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Google News Digest: Learn About New Scores in Ads, and Changes in GSC and Featured Snippets

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Google News Digest: Learn About New Scores in Ads, and Changes in GSC and Featured Snippets

David Bain
Google News Digest: Learn About New Scores in Ads, and Changes in GSC and Featured Snippets

Every two weeks, we share the top news and updates that Google rolls out for advertisers, marketers and the users of Google tools. From Google Suggest navigational buttons within Google's Featured Snippets to the introduction of Optimization Score in Google Ads to the newly introduced features in the new Google Search Console, there are a bunch of updates to look into and talk about.

Also, don't forget to tune in to our weekly Search Marketing Scoop podcast on YouTube Live. Our expert guests Lukasz Zelezny, the Director of Organic Performance at ZPG Plc, and Elizabeth Marsten, the Senior Director of eCommerce Growth Services at CommerceHub, took out the time to discuss every important update in detail in the hope that we will help our listeners keep up with the latest progress and updates from Google.

Listen to our podcast on iOS and Android:


Forum Posts’ Preview Available on SERP

Marie Haynes recently noticed Google showing a preview of forum posts in the search results. Although it seems to happen only with websites that have explicitly opted-in to the format, the feature might keep many users from clicking through the pages to find information. This is because via the previews they are likely to see the potential answers they need right from the SERPs, and may not feel the need to click on the source page to find a response.

Source: Twitter

Google My Business Menu & Services Editor Rolls Out Worldwide

Google announced the availability of the Menu and Services editing feature in Google My Business. Businesses like restaurants and hair salons may now use this feature to add menu items or services along with descriptions and prices. Customers searching on Google will now see these items listed under the "Menu" or "Services" section of the business listing. Currently, this feature is only available to Food and Drink, Health and Beauty, and Service-related businesses.

Source: Menu and Services Editor Now Available in All Countries

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Google Suggest Buttons Within Featured Snippets

Google appears to be testing Google Suggest navigational buttons in the SERPs to suggest more specific results for search queries that have other nuanced variations. The featured snippets seems to be appearing in bubble-shaped buttons format that users can click on to find a more specific response for their search query. Although Google still hasn't officially announced its availability for searchers, this kind of featured snippets seem to be appearing in more searches. Here is how the new navigational buttons appear:


Source: Google Expands Featured Snippet


Cookie-based Experiments on Google Ads

Google has rolled out a new update to Campaign Experiments called "cookie-based splits". The new feature will allow advertisers to create dedicated user tests and control groups. This option means that if a user (mapped to a test group) performs a certain number of searches, all the searches or some of these could be subject to test treatments, depending on the split option one chooses. Google breaks down when to use cookie-based splits versus search-based splits in the source below.

Sources: Create Dedicated User Test and Control Groups With Cookie-Based Experiments; Twitter

Google Ads Report Editor Supports Time Comparison

Google has announced a new time comparison feature in Report Editor charts which will allow advertisers to better visualize their campaign performance. Report Editor users can now chart performance for two different time periods, such as week over week, month over month or other date range. It appears that Google considered rolling out this new update in response to the Report Editor users’ request for enabling a chart performance that could present separate data from two different time periods.  


Sources: Chart Time Comparison Data in the Report Editor; Twitter

Google Ads Introduces Optimization Score

Google looks across different vital aspects of Google Ads campaigns and evaluates how well-optimized they are in order to come up with recommended actions (if there is room for improvement). The recommendations page now includes a new feature, called optimization score, that runs from 0% to 100%, with 100% indicating that an account performs at its full potential.

As mentioned in Google's official post from August 2, the optimization score includes several aspects of a campaign including "bids & budgets, ads & extensions, keywords & targeting, and repairs." The score is calculated in real time based on factors like statistics, settings, the status of an account and campaign, relevant impact of available recommendations, recent recommendations history, and trends in the ads ecosystem. However, it should be noted that Google doesn’t show the recommendation score for all campaign types; it is available for active search campaigns only.


Source: Use Optimization Score to Guide Your Account Optimisations

Responsive Search Ads Available to More Advertisers

Google announced the launch of responsive search ads for more advertisers in English, French, German, and Spanish languages, with other languages to follow soon. Google believes that responsive search ads will give advertisers more room to convey their message as they use the power of Google's machine learning to help "deliver the best ad for any search query." Google also goes on to mention that, starting in late August, advertisers will be able to add a third headline and second description to their text ads, with the description limit going up to 90 characters.

Source: Deliver More Relevance With Responsive Search Ads

Multi-Factor Authentication in Google Ads

For the administrative users of Google Ads accounts, Google has announced rolling out a new feature that requires a new multi-factor authentication policy to be enabled in the form of 2-Step Verification. Once this new authentication policy is enabled on Google Ads accounts, it will require all the users to have their Google accounts enrolled in 2-Step Verification before they could gain any access to the accounts.

Failing to do so will result in the "AuthorizationError.TWO_STEP_VERIFICATION_NOT_ENROLLED" error. This new security feature is meant to ensure that only strongly verified users can have the necessary access to Google Ads accounts. Note: Google account users can enroll their accounts using the "Advanced Protection" feature as an alternate option.

Sources: Multi-Factor Authentication Policy for Google Ads Accounts; Google Ads Account Admins Can Require Multi-Factor Authentication for All Users

Targeting Updates in Google Ads

Google is going to roll out new updates to mobile targeting and exclusion starting in September 2018. These updates, once they go live, will help simplify targeting and exclusion controls for Google Display Network ads on mobile devices. As a result, Google hopes that advertisers will see "a significant increase in mobile apps or mobile web traffic" due to the ads' ability to easily reach the growing base of mobile users.

