Web Development

WordPress 5.9 Release Delayed Until January 25, 2022

The third major version release of WordPress for 2021 has been delayed. It will now be released on January 25, 2022. The step has been taken due to the significant fall of the project to such an extent that the core contributors voiced concerns about the feasibility of meeting the 2021 deadline. The reason behind the delay is the significant blockers that could not be fixed in time for Beta 1.

WordPress 5.9 is the major version release that was scheduled to be launched in December 2021. But, the amount of changes required apparently overwhelmed the development team. According to reports, many important components of the version for an easy-to-use block-based editor were not ready for release. The truth is that block-based editor is deemed as the future of WordPress. Without these key components, the future of WordPress is stuck.

WordPress 5.9

The main aim for WordPress in 2021 is to offer full site editing (FSE) to all WordPress users. WordPress version 5.9 is an important update due to the feature of full site block editing capabilities. It means that you can control both – the page content and global pieces of your website at the same time. So, you can change your footer or header design using the same design tools while working on-page content without leaving the screen.

It is a crucial milestone for the WP Communities. In fact, FSE is a basic feature that enables a publisher to edit every aspect of a website using the Gutenberg block interface – editor blocks to create content layouts in the new WordPress block editor. The purpose of this interface is to let WordPress be easier to use through a visual interface.

The Core Team announced the WordPress 5.9 Revised Release Schedule, and the release is now planned for January 25, 2022. - WordPress News
Digital Marketing

Google My Business Is Now Google Business Profile

Google My Business is now Google Business Profile. The reason behind this migration is to “keep things simple”, according to Google.” The search engine is planning to retire the Google My Business app completely sometime in 2022.  Small businesses can manage their profiles directly on Search or Maps. 

In the beginning, Google had launched GMB by the name of Google Local, then this name was replaced with Google Places, then Google+Local. It was renamed Google Places, then Google My Business, and today GMB will be known as Google Business Profile. 

Yes, the local business management product has come through multiple names. For a long time now, the search engine allows businesses to manage their individual listings directly in search results or in Google Maps. With these features, enterprises can manage their businesses with single listings in Search or Maps and not in the old Google My Business console. 

Google My Business web experience will transition to primarily support larger businesses with multiple locations, and will be renamed “Business Profile Manager.”

Claim and Verify

The new feature allows customers to claim and verify their Business Profile directly on Google Search or the Google Maps app. Just search for your business by name and you will happen to see an option for claiming and verifying the associated Business Profile. Once your business is verified, you will be able to edit the business’ information, such as opening hours, address, photos, and more. 

By searching for your business’ name, you can see the business that you have already claimed and verified.

No matter whether you are managing more than one location for your business or you are a local SEO that manages multiple businesses, you will still be able to use an interface like Business Profile Manager (earlier, Google My Business). Remember that there may be some changes to the Business Profile Manager in the upcoming months.

Google has added some new features. These features are

  1. Call History – it is officially available in Canada and US only
  2. Messaging – You can message directly from Google Search
  3. Monitoring Message read receipts – Message read receipts can be monitored and controlled in Google Search and Maps

Performance Planner

Apart from this piece of news, Google is allowing customers to plan their Local campaign budgets using Performance Planner. Performance Planner is a tool. It has been developed to allow customers to make a plan for advertisement expenses and see how a modification to campaigns can impact overall performance and key metrics. 

With this tool, you can forecast your campaigns, understand opportunities in seasonal periods, explore results by modifying campaign settings, and manage budgets across accounts and campaigns. 

Moreover, a call history feature will show which inbound customer calls came from their Business Profile on Google. The feature is available in Canada and US for verified profiles. It will note down all answers and missed calls, total performance, history.

Note that if you follow Google My Business on social platforms and in the help forums, the rebranding will take place there over the next several weeks.

Digital Marketing

YouTube Update: Automatic Live Captions Available for All Channels Now

YouTube is bringing Automatic Live Captions to all channels in an attempt to make content more accessible. Now, the Automatic Livestream Captions of YouTube will be available for all videos creators on the platform. 

YouTube is rolling out a series of updates with a view to making content more accessible for viewers. Automatic live captions are one of the most recent updates.

