We’re almost seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, but we’re all still learning how to adjust to socially distanced life. The crisis has affected almost every aspect of our lives, from our financial situations to the ways in which we shop. And digital marketers, as well as search engines like Google, are still adapting to our new behaviours.
As a result, September has been a relatively busy month where digital marketing and Google news is concerned. Here, we’ve rounded up the five biggest stories you should know about. Read on to ensure you’re up to date with all of the latest goings on.
Google rolls out new features for local business profiles
As we outlined in our guide to how Covid-19 will affect the marketing industry in the long run, local SEO has become more important than ever in 2020. This is because many people began shopping closer to home while lockdown measures were in place, and it’s likely they’ll continue to do so. Of course, Google is always looking for ways in which it can make its search experience more helpful and convenient, so it’s no surprise that the company has now introduced new features for local business profiles in response.
These new features mostly focus on helping retailers and service providers ensure they’re still serving their customers, even if it’s only virtually. For example, customers are now able to book the likes of online classes and virtual consultations through companies’ Google business listings. Retailers and service providers can also choose which video call platform they would like to use to speak to their customers and clients. For more information about these new features, take a look at Search Engine Land’s guide.
Google starts boosting visibility of nearby products
Another way in which consumer behaviour has changed over the last few months is that it’s become a lot more common for people to order items online with the intention of picking them up in store. Google has reported that shoppers have become increasingly interested in real-time information: they want to know if a product is in stock, whether they’re able to pick it up, and what time they can do so.
In response to the fact that so many people are now buying online to pick up locally, Google has started to make it easier for people to see nearby shopping inventory. They’ve added a more prominent “nearby” filter to Google Shopping, and updated local store cards to make it much easier to work out whether shops offer a kerbside pickup service or not.
Google My Business allows companies to highlight their Covid-19 safety measures
These are very strange times for all of us and, while we obviously want our favourite shops and establishments to survive the coronavirus pandemic, we also know that we’ll be safe if we visit. So, to help both businesses and customers navigate this unprecedented situation as comfortably and confidently as possible, Google has made it very easy for companies to publicise which precautions and safety measures they have in place.
Much like you could already do with your opening times, address, and contact details, Google now allows you to update your Google My Business listing with the health and safety protocols you’ve put in place. This makes it even easier for you to let customers know that you require them to wear masks, you expect them to social distance, and that there are certain processes they’ll have to go through when visiting your establishment. This is likely to encourage more people to come along, and will help you to avoid awkward situations if someone arrives and wasn’t expecting certain systems to be in place.
Google starts using BERT to match stories with fact checks
We all know that Google is always doing what it can to provide internet users with relevant search results. But, in this age of fake news and conspiracy theories, the company is also doing its best to ensure the information it gives you is factual. As a result, it’s started to provide fact checks on certain pieces of content that might mislead people, and is always trying to improve the way in which it does this.
On 10 September, the search engine giant announced that it would be making some changes to Google search, and one thing they highlighted is that they will be using BERT to ensure they match the most suitable fact checks with potentially inaccurate stories. The company has been providing fact checks for a while now, but BERT is the Google algorithm that helps the search engine to better understand the content of a search based on the wording. The idea is that, by analysing the language used in searches and articles, the search engine will be able to do an even better job of providing appropriate fact checks.
Traditional media takes a hit as digital ad spend grows
As most of us have been spending a lot more time at home and online shopping has become increasingly popular over the last few months, it’s unsurprising that a lot of companies have chosen to prioritise online advertising. But it’s certainly taking its toll on more traditional media.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently carried out a survey, which estimated that overall ad spend will be down by 8% for 2020, but digital ad spend is actually likely to increase by 6%. This suggests that more traditional forms of advertising are bearing the brunt of the decline in advertising budgets. So, there’s never been a better time to upgrade your digital marketing and improve your online visibility.
You’re now up to date with all of the latest news stories from the digital marketing space. If you need help with supercharging your online presence, we can help here at Glass Digital. We specialise in SEO, PPC, and affiliate marketing so, whichever route you’re looking to go down, get in touch to speak to our team today. We’ll be more than happy to help you!