Over the past few months (and even way before that) Google has been working on two major projects - its Mobile-First Index and the new AdWords interface. The latter is now in open beta, whereas it is still unclear when mobile-first indexing will finally make its entrance. However, we can already see some experiments and tests from Google.
As we have mentioned in our previous Google Digests, there have been some interesting developments related to Google’s AMP Project. It seems like the search giant is strengthening its AMPs’ stance in order to make them the way-to-go format for advertisers and publishers, and with the recent introduction of Fluid Ads, we can be more and more certain of that.
There have also been major changes to Google’s First Click Free policy, and we are finally seeing the return of a long-missed practice started by Google’s ex-employee Matt Cutts. To learn more about all the latest Google updates, make yourself a cup of something and scroll down.
GOOGLE SEARCH NEWS
Testing Mobile-First Indexing in Search Results [Live]
In the latest Google Webmaster hangout, Google’s John Mueller confirmed that the search engine giant is indeed testing its mobile-first indexing in SERPs in real-time. Mueller has not clarified how many users will be impacted by these tests. However, as he mentioned, Google is conducting the experiment to not only see how it affects users and rankings but also to test its new classifiers. These internal classifiers are intended to identify websites whose desktop pages are equivalent to mobile pages, and those that are not.
While Mueller confirmed that Google is now in an active testing phase, he would not give the precise date of the mobile-first index’s release.
Sizeless Ads for AMP Pages
As a part of its quest to make AMP implementation more attractive to a wider audience, Google has released a couple of new updates for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
Here are the key developments:
Animations that support scrolling: this feature allows AMP adopters to include parallax effects, image rescaling, stopping and starting of animation as you scroll.
A sidebar that manages your responsive design: it is now possible to adapt the display format to suit the width of the viewport. This comes in handy, considering users are actively accessing web pages from various devices.
Native video analytics to ensure that you can discover the recipe for the best-performing video format.
Enhanced ClientID identification to help you can track users journey between AMP and non-AMP pages. Google Analytics already provides a comprehensive set of data on your AMP traffic.
Open Alpha for Fluid Ads: publishers sometimes hesitate over which ad size they should request. Thus, the launch of Fluid Ads (essentially, sizeless ads) should improve publisher websites’ monetization efforts.
You can find the full report on AMP updates in Q3 2017 on the AMP Project’s Roadmap page.
New AMP Logo Tested in SERPs
What do you think of when you see a lightning bolt? Probably, a threat or danger. Thus, a new look is coming to the Accelerated Mobile Pages’ (AMP) logo. If you recall, AMP pages are marked with a gray lightning bolt icon with “AMP” written next to it. However, according to Google, the current look may scare off users who are not aware of what AMP is, as a lightning bolt is commonly perceived as a sign of danger. Thus, Google is testing an icon that contains the very same lightning bolt in blue with the word “Instant” to its right. Although the lightning bolt remains in place, the word “Instant” should supposedly underline the notion that the lightning bolt represents speed and immediacy.
Here is how the new icon looks:
Source: Twitter post by Jonathan Jones
The End of First Click Free and the Beginning of Flexible Sampling
From the very launch of the company, Google has explicitly stated that its chief mission is to provide users with free and open access to information. To get both users and news publishers to use Google as their primary search engine for consuming news, Google established a First Click Free policy that encouraged media outlets to offer three free articles before asking users to pay for any additional content. From now on, though, Google is not specifying how many articles news publishers should provide as a free trial. Instead, Google offers them more freedom to determine the amount of free content they are willing to release. The new program is called “Flexible Sampling”. This is a part of a larger quest to help news publishers reach out to new audience segments, attract subscriptions and, thus, increase their revenues.
GOOGLE ADS NEWS
New AdWords Interface is Now in Open Beta
After some relentless work, Google is rolling out a brand new AdWords experience, available now to all advertisers. You can take a guided tour through the new interface and familiarize yourself with its new enhanced features. Along with new data visualization and the enhanced load speed of the AdWords account pages, which are now loading up to 20 percent faster, there is a whole new range of exclusive features and reports - for instance, the “Landing pages” feature, the ability to attract more valuable calls to your business, the audience manager and so on. This is not a final version, though. Google intends to keep adding more functionality to the tool and will largely rely on user feedback.
AdWords Scripts are Now Available in the New Interface
The new AdWords interface does not only provide new features, reports, and a fresh new look; it also allows you to access new scripts within your advertiser accounts.
The main changes offer:
Access to up to 500 script logs per page, which can be filtered by date.
