Local Search News: June 2022
Passing the halfway point of the year, time continues to move fast in digital. Keep up with all the latest changes, announcements, and updates shaking things up in June.
A new policy has Meta squaring up against fake reviews
Many users trust online reviews like recommendations from a friend—so vetting for authenticity is important. Google has made its own investment in reputation management and vigilance against fake reviews, but now Facebook is stepping up to the plate. Meta departments including Marketplace and Shop are what’s currently under scrutiny for the company. Facebook has a clear goal to maintain platform reliability for both users and businesses, which means laying our new strategies to prevent fraudulent reviews and blatant spam.
With that in mind, Meta has announced its new community feedback policy following five criteria for review flagging:
- Manipulation: Community Feedback must not be used to misrepresent, deceive, defraud or exploit others for a financial or personal benefit.
- Incentivization: Community Feedback must not be directly or indirectly incentivized, unless otherwise disclosed compliant with Meta’s policies on Branded Content. We define incentivization as a business partner or seller providing something of value, such as a monetary payment, free gift, or refund, in exchange for Community Feedback ratings, reviews, or answers.
- Irrelevance: Community Feedback must be based on a reviewer’s direct experience with a product, business, or seller. Additionally, the feedback must be related to the intended use of the product and/or business.
- Graphic or Inappropriate Content: Community Feedback must not include any content or media that is excessively graphic, inflammatory, violent, discriminatory, or threatening to any person or group.
- Spam: Community Feedback must comply with Meta’s policies on Spam. Including, but not limited to engagement bating, high frequency content posting, sharing, or promoting is not allowed.
Reviews that violate Meta’s Community Feedback Policy face penalties that include losing all access to Meta’s products and features on a temporary or permanent basis. Read the entire policy here.
Google unveils its latest broad core update
Following Google’s industry-targeted update from November and spam focused July 2021 update, the latest May 25th Google core algorithm update has taken a broader approach. That means less noticeable changes for users, more incremental improvement to overall search rankings. Good news, for what can be a tumultuous period for listings.
Still, there will always be a level of ranking fluctuation following an algorithm update. So, it’s important know when search engine optimization efforts are worth it for your rankings. Keeping up with SEO best practices is the best way to maintain organic rankings even when algorithm volatility is in play.
Google listings see new “LGBTQ+ owned business” attribute
Google has added a descriptor for LGBTQ+ owned businesses to its existing attributes—including identifiers such as black-owned women-led, and veteran-owned. This new attribute isa available on listings for any verified profile.
Adding icons and labels to Google listings has been shown to improve click-through rates and bring in additional traffic from related queries. Including more features on a Google listing can even build professional credibility and trustworthiness. So, businesses are not only identifying themselves with features, they’re boosting the potential for higher click-through rates and rankings.
“Product Drops” features arrives for merchants on Twitter
Google’s not the only one adding direct sales to their platform—Twitter also has ecommerce aspirations. Enter Product Drop, a new service option that lets merchants market and direct users to their brand website.
As you would guess from the name, Product Drops let Twitter followers receive direct notifications about product launches from their favorite brands. Using Product Drop, merchant posts have the ability to feature a “Remind me” button at the bottom of tweets. Followers can select the button and are later delivered a notification 15 minutes ahead of that brand’s product release. The notification comes with a link to the merchant’s site for the user to arrive in time and hopefully snag the product they are after.
Product Drop is still in beta, but promises to be an influential tool for retailers. It has the potential to work on the smaller local scale to larger brand-wide initiatives. Product Drop is currently limited to the US only on English-language iOS devices. Availability for all merchants is in the works, but Twitter is currently testing with select partners including:
- Hope Depot
- Jeff Staple
Google announces new travel products for hotels
Google Travel went through substantial rebrand and relaunch in 2021, thanks to travel industry turmoil in 2020. With a goal to position itself as a leader in hospitality and travel bookings, Google has made several updates to make the search giant the place users come to for hotel rates and availability. Even more updates have made their debut, including ways for hotels to add rates to their Google Business Profiles, as way for hospitality to utilize Google as a central customer touch point.
Here are the main three updates helping hotels keep their GBPs up to date:
- Industry-standard protocols:Google has standardized how they bring in hotel rates to match other travel websites. That mean less work for hotels who can now streamline their rates and availability across all platforms.
- No more spreadsheets: That’s right, they’re gone! Instead, Google has made it easier for hotel managers to directly input rates into their profile. Adjusting rates on-the-fly is now a lot less complicated for any venue.
- Hotel ads will not need a Hotel Center account:Hotel ads are no longer tied to Hotel Center accounts, so advertiser can now run and search for campaigns without the additional account to manage. Does this mean Hotel Center accounts are on their way out? Google has stated that,“We will not be phasing out Hotel Center accounts. Current hotel advertisers with existing Hotel Center accounts will continue to operate and serve ads as usual.”
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