The most important search marketing news from August 2019. Read on to keep up-to-date with developments in our ever changing industry.

Study suggests that Google My Business photo quantity impacts search performance

A recent Google My Business Insights Study carried out by BrightLocal has analysed the correlation between performance metrics such as website clicks, GMB views and calls to the quantities of images visible within a company’s Google My Business listing. The study analysed over 45,000 businesses in 36 industries across four countries. The averages were calculated using the median business per data set, and it’s calculated per month.

Google My Business images are more likely to influence customer action as they are usually next to call-to-action buttons.

The key findings when analysing average monthly customer actions by quantity of GMB images:
  • There is a consistent correlation between the amount of website visits, phone calls and direction requests and the number of images on a Google My Business profile.
  • Businesses with more than 100 images on GMB get:
    • 520% more calls than the average business, whilst in comparison businesses with just one image get 71% fewer
    • 2717% more direction requests than the average business, compared to businesses with just one image than get 75% fewer
    • 1065% more website clicks than the average business, whilst businesses with just one get 65% fewer.

The key insights from an analysis on average monthly views on Search and Maps by number of GMB images:
  • Businesses with greater than 100 images on GMB get:
    • 960% more search views than the average business, in comparison to those with just one image that get 62% fewer
    • 3459% more map views than the average business, whilst businesses with only one image get 71% fewer.

The study also showed a correlation between a business having more than 100 images and the positive impact on generating a greater number of discovery searches and direct searches.Recommendations on how to get more photos on your Google My Business profile:
  • Post a greater number of images from yourself and staff (your business)
  • Request that customers publish images themselves with incentives
  • Create an engaging “instagramable” space within your business premise.

The total number of people listening to podcasts is increasing, and it’s a very personable way to build a connection with your target audience(s).

Podcasts are now playable from Google search results

The majority of us who work in digital marketing understand the increasing importance of including podcasts in our marketing plan. The total number of people listening to podcasts is increasing, and it’s a very personable way to build a connection with your target audience(s). It’s also interesting to see that Google is now offering the option for searchers to play podcasts directly from the Google search results. Whilst they are also automatically transcribing podcast content, enabling them to searchable in Google Podcasts app. Google will soon be displaying podcast content in search results that don’t specify the auxiliary keyword ‘podcast’.

Google announces update to Core algorithm that focuses on keeping featured snippets up-to-date

Pandu Nayak, Google’s Vice President of Search, has announced that the company has launched an update to their search algorithms that aims to keep featured snippets fresh, relevant and timely. Google’s announcement mentions that the updates will focus on understanding which information remains up-to-date and useful for the searcher. As part of this, featured snippets will evolve to display fresh content, more accurate information or references to recent recalls if applicable. They provided us with a specific example around school holidays as shown below.

Google is removing average position in Google Ads W/C September 30th 2019

Google has announced that they will be removing the Average Position metric as of the week commencing September 30th 2019. The search giant has recommended to advertisers to use Search top impression rate and Search absolute top impression rate as a means of understanding the actual placement of their ads on page.

Topic clustering is a one of SEJ’s most shared articles in August 2019

In August 2019, one of the Search Engine Journal’s most shared articles was “Why (& How) Topic Clusters Are Your Most Powerful SEO Weapon”, written by Manish Dudharejia. The SEO community understand the potential power of executing a topic clustering content strategy, and this piece from Manish offers a useful overview of the methodology. To summarise:
  • Define your topic clusters around “Pillar content”, or “Narrative Arcs” as we call them at Semetrical.
  • A topic cluster consists of a multitude of content assets that are linked to an overarching subject, often a broad keyword with lots of search volume.
  • An example would include targeting the pillar keyword: “cv template” (135,000 searches per month) and cluster keywords: “how to write a cv” (33,100 searches per month), “cv format (4,400 searches per month)”.
  • The goal is to create high quality content assets, based on user intent analysis, for all cluster content assets and internally link them to the overarching pillar content asset to boost it’s SEO performance.
  • You should develop a topic hierarchy, where you prioritise the long-tail keywords which will show quick win ranking increases for less competitive keywords. Eventually impacting the SEO rankings for the pillar keywords that deliver significant organic traffic increases.

Below is an example diagram of topic clustering from Hubspot.