This week Google revealed more details about its Google Home device, which has the potential to have a significant impact on voice search. Google is beta testing an advanced verification program on AdWords for certain business types. A new study from Google shows a surprising amount of people are searching only on the smartphones. Also announced this week, WordPress.com finally has some much-needed SEO features.
Full details about all of these headlines are included in this week’s SEO and online marketing news roundup.
Google Home Coming Soon
Google Home is the search giant’s competitor to Amazon’s Echo. It’s a piece of hardware that lives inside your home, which is capable of conducting searches and performing tasks thanks to the built-in virtual assistant.
Google’s virtual assistant, simply named Google Assistant, is the company’s answer to Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. Google Home provides instant access to Google Assistant whenever and wherever it’s needed.
Take it into the kitchen and ask for help with following a recipe. Bring it to the living room and ask what’s on TV tonight. Keep it by your side while getting ready in the morning and ask for current traffic conditions.
Google Assistant is capable of doing anything Google Search can do, plus more. With a Google account connected to Google Home, it can answer personal questions, such as: “What’s my schedule for the day?”
If Google Home proves to be a success, it could fundamentally change the way people use Google Search in their day-to-day lives. Whether or not you intend to use the hardware, it’s definitely something to keep on your radar if you work if you work in SEO or search marketing.
Google Home will be available in November for a retail price of $129. It can be purchased from the Google Store, as well as major retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
Google AdWords Advanced Verification
Google is beta testing an advanced verification system for AdWords and Google My Business, in an effort to reduce fraud in two of its most spammy categories: locksmiths and plumbers.
The new process is said to be simple, consisting of a combination of questions from Google and completing an application with a third party verification company. Google is currently beta testing the new process in San Diego, California.
If the test proves to be effective at fighting fraud, the advanced verification system could easily be rolled out across the United States, and other countries as well.
All locksmiths and plumbers currently verified will have to go through the new verification process. Failure to do so before November 1 will result in the loss of verification and the removal from Google Maps.
Why is Google specifically targeting locksmiths and plumbers? For a quick answer to that, just search for “locksmith scam”. We’re not exactly sure why plumbers are being targeted, but we can only assume Google has chosen to target that category for similar reasons.
40% of People Now Search Only on Smartphones
More people are searching Google via smartphone than ever before, the company revealed this week in a new study about cross-device searching and web browsing.
According to the study, 57% of people use more than one device, but search preference is shifting towards mobile and may soon overtake desktop before we know it.
In addition, there’s a clear trend toward people abandoning desktop computers altogether. Of the single device users out there, the study shows 27% of people use only a smartphone. That’s nearly twice as many as the 14% of people who use only a desktop computer.
As a warning to marketers, Google says that if you’re not reaching customers on mobile you’re missing out on a quarter of your potential audience.
Here’s a direct quote:
“We live in a world where people literally expect answers at their fingertips, and to find them, they’re turning to the nearest device”
Remember that in most cases, the nearest device happens to be a smartphone. This study should be a wake-up call for marketers to start taking mobile seriously if they haven’t already.
New SEO Features on WordPress.com
WordPress.com users got a real treat this week with the roll-out of some much-needed SEO features. There are essentially two types of WordPress — there’s the type that’s installed and hosted on your own server, and there’s WordPress.com which is a scaled down version hosted on WordPress servers.
The major difference between the two is that WordPress.com offers many fewer options for customizations. Until now, it has not been possible to optimize search engine titles and descriptions for content hosted on WordPress.com.
In addition to now being able to optimize titles and descriptions, there is an option to preview how the post or page will look on Google Search, Facebook, and Twitter before it goes live. This should help WordPress.com users capture more organic traffic with their content going forward.
Due to the limited nature of WordPress.com, we always recommend downloading the latest version of the content management system from WordPress.org and hosting it on your own server (if budget permits). However, if you have to go the other route, at least WordPress.com is becoming a more search-friendly platform.
Google Home is poised to change the way we use Google Search in our daily lives. More people are using Google Search only on a smartphone than ever before. The company is testing an advanced verification system for AdWords and Google My Business, and WordPress.com users have more efficient tools to drive searchers to their content.