After the pandemonium (algorithm-related-pun intended) caused by Google’s Penguin refresh a couple of weeks back, things have really gotten a lot more calm in the SEO world. However, I enjoy quiet times like that, because it allows me to find interesting news items that I otherwise may have missed.
With that being said, I combined the past two weeks of light news into one roundup of a few items that I know will be useful to you.
One is an addition to Google Webmaster Tools, the other is a new mobile app, and the other is something that will help you manage your listing on Apple Maps.
Latest SEO News – Two weeks Ending 10/31/14
If you’re familiar with Google Webmaster Tools, you know how it can detect errors that Google encounters while crawling your desktop site. Now they have taken it a step further by being able to detect errors that a user may encounter while browsing your site on mobile.
It can practically crawl your site just like a person would and detect anything that might get in the way of an enjoyable browsing experience. Even if you personally never use Webmaster Tools, this is still important news. Why? I’ll explain.
With this new tool we will be able to give direct-from-the source guidance on how to optimize your site to achieve maximum rankings potential on mobile search. This tool accurately, and *from Google’s own point of view*, identifies issues with how your site is displayed on mobile devices, which means we’ll know exactly what to guide you on fixing. So even if you don’t use the tool yourself, you’ll still benefit from it! If you’re working with us, that is. 😉
Since Google is identifying and tracking issues with mobile usability, you can bet they will also be looking for these things when ranking sites in mobile search. Still don’t have your site mobile-optimized yet? You may want to read our Pubcon 2014 wrap up post to learn just how important mobile optimization is becoming to SEO.
Apple is now finally giving business owners an option to manage their listing on Apple Maps. Hey, Siri is a search engine too, right? That’s how most people access Apple Maps, by asking for directions. If you’re a local business you can’t overlook any opportunity for customers to find you.
After you go through the necessary steps of confirming your business location, and that you are in fact the owner, you will be able to update things like business category, store hours, links to your social media accounts and Yelp page, and so on.
If you’re not sure how your listing looks on Apple Maps, just ask Siri right now (or borrow a friend’s phone when you can) and say “give me directions to [business name]”. Then that will bring up Apple Maps where you can tap on the location to see your full listing.
If the listing isn’t accurate or complete, I recommend using this new tool to make sure your business information shows up exactly how you want it to.
If you are actively encouraging customers to leave you reviews on Google+, which you should be because it’s a ranking signal, then you’ll love the new version of the Google My Business mobile app.
If you’re not familiar with this app, it used to let you do a few simple things like update information about your Google business listing and post to Google+. Now you can set it to send you push notifications any time a customer leaves you a review, which means you can then respond to that review in real time.
Nothing looks worse on a business page when there’s a bunch of reviews that haven’t been responded to. It looks especially bad when a complaint goes unanswered, but even thanking someone for leaving a pleasant review goes a long way.
Also, if a customer lands on your Google+ business pages and see that you’re regularly reading and responding to review, they will be more inclined to leave their own. That will further improve the ranking signals that will help your page appear in local searches!
If you have any thoughts or questions about this (tw0) week’s SEO news updates, please leave a comment below.