Google News Digest: New Ad Targeting Options, Google Assistant Actions, and More

Judith Lewis

Oct 23, 20196 min read
Google News Digest

Before we get started on Google news, we want to remind you that  Global Marketing Day is almost here, October 30—31 UTC. This free 24-hour event will provide expert insights and strategies for marketers worldwide. So sign up today! 

Now let's talk about Google; they never stop updating and adding features, and we want you to remain informed about all the — which is why we release the Google Digest every two weeks. This week, we have some Search, Ad, and Tool updates you need to know about. So please keep reading, and tell us your experiences with these updates in the comments below. 


New Algo Update Rumour

There are some discussions at  WebmasterWorld discussing fluctuations in the SERPs. We currently have no verification from Google of any algorithm updates or changes. 

Source:  A Google Search Algorithm Update Rolling Out?

Danny Sullivan Speaks of Linking to Source Importance

Original sources of information should be linked back to, claims Google's Danny Sullivan. 





Source:  Google's Danny Sullivan: Journalists Should Link To Sources

European News Sites May Lose Snippets in France

Google is changing how it shows snippets in European news. Google said, " the wake of new copyright law in France, Google will change the way it presents search results for European press publications to people in that country. Specifically, Google will no longer present snippets and thumbnail images in France for these publications unless publishers displaying content in France have specified how much of this content they want to show in search results."

Google has an extensive Q&A on their help page, so if the news business is your game, we suggest you read what they have to say.

Sources: European News Lose Google Snippets Per French Law

Google is testing the new Search by photos feature for local search in some countries. It was first noticed by Mike Blumenthal:

At the moment, Search by photos may be visible in various positions on mobile SERPs. Sometimes it is placed above or below the local pack, or after organic results. It is displayed for local requests related to local services (but not for all). By clicking on individual photos, a user gets to the company’s GMB profile page. The scale of the testing is still unknown.

Sources: New Google Local Discovery: Search By Photos, Google showing mobile ‘search by photos’ option in selected local verticals

Location Testing in Search Snippets

Users in the US and Australia have noticed that Google has begun adding city names to search snippets. If it only works for local queries or all of them is still unknown, as well as the scale of testing.

Source:  Twitter: Lily Ray

Auction-Time Bidding in Search Ads 360

In Search Ads 360, smart bidding during the auction has become available; previously, it was only possible in Google Ads. Automatic bidding allows advertisers to set goal conversion cost, thereby increasing the effectiveness of advertising. Google claims that "during the beta, hundreds of Search Ads 360 advertisers enabled Google Ads auction-time bidding and saw an average conversion increase of 15% to 30% at the same or better ROI."

Source: Google Ads auction-time bidding comes to Search Ads 360

New Targeting Types for Google Ads Campaigns

Google Ads has 2 new types of targeting for search campaigns:

  • Affinity audiences – audience targeting based on interests, habits, hobbies, etc.


  • Seasonal event segments for in-market audiences – targets seasonal events like Christmas or Black Friday.

New types of targeting will appear in the interface for all users in the coming weeks.

Source:  Reach your ideal customer on Google Search

Campaign-level Conversions for Video Ads

After search and display campaigns, video campaigns now support campaign-level conversion settings. They can be used to define a certain customer's action, such as newsletter subscription or purchase, as valuable for business. You can read more about campaign-level conversions here.

Source: Set conversion actions at the campaign level for video ads

Auto Ads Update in AdSense

Quite a few new features have been added to Auto Ads for Google AdSense. Here are the main changes:

  • Support for any AdSense code (no need to create separate code for Auto ads)
  • Ability to exclude pages or groups of pages where you do not want to display Auto ads
  • The ability to see a preview of all ads
  • Removing specific (inappropriate) placements
  • Ability to specify specific formats for display
  • Updated Reporting

Using Auto ads, you do not need to create an advertising code for each placement on your site; you can use one universal for all placements and formats. Google will choose the appropriate places and the type of ad to display.

Source: Introducing the new and improved Auto ads

Location Targeting in Smart Shopping Campaigns

Google Ads has updated the settings for Smart Shopping campaigns and added the ability to configure location targeting. This setting works the same way as in regular campaigns – you can choose the places where you want or don’t want to show ads.

