Over the past few weeks, Google prepared a little something for each and every one of us. For those who are early HTTPS adopters, we heard the news about some big changes awaiting everyone in July 2018. For those who like to keep up with everyone else’s budget – Alphabet released their annual fiscal year results report. And for those who are still speculating on the future of AdWords and are anticipating some possible negative impacts from machine learning, Google opposed with a new feature within its advertising service.
So, as always, let’s start with the Search Marketing Scoop podcast on Facebook Live. From the role of Featured Snippets in Google’s search strategy to the refinement of its advertising services, Bridget Randolph, Jim Banks and I have covered it all for you:
To stay tuned for the rest of the latest Google news, updates and tweaks – unfortunately, we cannot discuss it all in our podcast – read on!
GOOGLE SEARCH NEWS
Featured Snippets Guide From Google
When Danny Sullivan joined Google, many webmasters were anticipating greater transparency when it comes to major Google updates and all the little tweaks. And it seems like they were right. Google released a very detailed guide on Featured Snippets or the so-called “zero position.” From definitions to types of Featured Snippets and occasions when they appear on SERPs, the guide has it all. It underlines that Featured Snippets are the best fit for mobile and voice search, as the traditional “ten blue lines” doctrine is not performing well enough for a non-traditional search. Google developers are constantly working on improving the quality of SERPs and optimizing them for various search formats.
Google Search Console is Rolled Out to All Users
Google has officially announced that the new Search Console beta has finally been rolled out to all users. Google is still gradually transferring the reports from the previous console’s version to the new one, after asking users for feedback on what features of Search Console they use the most. By and large, the new Search Console is based on user feedback, with its main ideas coming from help forums, special forms and a group of beta-testers. This is not the end though, as Google continues to collect users’ suggestions to improve the functionality of its Search Console. So let’s just wait and see what happens next.
SEO-Audit Right Within Chrome’s Lighthouse Extension
The Lighthouse Chrome extension is introducing a new SEO audit feature for any webpage. The new function allows developers and webmasters to conduct a fairly basic SEO audit of a webpage to get some insights on its performance and some ideas on how to improve it. There are two ways to make use of the new feature: you can either add the extension to your Chrome browser or use the SEO audit from developer tools available on Chrome Canary. At the moment, Lighthouse offers some basic checks for meta description, hreflang, and canonical tag errors.
Create Larger Images for AMP Articles
Google has redefined its requirements for AMP-optimized articles. From now on, if you want your content to appear in Top Stories, your images should be at least 1,200 pixels wide and 800,000 pixels in total. While image optimization is pretty straightforward, let’s not forget about the biggest issue with AMP – Google is not currently displaying the publisher’s URL.
Manage Your Trip Right From Google Search
Mobile device users can now book their hotels and flights on Google. The new interface is well suited for smartphones – you can quickly switch from the “Flights” to “Hotels” tab. For instance, if a user is looking for a trip to Sydney and searches for information about that particular location, they will also be able to review flight and hotel options (available?) for immediate reservation. And not to get lost in your own travels, Google also added a new “Your Trips” feature that allows users to see all the information about their previous and future booking arrangements.
GOOGLE ADS NEWS
New Google AdWords Extensions
Google AdWords is testing yet another type of automated ad extension – Email Reply Time and Average Delivery Time. Currently, it appears as though users are only able to see one or the other extension. Testing is currently taking place on a limited scope and are only available to US users.
Customer Care Via AdWords Express
If you are using AdWords Express and happen to have set up calls as your goal, the new notification feature is just for you. After talking to a potential customer that called over the phone after seeing your Google ad, you as the advertiser will receive a notification with a kind reminder to leave feedback after each call so that AdWords can evaluate the relevance of your targeting. Moreover, the new feature will also help you trace any missed calls and make sure you have called back to avoid any issues with disappointed customers.
New Data in Google AdWords Overview
Google AdWords’ new interface now includes new Overview widgets. The first one is called “Device Shift” and provides stats on the device users are on when they see your ad. The widget only appears if Google AdWords spots a significant change or an unusual pattern. The second one, “Top vs. Other”, occurs when most of the impressions you receive as a result of your ad being located above the organic search results, and then that number significantly changes. You can optimize your bidding strategy in regard to these widgets.
Source: AdWords on Google Plus
Event Ticket Resellers To Be Certified to Advertise on Google
Google AdWords is toughening its advertising rules for event ticket resellers and aggregators. They both must now go through a certification process if they want to continue advertising on Google. It all starts with filling out this application form. This procedure also concerns those advertisers who both resell and are primary ticket providers, yet those who are only serving as primary ticket providers can sit back and relax. The new rule applies to resellers across all countries with no exceptions.
GOOGLE TOOLS NEWS
Chrome Will Consider All HTTP Sites Non-Secure From July 2018
All the HTTPS vs. HTTPS talk is now getting more real – starting in July 2018, Google Chrome will mark all HTTP sites “not secure.” After the release of Chrome 68, here is what users will see in their browser:
Let me remind you that although HTTPS compliance is a ranking factor, it is still considered to be a minor one. We can only speculate whether Google intends to put more emphasis on HTTPS adoption, but it is pretty clear now that sooner or later every website will have to move to the HTTPS protocol in order to, at the very least, avoid scaring users away with a “not secure” mark.
Source: A Secure Web is Here to Stay
New Features for Microsoft Office Docs in Google Drive
Google Drive now allows users to work with Microsoft Office docs within the drive. Previously, to add comments to a Microsoft Office file that is stored on Google Drive, users had to convert the file to a Google Doc first. And now you can easily work with files – add notes, assign actions and mention colleagues – right within the preview doc on the drive. Moreover, you can add comments not only to Microsoft Office files but also to PDFs and images.
The Financial State of Google as of 2017
For those who cannot help but love counting other people’s money, Alphabet – the conglomerate that owns Google – published its financial results for Q4 of 2017 and the year in total. The report discloses Google’s main sources of income and chief expenditure items. Dive in to acquaint yourself with Alphabet’s financial results and to learn a little bit more about the search giant.
Don't forget to leave your comment and thoughts on all the latest Google News. And...as usual, tune in for our next Search Marketing Scoop on Facebook Live that will go on air in just two weeks!