Earlier, this feature was not available for all videos creators and was accessible only in beta for select channels with over 1,000 subscribers.

The benefit of live automatic captions is that it allows live streams to display a dialogue on the screen as it is being spoken. 

According to YouTube, the automatic captions will also be available in the event that a recording of the stream is made available as a ‘Video on Demand (VOD). This feature will make it an alternative to manually transcribing streams.

In addition to all these, YouTube has rolled out an update to make content more accessible on mobile and introduce a way to make video transcripts searchable. 

Since live automatic captions are available for all –

  • Every creator can now access this feature regardless of the subscriber account
  • While streaming, creators can visit their live control room and enable or disable live automatic captions on a per-stream basis 
  • With this, creators can make their content accessible to more viewers
  • This feature will potentially expand the live audience of creators
  • Currently, the feature is available in the English language only. However, YouTube is planning to add more languages in the future.

Auto-Translated Subtitles Coming to Mobile

In the statement, YouTube has stated that it is planning to expand the auto-translated subtitles option to mobile. With this, users can easily access a variety of content in their easy-to-understand language. Again, this will allow more channels viewers and subscribers.

Searchable Transcripts

Apart from the above update, YouTube is making video transcripts searchable on desktop just like the text on any website is searchable by hitting Ctrl+F on your keyboard. The motive might be to expand accessibility to the viewers who are less tech-savvy.

YouTube has now announced to build a search function right into the transcript box to enhance user experience. In searchable transcripts, users can view and search transcripts for the most important and relevant information. Thus, finding interesting information without watching the entire video will be easier for viewers. 

YouTube has also a plan for bringing searchable transcripts to mobile. This will expand the video discovery exponentially. 

New Channel Permissions For Subtitles

When it comes to channel permission subtitle role, YouTube is adding a new subtitle role to it. With this subtitle role, creators can delegate the ability for creating captions or subtitles for the videos to someone that they trust.

With this update, hiring someone to transcribe videos has become easier for creators.

Digital Marketing

Google Updates: Phrase and Broad Match Keywords Are Preferred Now

Google Ads has updated the way queries are matched to keywords. The search engine will now be preferring phrases and broad match keywords that are identical to queries. Google has updated the keyword matching process for queries with no identical keyword match.

Moreover, the company has unveiled that it will now use the capabilities of BERT’s language to understand the intent of a query and match them to keywords. BERT is a neural network-based technique used for natural language processing pre-training that the search engine giant uses to better discern the context of words in search queries. BERT technology is very useful when it comes to broad match keywords.

BERT for Keyword Matching

Earlier this year, Google had made an announcement that an exact match keyword (identical to the query string) would be given priority whenever that keyword is eligible to match with a query. The purpose of this update was to reduce account complexity. Now, the search engine has announced the same for phrase and broad match.

Since 2019, our research team has made significant improvements in how we interpret language, queries, and search intentㅡand your keywords now use this same technology to connect you with more people that are searching for what you have to offer,”

Google Said

For instance, a highly specific query such as ‘Tremec T-5 5 speed transmission seal input shaft’ can now match with the broad match keyword auto parts because we can say they’re related, even in case no words in the query and in the keyword actually match.

If searches exactly match your keywords…

As per the recent update, an exact match keyword that is identical to a search query will be prioritized by Google as long as the keyword will be eligible to match. This will apply to broad match and phrase match keywords. 

To take an example, if the query is ‘buy a cat bowl’ that matches various different broad match keywords in your account such as ‘purchase a cat bowl, ‘cat bowl,’ then Google will prefer the identical keyword

In another example: let us say the search query is ‘sushi delivery near me’ and you have the broad match keywords ‘sushi delivery and sushi delivery near me.’ both of these keywords would be eligible to serve before this update. 

Now, Google will prefer the keyword ‘sushi delivery me’ because it is identical to the search term. 

If no keywords are identical to the query…

Earlier, if you had mixed relevant keywords that were eligible to match, the search engine would use ‘Ad Rank’ to ascertain which keyword to deliver. Now, Google has decided to take relevance signals based on the meaning of all the keywords and the landing page in the ad group in addition to Ad Rank. 

