This week: Google Maps has a new verification option for your business, case studies show conflicting results(?), and another validates what you’ve always believed about backlinks.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Study Shows That Links Really Do Have SEO Value
A new study by Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting reinforces what you already know.
The study itself involved some hefty math, so it’s beyond the scope of this brief summary to go into specifics. Suffice it to say that the numbers back up your current SEO strategy of backlink building.
Enge also offers a few common-sense pieces of advice for SEOs:
- Publish awesome content that attracts backlinks
- Market your brand across multiple channels
- Avoid backlink spam and buying links
The report also cautions that it takes more than just backlinks to rank a site: “If your content is not relevant or competitive, links won’t help ranking. If it is, links will make the difference.”
Google: Your Rank Won’t Drop If a Competitor Reports You for Spam
Worried that a slimy competitor might report you for spam just to watch your rank drop? Rest easy.
According to Google’s John Mueller, the search giant is wise to the unethical ways that companies in the same industry try to outrank each other.
This week on Twitter, Mueller was asked: “If a competitor continually reports your site for no reason will it affect your google placing?”
Mueller’s response left no room for doubt: “No.”
Google Case Study Shows AMP Drives Traffic
A new Google case study shows the benefits websites gain from using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
The research showed that AMP helped The Washington Post improve the overall user experience and increase site traffic.
For starters, AMP pages at the site load 88% faster than their non-AMP counterparts. That’s significant because slow sites usually don’t attract repeat visitors.
However, the study also showed that the Post enjoyed a 23% increase in the number of visitors who returned within a 7-day period. Before AMP, 51% of mobile search users came back within a week; after AMP, 63% returned.
David Merrell, Senior Product Manager at The Washington Post, said that making the transition to AMP was a snap.
“Getting started with AMP was easy because it is built on existing web technologies. And since AMP is not a template based system, we were able to host our content, style it as we see fit, and easily integrate our existing advertising, analytics and other business tools,” he said.
Yet Another AMP Case Study
Barry Schwartz over at SEO Roundtable wasn’t content to take the aforementioned Google research at face value. So he conducted his own study.
Schwartz looked at data from more than 10 million impressions and found that the AMP CTR was just .17%.
He also found that his site’s AMP articles accounted for 15.3% of all impressions in the SERPs. General mobile results appeared in 46.47% of all impressions.
Overall, Schwartz found that only 3.16% of his site’s traffic came from AMP results.
Google Shows How Many Minutes People Spend at Certain Venues
Google Maps local listing has a new feature. Now, it’s showing users how long people spend at a specific venue.
For example, if you perform a Google local search that brings up Joe’s Hotdog Stand, you’ll see more than the usual information (address, phone number, etc.) in the result. You’ll also see how long people tend to stay at Joe’s once they walk in the door.
The verbiage in the new feature reads like this: “People typically spend 15 min here.”
Google is sharing the new info because it enables people to plan their trip based on their time constraints.
Google Maps Allows You to Verify Your Business With Email
Got a business that you want to validate with Google Maps? If so, then here’s some good news.
In fact, there are three ways that you can verify your GMB business:
- By phone
- By snail mail
- By email
Of course, the phone and email options have the advantages of offering more immediate verification.
Also, it’s likely that the email address will need to use the official domain name of the business and be placed somewhere on the business website.