February saw a final rollout of the Page Experience Update and other suspected algorithm updates from Google. In addition, we saw changes to local search to make it easier for small businesses to improve their Google Business Profiles. February was an overall quieter month than we’ve seen in about a year. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to go over here. Let’s get into our report for SEO in February 2022.
Local Search News
The biggest change comes from Google Maps and how your Google Business Profile can provide information and data back to your business.
Let’s start with the overall importance of gathering reviews for your business. Reviews are actually a ranking factor for your website. Especially on your Google Business Profile, it’s key to collect reviews so they show up when someone searches for your business. That being said, Google published a new video covering exactly how they curate profile reviews through Google Business profile. This process essentially protects businesses from spammy and fake reviews. But in addition, this process also helps the end user because they can trust that the reviews on a profile are authentic. Google uses machine learning to scan every review before it’s posted to make sure it doesn’t violate its policies. It also monitors to make sure there’s not a flurry of positive or negative reviews posted in a short amount of time. That usually indicates bot activity. Over 1 billion people use Google Maps to investigate local businesses every month, so it’s in Google’s best interest to make sure reviews are reliable for everyone.
So if you haven’t prioritized generating reviews for your business, there’s no time like the present. It can be as simple as just asking your customers to review your business if they enjoyed their interaction. You can email your customers, or request over social media. If your customers are truly happy with your business, they will be more than happy to review it. And don’t just limit yourself to Google, there are other sites like Yelp or other industry specific review sites like Thumbtack to solicit reviews.
Q&A in Maps Search
We also have some additional changes with Google Maps, and the Google Business Profile placement in them. Google Business Profiles, formerly Google My Business has always had a Q&A feature. But Google recently added it to the Maps feature as well. With more exposure in Maps, through the regular Google Business Profile, and as Google continues to add features to its local profiles, it’s something all local businesses should be aware of and make sure to optimize for their local listings.
Our team is spotting Q&A in Maps, looking fresh. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/KpWTYr0oNn
— Allie Margeson (@SeoAllie) February 17, 2022
Google Business Profile Calls API
Also in February, Google released the Calls API. Essentially this means you can pull in call data, if it’s tracked into your Google Business Profile. The ability to see who has called your business from your profile has been around for about a year. This involves a little more technical implementation to make it happen. But you can read more about how to do it from Google here.
Google Algorithm Updates and Speculations
As per Google’s norm, they don’t announce every update. But data from many SEO experts indicate a suspected algorithm update that happened at the very beginning of February. While this didn’t happen across every SERP, this likely means that the update was very specific targeting a very niche area of the algorithm. Or that a ranking error caused some waves across a big area of the SERPs.
Additionally, a different update we knew was coming for some time was the release of the Google Page Experience Update, but for desktop results. This update first rolled out last summer, but for mobile search results. On February 22nd, the rollout for desktop results started, and will conclude by the end of March. This update includes the same ranking signals including Core Web Vitals, HTTPS security, intrusive interstitial ads, and more. Essentially, they all measure how a user will perceive the experience of a specific web page. The update does not take into account an entire website, but ranks things page by page. Like the initial rollout last summer, this release is not expected to cause major fluctuations in the SERPs. But if you notice a dip in your traffic throughout this month, then it’s time to reevaluate your desktop user experience.
Boostability are Your SEO Experts
Of course, Boostability closely monitors search rankings and fluctuations for our thousands of SEO clients. Any big news, you’ll read about here on our Boostability blog. And if you need help keeping track of it all, or just don’t have time, let us take care of your SEO needs. Learn more about our white label SEO program and the approach we take with providing our partners with data-driven campaigns for their clients.