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Google News Digest: Video Previews in SERP Features, Ads in Local Knowledge Panel, and YouTube’s Redesign

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Google News Digest: Video Previews in SERP Features, Ads in Local Knowledge Panel, and YouTube’s Redesign

Olga Andrienko
Google News Digest: Video Previews in SERP Features, Ads in Local Knowledge Panel, and YouTube’s Redesign

Two weeks is a relatively short time, but a lot can happen in two weeks especially when it comes to search engines. For Google, this was a productive and challenging time; from the threat of losing its trademark to catching up with the legal aspects of personal data protection.

These last two weeks have been marked by Google continuing to push its agenda to provide users with the most relevant and user-friendly advertising content. So we are constantly being reminded that compliance with Better Ad Standards is a must if we are to survive stiff competition in the advertisers’ race.

Google has also worked on its Knowledge Panel, adding AdWords ads and expanding the product listings feature. Congratulations to all those who rely on that SERP feature!

In reality, these last few weeks have really been about video. Featured Snippet-like video previews within the search results (that is huge!), and a possibility to add videos to Google Maps. So while we are enjoying YouTube’s new cinematic look, you can go on enjoying your read!

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GOOGLE SEARCH NEWS

Updated Look & Functions for Product Search in Knowledge Panels

How many times have you craved a new silver vintage picture frame, gone to your local home store and found  simply nothing? Improved product search in Knowledge Panels can provide the perfect solution to customer satisfaction! The new sections within the Knowledge Panels include a search box, product category links, and simply gigantic product listings. The links lead to the company’s page on Google Shopping. The feature is already available on both desktop and mobile, while the latter offers a carousel format for product listings.

The update is a part of Local Inventory Ads initiative that allows companies promote items that can be found on their store shelves.

Check out Barry Schwartz’s SEO recap for more details (you can also find the video at the end of this digest).

Updated Google knowledge panel SERP feature

Source: Google Debuts Giant New Look for Local Inventory Ad Product Search in Knowledge Panels

New Features for Ticket and Hotel Search 

Google is rolling out few new features for its hotel and ticket search. Google Flights now allows travelers to see the ticket prices for each day around travel dates allowing them to choose the most cost effective flights. The pricing table is in a calendar format. Google also adds the option to find nearby airports that offer cheaper flight deals and indicates the distance between these and their destination points.

Once all the flight details are figured out, it is time to pick a hotel. Google comes in handy there, too. A calendar format is available for hotel pricing so travllers can compare the prices for each day of their potential stay. The pricing labels are also put on the search results on Google Maps. 

Hey Google, a huge thanks from all of us nomads and our travel expenses department!

New features in travel search

Source: New Ways to Make Trip Planning Easier and Cheaper

Extending Parking Difficulty on Google Maps

Drivers across 25 cities worldwide now have one less thing to worry about; they can now easily find an available parking spot by simply pressing “find parking” to see a list of parking lots and garages near their destination. The feature was once only available across the United States, however now we can also congratulate drivers in Moscow, Alicante, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Cologne, Darmstadt, Düsseldorf, London, Madrid, Malaga, Manchester, Milan, Montreal, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paolo, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Toronto, Valencia, and Vancouver.The update is available on Google Maps app on iOS and Android.

Source: Put It in Park With New Features in Google Maps

Google’s Webmaster Blog Supports New Languages

Google is extending its blog’s influence by rolling out new language versions for the Webmaster’s Blog. Now Google aficionados who want to discover educational content and learn about Google product news and updates have access to relevant Help resources. Google’s latest launches can do so in Hindi, Turkish, Vietnamese, Thai, and Russian.

Source: Introducing Our New International Webmaster Blogs

Google’s “First Click Free” Principle Updated to Aid News Publishers

Finding the balance between free access to information and revenue to content publishers is never an easy task. So Google is tirelessly polishing its relations with news publishers to make sure users get valuable content, while publishers get their income. The First Click Free principle opens up access to paid content for users that have jumped on the news website from the search. The update also touches upon issues of online payments for subscription and targeting potential subscribers. The experiment is being held with The New York Times Co., News Corp and The Financial Times.

You can read up on what First Click Free is all about on Google’s Support page.

Source: Google Tests Subscription Tool for Publishers

Google Sends Out Email Warnings Over Marking HTTP Pages as Not Secure

How could we forget? From October 2017, Google Chrome is starting to mark HTTP pages with any forms as not secure. Google is initiating the HTTPS protocol to serve its long-term goal of bringing higher security to the Internet space.

Currently, Google only gives warnings to HTTP pages that require passwords or credit card details. Since we are approaching October, Google is reminding us once again that pretty much everyone MUST move to HTTPS as soon as possible if their website contains any kind of forms, requires any contact details, has any login fields or other input sections. 

