SEO Weekly Digest on 11-15 of December 2023

Google Confirms ‘Openness’ as a Local Search Ranking Factor

In a recent update, Google has confirmed that ‘openness’, referring to the operating hours of businesses, is now a significant factor in local search rankings. This change, observed after the November 2023 core update, emphasizes the importance of keeping business hours up-to-date in Google Business Profiles. The adjustment aims to enhance user experience and visibility, with businesses appearing closed and less visible in local search results. Kristi Hines from SEJ reports that this move could have considerable implications for local businesses, highlighting the need for accuracy in listing operating hours.

Google Forum & QA Structured Data Update Focused on Authorship

Google has revised its structured data documentation for forums and Q&A pages, centering on authorship. The updates involve adding links to author profiles for questions, answers, and comments. This change underscores Google’s focus on identifying content authors, particularly in forums and Q&A contexts. Roger Montti from SEJ discusses the potential impact of these changes, noting the increasing significance Google places on authorship signals, which could influence how forum and Q&A content is displayed in search results.

Google Maps: New Location Data Controls & Ability to Delete Visits

Google Maps has introduced updates to enhance user privacy by providing more control over location data storage and activity. These changes include on-device Timeline storage, enabling users to manage their Location History with greater precision. Kristi Hines from SEJ explains that these updates allow users to easily delete location-based activities and access key location settings directly from the blue dot icon in Maps. This development could impact how businesses and advertisers use analytics data, as it might limit the amount of location data available for ad targeting.

Google Answers If Domain Age Impacts Rankings

Addressing a common query in the SEO community, Google’s John Mueller clarified that domain age does not impact search rankings. This response dispels a long-held belief among SEO professionals that older domains correlate with better rankings. Roger Montti from SEJ delves into the background of this misconception, linking it to misinterpretations of a Google patent. Mueller’s statement reaffirms that while domain age may be considered for identifying spam sites, it does not contribute to a website’s ranking in search results.

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