Enhanced precision so users can view the script’s runtime.
Names of those who added the script to their account.
The ability to filter your scripts by their name and their creators.
The opportunity to duplicate your existing scripts.
You can find out more details about the scripts in AdWords’ Developers center.
Overdelivery is Now Available Within Your AdWords Campaign Daily Budget
Since October 4, your daily AdWords campaign budget can be enlarged up to two times. The novelty that goes under the name “overdelivery” is intended to help advertisers achieve their end goals - acquiring the determined number of clicks or conversions. Daily overspending will take place during high-traffic days to make up for the low-traffic days when your daily budget is underspent. These measures will not lead to more monthly expenditures, since AdWords operates within your established monthly budget, but allocates it in relation to the daily amount of traffic. Moreover, Google will credit the overdelivery costs back in cases when it results in your exceeding your monthly budget.
Source: Charges and Your Daily Budget
Location Extensions for YouTube Ads
The online-offline controversy is becoming more and more outdated. With so many online businesses building an offline presence, and vice versa, Google is trying to enhance the connection between both channels. As a part of this trend, YouTube is now supporting “location extensions”. You can now add them to your ad extensions for TruView In-Stream and bumper ads. As a result, while watching YouTube video, users will from now on be able to see your business’s address, directions, and business hours right in the ad. These novelties are intended to trigger offline engagement and drive more foot traffic to your business.
GOOGLE TOOLS NEWS
Do you have SEO-related Questions? Ask Google!
It has been three years since Google stopped its Q&A sessions with webmasters. But soon enough, short videos that answer general SEO-related questions from webmasters from across the globe will make a comeback. To get an answer, you can submit your questions via Google Forms, and expect a short video answer from the search giant. Do note, though, that Google will only accept questions that have to do with a general SEO issue, rather than a specific website or page.
Google Shares Results from Its Consumer Study
Google conducted a global study that examined Internet users’ behavior – the Google Connected Consumer Study 2017. The study was undertaken by KANTAR TNS upon Google’s request. It looked at consumer behavior of users from more than 63 countries worldwide. Each country was presented with comprehensive data on their overall percentage of Internet users, their age, the devices they use, how and why they use the search engine, and what impacts their buying decisions on the Web.
You can find the complete research on each studied country on Google’s Consumer Barometer page.
Source: Consumer Barometer with Google
Danny Sullivan Joins Google
Google is full of some of the brightest minds in the contemporary tech industry. While its search strategy has been largely dependent upon the views of operational SEOs - webmasters, engineers, and coders - Google has decided to bring in someone from a different circle - a person who is well-respected in the managerial SEO circles.
Danny Sullivan is a recognized search marketing specialist and the founder of the Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land sites. On October 9, he announced that he had accepted a job offer by Google in a yet-undefined position. The general idea is that Danny will serve as some kind of public liaison figure for search.
Source: Facebook post by Danny Sullivan
What does that mean for the SEO community?
The search community has admitted that this was an unexpected turn of events, yet many influential SEO figures have largely expressed “cautious optimism” over the new appointment. Danny is known to be a great visionary who has founded such successful SEO-dedicated media websites as Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, and Marketing Land, and curated some of the industry’s key search-related conferences - Search Marketing Expo and MarTech. We all have high hopes for Danny’s new role at Google and believe that he could be the person who will bridge a tighter gap between the search giant and the search community, and bring about more transparency to Google’s plans for search.
Good luck, Danny!
Apart from technical updates and new initiatives that influence the realm of digital, Google affects the very environment we are all living in. Google impacts the global job market. As we learned earlier, Google now supports startups and new businesses, equipping them with tools for their online success. And now Google has made its biggest philanthropic move so far - a plan to invest $1 billion throughout the next five years in non-profit organizations that are trying to help people adapt to a rapidly changing work environment. The search giant claims that it recognizes its responsibility for the tech developments that have triggered all the challenges that job seekers are already facing today. Tech know-hows are already affecting the job market - from eliminating traditional jobs to creating the need for “a new kind of worker”.
To remain competitive, as a webmaster or a digital marketing expert, you should be extremely tech-savvy and aware of all the latest news, updates and trends that occur in the digital space. Thus, we feel like it is our job to make sure that you stay informed of all the latest Google updates and that we can provide you with some idea of the direction that the search giant is taking with all its projects.
Follow our Google News Digest, which goes live every two weeks, and give us a shout in the comments if you spot anything worthy of mentioning in forthcoming posts. See you in two weeks!