Google was spotted testing a new design for mobile search results, which may or may not end up getting rolled out as a permanent redesign. More information about Google’s upcoming mobile-first index has been revealed, as well as new information about the company’s new Posts feature. It’s now easier to find wheelchair accessible locations in Google Search. In other local search news, Google has shed some light on how its algorithm handles geotargeting.
In paid search and advertising news, Bing Ads will soon be retiring its Campaign Planner tool, and Google has introduced new AdSense ad units designed to match the look and feel of a website. Lastly, Bing has been seeing some notable gains in search market share, according to recent numbers.
More details about all of these top stories are included in this week’s SEO & SEM news roundup.
Google Testing New Design for Mobile Search
Google is testing a new design for mobile search results, which may come as good or bad news depending on your marketing goals. One of the most notable tweaks to the new design sees the search giant featuring fewer ads at the top of the page.
This could be a good thing if your primary focus is organic search. On the other hand, if AdWords mobile ads are a key component of your marketing campaign, you may not be a big fan of the new design.
Whether or not you like the new design, keep in mind it’s a limited test for the time being. There’s no confirmation as to when or if this will be rolled out as a permanent redesign.
With that said, check out what it looks like in the screenshot below.
Google to Favor Sites that are Ready for Mobile-First Index
When Google’s mobile-first index rolls out next year, the company revealed it will initially favor individual sites that are ready for it. That means sites that are the most mobile-friendly will be indexed before others.
This information was provided by Google’s John Mueller when asked about the mobile-first index in a recent Google Webmaster Hangout. Mueller went on to say site owners may or may not be notified of being indexed once the mobile-friendly switch takes place.
Expect Google to release more information before the mobile-first index is officially rolled out.
Google Makes it Easier to Find Wheelchair Accessible Locations
Google is making it easier to find locations that are wheelchair accessible, and it’s looking for searchers’ help to do so.
With Google Maps for Android, users can now add missing accessibility information by navigating to the main menu, and then tapping on “Your contributions.” From there, tap on “Uncover missing info” and sort by “Accessibility.”
Google Maps will list locations near you, and you can let Google know whether or not they’re wheelchair accessible. This will make it easier for others to discover accessible locations in Search and Maps.
How Google Geotargets Sites in Search Results
While on the topic of local search, let’s discuss some information that was recently put out on Twitter by Google’s John Mueller. When asked if server location affects SEO, Mueller stated:
“For geotargeting we use mostly the ccTLD or search console setting, so place the server where it works best for you.”
Years ago, the location of a server that a site was hosted on did play a role in where the site ended up ranking in local search. It appears that is no longer the case. According to Mueller’s response, it seems that Google is most concerned about ccTLDs and Search Console settings.
A ccTLD is a country code top-level domain, such as .ca, .uk, .fr, and so on. So if you have a .ca ccTLD, and your Search Console settings indicate you’re located in Canada, your site is likely to rank more prominently in Canadian search results.
Google Posts Removed After 7 Days
Another way to help Google understand where your business is located is by having a verified Google My Business (GMB) listing. GMB recently introduced a feature called Posts, and there has been new information coming out almost every day since it has been released.
Posts are short messages published via GMB that show up in Google Search and Maps. Unlike other channels where you can publish a message and it stays forever, we recently learned Google Posts have a shelf life.
The company confirmed to Search Engine Land that Posts are removed after 7 days, with one exception. If you’re using Posts to publish information about an upcoming event, those messages will not be removed until after the event has taken place. Otherwise, make sure to keep your Posts current because they will disappear after a week.
Google’s New ‘Native’ AdSense Ads
Those who monetize their content with AdSense ads may be pleased to learn about the new “Native” ad units. Native ads are designed to blend in by matching the look and feel of a website. There are three new ad types to choose from – in-feed ads, in-article ads, and matched content ads. You can learn more, and see what the look like in action, in Google’s official announcement post.
Bing Ads is Retiring Campaign Planner
According to Search Engine Land, Bing Ads is retiring its Campaign Planner in favor of Keyword Planner. This change is said to be taking place on July 26.
Bing Ads launched Keyword Planner one year after Campaign Planner. Since then, Keyword Planner has acquired many of the features that were unique to Campaign Planner. It’s possible Bing has decided there is no longer a need to offer both tools. Even more features are expected to be added to Bing Ads’ Keyword Planner throughout the year.
Bing’s Market Share is Growing
Speaking of Bing Ads – if you’re not advertising on Microsoft’s search engine, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Why? According to the latest data from Comscore, Bing now accounts for a third (33%) of all desktop search market share in the US. While Bing is still struggling in the mobile search market, it reaches a highly targeted and lucrative audience on desktop.
Bing’s desktop searchers are said to be older and more affluent, with more spending power. Its audience is largely comprised of enterprise and business users. If that sounds like an audience you’re trying to target, it may be worth your while to improve your organic rankings in Bing, or increase your spending on Bing Ads.
Wrapping it Up
- Google is testing a new design for mobile search which features fewer ads.
- Sites that are ready for Google’s mobile-first index will get indexed first.
- Google is crowdsourcing information about wheelchair accessibility.
- Search Console and ccTLDs play a key role in geotargeting.
- Google Posts have a 7-day shelf life.
- New AdSense ads match the look and feel of your site.
- Bing is going all-in on Keyword Planner.
- Bing now accounts for a third of all desktop searches in the US.
- Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics - January 19, 2021
- The Benefits of SEO for Small Businesses - January 11, 2021
- Increase WordPress Speed Performance with the WP Rocket WordPress Plugin - January 5, 2021