Updates on Google’s SERP: The New European Digital Markets Act and How It impacts Hotels

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*translated using ChatGPT

As we’ve noticed changes on Google’s result pages, it’s crucial to delve into the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) and understand its advantages and disadvantages for the SEO strategies we manage for you.

What is the Digital Markets Act? The EU’s initiative aims to regulate online platforms’ behavior to ensure transparency, accountability, and user protection in the digital environment. Essentially, the EU has legislated to control and limit gatekeepers like Google in various aspects, including competition, transparency, accountability, reputation, and visibility.

Geographical Scope. The EU’s changes regulate European platforms and markets, meaning actions taken in Spain involve alterations that don’t affect the same searches from the United States, Canada, Mexico, or Morocco. Every European client is impacted by this regulation, altering how Google presents navigation following a user’s search, especially the choices available for selection.

Google Updates. Key changes include:

  • Search Filters: Known as refinement chips, these include a bar with new options like prices, dates, reviews, previously more accessible. This atomizes the search and reduces user direction. We anticipate Google will refine this as users adapt.
  • Increased Visibility for Third-party Pages: To ensure more competition, Google now highlights third-party transactional (primarily OTAs) and informational (review comparators) sites, giving them prime positioning on the results page. New formats combining text, images, and hotel information are emerging, benefiting sites like places or related searches within Google.
Screenshot of the new Places Sites module
  • Google Travel Listing Demotion: Google Travel’s listing is no longer part of standard navigation, requiring extra clicks to access, thus diminishing its importance to users. However, it remains a valuable information repository.
The hotel local pack now displays de hotel’s Google Business profile
  • Changes to Google Maps Access: Accessing maps from the results page has become more challenging; the map showing a hotel’s geolocation isn’t clickable as before.
The Google Maps Knowledge Panel module is no longer clickable
  • Significant Review Changes: While Google reviews’ importance persists, Google has had to integrate third-party sources at the same level and modify navigation within reviews, making them less visible.
  • Hotel Carousel in Google Ads: Beyond SEO, Google has introduced changes in how hotel ads are presented, with a prime-location horizontal carousel in Google Search and Google Hotels.
  • More Flexible Local Pack: This is good news for direct traffic from Google My Business campaigns, whose significance is greatly enhanced for generic searches. The local pack now offers direct website access among other options, ideal for increasing web clicks.
  • Increase in Maps Spam: There’s been a rise in fake, duplicate, and unverified profiles on Google Maps, which we are addressing.
  • More Competition via Vacation Rentals: Google Maps is cluttered with Vacation Rentals ads, presenting a challenge with minor OTAs appearing in search results for hotels.

Attached presentation visuals further clarify these points. We invite you to fill out this Google form to feature in enriched formats.

Related News for More Information:

This regulatory landscape presents both challenges and opportunities for hotel SEO. By adapting to these changes, we can leverage new visibility avenues and enhance direct bookings. Let’s discuss how we can optimize your hotel’s SEO strategy in light of these developments.

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