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Summary of SEO 101 Episode 361

The SEO 101 Logo for WebmasterRadio.FMThis episode is again guest co-hosted by Scott Van Achte, Senior SEO for StepForth. Ross and Scott discuss a wide variety of content from Google’s explanation of recent indexing issues, to Google My Business suspensions and changes to Hotel profiles.

Finally, they address great questions from SEO 101 podcast listeners.

Important Links from SEO 101 Episode 361

More from Google on its indexing issues – Search Engine Land

1. Google lost part of its index as a result of a “deployment issue.”
2. Search Console was messed up – Google annotated Google Search Console to show users an issue occurred.
3. Google is remedying its reporting policies to speed up the news on indexing issues:
– Explore ways to more quickly share information within Search Console itself about widespread bugs, and have that information serve as the main point of reference for webmasters to check, in case they are suspecting outages.

– More promptly post to the Search Console data anomalies page, when relevant (if the disturbance is going to be seen over the long term in Search Console data).

– Continue tweeting as quickly as they can about such issues to quickly reassure webmasters they’re aware and that the issue is on their end.

TikTok’s Parent Company ByteDance is Launching a Search Engine “Toutiao Search” – Search Engine Land

ByteDance, the company behind the widely used app TikTok, has rolled out its own search engine called Toutiao Search.

This new player in the search market came as a big news in China. It’s believed to pose a threat to Baidu, the country’s leading search engine.

“Considering the popularity of ByteDance, Toutiao has the potential to eat into Baidu’s market share,” the report noted.

On the other hand, Toutiao Search is unlikely to negatively impact Google, the world’s top search engine.

online search

Local SEO News Segment

Noted after someone mentioned all 125 locations he manages were suspended! – Local Search Forum
Joy Hawkins: “I can confirm that I’ve seen several cases lately where edits on Google Maps that are deemed spammy cause an account-level suspension in Google My Business.”

Big updates during the first week to how hotels are managed on Google My BusinessLocal Search Forum
– Google My Business deleted a bunch of categories. This was intended. They’re not coming back.
– Attributes go missing (bug – should be fixed soon if not already)
– Some users can’t add the hotel category (bug – should be fixed soon)
– Posts randomly show up as an option but you still can’t post (bug)
– New attributes layout & options are showing up in the Google My Business dashboard

GMB Bulk Insights download was offline as of Aug 7th – Local Search Forum
No reports of it being fixed yet.

Google My Business Insights Study – Bright Local
– There’s a correlation between the quantity of images within a GMB profile and the level of user interaction with the profile
– Businesses with 100+ images tend to do best on average
– Photos need to illustrate customer experience (standing in front of a new car, house, renovation, product, etc)
– Offer to take photos of customers
– Have a place at your business conducive to ‘selfies’ — cool artwork, seating area, garden or green space, something to attract photos

Reservations, AR navigation coming to Google MapsSearch Engine Land

Google Maps useGoogle Maps is introducing new features geared toward travellers: the Reservations and the ‘Live View’ features.

The new offerings will allow users to view their fight and hotel reservations directly from the app and use Google’s augmented reality (AR) walking navigation as they travel on foot.

“It’s going to further improve the benefit of Google My Business.” – Ross

The Mueller Files

A photo of Google's John MuellerOur weekly section of commentary from Google’s John Mueller.

Google Warns: Embedding Instagram Images Can Cause SEO Issues – Search Engine Roundtable
Glenn Gabe’s excellent summary over Twitter: “Via @johnmu: Switch from normal embedded images to Instagram embeds & see a big drop in image search traffic? That’s because IG uses iframes & the meta robots tag using noimageindex”

What could be a workaround?

“It’s tricky. Embedding is so easy… but it’s not the best for SEO. So it depends on what your main goals are.” – Scott

Questions from SEO 101 Listeners

Ross and John also welcome some SEO-related concerns from listeners. Please listen to the show to find out their detailed answers to these questions.

1.) “I have a Tour Operator Company that launches from several sites around Florida. Unfortunately Google has closed the GMB locations for each of their launch spots. Their customers need to be able to find their locations. Anyone have any experience with this?” – Elijah E.

2.) “Ads in a CLAIMED GMB is simply unacceptable (link to image – RD). When did they start doing this? At least it is the Green Box notification and not just the black word.” – Brenda M.

A: “This is just yet another example of Google’s partnerships with these delivery services. They have them because they make money off them. They have to monetize Google My Business so it’s not a big surprise.” – Ross

3.) “I own a fishing tackle shop that has a marina connected to it, we offer fishing charters from there. Several competitors have been able to use the public boat ramp (200 yards away) in their Google My Business listings. Two of the local 3 pack have the public ramp address. I believe they need to have an actual location (?) to be in the local pack. If that’s true, what do I do about it? Is it even worth worrying about, or should I just put more time into other things to get better rankings?” – Chris W.

A: Example of the other side of the coin to Elijah’s question.

4.) “Recently one of my competitors went out of business, pretty good timing because their domain has expired and is now available. Is it worth it or a good idea to buy it and redirect to my site? It’s not a particularly good domain so I wouldn’t want it for any other reason. Would not want to do anything black, this kinda feels like it would be. Part 2) The closed business still has its Google My Business account active, even though several people and local guides have suggested an edit stating it’s closed. Is there anything else that can be done about that?” – Chris W.

A. “If they are closed, then just make sure you’d stay as closed… if you know a local guide, make sure they’d do it.” – Ross

“Is it a good idea to buy? As long as you know the site has a good reputation… there’s really no downside to it.” – Ross

“I would definitely look into their link profile and try to confirm that there’s nothing bad there like penalties. On the flip side, maybe you’d check their backlinks and get tons of amazing ones that you can’t get otherwise.” – Scott

End of Show Notes

If you have any questions you would like to share with Ross and John, please feel free to post them on the SEO 101 Facebook Group. And, if you enjoy SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM please consider supporting the hosts with feedback on Apple PodcastsStitcher, or your favourite podcast stream.