautious while verifying it. Many people have reported that although their business got verified, it still shows "Your business is verified. Listings may be reviewed for quality and can take up to 3 days to be published." But it never gets reviewed and published within 3 days. It takes way longer.
2) Departments within other business, universities, or institutions
This case mostly arises within universities, hospitals, and bigger institutions, since they are spread over a huge area and have various entries for different departments and also have different timings.
Here are Google's guidelines for getting a verified listing of different departments of the same company.
“Publicly facing departments that operate as distinct entities should have their own page. The exact name of each department must be different from that of the main business and that of other departments. Typically such departments have a separate customer entrance and should each have distinct categories. Their hours may sometimes differ from those of the main business.”
3) One location, one owner, multiple businesses
If you are an owner of multiple companies and they all share the same physical location but you want each of them to have its own listing, they should each also have distinct categories and business names and phone numbers and each phone should be answered with the name of that specific business.
4) Different practitioners at the same location
What if you are a lawyer or real estate agent who operates from the same location that other lawyers & realtors share? Will you be eligible for an individual listing? The answer is “YES”. Here’s what Google's guidelines say about it: “An individual practitioner should create his or her own dedicated listing if:
· He or she operates in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own listings.
· He or she is directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours.
A practitioner should not have multiple listings to cover all of his or her specializations.”
Having said that, have no doubt about it that it is going to be really challenging. However, if you run into any problems then you can contact the Google support team on Twitter @GoogleMyBiz.
5) Virtual office space
Google has made it clear that if you use virtual office spaces will not qualify for a verified GMB listing. It will be eligible only if you or someone from your team is “available” there at the location during the business hours mentioned. Google has also recently updated its guidelines regarding this. Give it a read.
6) Sharing an office with a business like yours
You will have a tough time verifying this kind of business because no legit business would want to sit at the same location where their competitors are. And in case you manage to get it verified, the chances of data getting conflated is very high. So it’s better to just avoid it because it can get messy.
7) Co-working spaces
It’s not very different from shared spaces and virtual office. So let's just say that if you or your employees are available at the address during the business hours then you are eligible for a verified listing on Google My Business. But let me repeat, it will be tricky!
8) Home-based business location
One of the most hectic situation to be in. Google HIGHLY doubts a business that is being operated from a residential address because it got spammed a lot in the past and now they want to avoid it. However, you may be eligible for the listing, if you can show proof that you have set up a legitimate office in your home where you meet your customers. They may ask for the photos or/and videos of sign boards, business cards, front entry, etc. The reason given by Google for this is: If you meet customers at your home, then you MUST have a signboard. There’s also an option of video call verification where they will ask you to show you your entire setup while being on a call with you all the time.
C. Service Area Businesses (SABs)
Let’s first understand what Google considers as Service area business: “Service area businesses are those that do their work at the customer's location”.
If you don’t meet your customers face to face, then Google thinks that showing your address on the map is not required. If you operate such business, make sure you answer all the questions appropriately while setting up your GMB account.
To get this type of business verified, you may be asked for additional proof form Google staff to ensure that your business truly exists and is legit. You may be asked for videos of your work vehicle etc. to assure Google that you are running a legit business.
It has been seen that many companies have tried to create an individual listing of their business from the home address of their own and sometimes employees. While this “Might” work, but there are high chances that it will backfire since you are trying to trick the biggest internet country on the planet.
Make sure you read Google’s guidelines & above-mentioned tips and information before setting up a Google My Business listing. Because not only Google has made their policy strict, but your competitors are also looking out for any inconsistency so they can report a problem with your listing. This may result in suspension of your account -which you will want to avoid at all cost.
3. MAKE SURE YOU ARE UTILIZING THE "OFFERS" FEATURE WITHIN GOOGLE POSTS TO DRIVE FREE TRAFFIC
Everyone was excited about Google Posts within the SEO community. But over time we analyzed that it is getting less and less exposure. However, we still believe that Google Posts are worth your time and efforts.
The good news is, that while other types of Google Posts are getting less exposure, “Offers” are getting more & more exposure. Google’s new layout introduced a dedicated space for customers to see a carousel of Offers from your business.
Google Posts may not be proving as fruitful as you might have expected it to be, but it still drives free traffic. So don’t stop creating Google posts and utilize the “offers” within the Google posts to the fullest. However, make sure that you are sticking to Google's guidelines while creating offers:
“An offer can include a description of the promotion, a coupon code or any terms and conditions useful to your audience. You can surface up to 10 unique offers in the carousel, providing a list of choices.”
4. TWITTER LAUNCHES A NEW TOOL TO HELP YOU FIND THE BEST TIME TO POST YOUR CONTENT
Twitter has launched a new tool that lets you know the best time and date to post your video content.
According to Twitter, it's…
..an effort to provide our publishers with more actionable data to help them improve their performance on Twitter.
As seen in the chart below, Timing is Everything displays historical data showing when audiences are on Twitter watching and engaging with video.
They further added:
“It’s important to note that the chart on the page doesn't show when your organic followers are watching your videos; instead, in the aggregate, it shows when people on Twitter are generally watching any video on Twitter.”
Although it doesn't provide insights about YOUR post, it’s a good roadmap to find out the right time to post. Keep experimenting with your posting time based on the insight you get from this tool and you will eventually hit the right chord. This means, you will eventually be able to figure out when is the best time to post video content for YOUR followers.