October was a big month for the SEO world, with some important changes to the ever-shifting landscape. Here are some of the top events from October in our Forthea SEO Roundup.
Google My Business Gets Updates
Launched in September and popping up more around search engine results is the new family-led Google My Business attribute. This tag joins the already implemented veteran- and women-led descriptions that were launched earlier in the month, and the three attributes can be added to your business when editing its information in GMB. Another late September, early October update to GMB was the addition of local finder mentions in search results. When placing a query, the local pack will display a message on websites with content that matches any of the keywords in your search. The note will be displayed as “Their website mentions “your search term here”,” and can be a great way to increase your local presence with users. Additions to GMB took shape in the form of branded search reporting being added to Google My Business Insights. You can now get a better look at how many people are searching for brands related to your company, finding your site by searching for your company name, company brands, categories, products, and services. You can then segment them out as users are then broken into Direct for name and address searches, Discovery for category and product searches, and Branded for brand searches. Google My Business users are also becoming able to add collections of products to their listings instead of just services. As the feature rolls out to the entire user base, businesses can add a list of their products with hefty descriptions of up to 1,000 characters, as well as the price and photo for each item.
Was There an Algorithm Update?
October was a wild month for Google algorithm updates, or what we thought were updates at least. High volatility was seen across different industries throughout the month, with some sites seeing minor to major dips in keyword rankings as well as overall traffic. Industry chatter suggested Google search algorithm updates spanning several weeks, starting on August 22 and most recently on four days this month: October 4, 8, 9, and 16. Now we’re even seeing some possible update indications on the 26! The major effects of these possible updates are a fluctuation of rankings and analytics surrounding the dates, but Google hasn’t been very transparent on the issue. With the reassurance that updates are made every day to their search tools, Google continues to recommend that quality content and healthy sites are the best way to go as that’s what their algorithms seek to reward.
Google+ is on Its Last Leg
It’s finally happening. Google+ is shutting down for consumers for good, and the social network will be slowly brought offline for consumers through August 2019. Google+ has suffered over the years, and the current version has low usage and engagement. According to Google, 90% of user sessions on Google+ are less than five seconds. The shutdown comes in the wake of an API bug that potentially caused a significant amount of user data to be exposed. Up to 500,000 users were affected, exposing their names, email addresses, jobs, birthdays, genders, and profile photos. While Google says there is no evidence that the data was misused, the company’s analysis showed that as many as 438 applications may have used the API involved with the security bug.
Moz and STAT Partnership
News broke early this month that SEO giant Moz had acquired STAT Search Analytics. STAT is known for its powerful daily localized rankings and SERP analytics, which will now compliment the SEO research tools optimized through Moz. The acquisition comes in the wake of some serious updates to the Moz suite of SEO tools, most notably the new link index launched by the company in April, as noted by Moz. According to Moz, the data feed for its tools is now 35x larger and their keyword data has expanded for the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Moz promises a degree of data that hasn’t existed before in the SEO industry, as well as innovative, high-quality data with continual updates. It looks to be an interesting end to the year for developments in the SEO world. If you’re interested in learning more about SEO or are looking for an expert partner for your own business, contact the team at Forthea today.