These changes will include the depreciation of "" placement exclusion and "G-mob mobile app non-interstitial” content exclusion to allow more app traffic from this category. Google will also simplify device targeting by consolidating it into 3 device types: computer, mobile, and tablet.

Source: Prepare for Updates to Mobile Targeting and Exclusion

Google’s Political Ad Transparency Report & Library For More Accountability in Election Ads

Google has rolled out its first political ad transparency report and political ad library to offer more accountability around election ads. The search engine giant had first announced updating its political ad policies in May and is now sharing its transparency report and political ad library with the public. The political ad transparency report contains information about the money spent on political ads by the states and Congressional districts in the US, as well as a list of top political advertisers with their ad spending on Google.

The political ad library provides an archive of political ads that ran on Google from May 31, 2018, forward. The library also allows filtering the ads based on specific date range, ad spending, number of impressions, or ad types (including video, image, and text).


Source: Google's Political Ad Transparency Report & Library Offers More Accountability Around Election Ads


Activating Google Signals in Google Analytics

Google is going to introduce a new option to activate Google signals in Google Analytics in the coming weeks. Through Google signals, Analytics users will be able to see additional data about Google users who have turned on Ads Personalization. Based on the aggregated data, Google Analytics also performs behavior modeling for the entire user base across multiple browsers and devices. Google made a point to say that this does not expose data for individual users and the reports only contain aggregated data.

Source: Activate Google Signals

Fresh Features Added to the New Google Search Console

Google recently announced adding three new features to the new Google Search Console. The features include: Managing users and permission directly in the new Search Console, adding sites and validating ownership, and running Mobile Usability report. However, these features have not fully been made available in the Search Console just yet and some users may still have to wait to see them come into effect.

Source: New Google Search Console Adds Mobile Usability Report, Manage Users & Adds Site Features

New Storytelling Features in Google Data Studio

Mary Pishny, Product Manager at Google, announced the launch of three new features in Data Studio that are aimed at making data story sharing easier, facilitating better, and making more informed business decisions. The features include the following:

  • Explorer: Brings data analysis together with one click
  • Data Blending: Helps see data in a single visualization
  • Google Marketing Platform Report Gallery: Creates comprehensive reports like never before

With the above features launched, Google believes that marketers will be able to quickly gather all their data and "start turning it into compelling visual insights right away."


Source: Data Studio's New Features Help You Tell More Compelling Stories

Google Search Console Introduces Its Updated Index Coverage Report

Google has recently rolled out a page that records some known data anomalies and issues in the Search Console that could potentially affect the report data. These quirks in the report charts may happen when, for example, Google changes their data aggregation methods or if there is a logging error. Google has provided a complete list of all the known issues and the dates on which they did/were likely to occur. Such as, on January 24-25, 2018, the Remove URLs Report was undergoing some improvements and it may not have been available for users during this period.

Source: Data Anomalies in Search Console

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Roman Prokopchuk
Great article!
David Bain
Roman Prokopchuk
thanks, Roman :)
faisal saleem
I love Google Search Console, best article !
David Bain
faisal saleem
haha - who doesn't?! So much useful info in there! Are you integrating your GSC with SEMrush's tools?
very nice David bain m worried about Seo off page activity if you wrote any blog then share me plz.

thank you for this blog
David Bain
Foreign language Guru
I don't have anything on that in particular - but I'd say, browse through this blog - it has information on any SEO-related topic possible. And if you still have any questions, tune in to our Search Marketing Scoop podcast - it goes live every two weeks and you have a chance to ask any question of yours to our SEO/PPC/Content experts!
Bhavesh Parmar
Thank you David Bain, Very useful details. What do you think about voice search David?
David Bain
Bhavesh Parmar
hi, Bhavesh! Thanks a lot - voice search is certainly big and will get even bigger in foreseeable future. But all of this is really just a part of a bigger trend - trend towards "humanisation" of search :)
Shirish Agarwal
I think worrying about a drop in CTR due to forum posts showing in SERP might be unnecessary. More often than not, Google already displays the most relevant part of a post in most results so this is already happening now. Informative post though, so thanks.
David Bain
Shirish Agarwal
Thanks, Shirish - agree with you on this, but I guess once something gets officially announced by Google (even if we saw it before), then it's an indicator of the fact that Google thinks it's the right way forward - Google does plenty of tests that do not survive within some time. So now we know for sure- this is the reality we all live in :)
Thank you for this.
Can you cover more about the additional headline and description? like tips on how to use it, when it should and shouldn't use?
David Bain
Martin Eyking
hi, Martin - maybe tune in to our Search Marketing Scoop podcast and I can answer any of your questions (with the help of biggest industry experts) in real time to a wide audience! Looking forward to your questions :)
Thanks for the updates, David. One of our accounts got the expanded text ads with 3 headlines and 2 descriptions. Its great to be able to add more details to the ad, which can give better understanding to the user. Looking forward to seeing more updates.
David Bain
Chiranjeevi Srinivasarao
oh, really glad to hear you're already making use of the new features! Sure thing - there's something going on every day so make sure not to miss any of our digests, we will get all the biggest news right to you on the silver platter :)
Great read David. I noticed earlier when looking to purchase a kayak it gave me suggestions on 'Sea', 'Fishing' or 'Recreational'. As a kayaking novice, I found that incredibly helpful. Had never noticed that until this morning.
David Bain
Chris Holsgrove
cool! Thanks a lot, Chris - will keep on writing on these matters :)

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