Four weeks into the new year, what can I predict that hasn’t already been predicted by someone else? Probably not much, but lets take a look at what some other SEOs expect to see in 2014 while I try to sprinkle in some of my own wisdom and play Miss Cleo along the way.
It’s hard to believe but it’s time once again for our SEO “year in review” where we turn the page on the calendar and take a look back on all of 2013′s important developments in online marketing that had a significant impacts on the way we work. From a complete 180 in how Google tells us to set up Adwords accounts to an Analytics overhaul and the loss of all organic keyword data, 2013 certainly kept us on our toes.
This week Google decided that instead of fixing any of the ongoing problems with Google+ Local or any of their other services, they would dangle a shiny new object in front of users and require that they update their personal and business pages with massive new images…. or run the risk of having their pages appear broken to users. Additionally Google+ Local added equally large non-interactive maps to the top of all listings, which in many cases only further complicates previously unresolved issues. Today we take a look at what changes were made, how they may have impacted you, and what you should do to deal with them.
Did you know that Google will let you view floor plans of places like airports, shopping malls and department stores? This feature has been available in the Maps app on Android devices for some time, but a few months ago was added to Google Maps for desktop as well. Additionally, I’ve discovered a little trick that will allow you to view Google Indoor Maps on iPhones and other iOS devices, which you can use while we wait for their developers to update the iOS Google Maps app.
By now, most of us are aware of satellite and “Street View” imagery in Google Maps, but did you know Google has begun adding 45° aerial photos as well? In fact in 2012 they began rapidly adding hundreds of cities and countries across the globe, including Burlington, VT in mid-November. Today we’ll take a look at how/when Google shows these images, why they are so current, and then explore some of the Queen City from above.
It seems that Google is once again testing changes to their local listings. Though instead of any fundamental change to the core of their directory, like moving from Google Places to Google+ Local, this time they’re just testing the display of even numbered local pack layouts in search results. It’s unclear why in the past local packs always only included 1, 3, 5 or 7 results, but they have apparently started showing 2, 4 and 6 packs to users lately, though infrequently.
It’s easy to miss, and who knows when it was added, but there’s now a way to “Show service area” when looking at a local business or local search results in Google. Today we explore a number of different ways that you can wind up viewing a company’s service area and the types of location targeting these companies are able to utilize in their local listings.
Google’s problems with reviews for local businesses disappearing are as old as their local directory itself (Local Business Center/Places/+ Local), and I wrote about them at length several months ago (even before the Google+ Local transition). So, what’s changed? Well, nothing as far as Google taking action on the matter is concerned… But master of Google Local Mike Blumenthal is trying to turn up the heat by posting a group forum for business owners to sort of form a coalition.
Today is the day! Finally Google is allowing business owners to verify and merge their existing Google+ business pages with their Google+ Local pages (formerly Google Places pages). Unfortunately, while this isn’t another round of beta testing, it’s also still not a feature available to all business owners just yet. In this post we’ll talk about which businesses still can’t access this feature.
It looks like Google has suspended merger testing and those of us who already had a business page on Google+ will have to wait to have it merged with the newly created Google+ Local page. Google hasn’t made any announcements yet, as to the date when they’ll fully roll-out merging capabilities, but one would hope sooner rather than later, particularly if they still intend to launch Business Builder in July.