Below is the table shared by Google. The table outlines how keywords will be matched-

What Should Advertisers Do?

The main aim of this update is to let marketers feel more relaxed using broad match keywords, without risks of losing control of existing keywords. Google has also informed that there is no gain if you use the same keywords in multiple match types when using Smart Bidding. This is because broad match already includes the same queries.

However, it is recommended to run small tests in your own account before reaching any conclusion.

Precisely speaking, the value of having multiple match types still exists but the exact match should still match more tightly. So, they may draw more significance than a broad match keyword. 

If you know how Google matches keywords, it will help you save time and better configure your campaigns.

Digital Marketing

Google Now Shows Why It Ranked a Specific Search Result

Picture this, you type words in Google, hit ‘ENTER’ on your keyboard and see crazy lots of relevant results in a fraction of a second. You may wonder how the search engine connects results to the words you typed. 

Of late, Google has announced to list many of the factors why it ranked a specific search result in its search result listings. So, now you can see how Google gives results for your query. This initiative by the search engine is an expansion to the previous feature that was rolled out in February 2021 to help searchers learn more about the search result listing before clicking on it.

According to the new update, Google will now display the terms it matches on the website page and your query, including the terms that were related but not direct matches. 

The search engine will also list:

  • if any links from other sites have any ranking impact;
  • if results have related images;
  • if there are geographical reasons for the result ranking. 

Indeed, there are various factors Google will disclose when it comes to why the search engine ranks a specific page in its search results. Furthermore, if you get irrelevant results that do not meet your expectation, then Google will offer ‘Search Tips’ to help you refine your search query.

Below are some of the factors that Google considers to rank a specific web page.

  • Keywords: Google matches keywords to determine whether the information is relevant. It does this based on your search query and the webpage that contains the same keywords as your search. Remember that keywords are not only the visible content but can also be included in the HTML such as meta tag or title tag.
  • Related terms: Google ranks those websites that have search terms on their pages and links. It looks for terms that our systems determined are associated with the words in your query. For instance, if you search for ‘how to cook sandwich in an oven,’ you will also look for pages that have related terms like bread, sandwich recipe, etc.
  • Looking at links: For Google, other pages are also relevant if they have been linked to a page that contains similar words as your query. It serves as a helpful sign for the search engine giant to make sure that online content creators tend to regard the page as useful for that topic.
  • Language factor: Google systems also look at the factor like language being used in search queries. Language is important, and this is an English-only feature. When it expands, Google will show other languages. For example, if you search in French, then Google may show you French results. Or if you search in the German language, then the search engine will show you the result in the German language.
  • Local relevance: Google systems also look at factors such as the country and location where the search is being done. So, always deliver content relevant to your area. To take an example, if you search ‘what is a trash pickup”, then it will be helpful for getting results that are applicable to your city or state. 

Search tips

With the new update, Google allows you to get Search Tips’ to better narrow your search results. Search tips will help you with search settings or techniques to modify your search and get the results you are after. For instance, if you are comfortable searching in English but want to get results in a different language or from a different place, then Google will make it even easier to adjust your settings and search.

Imagine you search for “best mobile.” While it is useful for Google to return results about related concepts, in this case, it may show you results of “best phones” or “best mobile phone.” 

The search engine will show you tips to get what you really wanted. For example, you will be able to put quotes around a phrase or word to get results that mention those words exactly or use minus sign for excluding certain words from your search.

Applicable in US

Google is now rolling this feature out in US for English results. According to it, this feature will be expanded to more countries and more languages over time.

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Display Products for Free As Google’s Integration with WooCommerce Live Now

Google has integrated with WooCommerce for easy product uploads. Following the integration between Google Shopping and WooCommerce, which was originally announced at Google Marketing Live, it is now easier for commerce and retail partners of all sizes to reach an increased number of audiences across Google’s shopping platforms, including Search, Shopping, Image Search and YouTube.

Benefits for WooCommerce Users

The integration allows WooCommerce users to showcase their products and inventory across Google properties for free with easy setup within the WooCommerce platform. WooCommerce’s 4.4 million merchants are now able to upload their products to Google, run ad campaigns, create free listings and review performance metrics in just a few clicks without leaving their WooCommerce dashboard. Users on the global ground can use it.

