Business owners can now reply to reviews on Google Maps desktop

My Post (69).jpgIf you primarily use a desktop computer, you’ll be happy to know that you can now reply to Google Maps reviews without opening a mobile app.

Business owners with verified Google My Business listings can now reply to reviews left about their business directly in Google Maps on desktop, Kara Jancourtz, a community manager from the Google My Business team, announced in the Google support forums. Business owners no longer need to use the Google My Business center or mobile app to reply to reviews; they can do so directly in their Google Maps listing on the desktop view of Google Maps.

What Google said. Kara wrote “We’re making improvements on how you can reply to reviews, and providing you with more information and tools to get feedback from customers. You can now reply to reviews directly with your business profile on Google Maps from your computer. Replying directly from Google Maps lets you manage your reviews without having to download the Google My Business app or open its homepage.

“Positive or negative, reviews are an opportunity to identify areas to improve the consumer experience,” she added.

How it works. Here are the steps to reply to reviews left about your verified business:

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Enter your business name. Then, click Search Search or press Enter.
  3. Click Reviews.
  4. Next to the review you’d like to reply to, click Reply.

Other methods. There are other methods to reply to reviews about your business in Google Maps. You can log in to Google My Business on desktop and reply to reviews in the “reviews” section. You can also download the Google My Business app on iOS or Android and reply to reviews within the app. – Read more

Google tests ads in Assistant results

My Post (68).jpgWith the Assistant now on a billion devices, the move was inevitable.

Google appears to be testing the delivery of ads in Google Assistant results. The screen below, from Gennaro Cuofano, who performed a search on an Android phone, shows an ad for an Executive MBA program in Italy. He added, on Twitter, that organic results were below the fold and, “The answer on the voice assistant pretty much mirrored the search result page on that one.”

Assistant ads probably inevitable.

We were unable to find any ads ourselves in multiple attempts (on iOS or Android) using the Google Assistant. However, it was only a matter of time before Google started testing ads in Assistant results. – Read more

Google Search Console to Combine Data from Multiple Properties into One Report

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Google Search Console will soon assign all search data for a single piece of content to the canonical URL.

Currently, if a website has multiple properties, users have to view data for each property in different performance reports.

Page metrics are credited to the exact URL a user is referred to by Google Search.

Search Console will soon combine data from multiple properties, such as mobile and desktop versions, into a single URL.

That means page metrics will be credited to a Google-selected canonical URL, rather than the URL referred to by Google Search. – Read more

Optimising content for voice search and virtual assistants for a competitive edge

My Post (71).jpgLearn from SMX West presenters about specific tactics SEOs can use to create content for voice and how to roll out voice search campaigns.

In a lively session at last week’s SMX West conference, three presenters made a strong case for the need to think creatively about optimising content for voice and virtual assistants. Overall, the message was that Google is actively devouring online content to serve up in response to voice queries, and yet there’s still quite a bit of competitive advantage to be gained in an atmosphere where SEOs may not yet have caught on to the range of opportunities for voice optimisation.

Sound, search and semantics: How form follows function

Upasna Gautam from Ziff Davis provided a detailed technical explanation of Google’s approach to Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). She argued that only by learning about the form of Google’s voice processing technology will we be able to properly understand its function and deploy successful strategies.

Gautam explained that Google’s ASR is structured as a three-part process comprised of sound signal processing which converts speech into mathematical data; speech modeling which determines the meaning of the utterance; and delivery of relevant search results back to the voice assistant.

At every processing stage, Google uses quality metrics to gauge and improve accuracy. Some examples:

  • Word error rate: measures recognition accuracy at the word level
  • Semantic quality: measures how closely voice results match results of queries typed in by a user
  • Perplexity: measures the quality of a language model by its ability to predict the next word in a sequence
  • Out-of-vocabulary rate: measures how many words spoken by a user are not accounted for in the language model
  • Latency: the time it takes to complete a voice search

Using these metrics and others, in combination with machine learning and neural networks, Google’s voice processing technology works to constantly improve results delivered to consumers. In light of this, SEO practitioners need to be able to design well structured and concise answers even to comparatively vague questions and need to understand the tradeoffs Google’s process is designed to make. Gautam suggested, for example, that Google will sometimes favor speed over accuracy, so that an answer to a query that scores lower on semantic quality may still outrank a higher scoring result if it can be delivered more quickly. – Read more

Hotel Check-In & Check-Out Times Now on Google Maps

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Google has announced that hotels can now include the check-in and check-out times to their Google My Business listings. 

This will give customers the ability to see these times just by doing a simple Google search for the hotel.

The feature is currently only available for hotels.

Any check-in and check-out times entered by the business will be viewable on their business listing.

An in-depth look at the importance of bounce rate

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A good user experience results in a low bounce rate. Here is an in-depth look at the bounce rate and what companies can do to reduce theirs.

Bounce rate is a metric that helps determine a webpage’s strength. Bounce rate is shown in a number of different Google Analytics reports and is often used by webmasters to determine whether the content of a page satisfies the intent of the user.

Primarily, companies want their website to have low bounce rates. A good user experience results in a low bounce rate. Here is an in-depth look at the bounce rate and what companies can do to reduce theirs.

Bounces Kill Search Ranking
You may have spent a lot of time and money ranking your web site with national SEO techniques but if users click on your listing on Google and then bounce back to Google that clearly shows a search engine that you should not rank for a query.

