James Allen runs through this week’s SEO news roundup, including a look over missing data from Google search analytics, how organic rankings will affect local SEO, the rise in traffic to shopping sites through search, and the increase in voice search assistants.
Google Search Analytics Drops a Day of Data
Google Analytics is showing a one-day gap in data for the Google Search Console, Search Engine Land has reported. On the Google Search Analytics report, data collected for 29 March 2016 is missing. The information in the overview for the report shows the data, but when the report itself is opened, there is a gap where the information for 29 March should be:
The reason for the missing data is currently unknown. It could simply be a mistake made by Google which will be fixed over time.
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller believes that the reason for the missing information could have been caused by a leap-day.
CEO of Rustybrick web service firm, Barry Schwartz believes that the incident is just an accident by Google, and tells us in his take on the news story: “Just give it time, Google will fix it.”
Search Remains Main Driver of Traffic to Shopping Sites, Report Shows
According to SimilarWeb’s Global Search Marketing report 2016, search is the single largest traffic driver in the world. 38.98% of traffic sent to shopping is directed from search, this is ten times more than the amount of traffic directed to online shopping from social media, with this sitting at only 3.91%.
Although search remains dominant to social media in directing traffic to shopping sites, the SimilarWeb Marketing Report does not measure how effective each channel is in generating conversions. The results given by SimilarWeb’s Marketing Report are based on billions of visits to a global sample of websites. However, they do only account for desktop traffic, leaving it unclear whether or not social media on mobile attracts any more traffic, or if the results are any different at all.
Traditional SEO Now Impacts Local Rankings
An addition has been made to Google’s document on local ranking signals, with local ranking factors now taking into account more traditional ranking metrics, such as links, articles and overall position. The aim is to replicate a business’s prominence as some businesses may be more prominent online than they are offline.
The first to notice and share the additional information was Mike Blumenthal. The document reads:
"Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (such as links, articles and directories). Google review count and score are also factored into local search ranking – more reviews and positive ratings will improve a business's local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices apply to local search optimisation."
This means that by focusing on traditional SEO more than local SEO, businesses are likely to see their rankings improve as a result of traditional SEO methods influencing the rankings of Google My Business pages.
Relevance to the query and distance from the searcher are still important factors in determining local search results, however, traditional SEO is going to become more important, and must now also be taken into account.
Will Voice Search Take Over?
Google’s director of conversational search, Behshad Behzadi gave a keynote address at SMX West in San Jose last month regarding Google’s view on where search is today, and where it is going.
At the beginning of the keynote, Behshad Behzadi showed a video of Captain Kirk talking to the Star Trek computer, and states that, although the clip is set in a futuristic setting, this is where search is heading today.
Behshad said that speech search is one of the easiest forms of search on mobile devices, and with it becoming normal to speak to your phone; speech search is becoming increasingly popular. Behshad’s point was backed up with evidence from Google’s research stating that in 2015 there were more searches made on mobile platforms than desktop.
Behshad said that the future of search will be the creation of the ultimate personal assistant.
He says this assistant should understand:
- The world
- You and your world
- Your current context
Search Engine Land columnist Eric Enge believes that from Behshad’s keynote, we can draw the conclusion that this rise in voice search could lead to the death of the search box.
Enge believes that voice search is likely to become present in more devices, leading to people becoming increasingly comfortable speaking to computers and mobile devices. He says that if people become comfortable speaking to computers with natural language, and the voice recognition systems improve as a result of this, there will be no need for a search box.
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