With most local presence management news seeming to be minor Google UI updates that affect only 0.01% of users in one specific city, it can be easy to ignore most of the information coming in. That is why DAC has sifted through all the minor changes to bring you what we think are the most important updates this month in LPM. These are changes that will visibly affect the end user, not just secret formulas that those in the industry keep up to date with to help boost their SEO rankings.
Google Medic: August core algorithm update
Google released a global core algorithm update that affects both local and organic rankings. The update was intended to combat “Your Money or Your Life” pages. These are websites that can either be schemes to solicit personal information or ones that deal with major life and financial decisions. Google has targeted these websites by focusing on a page’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness rankings.
One unintended consequence of this, however, is that many legitimate medical, health, fitness, and healthy lifestyle websites have also seen their rankings drop. Through no fault of their own they have been grouped in with less-than-credible life advice websites. No word yet on how legitimate websites will recover their rankings but if your healthy living blog seems to have been losing traffic lately, you now know why.
A big change to Facebook reviews
Currently rolling out to local business pages on Facebook is a switch from allowing people to review businesses on a 5-star scale to a Yes/No recommendation system. This Yes/No recommendation system is going to be completely replacing the current star-rating system. The average rating of a business will continue to show but it will now take into consideration past reviews plus new recommendations.
‘Rich endorsements’ will allow Facebook users to upload images of their experience to accompany recommendations. New recommendation reporting functionality should make fake reviews easier to flag for moderation than on other platforms.
Without stars allowing businesses to know if their business was considered average or great, Reputation Managers will need to examine the content of the feedback more closely to get the true story. Sentiment analysis is now more important than ever.
Google adds posts to local branded search results
Google has added a tab to its local search pack dedicated to posts from Google My Business. The tab will only show up for businesses that have published posts via GMB. Not all businesses with a GMB page use the posts feature, so the ‘Posts’ tab will not be seen in all local business searches.
Google My Business showing competitors’ Google posts
Speaking of Google posts, if you’re not using them, Google will still show you everyone who is. Google My Business owners will see competitor posts in their dashboard. Harnessing the fear of missing out on what all your competitors are doing, Google is not-so-subtly encouraging all business owners to take part in the new feature.
Changes to Google My Business Insights
Google just announced that they recently made a change to GMB Insights that allows Google to include more places where customers find clients. For example, they can report on queries that pull data from GMB, such as what time a business is open.
Make note of this if you see a spike in your searches—the explanation would be Google including more searches that were already happening, but that they can now track.
Instagram being used as a restaurant review platform
Are you one of those users who’s sick of seeing fake reviews of restaurants that have their food praised online, but then when you see it in person it’s an inedible mess? Well, some users have taken to a less conventional place to get their dining recommendations: Instagram is now being used as a more reliable source of restaurant information. With pictures speaking louder than words and geotagging tying an image to a Facebook page location, Instagram is becoming one of the go-to platforms to scope out a restaurant before visiting. Try it for yourself and see if the images posted for that “cozy” restaurant don’t reveal it just to be “cramped”.
Zoran Dobrijevic is DAC’s Product Manager and is based out of Toronto. If you have any comments or questions about Local Presence Management, do not hesitate to reach out.