User engagement and behavior on a site can increase bounce rates and drop ranking very quickly. Google has the goal of returning the best possible search results possible to fulfill queries. Happy search users will continue using their search engine. But bounces show search engines that a query was not solved or that a site returned a poor user experience.

What Is Bounce Rate
A bounce rate is a number that shows the number of users that landed on a particular website, but left the page without interacting on it. Companies that use Google Analytics on their websites have access to their bounce rate. The analytics keep track of every option performed on a page.

However, when the server only receives one request from the page, that means that the user left the page without doing anything. The complete formula used to find the bounce rate involves all single page sessions being divided by the total number of sessions. Keep in mind that the bounce rate is only calculated for landing pages. – Read more

 

YouTube SEO: 5 Hacks for Quicker, Better YouTube Keyword Research

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Proper YouTube keyword research is the backbone of a good YouTube SEO strategy.

Why? Because finding the right YouTube keywords could mean the difference between your ideal shopper catching your content, or your content being a complete traffic dead-zone.

The first thing you want to do before getting your research on is to do a keyword audit of your YouTube content and channel. This means looking at the following metrics:

  • Google Analytics traffic sources, which point to search volumes
  • Video view times, which could show you where the relevance of keywords to video content is lacking
  • Playback locations, which show demographic opportunities
  • Real-Time Reports, which show your estimated views in real-time
  • Audience retention, which could point to the relevancy of your keywords
  • Shares, likes, dislikes, comments and subscriber rates, which give you an idea of your content (and keyword) engagement

Once you know where you stand, you will know which content needs a keyword revamp. This will also help shape your YouTube keyword strategy by giving you insights into what is or isn’t working – a strategy you can duplicate in terms of keywords in the future. The first step to optimizing your channel and/or content keywords is doing proper research, which doesn’t need to be a tedious affair.

So, how do you streamline your YouTube keyword research so that you’re not only finding better keywords but finding them in a quicker, more efficient way? With these five hacks, of course!

Let’s jump straight in.

1. Take Advantage of YouTube Auto-Complete
YouTube’s auto-complete is a gold mine of important long-tail keywords in your niche. And we know just how critical long-tail keywords are to establishing rank in competitive niches and driving more targeted potential shoppers.

YouTube’s auto-complete will help you find popular YouTube search phrases that you may not have thought of for your main store keywords. It can also point to popular content that your shoppers could be interested in seeing – therefore giving you a host of new video marketing ideas, as well as possible new popular products. – Read more

Now your Google text ads can show on YouTube search results, too

My Post (43).jpgGoogle says early tests have shown similar performance results for text ads on YouTube and Google Search.

  • SAN JOSE — With the introductions of features such as location extensions and calls-to-action in TrueView for Action Ads, YouTube ads have been gaining performance elements native to traditional Search advertising. Taking this a step further, YouTube announced Wednesday at SMX West in San Jose that Search text ads can now extend onto YouTube.

What is changing? Google is incorporating YouTube into its Search Partners network.

What does this mean? Now, when Search text ad campaigns are opted-into Search Partners, your text ads may appear on YouTube search results pages when users search for keywords relevant to your campaign on the video platform — but solely on mobile. At this point, text ads will only appear in the mobile search feed on YouTube. – Read more

Google adds voice input and spoken results to mobile web search

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The search giant appears to be conditioning searchers to use voice across all platforms.

Google has added a microphone to the Google.com search field on Android phones to enable mobile web voice search. It’s an interesting move given that users could already do voice search on the mobile web, with the Android keyboard microphone.

A new mic icon. Below are screens from Android on the left and the iPhone on the right, showing Google.com search results. The iPhone doesn’t show the mic, although the keyboard allows voice input. The search phrase is “what percentage of mobile queries are voice searches?”

Beyond the microphone icon inside the search box, the major difference — a significant one — is that users will hear a spoken response now with Android mobile web searches rather than simply get a set of “silent” results. This voice response may encourage people to undertake more searches while their eyes are occupied, such as when they are cooking or driving.

This may or may not technically be the Google Assistant in action. But for all practical purposes that’s how it appears. – Read more

Understanding Website User Engagement with Google Analytics Metrics

My Post (38).jpg15 seconds. The amount of time that most users spend on a website and the amount of time you have to capture your audience’s attention. So how do you know whether users are engaged, and what can you do to increase user engagement on your website?

Most marketers use Google Analytics to track the performance of their website overall, but not all are leveraging the data to glean insights into user engagement. The following metrics are key to benchmarking, tracking, and improving your website engagement. Here’s what they mean and what to do to increase engagement.

Average session duration
Think of a session as a visit. Average session duration is the average amount of time your visitors spend looking around your site. Each user can have multiple sessions or visits that all factor in, and so more frequent users will weigh more heavily when it comes to this metric. Industry experts have differing opinions on this, but anything above 1.5 minutes is considered a good average session duration.

Generally, sites with higher average session duration feature longer scrolling pages with interactivity throughout. Interaction can come in many forms, such as infographics that can be manipulated by the user, animated blocks of content, “lazy-loading” content that populates as you scroll down the page are just a few examples.

Average session duration is a broad metric that can give you a snapshot of your site’s engagement. Pairing it with the following metrics can shed more insight into what you might be able to do to increase time spent on your site. – Read more