Smart Shopping Location Targeting

Source: Location targeting available in Google Smart Shopping campaigns

New Conversions Data in Google Ads

Google Ads has added new columns to conversion analytics based on the time it takes to complete them. Here is the list:

  • “Conversions (by conv. time)”
  • “Conv. value (by conv. time)”
  • “Value / Conv. (by conv. time)”
  • “All conv. (by conv. time)”
  • “All conv. value (by conv. time)”
  • “Value / all conv. (by conv. time)”

Now, if the click on the ad was last week, and the conversion is on the current one, then in the Conversions (by conv. Time) column, this conversion will be shown in the current week. In the standard report, this data is calculated by the time of the click, not the conversion.

Source: Understand conversions by time with new columns

AR in YouTube Ads

Not so long ago, Google introduced the new AR Beauty Try-On feature, which allows users to virtually test cosmetics. This feature has now been launched as a beta test for advertising on YouTube Masthead banners and TrueView Video Discovery ads. When viewing this type of advertising using the front camera, you can try on yourself, for example, shades of lipstick and immediately purchase products from the video.

Source: Virtual Make-up comes to the YouTube Masthead


Structured Data for Google Assistant

Google said that now, some types of markups can be used not only for the corresponding SERP features in a regular search but also for Google Assistant actions.

Using various types of structured data, you can now reach many more users because Google Assistant will be able to read instructions and step-by-step actions to perform a specific task from the markup. Assistant currently supports the following types of markups: Podcasts, Recipes, News, FAQs, How-to-guides, How-to-videos. You can find detailed instructions and templates of Assistant structured data here.

Sources: Google: Structured Data Can Help Generate Actions For Google Assistant

New Video Reports in Search Console

Google has added 2 new reports for videos in the Google Search Console. The first report in the Enhancement Report section is Video. You can see errors associated with marking up videos using structured data. The second report is in Video Appearances in the Performance section. Here you can track statistics on video performance in regular search results and in the Discover stream.


New Video Series - Search for Beginners

Google is about to launch another series of videos - Search for Beginners. The new series will talk about the basics of SEO and the presence of Google search. Unlike all other Google series, the new videos will be animated and multilingual (with subtitles in different languages, not only in English). Videos will be published on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel.

Sources: Twitter: Google Webmasters

Google Graveyard 2.0

There are quite a few virtual "Google cemeteries" for discontinued products and services, but this year a real graveyard appeared at Google's own office in Seattle. 

It may lack a few dozens of gravestones (check this list of discontinued Google services!) but still looks like a nice place to visit on All Hallows' Eve.

That is all the news I wanted to share with you today. Have a great Halloween, and stay tuned for the next digest in two weeks! 

Author Photo
Judith LewisJudith is a renowned writer, trainer, blogger and a digital and media consultant specialising in applying strategic understanding of digital technologies to help businesses innovate and optimise their effectiveness within the new, networked communications environment. She is a regular speaker around the world on SEO, content strategy, link building, PPC, and digital strategy, a contributor to the Huffington Post, and has been recognised by her peers as one of the most influential people in the UK digital industry. Judith judges the MENA, EU, US and UK Search Awards, an industry leading award and has every year since their inception. She has worked with market-leading global businesses including Google, Orange, COI, NatWest/RBS, National Gallery, CIPD, Fidelity, GalaCoral, NBC Universal, Readers Digest, Bayer, Family Search, Amadeus, AMD, AmEx, TotalJobs,, Virgin Startup & more. She has over 20 years of experience, predating Google in her entry into the market and now runs her own consultancy. She has worked at Centaur Publishing, i-level, & Beyond before setting up her own consultancy. Judith also blogs about chocolate, helps with London Girl Geek Dinners, was a founding Modern Muse, and has contributed to the book “Pimp My Site” and the Econsultancy guide to Paid Search. She is currently working on updating the Econsultancy Best Practice guide to SEO and teaches the advanced SEO course as well as the Paid Search courses.
Subscribe to learn more about SEO
By clicking “Subscribe” you agree to Semrush Privacy Policy and consent to Semrush using your contact data for newsletter purposes