Google News Digest: Curvier Mobile SERPs, a Strategic Deal with Salesforce and Virtual and Augmented Reality with Google

Olga Andrienko

Nov 15, 20178 min read

Google continues its preparations for the most anticipated update to come – Mobile First Index – including a softer and lighter look for its mobile interface. But it all doesn’t stop just at looks – the functionality for mobile search is expanding beyond even what desktop has to offer, as from now on all the busy Wall Street guys and those who simply like to follow the stock market can do so right from their smartphone.

But before the big update, there is something that is coming up just around the corner – the holiday season, the busiest time of the year for many SEOs and digital marketers. With the festive spirit in mind, Google rolled out updates to its AdWords and Merchant Center to make sure we all expand our reach, well...even beyond the reach.

Most of the updates concerned tweaks and tricks regarding Google tools. To learn more about each of them, scroll down, and definitely pay extra attention to the biggest deal with Google’s new strategic partner – Salesforce.


A New Curved Interface for Mobile Search Results

Google is continually working on its mobile experience and has rolled out a brand new interface for mobile search results. And if curviness is the new black, the new design follows that trend by introducing a new curved look for all components of mobile SERPs – the search box, cards, Top Stories and so on – and also appears to have a lighter color scheme. It is unclear, though, on what scale and in which countries this update is so far available.

Google curved mobile design

Source: Google Rolling Out New Curved Mobile Search Results Interface

Knowledge Panel for News Publishers

In its quest to provide users with the most credible and relevant news, Google rolled out a Knowledge Panel for news publishers. The knowledge panel displays all the basic info about the news publishers so that users can evaluate their trustworthiness and see more background information about publishers they are not yet familiar with. Depending on the amount and quality of accessible information, the panel will include the following details:

  • Writes about – the topics and types of content typically covered by the publisher.

  • Awards - the most notable awards received by the publisher.

  • Reviewed claim - this tab appears when a large part of a publisher’s content has been reviewed by a trusted fact-checker.

According to Google, the knowledge panel will not influence pages’ ranking in SERPs, although it might affect click-through rates for some publishers that aren’t showcasing much credibility or authority. It is not clear which criteria determine whether a news publisher gets into the knowledge panel, but allegedly publishers that provide fresh and credible content will stand a higher chance of being featured in the panel.

Sources: Learn About a News PublisherLearn More About Publishers on Google

Product Comparison Differences Highlight Available in SERPs

Can you always tell the difference between the brand new iPhone and its previous version? If you are as unobservant as many others, you will go to Google for answers. Google updated its product comparison function in the search results. The widget that included products’ characteristics has been upgraded with a “Highlight Differences” toggle that makes the differences stand out. The product comparison feature was introduced in 2016 and is only available for certain product types, such as smartphones, tablets, and game consoles.

Google product comparison

Source: Google Product Comparison With Highlights Differences Toggle

Compare Stocks Right Within Mobile Search Results

Whether you are a suited-up Wall Street guy or simply a fan of the stock market, you can now compare stocks right from Google’s mobile SERPs. All you have to do is learn the stock symbol by heart, enter it into the search box and click on the newly introduced “Compare” tab. For instance, to check out Alphabet’s stock chart, you have to enter GOOG. Afterwards, the search results will display an entire section dedicated to information on Alphabet stock. The section includes a “Compare” tab that offers a set of related stocks that you can add by clicking on the “+” sign next to the suggested companies.

Google stock search comparison

Source: Google Now Lets You Compare Stocks in Web Search

Google News Requires a Manual Update for Old RSS-Feed URLs

Effective December 1, 2017, Google’s old RSS-feed URLs will become obsolete. This means that users will have to manually update their subscriptions as the old ones will cease to work. To update your RSS feeds, you will have to go to Google News, select the sections you need or create new ones and press the “RSS” button at the bottom of the page. As a result, you will see a feed URL in the address bar that should be copied to get the new URL for the RSS feed.

Source: Google News to Deprecate Old RSS Feed URLs on December 1, 2017


Merchant Center and AdWords Updates for Reach Expansion

The holiday season is approaching, and with the consumer spirit on the rise, Google is adding a few new features for those whose sales rely on Merchant Center and AdWords. The novelties include:

  • The ability to acquire a higher number of clicks thanks to campaign optimization via Opportunities.

  • Expanded Feed Rules.

  • Sharable access to your Merchant Center account.

  • Settings for shipping deadlines (only for the US).

  • The introduction of Absolute Top Impression Share (ATIS) – a metric that shows the frequency of your ads displayed in the most prominent Shopping position compared to those of your competitors.

  • Remarketing and dynamic remarketing within Gmail to target potential customers right in their inbox.

Source: Reach More Shoppers This Holiday Season With New Innovations From Merchant Center and AdWords

AdWords Data Control, a New Tool in Google Data Studio

Data visualization, data integration, team KPI monitoring – many tools offer these functionalities as it is often hard to get a grasp on data that you already own and turn it into a flexible and comprehensive insight-generating machine. Google Data Studio(a free data visualization service) was built precisely for that but lacked a certain flexibility. But, from now on, Google added a new tool – AdWords Data Control. It allows you to select various AdWords accounts that will provide data for Data Studio reports. There is no longer a need to create separate reports for each user and account, instead, you can use a unified template that will gather data from your selected account.

