October 2017: Essential SEO News & Google Updates

5-MINUTE READ - 1st November 2017

Emily Park
Emily ParkSenior Content Executive

In October 2017, there were 4 major SEO and Google updates that every digital marketer should know about. Google began to roll out its mobile-first index, added booking buttons to US Google My Business accounts, and announced new online-to-offline features. Plus, Pinterest opened search ads to self-serve advertisers.

If you would like to know how these developments are likely to affect you and your business, read on to learn everything you need to know.

Google has started to roll out its mobile-first index

Man on mobile

At the SMX East conference on 25 October, Google’s Gary Illyes revealed that the mobile-first index has started to slowly roll out. The announcement came as quite the surprise because, back in June, Google claimed that the mobile-first index wouldn’t be rolled out for “many quarters”. But, it seems positive test results may have prompted the search engine to bring this forward.

It’s difficult to estimate how many websites will have already switched over to the mobile-first indexing process, but this does suggest your site could be affected sooner than you might have expected. However, Illyes assured everyone that there’s no need to panic, explaining that Google is still testing things out, and there is no planned date by which it will be fully implemented.

To ensure mobile-first indexing doesn’t have a negative impact on your rankings, you need to ensure that your mobile site runs as smoothly as possible — it should load quickly and be easy to use on a mobile device. If you ensure that people on their mobiles will be able to use your website with ease, these developments shouldn’t cause you any major problems.

US businesses can now add booking buttons to their Google My Business listings

Back in July, Google began to add booking buttons to certain local search results in the US. Now, the search engine has announced that it will be offering this option to more American businesses through the Google My Business console.

When US businesses, such as restaurants, salons, and gyms, log in to their Google My Business accounts, they will see a new “sign up for bookings” button in their console.

Google bookings

© Google

Clicking this will take them to a page where they can choose their booking provider.

Google booking providers

© Google

Once everything is up and running, business owners will be able to track all of the bookings they get through Google. They’ll also be able to keep an eye on how much money they make over time, as well as how much they earn from each appointment.

While this feature is currently only available to US businesses, it’s something that’s likely to be rolled out to the UK if things go well. So, if you would like to make things much easier for your customers and potential clients, keep an eye out, and prepare to pounce if this does become an option for you.

Google announces new online-to-offline features

Shoe shop

In a recent post on its Inside AdWords blog, Google revealed that it’s preparing some new shopping features and reporting capabilities in time for Christmas.

One aspect of this is that, in response to the rising popularity of voice search, Google is going to tie local inventory data into results provided by Google Assistant. So, for example, users will be able to ask their phones or Google Home “where can I buy ___ nearby?” and they’ll be given a list of local inventory results.

In addition to this, Google will be introducing three new reports to AdWords, which will help business owners keep track of their physical store visits. Users will be able to see the time between an ad click and a store visit, be given the option of adding store visits to existing demographic reports, and be shown how many store visits come from repeat customers.

As a business owner, you should think about how you could use these new features to increase your footfall. The new services Google is offering will give you plenty of insight into why people are visiting your premises, and there’s no reason why you can’t use this to inform your strategies when it comes to digital marketing.

Pinterest opens search ads to self-serve advertisers

Pinterest ads

© Pinterest

Pinterest began offering search ads eight months ago, and now the company has announced that advertisers will be able to secure ad space through its new self-serve ad-buying tool.

Advertisers who buy Pinterest search ads using the self-serve interface will be able to set up their campaigns just like those who buy through Pinterest’s direct sales team or third-party tools. Companies will also be able to apply broad- or exact-match keyword targeting, along with phrase-match targeting. They’ll be able to list negative keywords, too.

As well as having the option of traditional keyword-based targeting, advertisers can opt to have Pinterest automatically target search queries that are relevant according to Pinterest’s Taste Graph, its index of more than 100 billion pins and their metadata.

Pinterest works well for companies from visual industries, such as interior design, beauty, and fashion. So, if you feel that visual content suits your business, buying ads using Pinterest’s self-serve interface could be a great way forward.

Consider yourself fully up to speed with the biggest SEO and digital marketing news from October 2017. This month we also published our Christmas marketing expert round-up, which includes advice from more than 100 digital marketing and SEO experts who had plenty of advice on how to stand out this festive season. If you want to make the most of the Christmas shopping season, be sure to check it out!

Additionally, we also post the latest news on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so follow us there if you would like more frequent updates!