To be precise, online shopping during COVID-19 was up 44% according to Digital Commerce 360. Experts have expected it to remain high because a large number of consumers are now used to the safety and convenience of online retail. With Google’s extension for WooCommerce, merchants can sync their store with Google to list products for free, run ads, and track performance without leaving their dashboard.

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Google Listings and Ads Extension For WooCommerce

Learn about Google Listing and Ads Extension and what retailers can do with it. Google Listings and Ads extension focus on fulfilling three main objectives for retailers:

1. Connecting With Google Merchant Center

Getting the WooCommerce store synced with Google Merchant Center lets everything about the store and its products available to customers when they search on a google platform. If new products are added or old products are removed, such information is updated automatically.

2. Creating Free Listings in Google

As a retailer, you are able to list your products or services for free in the Shopping tab. This will allow products to appear in search results, image search results and Gmail.

  • All your in-stock products in the Merchant Center can be served as free shopping listing access Google services.
  • You can pay for ads if you want your products to be more visible in shopping listings. However, it’s free to be included.
  • Stores automatically opt into free listings. From there, they can choose to run a paid Smart Shopping campaign.
  • As a retailer, you will be able to run free listings and paid ad campaigns at the same time.

Running free listings and ads together in US have seen an average of over 50% increase in clicks and over 100% increase in impressions on both free listings and ads on the Shopping tab

...from Googie Reports

3. Boost Traffic & Visibility With Shopping Ads

Google’s extension for WooCommerce offers retailers smart shopping campaigns. You can promote your products across Google Search, Shopping, Gmail, YouTube and Display Networks by creating Ads. Note that these campaigns integrate Google’s machine learning with automated bidding and ad placements. This will allow you to boost conversion rates and tactically display ads to audiences searching for your products.

When you install Google Ads & Listing extension as WooCommerce retailers, you will have an option to connect with your Google Ads account. After successfully connecting the account, you can choose your budget and launch a campaign right from the WooCommerce dashboard. WooCommerce recommends starting campaigns with a suggested minimum budget and adjusting it at any time. The dashboard will generate a report on campaign analytics allowing you to see how ads are performing.

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Digital Marketing

Google Expands Editing Capability for GMB Profile in Search and Maps

Google is always committed to building tools that make it easier for business owners to update how their business appears to potential customers on Google Search and Maps. With this goal, Google has expanded editing capability for GMB (Google My Business) profile in Search and Maps as well as has started offering Pointy – a platform that enables local businesses to get their inventory discoverable online. A free trial of Pointy is available until September 30. 

Being available on GMB is one of the key segments of digital marketing services. Expansion of GMB profile editing capabilities in Search and Maps is a welcome move during the pandemic. With this –

  • It is easier to show what your business offers on Google
  • You are able to add your local service offerings to your GMB profiles directly from Search. 
  • Local service offerings can be related to ground wire installations, construction, auto repair, eyelash extensions, hair styling, plumbing, leak repairs, etc. 
  • As a local business,  you can schedule Google Posts directly within Search

Note that feature to edit GMB profiles from Google Search and Maps was first introduced for search in 2017. It was expanded to Maps last year. 

Last year. we added ways for you to change basic business inform... message your customers and see detailed insights. A. now. as we .ad into Intemabo.1 Small Business We.. we have even more ways for you to update your Business Profile — all Directly from Search aryl Maps. You can add details. such mu contact Information and opening hours. and create Posts to share updates. Ike special offers or new offerings, right from Google Search

...from Google blog

You can now create posts about upcoming events, such as when and where events are going to happen or whether you are throwing a reopening party or hosting an online tasting.

Also, learn about keyword stuffing in Google My Business (GMB)

Updating GMB Profile

For updating your Business Profile on GMB from Maps:

  • Login into the Google account linked with your business and tap your profile picture followed by ‘Your Business Profile’ on Google Maps.

Updating your Business Profile on GMB from From Search – 

  • Login into the Google account linked with your business and tap your profile picture. Type your business name or ‘my business’ into Google Search.

