How 3 Big Changes at Facebook and Google Affect You

Facebook and Google Changes

Facebook and Google just made three big changes to search results and the Like button. Here’s how these will affect your local business and what you should do.

New Facebook “Like” Options

Last week Facebook changed the iconic Like button to give people more options in how they react to posts The Like button is now called Facebook Reactions, and gives people six options: Like, Love, HaHa, Wow, Sad, and Angry.

New Facebook Like Options

On the surface it looks like Facebook made this change to give users more flexibility in how they respond to a post. This is true, but there’s another reason behind the scenes. You probably already know that Facebook tries to match your feed to things that it thinks you most want to see. These new reactions now give Facebook even more nuanced data to tune your feed.

What does this mean to you as a local business? Frankly, it doesn’t really change your strategy at all. You still want to post interesting, compelling content to your page that will encourage people to like and share. When you’re logged in as an administrator of your page, you’ll be able to see the different kinds of reactions to your posts received, but the reports for your page haven’t changed.

So, enjoy the new reaction buttons, but there’s no need to change what you’re currently doing.

Google Removes Right-Side Ads

A bigger change happened just a few days earlier. Google removed all ads from the right side of its desktop search results! Check out this screenshot for “plumbers in peoria il”

No More Sidebar Ads On Google Searches

Why did Google make this change? First, it makes the desktop experience more consistent with the single-column experience on mobile devices. But there’s another reason … increased revenue. With the right side ads gone, there are fewer ad spots competing for the same search terms. This means greater competition for the remaining positions and thus higher bids.

Combine fewer ad positions and higher bids with Google automatically setting bid prices in Google AdWords Express, and it’s an interesting revenue combination for Google!

What do you need to do about this change? First, this doesn’t really change your local search engine optimization strategy. You still follow the same process to optimize your Google My Business listing and to get organic search engine rankings.

However, if you’re buying local-targeted AdWords on Google, keep a close eye on your cost-per-click. Greater competition for fewer ad spots may drive those up beyond levels that you want.

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

The third big change is Google’s official roll out of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) just a few days ago. AMP is a project by Google and Twitter to encourage websites that load much faster for mobile devices. Google says that AMP-enabled pages load 85% faster than normal web pages.

AMP-enabled pages are given preferential treatment over non-AMP pages. You can see how they show up in a special section on some Google searches on mobile devices, like this one below for “Denver Broncos” (yes, I’m still enjoying the Superbowl 50 victory!)

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages

AMP-enabled web pages display basic content and images with simple layout design. But it strips out virtually everything else … things like pop-ups, embedded forms, and special functions (like Flash, AJAX and Javascript). It could also mess up the layout of your web pages. AMP, however, will still allow analytics packages like Google Analytics and others to work just fine.

All of that is well and good, but what does this mean to you as a local business? Frankly, not a lot right now. Initially AMP will have a bigger impact on publishers and bloggers who put out a lot of content … general web searches, not local business searches.

However, AMP is definitely something you want to start talking about with your web developer … you’ll probably want to show him or her this article.

Everything Is Always Changing

In the digital marketing world, everything constantly changes. But the important question to ask is IF these changes actually impact what you need to do. In the case of these three recent changes by Facebook and Google, you really don’t need to do anything right now. But if that changes too, we’ll be sure to let you know what actions you need to take!