So there has been a storm of updates today from Google surrounding their I/O Conference. I will try to elaborate and simplify the key-points. A lot is changing (as always) so it is best to stay ahead of the gradient.
Google Local's backend has been updated! Thank god, this has been needing to happen for a long time. Though there is a "rollout" phase that is going on, so currently only new profiles and newly verified listings will be able to access the new backend. Old, already established local listings (such as all the ones we already have created) have to use the old backend until the rollout hits us. I got to use this updated backend though today while setting up a new listing and to sum it up, it's good. Very clean and intuitive, very easy to manage and quick to update.
Anyone who wants to see it or read more check out these two articles:
Google Maps got a major redesign and functionality shift. While the design looks good, I'm not sure how much it is going to effect local SEO, how businesses will be represented, how it will shift the organic SERPs and the minor details (that really matter) will be effected by this. They're really just showing the big picture, and I'm sure there will be a shit storm once it is fully rolled out. More that we will just have to educate clients on the differences than anything.
One major noticeable difference is that there are no local results in the left hand side of the screen. Meaning no local results. This will probably come down to a lot more personalized results and hyper-location based tracking (google using where you are specifically etc.)
New Google+ Stream, Hangouts, and Photos designs. Stream is their new Google+ design layout, basically just a redesign to the content feed.
key-points for the "Stream"
- A multi-column, Pinterest looking layout. You’ll see one, two, or three columns of content depending on your screen size and orientation.
- Larger-sized media. Photos and videos can fill the entire width of the stream, making it easier to scan, and nicer to look at.
- Google will look at the post, determine what it’s about, and tag it accordingly (yes, with #hashtags)
- Behind the scenes, Google will also identify and rank relevant conversations across the network.
- When you click on the related hashtag, Google will flip the card, and let you browse related content inline.
The hashtags are going to be one of the biggest changes for the Google+ design update, using hashtags in G+ posts will become a far more mandatory action to appear to a larger, more targeted audience.
The Hangouts and Photos are basically just upgrades to the already established services. Hangouts will now encompass GTalk etc. Photos can now be automatically backed up to your Google profile and stored / sorted using their data centers (likely using drive accounts).
Matt Cutt's video on 10 new upcoming changes to SEO in the next few months.
Google is typically very quite about their updates, as they don't really want to prepare us for them so that once they drop, they organically take out all "offenders" as they see them. Uncharacteristically though Matt Cutts (head of Google's Webspam team) just released a video on the 10 updates they are working on that will effect SEO in the next few months.
- Major Penguin Update - their webspam algorithm, he speaks saying that these changes will mainly affect bad link practices.
- Advertorial Spam - sort of the same as Penguin's update, but more about major blog-comment spam, forum spam etc.
- Spammy Queries Being Looked At
- Going Upstream At Link Spammers - in-depth link spam penaltys.
- More Sophisticated Link Analysis
- Improvements On Hacked Sites
- Authority Boost In Algorithm - this is tied to the AuthorRank, meaning we need to get Google+ profiles rolling and authorship set up on our blogs.
- Panda To Soften
- Domain Clusters In SERPs - multiple versions of the same website showing up in the same SERP, they want to narrow this down
- Improved Webmaster Communication
For a more elaborate explanation check out this article:
Since this event is still going on, there are sure to be more updates. These seemed to be quite significant though!
- Google Local is getting a new rating system, keeping the Zagat rating system yet changing to a 5-star scale, porting all existing reviews over to the new system accordingly.