It’s a short week but there has been no shortage of news to cover before everyone goes off to enjoy the holiday weekend. Speaking of which, Google has released some interesting data about how people are searching and what they’re currently searching for at this time of year.
With a new addition to Google Maps you’ll be able to literally see how busy a location is before you decide to visit. In paid search news, two new reports have been added to AdWords which are geared toward increasing in-store visits. In addition, the company is beta testing a “Google Guarantee” for home service ads.
Remember that Google update we reported on last week? Well it turns out it may have been reversed. We’ll explain what that means and what the potential implications are for site owners.
Full details about each of these headlines are included in this week’s SEO news update.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday Shopping Trend Data
Google has provided an inside look into what the search giant expects to see in terms of search trends during this holiday weekend.
Continuing the trend started last year, mobile shopping is expected to overtake desktop shopping during Thanksgiving and Black Friday. That could still be good news for physical retailers because Google says seventy-six percent of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day.
The top trending product searches so far this season include:
- Nintendo Entertainment System
- Baby alive
- Dji phantom 3 + 4
- Sony ps4 pro
- Num Noms
- RC cars
On Thanksgiving, as many as 59% of mobile shopping searches occurred last year before stores even opened, with searches continuing until well after stores closed. While mobile shopping occurs all day long on Black Friday, foot traffic into physical stores actually peaks around noon and 4pm. That’s interesting considering how Black Friday is notorious for early-bird shoppers.
Live Views on Google Maps During Peak Store Hours
Want to see how actually busy a store is before you decide to venture out shopping? Now you can do that with a new addition to Google Maps. Building off of its Popular Times feature, Google Maps is adding a real-time look at locations during what Google’s data says are their peak hours. When this option is available, it will be immediately noticeable thanks to the big “LIVE” button in the ‘Popular Times’ section when you search for a business.
Another new feature being rolled out to Search and Maps is the addition of department and service hours. Now you can find out if a location has separate opening hours for its various departments.
Lastly, another new feature will let you know how long people typically stay at a location once they get there. Are you likely to end up spending an hour or two at a particular location, or do most people just go in and out?
All three of these features are now live in Google Search and Maps.
New Google AdWords Reports
Two new AdWords reports introduced this week are designed to collect data on in-store visits. Specifically, how far away people are when searching for your business, as well as how many ad clicks led to in-store visits. Here is some more information about each of the two new types of AdWords reports.
- AdWords’ Distance Reporting: Distance reporting tracks store visits based on how far away people are from your store when they started searching.
- Store Visits Performance: Store visit performance reporting tracks which geographic areas are driving the most ad clicks leading to in-store visits.
The new distance report can be found under the Dimensions tab in AdWords. The store visits performance report is coming soon to geographic and user locations reports. When it is available, it can be found in the geographic and user location reports (Settings tab > Locations tab > “View location reports”).
Google is Offering a “Google Guarantee” for Certain Businesses
Google is currently beta testing a verification process for home service ads that will allow certain businesses to become “Google guaranteed”.
Here’s how it looks in search results:
Currently, the Google Guarantee is limited to locksmiths and plumbers running home service ads in the San Francisco area. However, it’s worth keep on your radar because it could very well be rolled out to more markets in the future.
November 10th Google Update Reversed?
According to Glenn Gabe of G-Squared Interactive, the Google update that occurred on November 10th may have been “reversed” on November 18th. Sites that saw a large uptick in traffic are now back down to their previous levels, and vice versa.
Gabe theorizes that this is evidence of Google’s mobile-first index in action. He believes Google began a test of the new mobile-first index on November 10th, leading to ranking shakeups — then reversed the test several days later, leading to rankings going back to what they once were.
”So if this test tells us anything it’s that the mobile-first index can indeed cause significant movement in the SERPs. I highly recommend checking your mobile setup (as I explain below) and making sure your mobile pages contain sufficient content, don’t have render issues, etc.”
Google has not announced an exact date of the full rollout of its mobile-first index, but signs show that it could be coming soon.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday continue to be a mobile shopping phenomenon, Google Maps is offering a live look of locations during peak hours, there are two new AdWords reports for physical store owners, Google is beta testing a “Google Guarantee”, and Google’s November 10th update looks to have been reversed.
We know that’s a lot to digest before the Thanksgiving weekend (pun intended), so if you had any questions about this week’s news stories please leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to respond.