In this article, we summarise the month’s updates, including Yoast SEO reintroducing its FAQ structured data blocks, Google’s never-ending ‘changes’ and what’s being rolled out for Google My Business (GMB) and Google Ads users.
Every month brings something different when it comes to SEO - and even for the seasoned expert, keeping up with the latest developments can be tricky!
To help, we've compiled the most important Google and Yoast SEO updates from June 2019 for your reading. Enjoy.
Yoast SEO update adds FAQ structured data, mobile snippet preview and UX improvements
Yoast SEO’s most recent update reintroduces its FAQ structured data blocks; this comes after Google announced that FAQs could be shown in rich results. These enhanced structured data blocks enable users to add FAQ content faster as structured data is automatically generated to accompany questions and answers. However, it’s is only compatible with the WordPress block editor.
The mobile snippet preview for the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin has also been revamped. Although this is not a new feature, the update does replicate a Google mobile search snippet more accurately, even including bold keywords and a default favicon.
Other updates include UX improvements, such as linking the SEO and readability scores in the Classic Editor and relocating the Focus key phrase field to the top of meta box and sidebar, making them easier to find.
Furthermore, the new Yoast SEO Schema implementation works perfectly with modern AMP pages (previously there were some issues viewing pages in Reader mode).
Why is this important? Recently, Google announced support for FAQ structured data. This means that searchers will see FAQs as rich results more frequently in the future.
By being able to easily tag FAQ sections with structured data, you can improve the odds of earning high placement(s) on SERPs.
Google My Business adds more branding tools and introduces searchable @shortnames
Google has announced a number of new GMB features and capabilities in a bid to empower existing business users. Here’s what’s included in the update:
- Add a logo — businesses will be able to display their logo in the upper-right of the profile
- Cover photo — businesses will be able to choose the photo users will see when they bring up the profile
- Dynamic photo module — a prominent new carousel/slideshow module is being introduced with the ability to add captions soon
- Welcome offers — these can be sent to customers/prospects who follow a business
- Promotional assets — Google is launching a new site to create and order stickers, posters and other promotional assets
Another new feature is searchable @shortnames. These searchable short names will – in future – enable users to search Google Maps for a business’ @shortname and bring up that business’ profile. Google explained that short names come from merchant feedback and their need for a simple URL to promote their businesses.
Why is this important? GMB has evolved from a way to get accurate data into Google search results into something much more complex and powerful. Google now thinks of GMB as a local “engagement platform,” which increasingly enables transactions (e.g., Reserve with Google).
Google Maps bug resulting in loss in traffic to company websites and locations
Did you experience any loss in traffic this month? This may be why.
Earlier this month, there was a Google Maps bug that redirected searchers whenever they clicked on a business’ website URL in the business’ local panel listing.
The redirect notice read: “The previous page is sending you to [the URL you clicked on],” and then adds, “If you do not want to visit that page, you can return to the previous page.”
Google has (reportedly) solved the issue but has not explained if it was a bug, feature or something else entirely.
Why is this important? This may have caused a drop in traffic from Google Maps – possibly impacting customer visits to a business’ physical location. However, Google has not responded to complaints posted on Google’s support thread.
Google will now show more diverse results from different domain names
In early June, Google announced on the Search Liaison Twitter account that it had updated its search results to show a more diverse set of search results.
Searchers and SEOs have complained for years about Google sometimes showing too many listings for the same domain name at the top of search results.
Now, with this change, Google aims to not show more than two results from the same domain for a particular query.
“A new change now launching in Google Search is designed to provide more site diversity in our results,” says Google, “…this site diversity change means that you usually won’t see more than two listings from the same site in our top results.”
However, Google said it does ‘reserve the right’ to show more than two results from the same domain when its systems think its appropriate.
This new change (Google insists it’s not an update) will only impact core results (i.e. main listings) – not top stories, video snippets, image carousels or other vertical search features.
Why is this important? This can have an impact on those who have sites that have two or more pages that rank for the same query on Google, and those who want to get their domains to dominate for specific queries. A study by Searchmetrics has recently indicated the impact that Google’s diversity update has had on SERP.
New ways to promote in-store sales with Google Ads
Google has announced new updates that allow local businesses to advertise in-store sales. Here’s what’s included:
- Seasonality adjustments
With this new feature, advertisers can use seasonality adjustments to signal to Google’s Smart Bidding system to prepare for any increases in sales and adjust more quickly.
- More in-market audience segments
Google has added more in-market segments in categories such as beauty, sports, education and real estate, as well as 30 new retail categories.
- Calls for Local campaigns
Advertisers will be able to set up local campaigns to drive calls to businesses. Store visit measurements will not be required for this feature to work.
- Group locations
Advertisers can now set up location groups, or subsets, of their locations to tailor budgets and messaging to specific areas based on in-store promotions and sales schedules.
- Asset reporting
Advertisers can now gain performance insight into their creative elements, such as ad headlines, descriptions and images, with new asset reporting. The asset report ranks elements with labels such as “Best” and “Good”.
- Promotions for Local Inventory Ads
Promotions can now be added to local inventory ads to highlight in-store offers on inventory that’s currently in stock. The feature comes first to the US and Australia and will be available in other regions later.
Why is this important? These new updates come after searches for ‘on sale near me’ have grown by 250% over the past 2 years. With these updates, Google aims to help physical retailers that don’t have the staff, resources or an agency to manage campaigns.
If you want to find out more about SEO or PPC, check out our blog or get in touch to see how we can help!