Pure SEO’s This Week In Search series takes a look at the top SEO and SEM news stories from the week.
This week Google improved Assistant, introduced longer search snippets, released Santa Claus into the wild and unveiled an exciting project with celebrities. Twitter included analytics in its AMP.
Ever helpful, Google Assistant can now get people in touch with local home services. Start off with a command like “Google, find me an electrician”, and Google Assistant will enquire further about your specific needs. Then, it will ask if you need the service at the address listed in your Google account.
Once the address has been confirmed, Google Assistant will offer to call the service provider immediately, or show a list of local services that are relevant to your request. Choose the one you like the look of and Google Assistant will get you in touch with them.
Google’s search result snippets used to be cut off at 160 characters, but now search snippets can be anywhere from 160-230 characters. However, the length will be determined by the type of query. A longer snippet will be generated only if Google decides it’s the best way to satisfy a user’s query.
For SEOs and site owners, this means no changes need to be made to meta descriptions. Google’s Danny Sullivan said, ““…don’t go expanding your meta description tags. It’s more a dynamic process.” Google will only extend search snippets when necessary, and they may pull a section of text from the body copy.
Article analytics are being included to Twitter’s AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages). Now, when Twitter loads an AMP version of an article, it will ping the original article URL to record the view, as well as passing the query arguments from the original article re-direct into the AMP run-time.
This update will allow publishers to receive data using the amp-analytics component, helping them better understand the origin of traffic and gain better insights.
Every year Google gets in the Christmas spirit, but this year Google Santa Tracker is chock-a-block with even more games and educational resources. Use coding games to make a dancing elf or an original artwork, or accessorize your face using the elf filter via ‘Santa Snap’ on the Android app.
There is also an Advent-style calendar that will publish new games and information until the 24th of December. Santa Tracker is available for Android, iOS and Chrome. Ho ho ho!
Lucky Google users in the US can now ask Google a question about a specific celebrity and receive a self-recorded video from them in response. The most often asked questions about certain celebrities have been collected and answered in an exciting new way.
“When you search for your favorite personalities, whether they’re rising stars or well-known celebs, their answers will appear in the form of selfie-style videos with a uniquely personal, authentic and delightful touch,” according to Google’s The Keyword blog.
This feature is only available on mobile in the US, and currently includes the following celebrities: