Google Business Profiles (formerly called Google My Business) has added a new waiting period for new profile managers or owners when they have been added to an account.

If you try to edit your business listing during this period, users will get an error message alerting them that their access is temporarily suspended.

This new information was discovered in the recently updated help guide for adding or removing profile managers or owners,

A single person – typically the business owner or an executive responsible for a brand’s online presence – can “claim” their Google Business Profiles listing to become the primary user without experiencing the delay. 

However, if you then add an employee or marketing agency to manage your listing, they will be required to wait 7 days before they will be granted full access to the account. 

As the new help document explains:

When a new owner or manager is added to an existing Business Profile, they must wait for 7 days before they can manage all the features of the profile. During this 7 day period, the new owner or manager gets an error if they try any of the following:

  • Delete or undelete a profile.
  • Remove other owners or managers from a profile.
  • Transfer primary ownership of a profile to themselves or a third user.
  • An existing owner or manager tries to transfer primary ownership of the profile to a new owner or manager still in their first 7 days.

If the new owner or manager deletes their account within the first 7 days, they’re removed from the profile. If they undelete their account, they must be added to the profile again.

Most likely, this temporary delay has been added as a means to prevent hackers or other bad actors from attempting to illicitly access Google Business Profiles accounts.

With new data showing that LinkedIn’s virtual events are experiencing a massive surge in participation lately, the company announced it is testing a new feature for audio-only live events. 

In the recent announcement, LinkedIn revealed that attendance for virtual events on the platform is up more than 230% year-over-year. At the same time, the platform says it also saw 150% more events created year-over-year.

Obviously, a major contributor to the popularity of these events is the ongoing Covid pandemic, which has seen in-person events limited or entirely canceled over the past year and a half.

As this continues to be a problem around the world, the company believes expanding its services to include audio-only events will draw even more users to LinkedIn live events.

As the announcement says:

“This month, we’re taking a big step forward and building on the success of LinkedIn Live broadcasts by launching an entirely new interactive events experience that allows our members to more actively participate in the conversation.

Being an active part of the conversation at an event can help you make new connections, bolster your professional brand and inspire peers. In our new experience, you can participate in the live conversation by raising your hand and joining the speakers, “on stage” to help direct and add to the discussion.”

Since audio-only live events are still in the testing phase, LinkedIn says only a small group of users will be able to host these events when they first roll out. However, anyone will be able to sign up, listen, and participate in these events.

Once the company is satisfied with testing the service over the next few months, the company says it plans to expand the ability to host events to more users, though an exact date when to expect this was not available.

Step aside Google, there’s a new top domain around the world according to the annual rankings of most popular domains globally from Cloudflare. For 2021, TikTok is the top site based on internet traffic.

The full list of the most popular domains in 2021 is:

  1. TikTok.com
  2. Google.com
  3. Facebook.com
  4. Microsoft.com
  5. Apple.com
  6. Amazon.com
  7. Netflix.com
  8. YouTube.com
  9. Twitter.com
  10. WhatsApp.com

This is a big jump from 2020, when the newly popular social network ranked in just 7th place overall, while Google (which includes the variety of services under the Google umbrella, such as Maps and News) seemed safely in the top position. 

Cloudflare’s Year in Review report details TikTok’s rise to dominance over the course of the year:

“It was on February 17, 2021, that TikTok got the top spot for a day. Back in March, TikTok got a few more days and also in May, but it was after August 10, 2021, that TikTok took the lead on most days. There were some days when Google was #1, but October and November were mostly TikTok’s days, including on Thanksgiving (November 25) and Black Friday (November 26).”

What Does This Mean?

To be clear, this is only based on traffic. This does not necessarily mean that TikTok is now the biggest social media platform around the world, let alone the site with the most users.

When looking at the number of distinct users on each platform, most estimates still place the upstart platform behind both Facebook and Instagram – let alone Google.

It is quite clear, though, that TikTok is quickly growing into a force to be reckoned with online. If it isn’t already on your map for your marketing plans in 2022, perhaps this report will cause you to reconsider.

Read the full Cloudflare Year in Review report, which includes stats on the top social networks, e-commerce sites, and streaming sites from the past year, here.

For years upon years, those working in search engine optimization could consistently agree on just one thing – links were the most important ranking signal around. They were the lynchpin that could decide whether you were on the top of page 1 of the search results or deep into page 5. 

Over the past few years, though, that has changed significantly. Google’s search engine algorithms have gotten increasingly complex, relying on hundreds of different search signals contextually based on a user’s intent with their search. With this, the perceived importance of links has steadily decreased.

These days, it is easy to find experts who will earnestly tell you that links are dead or don’t matter anymore. Typically they will point to the recent prevalence of social media and the importance of quality content as proof that you don’t need to invest money or energy into establishing an authoritative link profile for your website.

Well, Patrick Stox from Ahrefs recently decided to settle this debate once and for all. He simply chose three pages on the Ahrefs website – which receives thousands of visitors a day – and convinced the team to remove and disavow all links to those pages for a month.

After seeing the results from a month without links, the Ahrefs team then restored every link pointing to these pages and shared the results.

Ahrefs Links Chart

If you’re interested in the details from this experiment, you’ll definitely want to check out Stox’s recent article detailing what happened when he disavowed links to just three pages. It’s a revealing look at how a seemingly small SEO tweak can have a significant impact on the traffic your business receives online. Spoilers: links still matter quite a bit for SEO.

YouTube is testing out a new feature that would improve synergy between brands and creators by automatically inserting visual links to businesses mentioned in videos. 

The feature, which is being called Places Mentions, was revealed during a recent video on the Creator Insider channel.

At the moment, the feature is limited to just Android and iOS devices using the YouTube app to watch content related to food or drinks.

The goal behind it is simply to streamline the process of finding out more about places mentioned in a video, such as in a review of a local eaterie. 

Before, creators had to manually add a text link if they wanted to direct people to the locations they mention in their videos. By automating this process, YouTube is making it easier for content creators to spread the word about your brand without having to establish a formal collaboration.

As the announcement says:

“This new feature, within the video description box, will give users an easy and engaging way to find out about places mentioned in a video.”

While the initial test is limited to food and drink videos, the company says it plans to expand the feature to more categories soon.

The announcement did not provide a specific date that we can expect to feature appear in search results, but it is safe to assume it will roll out for testing any day.

For more, check out the full Creator Insider video below:

TikTok is introducing new ways for pages to monetize their presence on the platform via digital “gifts” and tips.

Notably, these tools are exclusive to individual creators or entrepreneurs through the Creator Next monetization suite, which is not available to brands on the platform.

In a way, this makes sense as the new monetization features are designed to be direct ways for other users to reward creators for sharing great content. Let’s talk about exactly what these new features are.

TikTok Tips

TikTok now allows users to send money directly to creators as a “tip”.

The feature is managed through Swipe and requires an account with that service to be eligible to receive tips. 

Although creators will receive 100% of the value of the initial tip, TikTok will apply a service fee to generate revenue from this feature.

Signed-up profiles will include a new icon on their profile, which will allow users to send $5, $10, $15, or custom tips up to $100.

By default, others will be able to see when you send or receive a tip, unless you specifically choose to make your tip anonymous.

To prevent misuse, TikTok limits users to $500 total or up to 100 transactions per day.

TikTok Video Gifts

TikTok’s new Video Gifts blur the line between Reddit awards and its tipping system. It allows users to pay to reward content they love with specific gifts, which are shown to other viewers.

The big difference between this and something like “Reddit Gold” is that recipients can then exchange their rewards for actual money via a virtual currency called “diamonds”.

Interestingly, gifts come with some very unique benefits, including a boost in the platform’s algorithm:

As the announcement says:

“… a key metric that TikTok uses to assess the popularity of a video is the number of Gifts sent to a creator’s content.”

Are You Eligible?

Users interested in utilizing these monetization features must:

  • Be 18+ years old
  • Have at least 1,000 video views in the past 30 days
  • Have at least 3 posts in the past 30 days
  • Be in good standing regarding TikTok’s community guidelines
  • Reside in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, or Spain

If your account meets these requirements, you will be able to opt-in to the Creator Next suite.

For more, read the announcement here.

After testing the feature for much of the year, Microsoft Bing Page insights have officially launched for all Bing search results according to an announcement earlier this week.

With this, users will now be able to see a small lightbulb icon on the right side of search results, which can provide additional information about the search result.

As the announcement says, Page insights “provides summarized insights from a page on your search results so you can find what you’re looking for faster.”

How It Works

The idea behind the new feature is fairly simple. Users simply click or mouse over the new lightbulb icon next to search results for more information.

According to Microsoft, this “helps you verify that the source is relevant to your needs, helps you get caught up to speed at a glance on top factoids you didn’t know about, and lets you jump straight to the relevant section of the page when you click ‘Read more’ for a specific question.”

You can see what this looks like in practice below:

Last Notes

It is important for webmasters to know this feature is currently only available on desktop search results. Microsoft is tightlipped about any possibility of bringing this to mobile search because of the “screen size required to properly display the results.”

Given that most modern search features are designed to responsively resize content based on the device being used and the importance of mobile search, this decision and statement raise more questions than they answer.

If you’d like to implement Bing Page insights for your website, simply ensure your site’s Bing snippet has the page insight feature added and that your content is accurate and relevant, or find out more from the full announcement here.

Twitter has confirmed it is dropping support for AMP pages, adding more evidence to the growing belief that AMP (or Accelerated Mobile Pages) are on their way out of use.

In an update to its developer document for AMP pages, Twitter says it is discontinuing support for the format by the end of the year:

“We’re in the process of discontinuing support for this feature and it will be fully retired in Q4 of 2021.”

This comes after some users had noticed a lack of support for AMP going back as far as October.

What This Means For You

If you have been sharing AMP links on Twitter, you can technically still do so without any significant issues. 

However, instead of being directed to the AMP versions of your content, Twitter will automatically direct users to the original content. 

It goes without saying that this negates the point of adding AMP links instead of sharing the original page. 

Why Is AMP Losing Support?

Many people dislike AMP pages for a number of reasons, citing everything from buggy performance to criticism over the boost they received in search results for a time. 

In recent times, Google has seemed to recognize this. 

First, they did this by making AMP pages less obvious in search results by removing the icon which had accompanied pages using the format. Additionally, Google dropped requirements for pages to use AMP to be eligible to be included in the Top Stories carousel. 

The most recent evidence that Google is losing confidence in AMP is the September announcement that Google News would start showing fewer AMP pages in the results.

This has all led many to believe that AMP is on its way out at Google, as well as Twitter.

Ahead of the holiday shopping season, Google Maps is launching four new features aimed at improving the in-person shopping experience for consumers and driving more sales for local businesses.

The updates not only make it easier to plan your shopping trips ahead of time but also bring many shoppers new ways to order from local businesses online.

Let’s explore these four new features:

New Local Shopping Features for Google Maps

1. Area Busyness

Everyone dreads the idea of getting stuck in a massive holiday shopping crowd when you are just trying to pick up a few things. Now, you can see an estimate of how busy a specific area is before you leave.

For this new feature, called Area Busyness, Google analyzes recent traffic data from local businesses nearby to gauge how many people are shopping in the area.

To see the Area Busyness information, simply open Google Maps and tap on a general area to see how busy it is.

Notably, Google says shopping malls tend to be least busy on Tuesday evenings, while Saturday is unsurprisingly the busiest time to shop.

2. Expanded Directory Tabs

Google Maps is expanding the existing Directory tab globally for all airports, malls, and transit stations on Android and iOS devices.

The Directory tab details the stores in a shopping center, as well as showing airport lounges, car rental agencies, and other services in a building.

The tab also includes other helpful information pulled from local listings, such as whether specific stores are open and their Google reviews.

3. Grocery Shopping on Google

After testing the feature with some stores earlier this year, Google is expanded its grocery shopping feature to over 2,000 stores in 30+ states across the US.

Now, shoppers can order groceries from several large companies in the country, such as Kroger, Fry’s, Ralphs, and Marianos.

Once ordered, Google Maps tracks your order status and allows you to share your location info with the store so they will know when you arrive.

According to data from the tool before the expansion, Google says that customers who shared their ETA typically waited less than five minutes to pick up their order.

4. Additional Restaurant Info From Customers

Google Business Profiles for restaurants will now include more information provided by reviewers.

When leaving a review, Google now prompts customers to estimate the restaurant’s price ranges and note any amenities the restaurant offers – such as curbside pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating.

For more information about these updates, read the blog post from Google Maps Director of Product, Amanda Leicht Moore.

Say goodbye to “Google My Business” and say hello to “Google Business Profiles” as the search engine streamlines its tools for businesses.

Though much will stay the same for businesses listing their services on Google, the rename marks some significant changes – such as where and how your businesses can claim their profile. Starting now, your brand can claim its profile directly from either Google Search or Google Maps.

Below, we will talk a bit more in-depth about how you can claim your listing and what this means for existing listings.

How to Claim a Google Business Profile

When signed into the Google account associated with your business, the fastest way to claim your listing is to simply search for your business name. 

This will bring you to a prompt that will allow you to verify your listing or challenge someone who has already made a claim for your listing. 

Once claimed and verified, you will be able to edit any information shown and add additional details like photos, videos, unique services, and Google Posts.

Is Anything Else Changing?

For the most part, everything else is staying the same regarding local business listings on Google. Their appearance will stay the same, as will the optimization methods to ensure your business appears for relevant searches. 

What will change is where you are editing this information. 

For example, the search engine says it is no longer necessary to use the specific Google My Business website or app to update your listing.

The app will be phased out in early 2022, though you can still use the website if you are managing multiple listings. It will simply be renamed to “Google Business Profile Manager.”

For now, this is all the news we have about the relaunch of Google My Business and Google Business Profiles. More info will be coming in the coming months as the relaunch rolls out.