Google has primarily been focusing on local search with its most recent updates, and has continued a trend of sharing local search advice on Twitter.
Updates to paid search and Google’s advertising policies have also been rolled out, with an especially important update for AdSense publishers.
Lastly, a new type of structured data markup has been introduced that can be used to get videos on your site to start showing up in Google Image Search.
More details about all of these stories are included in this week’s SEO & SEM news roundup.
Google Cracks Down on Sites With Pop-Under Pages
You may start seeing fewer sites with pop-under pages going forward, following a major change to Google’s advertising policies.
Google is no longer allowing AdSense ads to be published on sites that trigger pop-under pages. This is a strict, all-encompassing rule that applies sitewide.
That means it’s not enough to remove ads from individual pages that trigger pop-unders. Google is not allowing its ads to be published on sites that trigger pop-unders whatsoever.
Considering the number of sites on the web that publish Google ads, this could lead to a significant decrease in the use of pop-under pages.
Remarket AdWords Ads to YouTube Viewers
In other advertising news, Google is now allowing AdWords customers to remarket ads to people who have interacted with their YouTube channel.
This can be accomplished by logging into your AdWords accounts and navigating to Shared library > Audiences > New video remarketing list.
From there, you can choose to remarket to people who have interacted with your YouTube channel in any way, as well as people who have watched specific videos, and whole host of other options.
Instant Messaging Via Google My Business
Searchers can now send instant messages to US companies with a verified Google My Business page. This is a feature you can turn on from the GMB dashboard – don’t worry, you won’t be forced to have it turned on.
If you choose to turn the feature on, searchers will see the option to message you directly from search results when they search for your business name. Messages will be sent and received either through SMS or Google Allo.
Again, there is no requirement to use this feature, but communicating with potential customers in real-time could make all the difference between them choosing you over the competition.
Book Spa or Salon Appointments Through Google Search Results
Next time you need to book a spa or salon appointment you may be able to do so right from the search results pages. Google has confirmed the rollout of a new appointment booking feature, which is only available for US-based spas and salons for the time being.
In order to facilitate the bookings, Google has partnered with service providers such as Genbook, SalonRunner, Rosy, Yocale, and WellnessLiving. Presumably, if a business is able to take bookings through any of those services it will be able to take bookings through Google Search. The search giant says more types of bookable services will be added in the future.
Google is Suggesting Other Locations for Businesses
According to recent reports, Google is now suggesting other locations for a business within the local panel. So if you’re looking up a specific restaurant in Google Search and tap on the listing, you will see suggestions for other locations of that same restaurant (when available).
Google Warns Against Redirecting Visitors Based on IP Location
Continuing a trend started last week, Google’s John Mueller has been providing advice over Twitter to users looking for help with local search.
Mueller says site owners should avoid redirecting visitors based on IP location because it could “break indexing & frustrate users.”
When there are multiple versions of a site, site owners may believe it is best to redirect visitors to the appropriate version based on the location of their IP address.
This could “break indexing”, as Mueller says, because Googlebot crawls sites from the US most of the time. So if US traffic is being redirected elsewhere, then Googlebot will be redirected as well. That will ultimately affect how the site’s pages get indexed.
For more information about the correct way to optimize sites for local search, please see our new guide to local search optimization.
Optimizing Videos for Google Image Search
Yes, you read that headline right. With the help of some brand new structured data markup, you can now optimize videos on your site for Google Image Search.
When selecting an image in Image Search, Google will now display the link to a related video when one is available.
While Google says videos uploaded to one’s own website can be marked up for display Image Search, but we’ve only seen links to YouTube videos being displayed thus far.
Wrapping it Up
- Google ads are no longer allowed on sites with pop-under pages.
- AdWords ads can be remarketed to YouTube viewers.
- Google My Business has a new instant messaging feature.
- Spa and salon appointments can be booked through Google Search.
- Google will notify searchers of other locations for specific businesses.
- Redirecting visitors based on IP location should be avoided.
- Structured data markup can be used to optimize videos for Google Image Search.