It's been a short week for us here at Designer Websites as we all enjoyed a long weekend for August bank holiday. However, the SEO, PPC & technology worlds never stand still and plenty of exciting things have been happening this week! Let's take a look...
Competitor ads appear on local business profiles
This week people started noticing Google ads appearing in local business profiles. Up until now, businesses have had a perception of ownership or exclusivity on their business profiles, but of course - like everything else that appears in search results - business profiles are owned by Google. Here's an example of what these ads look like:
Photo from searchengineland.com
Here you can see a business profile for a Chrysler store in California. Below all of the contact options, you can see an ad for Valley Hi Toyota, a different car dealership that's over an hour away from the Chrysler dealer.
Will this be helpful for users? In a way, yes, especially when you're doing something more mundane than buying a new car. Let's say you're trying to find a Chinese restaurant for your Friday night takeaway, perhaps the one you select is closed tonight, but Google advertises one that's open - it will save users time and they might even like the new restaurant more!
For business owners, this feature is likely to be more of a nuisance and, so far, the SEO community agrees. Google is essentially drawing potential customers away from your business as they view your business profile. Worse still, businesses can't pay to remove the ads so they're here to stay.
Can humans keep up with AI?
Alibaba's Jack Ma and Tesla's founder Elon Musk took to the stage at an event in Shanghai to share their views on the potential future impact of artificial intelligence. Despite being two of the most influential leaders in the technology community, their predictions for the impact of AI couldn't have been any more different.
Photo from bbc.co.uk
Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma was 'quite optimistic' about the future of AI and suggested it's nothing to be scared of. Musk's response, 'I don't know man, that's like famous last words'. Musk believes that humans are simply the 'boot loader for digital super-intelligence', in layman's terms, a simple catalyst for its creation that will eventually be no longer needed. To avoid this fate, Musk suggests that we need to find a way to connect our brains to the computers so we can "go along for the ride with AI".
Despite their conflicting opinion on this topic, the two businessmen did agree that one of the biggest issues we face worldwide is population collapse. As more thing become automated and people starting to use more of their time for pleasure, both men predict a severe decline in population. They suggested that using AI to help people live longer and healthier lives could be part of the solution.
Google tests content highlighting
Google have confirmed they are testing a new feature that will take users directly to the most relevant information on a page, depending on their query. Yep, Google is finding even more ways to serve users the information they want as quickly as possible, and we're not mad at it! Google originally introduced this feature on mobile, but it's now being trialled on desktop too.
Photo taken from searchengineland.com
So, here's how it works. Certain queries will show a featured snippet, the content of which is pulled from a source that Google considers highly-authoritative on the topic. When a user clicks the website shown in the snippet, Google with move the view down to the passage featured in the snippet to show users the most relevant content.
Photo from searchengineland.com
This should provide an extra stream of traffic to well-optimised content as more chunks of it appear in search results. The best way for SEOs to stay on top of this is to keep an eye on whether their websites are doing this in Google search and rearrange or replace ads/call to actions in a more appropriate location on the page.
To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow Designer Websites on Twitter! See you next week.
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