If you are a restaurant owner, you are now able to add menu items to your GMB profile from Search and Maps. Google is also coming up with an update to add ordering options such as delivery or pick-up from search. 

Moreover, restaurant and service business entrepreneurs can now facilitate online bookings through their GMB profiles from Search. To enjoy the benefits of this feature, you must sign up with a Reserve with Google Partner.

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How to Show Customers Your Services?

  • For Auto Repair, Construction and Hair Styling -Google allows using ‘Edit profile’ menu on Search and easily update the services you offer. If applicable, you can update the local areas you serve.
  • For beauty and personal care businesses – Beauty and personal care businesses can show off their specialties like box braids, eyelash extensions, curly hair, balayage, beard trims, or dreadlocks.
  • For Service Or Restaurant Business – If you are associated with restaurant businesses, you can facilitate online bookings through your Business Profile — right from Google Search. Once you sign up successfully with a Reserve with Google partner, (the Reserve with Google Partner Portal is an interactive tool that allows you to manage your integration with Reserve with Google) you will happen to see how many bookings customers have made with your business directly on Google.

Know about the Most Suitable Time to Post Content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

Free Pointy Trial

Google is also offering ‘POINTY’ for free to eligible retailers through September 30. It acquired Pointy in January 2020. Pointy  uses a hardware device (shown below) that attaches to a point-of-sale barcode scanner to pull its image, title and description to add it to Surfaces across Google.

Who’s eligible?

  • Businesses in the Canada, USA, UK, Australia, and Ireland
  • Those retailers with physical stores using wired barcode scanners or compatible point of sale systems and sell products  with manufacturer (UPC/EAN) barcodes. 

Local Opportunity Finder

In a separate blog post, Google has also announced to have launched a new tool called Local Opportunity Finder, which is very useful when it comes to digital marketing. This tool is designed to help local business owners by providing customized recommendations to improve their visibility on Search and Maps. 

As a business owner, you just need to enter the name of your business into the tool and Google will provide a list of resources, such as how to respond to reviews or tips for uploading photos. 

Why You Should Care

  • Being able to update profile on ‘Google My Business’ from Search or Maps keeps your audiences up-to-date about how your business is operating
  • Your customers will easily know what you are currently offering
  • Pointy can be a smart solution for SMBs that want to get their inventory online
  • Free trial of Pointy helps local businesses reach a decision about whether it’s worthwhile to invest in such a platform.

To conclude, capability to expand GMB profile in Search and Maps is a potential step taken by Google. It is important for you to show updated information and details to people when they search for your business in Google. This makes your business stand out like what service you offer and when you are open.

4 Post-Pandemic Marketing Strategies to Survive and Thrive Your Business

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Software Development

Top DevOps Tools You can Use in 2021 for Your Business

DevOps isn’t only a developmental mutation, it requires sophisticated tools to come to fruition. With the development of technology, diverse DevOps tools have been designed to make collaboration and development more manageable. However, these tools are not one-size-fits-all. So, evaluating the best ones for your business can be confusing and intimidating.

With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of well-loved DevOps tools you can use in 2021. These tools are open source and allow orchestration, microservices networking, CI/CD automation, configuration management, full-stack monitoring. They help ensure automation, transparency, and collaboration within your business.

Below are 5 popular and most preferred open-source DevOps tools for use in 2021.

#1 Docker

Docker is a popular free open source platform you can use in 2021 to ship, build, and run applications as a lightweight container. Containers package up libraries, binaries, configuration files, and dependencies required for a program to run. It is an excellent resource for expanding, packaging, and running apps irrespective of used operating environment. Using Docker Engine, receptacles can be accessed, which can help produce applications in a remote environment. Used by the world’s top enterprises like Adobe, Netflix, AT&T, PayPal, Docker reduces infrastructure costs.

Salient Features of Docker

  • Docker is Simple and allows faster configuration
  • It enhances productivity
  • It can run anywhere
  • It is good for security management
  • It facilitates distributed development
  • It works with AWS and GCP
  • It simplifies cloud migration
  • It allows adding features 
  • It runs in Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • It integrates with deployment pipeline tools like GitHub and CircleCI

#2 Git

One of the highly recommended open-source DevOps tools, Git is a free version control software. It is used by industry tycoons such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook. It increases speed and data integrity for non-linear, distributed workflows as well as allows businesses to track the progress of development and coordinate work.

