While some of us have busy watching the World Cup, Google has been busy releasing tweaks, updates, and new features. There has been a big emphasis on video and video advertising and increased control for users over the advertising and content they receive.
So, take a break from football/soccer, and make space for our Search Marketing Scoop podcast with Joel Bondorowsky, the Founder of PPC Designs, and Pam Aungst, the Founder of Stealth™ Search & Analytics, who will provide you with real insights into some of the most important Google news to watch out for. Our guests will go beyond the headlines and give you actionable tips on how to deal with the latest changes and answer your questions in real time.
Once you've heard our experts discuss the top headlines, keep reading the digest to discover all the news that matters.
GOOGLE SEARCH NEWS
Video Carousel Tests in Desktop Search, Again
Google gave video carousel in desktop search another shot. A selection of videos united in one carousel now appears in “Video” and “Top Stories”. The carousel includes three cards and a button that brings more related results. It is still unclear which countries and regions are involved in these tests. For all we know, this might not be a test, but an actual start launch of a new format in desktop search.
Dynamic Business Categories in Local Pack
The Local Pack now displays business categories for websites right next to the company name and reviews. The category is defined in relation to the type of search query. Barry Schwartz found that based on the search query, he would see different categories; the three he saw for his company was “website designer”, “internet marketing service” and, "software company. Previously, Google only displayed the main business category regardless of what the user was searching for. Tests have shown that not all areas are seeing this change yet.
A New SERP Feature for College Seekers
Google launched a new SERP feature for college search-related queries. The search giant hasn’t labeled the new feature yet, but it resembles the Knowledge Panel. The new feature is so far only available in the U.S. and contains details on the enrollment stats, notable alumni, college fees, student life, and more.
"This new experience uses public information from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), a comprehensive data set available for 4-year colleges." — Google.
GOOGLE ADS NEWS
New AdWords Functionality for Retail
In the near future, AdWords will introduce a few upcoming features that could impact offline sales:
Affiliate location extensions for video ads on YouTube — when users are shown a product ad on YouTube, they also see the nearest shop that sells that very product. For now, this feature is not rolled out to all countries.
By the end of the month, all advertisers will get access to a new mobile ad format, local catalog ads. Potential buyers will be able to scroll through your inventory, see local “in-store” availability, and detailed pricing information.
Soon there will be new product price benchmarks in AdWords reporting that will show Shopping advertisers how other retailers are pricing the same products.
Google Tests AMP Label For Paid Search
Google is testing placing the AMP lightning icon on mobile search ads for AMP-enabled landing pages. When Google was asked about this test, they would only say they ran many tests and had nothing to announce regarding this topic.
New Tools for Smarter Video Ad Tests on YouTube
YouTube has introduced a new set of tools that can help advertisers improve their storytelling and allow them to test creative variations and measure creative impact. YouTube's creative suite offers three resources to help with ad performance.
Video Experiments - "a head-to-head testing tool in AdWords that works with brand lift measurement and allows you to measure the impact of creative on key metrics like awareness, consideration, purchase intent and more."
Video Creative Analytics - You can now add "audience segmentation to retention reports so you can better understand how your creative captures the attention of different groups." Later this year you will be able to annotate the crucial moments in your video and be able to see a percentage of the viewers that actually saw these crucial moments in your video.
Director Mix and Video Ad Sequencing - The Director Miz will let you create different versions of a base video and set elements, such as text, image, sound, & video,to be swappable so you can assemble the best video for each targeted audience. Video Ad Sequencing will help you tell your brand story with a series of ads set in a specific order or to showcase a product across multiple pieces of content.
Increased Transparency Over Google Ad Experience
Google updated its Ad Settings to allow users to switch off ad targeting, while expanding the “Why this ad?” notification menu across all services that display Google ads - YouTube, Google Play, Gmail, Google Maps, and its partner apps and websites. Now, the user will be able to control, alter and find more details on the reasons for being subjected to seeing a certain ad. For instance, upon clicking on “Personal info and privacy” tab in Ad Settings, you can turn off the targeting based on information from your account and previous actions.
