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Reputation Management Roundup - October 2021
Updated on October 12, 2021 by Brianne Schaer
In this article: About half of business listings include inaccurate information, Apple and Microsoft are both looking into more ad control technology, a new search engine is on the rise in Europe, and Google is treating search result titles differently.
Here's a roundup of what's changed:
- Inaccurate business listings deter customers
- Tired of Ads? Here’s a workaround
- Decentralized search gains traction in Europe
- Google announces title changes
- Google introduces new AI model for more sophisticated search
- Latest Google algorithm updates
In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of these trends that relate to reputation management. We saw some big changes in search and business listings that we’d like to share here. These changes are important because search and business listings are the two biggest traffic drivers to your site.
It’s no surprise that online reputation management is changing all the time. Google and other search engines are constantly changing algorithms, Yelp is always adding new features, and social media trends come and go seemingly in the blink of an eye.
We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about reputation management and how important it is to improve your reputation online.
Inaccurate business listings deter customers
This may seem like a no-brainer, but how often have you searched for a company and found outdated or plain incorrect information? This happens more often than you’d think. One study even found that half of all business listings contain incorrect information.
Here are some of the most common sources of misinformation on business listings:
- Opening hours
- Location name
BrightLocal recently surveyed more than 1,000 US-based consumers to better understand how people search business listings. Here’s what they found:
- 94% of consumers used a business information site to find information about a local business last year.
- Google, Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, and Siri are the most common sources of business information.
- Finding incorrect information on a business listing would stop 63% of consumers from using that business.
- 85% of consumers found incorrect or incomplete information on a business listing in the last year.
- 81% of consumers visited a business that said online it was open, but that was closed due to the pandemic in the last year.
Fixing any inaccuracies in business listings should be a top priority to avoid losing customers before they even get a chance to experience your business. Check out our guide to optimize your Google My Business page for tips to get the most out of your business listings.
Tired of Ads? Here’s a workaround
Whether you’re team Apple or team Microsoft, here are a couple of quick tips to relieve yourself of a few ads.
- Microsoft Bing is testing a “Skip to Web Results” feature. This button would allow searchers to skip past the Ads, knowledge panels, and other SERP features directly to web results.
- Apple has a new pop-up that enables people to turn off personalized ads in Apple apps like the App Store and Apple News. This is available in iOS 15 and is a step away from linking advertising information to your Apple ID.
Decentralized search gains traction in Europe
Google now lists a private, decentralized search engine as a default search engine on Android devices in the U.K. and Europe. If successful, this would be a revolutionary shift in search engine rankings and advertising models.
Founded in 2017, Presearch is a community-powered, decentralized search engine in which community members can actively participate in the project. Presearch does not track or store searches, and queries are processed anonymously.
Although Google maintains its monopoly of online search with greater than 90% of the market, new players are finally starting to gain some traction. Presearch is just one of the search choices Google is now offering on Android devices. The five most popular search engines in each EU country will be displayed in random order.
Why did Google suddenly have a change of heart? In addition to increased pressure from anti-monopolization groups and antitrust violations, Google was fined 4.24 billion euro in 2018 for unfairly using Android to maintain its dominance of the search engine marketplace.
Google announces title changes
Google has a new system for generating titles for web pages. The titles were previously formulated using the search query, but this update will move towards more standardized titles of search result snippets. Now, Google says it will use a new system to generate titles that are “more readable and accessible.”
Here are a few reasons why Google doesn't use HTML title tags for search titles:
- Some title tags don't accurately describe the page.
- Some title tags are too long. Google typically selects the most relevant portion of a long title tag when creating search titles.
- People keyword stuff title tags. Adding a bunch of keywords makes titles confusing and difficult to understand for human readers.
- Some sites lack title tags altogether or have vague/repetitive tags such as "Home" for the home page or "untitled."
Some of you may have noticed changes to your click-through rate from Google. Here are a few SEO tools that can help you find out if your titles have been changed:
Regardless of whether your page titles have changed in SERPs, Google still uses your HTML titles for ranking. So make sure they’re optimized to improve your rankings.
Google introduces new AI model for more sophisticated search
Google's Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, is a text-to-text framework capable of providing answers to complex questions that would normally require a person to complete multiple search queries to compile an answer. For example, if you are comparing two vacation options, you likely have questions such as how to pack, what transportation options exist, and popular tourist attractions. Google admits that people typically issue eight queries for complex tasks like this.
MUM technology offers a way to help you with complex searches to reduce the number of searches necessary to find the answer you're looking for. Here are a few of its most exciting features:
- Removes language barriers: MUM understands 75 different languages, enabling it to compile more comprehensive answers to questions in which information is sourced from different areas of the world.
- Multimodal support: MUM understands information from different formats like webpages, pictures, and more. This means you may eventually be able to upload photos into search queries.
- Extensive evaluation: Mum is undergoing a rigorous evaluation process to ensure the technology is free of bias.
Latest Google algorithm updates
September was admittedly a slow month for Google algorithm updates. Here are a few best practices for maintaining your ranking.
- Google continues to refine its system of generating titles for web page results.
- A "link spam update" is aimed at broadly identifying and nullifying link spam, so make sure you're following best practices for links.
- Review your site to ensure it is free of issues regarding mobile-first indexing.
- Google aligns Search Console testing tools and the URL Inspection tool