Canonical Chronicle - Episode 60 - GMB And The Coronavirus

In this video

  • Google my Business, or GMB, is advising local business to update their listings advising people how to operate during the Coronavirus outbreak.

  • A new study from Perficent has come out that shows that the no-click events aren’t as simple as - “we’re all getting less clicks from Google and……..SEO is dead.”

  • Google Ads introduces new attribution modelling report in Adwords.

  • “People Also Ask” boxes are Disappearing and Google’s “ key moments ” feature, is now showing multiple videos in mobile search results.


0:56 GMB And The Coronavirus

2:01 New study from Perficent on No Click Events

4:42 Google Ads introduces new attribution modelling report in Adwords

6:06 “People Also Ask” boxes are Disappearing

7:12 Google’s “ key moments ” feature

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- Now, when it comes to running a small business, you need to develop lots of new skills, accounting, HR and people management, understanding tax code, supply chain management, protecting against a global pandemic killing millions of people that will affect your business. Nah, nah, I'm only kidding. Well, I'm kind of kidding. In this week's Canonical Chronicle, we talk about how coronavirus is affecting GMB listings, new data on no-click SERP events that's showing that it's not actually that bad after all, new attribution in Google Ads, People Also Ask boxes disappearing, and also Google displaying videos differently in the SERPs. If you want a slide deck of this week's news to share with your team, you can get it by subscribing to, and lastly, please help us hack the YouTube algorithm by clicking the Like button. But without further ado, let's get into it. Google My Business, or GMB, is advising business owners to update their listing to advise people how to act around their businesses with the coronavirus. In particular, they are asking people to update their hours of business and update their description section, telling people if they're actually gonna be running or not or if they're using restricted hours. And they're also urging people to write a post to update their customers on what's going on. For those of you that are unaware, GMB posts are kind of like these short blog style updates that live on your GMB profile themselves that kind of give little updates to your customers. It's usually just a place to announce offers and new products and things like that, but it's currently being used to signpost updates on COVID-19. Now, as a proudly British digital agency, this is our advice.

- [Man] Go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all this to blow over.

- Now, Google have posted a help document that you can get in the description below. Now, as a business, what are you doing to protect yourself against this pandemic? I would love to know in the comments section below. Next up, no-click events, it looks like there is a lot more to them than first meets the eye. So, this time last year Rand Fishkin, the former wizard of Moz, and now the CEO of SparkToro, released a study that revealed almost half of all searches are now non-click events. When information came out, the SEO industry reacted in the usual fashion.

- No. No!

- Well, the good news is that a new study has come out from Perficient who says that no-click events aren't really as simple as we're all getting less clicks from Google and SEO is dead. Far from it. The headlines from the study are essentially no-click search results are much less of a factor where commercial queries trigger the appearance of an ad. Shocker, right? When people are looking to buy hand sanitizer, they don't click the People Also Ask box to get the history of hand sanitizer, and its chemical composition. What this means is when ads show, the less un-clickable features actually show on the SERP itself. Again, another shocker, Google, a company who make their money through ads, show less non-clickable events when ads show. Who knew? Second, there are significant differences in click through rates for position one branded and position one non-branded queries. Really not another shocker. If people type in Apple, there's a higher click through rate position one versus if they type buy overpriced laptops. And the last one, which is probably the most important for SEOs, is featured snippets do not impact click through rates in aggregate. This essentially means that featured snippets have actually zero impact in the clicks you're getting to your site. It's completely net neutral. So, some queries will have 0% click through rate, but other ones will have such a high click through rate that it actually balances it out, and it kind of evens everything across the board. As SEOs, proper keyword research is gonna help you pick these better keywords, but there's no real way to actually predict what the click through rate's gonna be for each of these keywords. You kind of need to take it on a case by case basis. And lastly, it means that traditional click through rate curves are now, well, kind of meaningless. So, when I started in search, we were actually giving a 40% click through rate to position one organic. But this most recent study is showing a wild variance with most of it coming under 20%. If you've noticed any click through rate changes, I would love if you could post them in the comments, so our data scientists at Type A Media can help a look, so we can have a better collective understanding of what's going on. Next, Google is streamlining ad attribution to make it easier to understand. Now, how many of you have had a conversation with a client about brand bidding and PPC, and it's been a good thing? How about trying to show that PPC is important for assisted conversions? What is their usual reaction?

- What, no!

- And here's the thing, if you're using multi-funnel attribution reporting in Google, you need to be full on plugged into the matrix to make it actually show any meaningful data. So, now that Google has introduced a new attribution modeling report in AdWords we are all very happy. So, the attribution reports are going from this, now over to this. Now we can see all the different touchpoints of the ads that we had in order to actually drive a conversion. As you can see from the screenshot, you can also see the campaigns that assisted other conversions the most and main device splits. Now, this is particularly useful if you want to see things like the role mobile plays in your campaign, or the role that non-last click converters usually play. Now, all too often, client pressure to turn off a campaign because it's not actually performing in their eyes, because they're looking on a last click basis, not on a multi-channel basis, happens so much. So, this update is a very welcomed update. Now, a new report by Rank Ranger, the cloud based rank checking and search intelligence tool, has confirmed that there has been a shrinkage in People Also Asked boxes. In particular, the presence of the boxes has declined by about 12% and they're now only visible in 40% of all searches. The data charts they've recently released actually show an almost immediate overnight decline in these PAA boxes. Now, this then suggests that Google's machine learning is being used to understand if they're actually useful to searches or not, and then being periodically updated. Interestingly, a bunch of Type A Media clients saw a bunch of volatility at the back end of February, in particular impressions going wildly up, but clicks staying the exact same. It then settled down after two weeks, but it does corroborate with this actually happening in the SERPs. So, if you're a retailer running an e-commerce site with branded products, things like Nike shoes, or something along those lines, you've probably noticed quite a lot of these strange movements because it's mostly been targeted at products. Are you a bit of a video buff? And do you love being in front of the camera?

- I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

- Well, very good news. Google's key moments feature looks like it's been rolled out to all mobile SERPs. So, it's also known as in this video, and it's now showing multiple videos with all of these different time frames in mobile search results. The cool thing is users can now expand and hide this particular feature on mobile, and it essentially lets you skip into someone's video to get key moments. Now, why is this different? Well, before it would only happen on the first video. It's now happening on absolutely everything. So, how do you actually get this on your videos? Well, it's actually very simple. If you check our description you'll see there's a bunch of timestamps in there. That's literally all you do. Google will do the rest. And why would you wanna do this? Well, if you've got a large video, some users kind of want the TLDR version of what's actually in there, so they can satisfy their query. Now, this new update actually lets them jump to the exact bit of the video that they care about. So, a quick tip, if you're a video creator and plan on using these timestamps, so, you should definitely create a CTA at the end of every segment. That's gonna maximize your chances of success. On that note, please like this video, and sign up to the Canonical Chronicle newsletter by going to Well, that's everything for this week's Canonical Chronicle. If you like the video, please do like it, and if you loved it, please consider subscribing, and until next time, we will see you later.