5 SEO Updates You Missed This Summer

In case you were caught up in the whirl-wind of summer, here are a few SEO and internet marketing milestones you may have missed.

School is in session and Starbucks brought back their Pumpkin Latte. Where did summer go?

In case you were caught up in the whirl-wind of summer, here are a few SEO and internet marketing milestones you may have missed.

1. Google Launches Local Carousel

What is Local Carousel? When a user searches for a local place (i.e. restaurant) from their desktop computer (this does not apply to mobile search yet), they will get a horizontal carousel display of images of the local places results against a black background at the top of their search results.

Why Business Owners Should Care:

Locally-based businesses need to pay close attention to this update because it changes the way their target customers are using the web!

The Local Carousel of search results allow users to see more details about local places than found in the standard search results listings. They can now scroll through large images of the business, details on the address, phone number, and customer reviews.

Local Carousel also pushes down the organic search listings. As you can see in the following screenshot, after the Carousel and Google Ads, there is hardly room for any organic listings. How does YOUR local business display in the new search result format?

Restaurants Google Raleigh

2. Yelp Enables Mobile Review Functionality

Yelp Mobile Reviews RaleighYelp announced this summer that Yelp users can now leave reviews from their mobile app. Previously, you would have to write your review as a draft and then return to your laptop or desktop in order to publish it. This allows Yelpers to write and post instant reviews of their experience.

Why Business Owners Should Care:

Own a restaurant? dental office? law office? web design company?

If you own or manage a business in any service industry, you are directly affected by this update. Yelp already has a stronghold on mobile search results (see previous post on Siri Search Optimization) and now with the ability to leave instant reviews means your service business must provide excellent customer service or be at the mercy of internet and social media scrutiny.

3. Google Mobile Site Speed Penalty

Since 2010, Google has said that a website’s speed is a factor for ranking well in search results. Websites that load slower are demoted and faster websites are promoted higher in search results. This summer, Google warned webmasters that websites appearing in mobile search results will be hit harder with this penalty.

Why Business Owners Should Care:

Slow websites lose visitors. No one has patience or desire to wait for your site to load its design and/or images. This is especially true for visitors coming to your website from a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.

Having a mobile-friendly or responsive design website is a great start for any business. This can put you far ahead of the competition. This announcement however, means that in order for your website to be truly competitive in search results for both desktop and mobile devices, your website must be mobile-friendly AND load quicker than the competition. Talk to your web developer about how to make your website run as fast as possible. This could mean re-sizing the images on your website, disabling certain features while in mobile view, or switching your hosting provider.

4. Google Rolls Out In-Depth Articles for Search Results

Early this summer, Google introduced what they are calling “In-depth articles” into organic search results.

In-depth articles exist for a wide variety of topics and show longer snippets of content than other search results. For the time being, they have their own special section at the bottom of search results pages.

Why Business Owners Should Care:

Articles featured in this section of the search results are currently limited to large and established news sources like The New Yorker and Huffington Post. That means the organic real estate that was once occupied by another lesser known website, is now being bumped from page one to accommodate space for these featured articles. This can make it harder for businesses who are trying to rank high in search results for broad-topic keywords.

Google In-Depth Articles

5. Foursquare Expands Local Ads

Foursquare, the popular location-based social platform, announced that they will be offering self-serve ads for small business owners.

The idea behind these new ads is simple – connect people looking for somewhere to go with businesses that want to drive traffic to their stores. Ads will help those businesses reach nearby customers.

Why Business Owners Should Care:

Foursquare has over 33 million users, 1.4 million small businesses, and continues to grow each day. A big part of their success is that the app helps users share and discover great local businesses.

If your business isn’t already utilizing Foursquare, now is the time to jump in. They already offer a suite of free tools to help your business find new customers and connect with people nearby with things like: check-in specials, “Mayor” rewards, badges, and sharing updates. Paid ads will be another promotional tool in this kit.

Need SEO help in Raleigh or just a sound internet marketing strategy? Then contact the internet marketing and SEO experts at TheeDigital in Raleigh, NC at 919-341-8901 or schedule a consultation.

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