Salient Features of Git

  • Git has the GPL v2 license
  • It is scalable and can support collaboration
  • It works on Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, and AIX
  • It records history
  • It supports non-linear development
  • It performs backups 
  • Git is easy to learn and can easily be used by beginners and experts alike
  • It comes with staging environments, multiple workflows, check-in, and various local branching

Also, read Why You Should Use DevOps in Your Business Process 

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#3 Ansible

Image Source: Medium

Ansible is all about automation, sponsored by Red Hat. This open source DevOps tool is used to automate things like software provisioning, networking, cloud provisioning, application deployment, configuration management and other tasks. It is easy to assemble. You just need a text editor and command line. Ansible helps you lower the costs of infrastructure. It uses a simple syntax that is written in the YAML language. One of the greatest achievements of the Ansible tool is that it is used by NASA.

Salient Features of Ansible

  • Ansible is good for security and compliance
  • It works on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix systems
  • It allows faster productivity and easy scalability 
  • It effortlessly manages complicated deployments 
  • It is lighter than Puppet and a perfect tool for small teams
  • It integrates seamlessly with other tools such as Jenkins

#4 Puppet

Image Source: G2

Puppet is another DevOps tool that allows businesses to manage different software lifecycle stages and automate software inventory, delivery, and performance. This open-source tool comes with a decent track record and hundreds of modules. It is simply integrated with different platforms. It is one of the highly recommended DevOps options to work on a small-level project. Moreover, Puppet helps in patching, provisioning IT infrastructure, managing and configuring software components and accessing cloud infrastructure and data centers. Commercial software of Puppet offers out-of-the-box reporting, node management, orchestration, product support, and access control

  • Puppet is a base system configuration 
  • It manages web servers
  • It manages database systems
  • It manages middleware/application systems
  • It is a model-driven tool that needs limited use of programming language.
  • It’s written in C++, Ruby, and Clojure
  • It works with Windows, Linux, and Unix-like operating systems.

Want to hire a software development Team?

#5 Jenkins

Image Source: CrowdStrike

Jenkins is one of the finest DevOps tools to automate building, testing, and releasing code. It enables developers to automatically perpetuate code into the repository, drive test cases, and fetch reports collected after testing. It also streamlines building and deploying your projects. Its extensible automation server works great as a simple CI (continuous integration) server or a hub for continuous project delivery. 

Further, Jenkins lets you write and deploy new code faster and presents quick feedback, notifies you if a sprint is leading to a broken build. Your team can easily QA each step of the build process. Plus, a huge library of plugins allows them to integrate it with many of the other DevOps tools in your toolkit.

Salient Features of Jenkins 

  • Jenkins is easy to install, distribute and configure
  • It supports 100+ plugins to integrate with almost every tool available in the CI/CD toolchain
  • It’s a self-contained program on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix systems
  • Its super extensible feature through plugins allow you to perform various additional functions
  • It can be used as a CI/CD tool for any software development project
  • It allows developers to integrate changes easily, monitor repeated tasks, and detect issues quickly

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Summing Up

Using DevOps tools for your business is beneficial as it automates the software deployment process. The above listed are some of the most reliable and easy-to-use tools you can use to automate that process. They are not only about shipping quality code but also efficient execution to improve operations across the board. In 2021, SMEs are placing a lot of effort to wrangle the effects of introducing a microservice development style.

If you are looking for support to streamline the software development process, choose our DevOps experts who will help you future-proof your projects. Get in touch for immediate help.

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Online Reviews Trends You Should Know to Keep Your Business In Search Results

Online Reviews Trends

Every SME should understand the importance of reviews in local search results. Though Google paused review services during beginning of COVID-19 pandemic and people’s sentiments towards online reviews have shifted, reviews have a crucial impact on small businesses in local searches. 

If you are looking for building a solid online reputation, investing time and money in monitoring these reviews across citation listings is worth the effort. If your business is supported by customer reviews, you will increase visibility in local search and show up your business in the Google My Business listing.