The new tool is especially helpful to bigger companies with various branches and business units since they will now have the opportunity to add cross-functionality to their use of data and have a unified reporting mechanism.

You can learn how to make use of AdWords Data Control in Google Data Studio’s Help Center.

Google Adwords Data Control

Google Adwords Data Studio

Source:AdWords Data Control Makes Data Studio Reports Even Easier


Google and Salesforce Sign a Strategic Deal

It is a very rich time for Google’s partnership programs – from development collaborations with HTC to a strategic deal with the fact-checking giant IFCN. This time Google signed an unprecedented partnership with Salesforce to provide their users with the utmost marketing and sales cloud experience. As a part of the agreement, Salesforce will be using Google Cloud Platform’s infrastructure, while in turn, Google will favor Salesforce as its core CRM provider that supports its cloud services. Salesforce is already working on integrating with the G Suite so that their mutual clients can access Salesforce data right from Gmail, Google Docs and other Google products.

Source: A Strategic Partnership with Salesforce to Bring the Power of Cloud to Businesses Globally

Exploring the World of 3D with Google’s Poly

Following the growing trend towards virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), Google is making it easier for app builders to implement elements of 3D with its new service – Poly. Poly is a large source of ready-made yet flexible 3D objects and scenes that can be freely downloaded and adjusted according to your needs. It’s something like Unsplash for 3D. Developers can find any object they need via search and use it in their apps that support AR/VR. Poly is integrated with such familiar 3D instruments as Tilt Brush and Blocks and supports direct OBJ-format files download.

Poly contains thousands of free models, from zebras to a rocket ship. Developers can either use the objects as they are, or alter them. You can even make animated GIFs. To view the objects in VR, you can do so via Cardboard or Daydream View.

Google Poly - Cheeseburger

Source: Poly: Browse, Discover and Download 3D Objects and Scenes

Google Chrome is Blocking Unwanted Tabs and Windows

Chrome continues to insist that web security is its biggest priority. Thus, starting in January 2018, Chrome will begin blocking new surprise tabs and windows to protect its users from malicious content. Chrome 64 will be disabling all redirects, coming from third-party iframes. Instead of immediately redirecting users to another unintended page, Chrome will display an info bar. This will allow users to remain on their selected page and avoid surprise redirects.

To help website owners come to terms with this update, Google launched a new “Abusive Experiences” report in Search Console. You can run your website through the report to see whether there are any signs of abusive experiences. And if the issues don’t get addressed within 30 days, Chrome will automatically block the new windows and tabs.

Chrome blocking unwanted tab

Source: Expanding User Protections on the Web

New Selection Attributes in Google My Business

Google My Business offers a new feature – selection attributes. You can now select attributes from predefined choices. For instance, the “Kosher food” selection attribute has such choices as “No Kosher food,” “Some Kosher food,” and “Strictly Kosher food.”

Google recommends adding attributes to company descriptions so that your potential customers have a clearer idea of what you have to offer, which will essentially lead to a more satisfying customer experience.

Sources: Create Your Bulk Upload SpreadsheetNew Google My Business Features

New Tools for a More Efficient Management of Google Analytics Users

Big companies often struggle with assigning permissions to each and every employee with access to the important parts of the company’s analytics. From now on, account admins will have the ability to centralize user management across their company’s various Google Analytics accounts. If one person needed access to 25 accounts, previously you had to set up the permission by visiting and changing the settings of each account. Now admins can give out permissions all from one place – the admin account. Moreover, to facilitate the management of large numbers of people, you can now create groups that include the appropriate employees, and give the entire group the access to the relevant Google Analytics accounts.

Source: New Tools for Managing Google Analytics Users


Google is changing every day, and it is essential that you follow all the relevant updates and tweaks and react in a timely manner. We do our best to inform you of all the changes that are taking place in Google’s space to make sure that you have all the information you need to stay on top of SERPs. So, stay tuned to our Google News Digest, which airs every two weeks.

Speaking of staying on top of SERPs, make sure to take a look at the second edition of our Ranking Factors Study, which is based on the biggest scope of keywords compared to all the existing research on Google’s ranking factors. Our unique findings include in-depth insights on ranking factors: direct traffic is the ultimate factor that affects your rankings, along with backlinks and user behavior. But no spoilers – simply click on the banner below to learn more.

[ranking-factors bg_button="-warning"]

Author Photo
Olga AndrienkoOlga Andrienko is the Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush. Together with her team she has built one of the strongest international communities in the online marketing industry. Olga has expanded SEMrush brand visibility worldwide entering the markets of over 50 countries. Olga is also a Judge of content and social media awards in USA, UK and Europe. In 2018 Olga was mentioned among the 25 most influential women in digital marketing by TopRank. She speaks at major marketing conferences and her quotes on user behavior appear in media such as Business Insider and Washington Post.
More about SEO
How To Track SEO in Multiple Cities with SemrushDo you want your website to be seen by searchers in more than just one location? Semrush now has a new multi-targeting feature you have to check out! Whether you operate a business with multiple locations or a just single location serving a larger area, being found by searchers in more than one location is good for business.
Apr 05, 2021
6 min read