GOOGLE TOOLS NEWS
App Maker: Out of Beta and With New Features
A year and a half ago, Google released a new tool, App Maker, that helps create simple business apps. Now out of Beta, the tool has new features and is available for G-Suite Business, Enterprise, and Education customers. The tool offers a drag-and-drop UI design and declarative data modeling that make the process easier for IT developers, or anyone who wants to design and build work process apps faster and easier. App Maker makes it simple to connect other data and services you need, such as Gmail, Calendar or Sheets. You can also use Apps Script to access over 40 Google services, the Google cloud platform, and other third-party services.
Expanded Data in Google Search Console Analytics API
Google now gives access to 16 months’ worth of data through its Search Analytics API. And what this means is that SEMrush’s Organic Traffic Insights tool also displays historical data for 16 months. The access to this extended data began rolling out in January 2018 in Google Search Console’s new interface.
Chrome Extensions are Now Only Available From Chrome Web Store
Google bans setting up extensions to its Chrome browser from external parties. Starting on June 12th, any user that tries to add an extension to Chrome is redirected to Chrome Web Store to complete the setup. And from September 12 onwards, old extensions will also follow this logic. In early December 2018, the inline install API method will be removed from Chrome 71. Instead of direct setup, the external site owners will be able to place a button that will automatically bring users to the Chrome Web Store.
Android App for Podcasts
Google released a new app for Android to tune in to Google Podcasts, available in 47 languages worldwide. Google Podcasts uses AI and will offer personalized recommendations and is integrated with Google Assistant across each of your devices. You will be able to seamlessly syncs across each of your Google products, so if you are listening to a podcast on Google Home, you can pause and resume on your phone while traveling.
Google Analytics Streams on YouTube
The Google Analytics team introduced a series of online meetups on YouTube called Measure Matters. The videos are hosted by Google Analytics experts, Krista Seiden and Louis Gray, and the series will cover best practices on leveraging Google's suite of products, rounds up highlights from the larger measurement community, and reviews of recent product updates.
So far, they have released three episodes: Machine Learning, Measurement for Growth and Google Analytics for Firebase. The streams are held every two weeks, on Wednesdays at 10 am PT. The streams are live, so users can ask questions in real-time on YouTube and Twitter.
A New Filter in Google Search Console
In Google Search Console’s new interface, in the Search Appearance report, you can now find a new “Web Light results” filter. It shows how many users get access to your website through the Web Light version for slower Internet connection. With the Web Light technology, Google re-codes the page into a simpler and lighter version for those with slower internet speeds. It is the first time that Google has revealed to webmasters how often the webpages are being accessed by “slower” users.
By default, Web Light is available in Chrome browser and Android (version 2.3 or higher). To switch off the Web Light, all you have to do is add Cache-Control: no-transform to the page’s HTTP-title. Once you do that, Googlebot will stop re-coding the page. According to John Muller, this technology does not affect search rankings.
Spam Combat Stats for 2017
Google shared some stats on the results of its combat against spam in 2017. Check them out:
Deleted over 80% of compromised sites from the search results.
Held over 250 meetups with webmasters from across the globe, with over 220,000 participants.
Sent out over 45 million notifications through Search Console, warning about possible issues.
Delivered 6 million notifications about manual sanctions messages to webmasters about practices they identified that were against their guidelines. These messages included information on how to resolve the issue.
Taken measures in response to over 90 thousand messages from users about search spam.
The World Cup With Google
Whether you are a football (soccer?) fan or not, you cannot deny that it's one of the most popular sports in the world. Some people cannot think now of anything but who scored a goal and who is about to be kicked out of the ⅛ of the World Cup. And Google could not miss out on a chance to introduce a few features for the current games, such as:
Scoreboards and game results.
Video recaps that appear within 30 minutes after each game finale.
World Cup tracker in Google News that visualizes ratings, results, and schedules all in one place.
World Cup info on Google Assistant.
Real-time interactive diagrams that display trends for search queries, related to the World Cup.
A series of unique doodles, dedicated to each of the 32 participating countries.
And that is all for this week. We will see you in two weeks for more Google updates!