The SEO world never stands still, and September was no different. Without further ado, here’s a summary of the most notable developments.
Google My Business Introduces Health and Safety Features
Google now allows My Business users to label whether their business requires visitors to book an appointment, wear a mask and/or get their temperature checked. The new feature also allows Businesses to specify whether their staff get temperature checks and have to wear masks too.
To see these attributes, simply go to your info tab and click on ‘attributes’, where you’ll see a new section for ‘health and safety’.
As shown in the image, the new health and safety features include:
By adding this information to their site, businesses can reassure visitors that they are Covid-safe, which can only be a good thing!
Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable (https://www.seroundtable.com/google-my-business-adds-health-safety-attributes-30091.html) questioned Google’s delay in rolling out these features, saying:
“I was waiting for Google to add this, I am not sure what took them so long.”
He also indicated that these features will soon be coming to other Google services, such as Google Search and Google Maps.
Google Launches ‘Licensable’ Image Label and Filer in Image Search
Following beta testing back in February (https://searchengineland.com/google-adds-new-image-license-metadata-for-licensable-image-label-329522), Google has now released its “licensable” badge in image results.
Google did beta testing after working with the Centre of the Picture Industry (CEPIC) and other image and news associations to determine ways to increase awareness of image licensing. It’s hoped that this will help images owners get the credit they deserve.
For results where publishers or image creators have provided information relating to licensing, Google will now display a ‘licensable’ badge over it, allowing users to license it for use much more easily. Google said:
“When you select a badged image to view, we will show a link to the license details of the image, and if provided by the publisher, you’ll also find a link to where you can purchase or license the image.”
This launch also saw the introduction of a new usage rights filter, allowing users to select either “Creative Commons licences” or “Commercial & other licenses” from the dropdown menu.
Users of Google Image Search will see a link to the license details/and or terms page from the previews. It’s even possible to direct users to a page from the image owner or licensor, allowing users to purchase the image from there.
This tool could prove extremely useful for people or businesses that manager sites with licensable images. With an easy way to share licensing details with potential customers, they’ll reduce the likelihood of accidental image theft and increase their revenue too.
“As Google iterates on the feature, we expect that they introduce functionalities that will let people filter pictures tagged with this new license metadata. Further, the mark-up could also be applied by your customers who have purchased your images to direct users back to your website in a way that wasn’t possible before.”
New Robots.txt Tester Tool Launched by Bing
Back in September, Bing made a blog post (https://blogs.bing.com/webmaster/september-2020/Bing-Webmaster-Tools-makes-it-easy-to-edit-and-verify-your-robots-txt/) announcing the official launch of its robots.txt tester tool. This comes after an unofficial launch back in July.
According to Bing, the new robots.txt tester will be a “reliable tool” for webmasters to “foster and control their love-hate relationship with web robots/crawlers/spiders”. In the blog post, they stated:
“Webmasters can submit a URL to the robots.txt Tester tool and it operates as Bingbot and BingAdsBot would, to check the robots.txt file and verifies if the URL has been allowed or blocked accordingly.”
“Not only this, but the test functionality checks the URL which we have submitted against the content of the editor and hence, once changes are made in the editor, you can easily and instantly retest the URL to check for errors.
The system checks for allow/disallow statements for respective user agents and displays the robots.txt file in the editor with 4 variations i.e. http://, https://, http://www, https://www. Webmasters can edit the txt file and/or download the same to be updated offline.
If there have been changes to the robots file elsewhere and updated, the webmaster can use the Fetch latest option to get the latest robots file of the property.”
This is what you see when you press “download” on the tester tool:
It provides a step by step process of updating the file, including downloading the edited file, uploading the updated robots.txt to your domain root and submitting a request to let Bing know your robots.txt file has been updated.
Fabrice Canal from Microsoft explained:
“By offering this easy to use robots.txt testing tool, we offer transparency on how we process robots.txt and help webmasters to edit and verify their robots.txt.”
Google’s Celebrates Its 22nd Birthday
Sunday the 27th of September marked Google’s 22nd trip around the sun. To celebrate the occasion, Google posted this animated Google Doodle.
In true 2020 fashion, the Doodle depicts the letters that make up the Google logo celebrating a birthday party over Google Meet.
This is what Google (https://www.google.com/doodles/googles-22nd-birthday) had to say:
“The partnership between Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin traces its roots to the sunny campus of Stanford University. As graduate students, the pair set out to improve the way people interacted with the wealth of information on the World Wide Web. In 1998, Google was born, and the rest is history.
The now world-famous moniker is a play on a mathematical term that arose out of an unassuming stroll around the year 1920. While walking in the woods of New Jersey, American mathematician Edward Kasner asked his young nephew Milton Sirotta to help him choose a name for a mind-boggling number: a 1 followed by 100 zeros. Milton’s reply? A googol! The term gained widespread visibility twenty years later with its inclusion in a 1940 book Kasner co-authored called “Mathematics and the Imagination.”
In 2006, the word “Google” was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary as a verb, so if you’d like to learn more about how big a googol really is, just Google it!”
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And that’s it for this month!