Find below a list of the latest trends in online reviews to keep your business in search results in 2021.

Reviews Vs. Personal Recommendations?

In the 2020 edition of BrightLocal (an annual survey involving 1,000 users in the US), online reviews for 79% of buyers are as reliable and trustworthy as getting personal recommendations from family or friends. However, if the overall trend is looked at, we come to know that 10% fewer respondents trust online reviews compared to 2014.

Another study conducted by has revealed that fewer people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. It has corroborated this trend with more than 35% of people polled saying they trust reviews less than they did 5 years ago.

People are more web-savvy than ever before. They are free to tell when there are suspicious patterns in reviews. It means they can get to know when a business has all 5-star reviews that were submitted all within the same period.

You may also like to know the Latest Google Ads Features and Get the Most Out of It

On the other hand, people are also intelligent enough to sort through potentially fake or negative reviews as one-offs when individuals perhaps had a bad day and they took it out on your business.

In a nutshell, while people are losing trust in online reviews, 80% of people still believe what others are saying about your business.

Stars and Rating

As per the stats released by Yelp in its 2020 report based on reviews left on its platform, approximately 51% were 5-star reviews. When compared with 5 earlier reports, the rate of 5-star and 1-star reviews is increasing, and everything in between this range is narrowing. It’s been a common refrain for many companies who approach online reviews. 

In general, when people are pleased or quite dissatisfied, they take to GMB, Yelp or Facebook reviews. The changing distribution of middle star reviews means that it’s more critical than ever for brands to create a review program to solicit a greater volume of reviews from those who may not have wished to leave one before. 

While soliciting only positive reviews is against the ‘terms of service’ for most platforms, asking your customers to rate your business is not against the rules.

Increased in Fake Reviews

The 2020 Yelp’s data has also confirmed that:

  • Yelp itself has eliminated 80% of reviews since its inception because these reviews were violating Yelp’s policies. 
  • In 2019, it was 7%. So, over time it appears this is increasing.

Experts are of the view that –

  • Half of the difference between Yelp and Google ratings of low-quality businesses are due to fake reviews
  • About a quarter of reviews on Google for low-quality businesses are likely fake.

It is also important to note that fake reviews are those given by business owners, employees, customers who are vendors, former employees and others. Platforms such as GMB and Yelp remove fake reviews to prevent the experience of genuine customers and the effectiveness of existing reviews from being polluted. 

A Drop in Number of Reviews Due to COVID-19

Lately, in its annual spam report, Google confirmed a drop in the number of reviews last year because to two reasons:

  1. Lockdown was declared across the globe in 2019
  2. Only a few people were out for shopping during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The same pattern can be noticed in Yelp’s data. 

Apply These 10 Techniques to Improve Local Marketing Strategy

Over the last couple of years, there has been an obvious drop in the number of reviews left in the last 3 quarters of 2020. Coronavirus has impacted the way review services had functioned over the past year alone.

Search engine like Google paused review services during the initial period of COVID-19 due to confusion and communication issues related to safety procedures.

Many customers were reasonably worried when a business listing said a particular business was open but, upon arrival, the customer found out the business was closed or had either limited services or products. 

The step taken by Google prevented negative reviews associated with the confusion that could destroy small businesses who were caught up in the invariably changing rules. 

Yelp also modified its review service options this year, allowing consumers to leave reviews about how a business follows pandemic-related health and safety measures. 

Why You Need to Care

As reviews continue to be a big influencer on buying behavior online, it’s vital to know how the different platforms are battling the problems with fake reviews and how customers are reacting. With reviews still a valuable local SEO ranking factor, you should not underestimate the importance of the review for your business. Reviews still have the in-local-pack even when customer sentiment towards review is slowly shifting, especially during COVID-19.

Jivaso Technologies is standing by you during the coronavirus pandemic and is committed to assisting you with comprehensive Online Reputation Management Services, website design and development services and digital marketing services. Our online marketers implement review solicitation tactics that support each platform’s terms of service.

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Also, know 6 Lesser-Known Methods to Convert Website Traffic Into Leads and Increase Revenue

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