Somewhere in the dim, distant and convoluted past of Google Plus Local, Google dropped the ability for a business to fill out a description field. Initially it disappeared from the Knowledge Panel and was Plus visible only and then removed all together.
Google has added (or has the intention to add) direct notifications of new questions appearing on the Knowledge Panel of local businesses. The option (pre-selected) is available in the settings preferences panel for any location.
That being said, I have the settings on but I have yet to receive notifications of questions that are being asked. Perhaps the setting is in anticipation of sending out alerts.
I love local and I love LocalU Advanced. We have scheduled our next events for Austin. We will be doing an SMB event there to help fund Celia Bell’s training foundation on April 11th and on the night of the 11th and the day of the 12th we will be doing a full day Local U Advanced.
The speaker line is incredible with Cindy Krum talking how to attack the new opportunities in voice, David Mihm joining us and taking a look at the how agencies and in-house SEOs need to adjust for the coming years and Joy Hawkins will be doing her deep dive into the quirks and issues with Google My Business. And a lot, lot more.
The pricing is currently pre agenda at $549 but it goes up very soon.
Here is a video that was recorded around our last event in Santa Monica:
I was alerted on Twitter by Marc Nashaat, a link builder in Toronto, about a new app from Google called Bulletin. From their page:
Bulletin is an app for contributing hyperlocal stories about your community, for your community, right from your phone. Bulletin makes it effortless to put a spotlight on inspiring stories that aren’t being told.
What’s special about a story on Bulletin? A Bulletin story is…
Impactful: Bulletin helps you tell the stories that aren’t being told
Open: Bulletin stories are public and easy to discover: on Google search, through social networks, or via links sent by email and messaging apps
Effortless: No setup is required to create a story – all you need is a smartphone
With Bulletin you can contribute to local stories and be the voice of your community!
The early access request form appears to indicate that it is initially being tested in Nashville, TN and Oakland Ca. And that Google is primarily interested in testing across a range of mobile devices.
As noted, the content does appear in the index. I experimented with a few URLS until I landed up this one: site:posts.google.com/bulletin/ which surfaced three results from Oakland, two of which have live content dated January 23.
Here is an example from the Woman’s March Oakland:
The page on which it is hosted offers a bold headline, and simple real time display of captioned photos, videos and short commentary in a time stamped stream like presentation. By default the postings appear to be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
There are a set of guidelines that prohibits the usual suspects ( spam, deception, plagiarism) and a few that I had not seen before like the prohibition against Medical Advice. Promotional content and otherwise copyrighted material are likewise banned. There is the ability to “report” a story as abusive:
As noted by Google the content is surfaced in search and is visible in the index. The title of the event auto populates the Title Tag. Since there is little page content and no meta-description tag there is no content currently showing in the description area other than the title.
Here is the meta information from the page with liberal use of OG notation and the inclusion of authorship:
The implications of this are interesting, if abstract and my thoughts are still forming. Let me know what you think.
And of course a new feature at GetFiveStars that allows agencies and brands to monitor it. This feature so alarmed me when it came out that Don, Aaron, Thomas and I decided to build a feature to allow locations, brands and agencies working on their behalf a fighting chance in the battle for location reputation.
Google has announced an update to the Google My Business Website product to now integrate Google Posts into the website content.
This is an obvious first move as Google moves Websites from a minimal viable product to something more full featured but still easy to use. The inclusion of Posts creates allows a business to add additional relevant content over time, a win for the business and Google.
Simultaneously they announced the ability to add up to 9 photos distinct from your GMB photos and a quicker time to publish. It would appear that means that the rendering of the final HTML is not done until you visit the site the first time.
Since introduction Google has sustained a build rate of over 5000 new sites per day and they currently have 1.25 million sites created. While many of these are in the developing world, a significant percentage are showing up in the US and Europe. The inclusion of Posts should cement that trend.
The product is still missing basic SEO features like Title Tags but for a business that has chosen to only have a Facebook page this product could offer significant impact and value.
Colan Nielson of Sterling Sky spotted the video option in the Google My Business dashboard starting to appear last week. Google has now officially announced that every dashboard now has the feature to see what videos consumers have uploaded and to upload your own.
How it works:
Videos will appear in the overview tab of the Google My Business Dashboard Customer uploaded videos can be found in the ‘customer’ tab Merchant uploaded videos can be found in the ‘by owner’ tab All videos can be viewed together in the ‘videos’ tab After upload it could take up to 24 hours for the videos to appear. Once live, they will display where local photos do.
In addition to uploading videos, merchants will have the ability to flag inappropriate videos through their dashboard. Native mobile support and notifications for new customer videos are coming soon.
The feature is available via the Photos tab:
Videos on Google Maps first seen on the consumer side of Maps in late August and added to the API at the time of the last update.