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News from Episode 311

By Site Strategics
April 26, 2019

Digital Marketing News with Site Strategics

The latest digital marketing news was covered this week with Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks and Digital Media Director Tom Brodbeck during the latest episode of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast. Episode 311 featured special guest Joy Hawkins, owner of Sterling Sky, who helped make sense of the latest trending news:



Google My Business Lets Users Create Custom Short URLs

A story by Matt Southern on Search Engine Journal noted that Google My Business Lets Users Create Custom Short URLs. Google is calling these custom URLs “short names” and it’s a quick way to point people to company’s Google My Business profile with a URL that makes sense. The format is “g.page/ShortName.” These URLS can also be formatted as “g.page/ShortName/review/” in order to solicit reviews for a company. All companies need to do is sign into their GMB account, open the location, and then in the “information” menu go to “Add profile short name” and enter the desired short name, which can be up to 32 characters. After clicking “submit” it will show as pending and then when ready will appear on the profile. These short names can be changed up to three times in a given year.

  • Tom Brodbeck: It’s so much nicer for a lot of clients in different situations to be able to format a link to be “g.page/ShortName” instead of a nonsensical and stupidly long string of characters.
  • Erin Sparks: This is a great development, especially since Google shut down its own “goo.gl” URL shortener last year.
  • Joy Hawkins: I’m a volunteer in the Google My Business forum, and we’ve already been talking about what the issue with this is going to be, which is what’s going to happen when the short-name you want is not available. People will need to jump on this quickly to nail down their preferred short names. This was a problem before, so it will probably be a problem again with this new feature.


AMP Stories will roll out to mobile Google Search soon

From Corbin Davenport on Android Police we learned that AMP Stories will roll out to mobile Google Search soon. Google is continuing to roll out AMP Stories in more channels. It started out as a way to create better mobile webpages, then was applied for more interactive news stories for news content publishers, then was introduced as a way to power interactive content in Gmail, and now it’s being introduced into Google mobile search. These visual stories will be presented in a dedicated block in search results. Google is rolling it out first for travel-related content searches, and will later roll it out for all kinds of queries.  

  • Erin Sparks: Google has been really pushing AMP, and now it’s going to push it on mobile search. I have to confess, I don’t like it. As it says at the bottom of the article, it’s like reading a story one sentence at a time with distracting graphics. Google continues to encroach further into the SERP landscape.
  • Tom Brodbeck: It’s sort of similar to Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. A lot of them are going to look like animated infographics. And yes, it’s going to take up more of that valuable SERP real estate everyone’s vying for.
  • Joy Hawkins: AMP isn’t huge yet in my local SEO scene. But it’s still seen by many as primarily something for news content publishers. Some local businesses are trying it with varying degrees of success. The ones who are talking about it in forums are saying there are a lot of challenges with it around transitioning their existing content into AMP.
  • Tom Brodbeck: The point is this: As Google continues rolling out new features and tools, companies that want to make sure they’re driving as much web traffic to themselves as possible from Google simply have to learn how to make the most of these tools.



Yoast SEO Becomes First WordPress Plugin to Offer Defragmented Schema Markup 

Also reported by Matt Southern on Search Engine Journal, Yoast SEO Becomes First WordPress Plugin to Offer Defragmented Schema Markup. For those who want to see how this works to clean things up, you can run your own test using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.

  • Erin Sparks: Most schema implementations result in very messy markup language that doesn’t play well across the WordPress ecosystem and confuses search engines in terms of figuring out how the different pieces relate to each other. This new Yoast plugin will clean that up in a way that makes more sense to search engines.
  • Joy Hawkins: We use Yoast on pretty much every single site we work on. It’s simply the best, easiest-to-use SEO tool out there. When it comes to schema, we are really adamant about only marking up if it actually makes a difference visually in the search results. We focus mainly on things like reviews. Obviously that makes a big difference, and other certain fields used in schema that actually show up in the search results. Those are the things we try and keep our attention on.

Connect with Joy Hawkins and Sterling Sky

Twitter: @JoyanneHawkins (https://twitter.com/joyannehawkins)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joyhawkins/

Sterling Sky Twitter: @SterlingSkyInc (https://twitter.com/SterlingSkyInc)

Sterling Sky Facebook: @SterlingSkyInc (https://www.facebook.com/sterlingskyinc)

Sterling Sky Web: https://www.sterlingsky.ca

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