Lab Weekly: Google Maps & Mobilegeddon returns!

Jodie King

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Google Knows Where You Shop Offline & When

Google recently announced on Google+ that Google Maps on your mobile device will now show you how busy a specific retail store or business is throughout the day. Now when you click on a business you will be able to see how much foot traffic the business gets by day and hour. This is a novel real time feature that will help stores establish how many customers

For this to happen Google will crowdsource mobile users locations. Google’s exact words were:
“The information is based on anonymised and aggregated visits to places from Google users who have opted in to sharing location data”

These features so not yet work on IOS devices but they are available on Android and a number of browsers including Safari and Chrome. I am pretty sure it won’t be long until the features are available on IOS devices, and for realistic data, for this to be a credible feature, that needs to happen.
Mike Blumenthal has FAQs on this feature that you can visit in full here. Here are some of the ones we were asking upon hearing of the new addition to Google Maps:

Q – Is this available internationally?
A – Yes, it is available in all locations.
Q – Where does Google get this data from?
A – The information is based on anonymised and aggregated visits to places from Google users who have opted-in to storing location data.
Q – Is Google tracking my location and saving it for this feature?
A – No, the information is completely anonymous and users must opt-in to store location data.
Q – What can businesses do if they don’t want the business data to show for their business?
A – We don’t offer a way for businesses to remove this information as we believe this information is valuable for customers in deciding when and where to go.

The shopper demographic is something Google are really honing in on – their actions, routes taken to store, entry to a store – are all potential ranking factors of the future. Google’s patent on using driving directions as a ranking factor means that the use of mobiles to request and follow directions requested can now be logged. Whether shoppers reach their destination or not can also be tracked.
Google also has the powers to filter in this information with a ton of other sources like Android Pay, Google Wallet, Browser Histories etc to refine their data and understand commercial space better. If this information is being compiled it will be interesting to see if it will have an effect on ranking or whether it will allow Google to change the ranking during certain times of the day. Search conscious of footfall patterns in high street stores – can this feel any more like big brother is watching you? Do we still have the freedom to make our own choices or will it be down to Google and what they decide for us?

Mobilegeddon has been resumed…

So everyone went a little crazy when Google announced that they would be targeting websites that were not mobile friendly. There were some that expected a Panda and Penguin like entry by the new algorithm and subsequent loss of rankings in mobile searches for those that remained unoptimised. Others thought it was much ado about nothing and then there were the sensible folk that expected some change but that it would likely roll out over time and give the sites time to make the necessary changes.
Whatever you anticipated there was a general consensus that now was the time to prioritise mobile friendliness and get in touch with the web developers. Still, many brands and companies do not have mobile-friendly sites. A new study by Moovweb has proven that there are indeed consequences. The study tracked 1,000 e-commerce keywords across a range of different industries. These were the findings:
83% of the time the top result was mobile-friendly
81% of the time the top three results were mobile-friendly
On page 1 of the Google mobile SERP 77% of results were mobile-friendly
It is now beyond question that non mobile-friendly sites in general are being negatively affected.

Google Search Console anomaly

you may have noticed that you are missing data in your Google Search Console. There are lots of people seeing Google skip over July 28th 2015 data in search analytics. Google’s Search Console, formerly known as Webmaster Tools, appears to have acquired a blind spot.
Not everyone is affected but that is little consolation for those that are. If you scroll over the search analytics chart you will be able to see it skips from July 27th to July 29th which is completely missing July 28th. What has Google got against that date – nobody knows!
Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that they are aware of the problem and are working on fixing the issue.

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