Local Search News: August 2022

August 2022

Google My Business UpdateThe world of search keeps evolving, even during the hazy days of summer. Here’s all the news you need to know from August, which brought its fair share of major changes and significant updates.

“Helpful content” is Google’s new priority in search

Following BERT and EAT, the latest Helpful Content update to Google’s algorithm looks like it could be a big one. It’s designed to tackle pages generated by those who understand SEO (and how to game it) but have no interest in providing value to users. In other words, this update is targeting websites created for search visibility rather than actual users. If you already maintain your site in a way that leads to better user experiences, the helpful content update may boost your rankings—especially in spam-heavy industries, such as insurance.

Businesses should keep a close eye on their rankings in the wake of this update. After all, Google is not perfect. Monitor how this update impacts your business and be sure to act if you see your rankings slip.

New “Featured in” section for hotels and “Asian-owned” attribute for all businesses

Search results for hotels are beginning to include a new “Featured in” section, which includes third-party reviews as well as news stories about the hotel being searched.

Google My Business Update

Image: Search Engine Roundtable

Hotels and all other businesses now also have access to the “Asian-owned” attribute on their listings. Alongside similar attributes like Veteran-owned and Women-led, this label will help customers find the businesses most relevant to them and their values.

Don’t forget that any additional information that describes your business can improve click-through rates and drive traffic. Take the time to capitalize on the “Featured in” section and select any new applicable attributes to improve your ranking on existing queries or make your business eligible for other searches. Your updated, feature-rich listings are likely to earn more impressions.

Google updates product reviews

Google is now incorporating more in-depth, text-heavy reviews in product searches. As part of this change, bare-bones reviews (with only star ratings or minimal text) are no longer highlighted alongside product listings. Instead, reviews with relevant information are being put in the spotlight.

Although some businesses see reviews as a way to tally up a high score, Google considers reviews as a crucial, qualitative factor in most purchase decisions. This review update should be a win-win, encouraging both buyers and sellers to appreciate the importance of high-quality reviews on product listings.

In last month’s roundup, we looked at a new Google SERP feature called “Find places through reviews”. Much in the same way search keywords are highlighted in a listing’s review section, “Find places through reviews” should more accurately connect users with the specific types of businesses they’re searching for. Reviews pulled for this feature are prioritized by geographic proximity, encouraging walk-in traffic for local businesses through the most relevant online reviews.

Duplicate Google Posts to be considered spam

In an update to its Google Posts help article (in the “Avoid Spam” section), the search giant has made it clear that duplicate photos, videos, and logos can now cause posts to be rejected.

This updated policy may seem like a straightforward attempt to reduce repetitive content, but it is likely to have unintended consequences. In short, the update dissuades multilocation businesses from publishing standardized posts across their listings. Likewise, it will penalize honest uses of duplicate content, such as a restaurant brand advertising as weekly special across its locations’ listings. Now that every post requires an element of uniqueness, there’s a much greater burden on marketers utilizing Google Posts.

It’s a perplexing problem, for sure, but it’s also one ConvergenSEE is built to overcome. Check in with us and find out just how much we can do for your business!




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