HTTP browser warning

Source: Google Emails Warnings to Webmasters That Chrome Will Mark HTTP Pages with Forms as “Not Secure”

HTTPS Implementation with SEMrush

Is your website secure?

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com

Testing Google’s New Search Lite App

Not everyone enjoys the same fast Internet speed across the world, and that can now be considered almost as an infringement of your basic human rights. So Google is testing a new Lite version of its search app to boost the loading speed in the regions with slower Internet. Indonesia and possibly India are among the targeted regions. It seems that the Lite version contains the same functionality and categories as the main app - search, news, images, weather, translator. It also supports offline features and personalization settings. This allows the Lite users’ app to maintain the same functionality with less data consumption and higher speed.  

New Google Search Lite app design

Source: Google is Testing a New Search Lite App for Slow Networks

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GOOGLE ADS NEWS

Google Notifies Publishers of Violating Ad Experiences

Google is continuing its quest to improve the online advertising experience and bring it up to its best standard yet. The recently developed Ad Experience Report is being pushed further into action. Recently, Google announced it would block ads that do not comply with the Better Ads Coalition standards. This is not currently happening, but Google is already notifying publishers of potential violations of these standards and is encouraging them to act on the issues. So far, these violation notifications are purely out there for awareness purposes and have no actual impact. But rumor has it that in the near future Google will give 30 days for publishers to fix the violated ads before fully blocking them.

You can check your status or request another review of the site via the Ad Experience Report in GSC.

When you see it, you’ll know it; but here is how the violation notice looks like:

Old violation notice

And here is how it appears within the Ad Experience Report:

New violation notice

Source: Google Sends Violating Ad Experiences Notices to Site Owners

Simplifying Ad Rotations in Google AdWords

Freedom of choice is great, but too much choice can simply be confusing. So starting in late September, Google AdWords is leaving two kinds of settings (down from four) for its ad rotation: “optimize” and “rotate indefinitely”. The former setting offers preference to the best ads within the group; the best are those that are more likely to perform better thanks to clicks, keywords, devices, and locations signals. The “rotate indefinitely” setting implies equal treatment for your entire ad group, bringing the even rotation principle to the table. 

New Google ad rotation

Source: Introducing a Better, Simpler Ad Rotation

Updated AdWords Terms and Conditions

Google AdWords has rolled out its Terms and Conditions update across all countries. Following ever changing legal frameworks - the EU General Data Protection, for instance, - Google is bringing in new dimensions.

The update includes changes in relation to contacting clients, AdWords product and feature testings, handling legal disputes, a disclosure of technical errors, and so on. Google gives you 45 days to study and accept the new terms and conditions.

You can learn more about the new version of AdWords Terms and Conditions on this page.  

Source: Important Updates to AdWords Terms and Conditions

«Searches» Card Added to AdWords Overview Page

Remember how we constantly talk about keyword strategy and knowing which terms get you found on Google? Well, this job has just become easier! The AdWords Overview page is expanding its functionality. The new “searches” card allows advertisers to identify the most common search terms used to find their service/product. Thus, the card can be used to spot search trends and refine the ads’ keyword strategy.

Source: Google+ AdWords

Testing AdWords Ads in Local Knowledge Panel

Google is testing a new feature for its Local Knowledge Panel, adding AdWords ads below the company description and above the contact details. The testing is currently on a limited scale. However, the future of this feature can either mean, as Barry Schwartz concluded, more benefits for the company (you can now advertise deals, special offers and so on) or stifle competition. Imagine if a Wal-Mart ad appeared within Target’s Knowledge Panel! Shivers!

Google ads knowledge panel

Source: Google Adds AdWords Ads in Local Knowledge Panel in Test

More Sitelink Extensions for AdWords Ads 

We’ve already figured out that mobile is already offering more than desktop. Here’s more proof for you! Google AdWords has increased the number of available sitelink extensions within one ad from four to eight. The change has taken place since the launch of a carousel format for mobile’s tappablesitelinks.

Source: About Sitelink Extensions

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GOOGLE VIDEO NEWS

Google Brings Video Previews to Search Results

We will now have teasers for each and every video out there on the web!

Google’s mobile search results will now be filled with 6-second silent video previews, instead of static thumbnails. The function is available on Google app for Android and Chrome on Android, and across all video content, not just for YouTube. Following the user-friendliness route, users are more likely to gain relevant information from a video they have been able to preview. This is the video version of Featured Snippets, if you will. How does Google make up the teaser? It analyzes the entire video to pull fragments for the preview. However, the choice for fragments is determined by the content of the video and not the search query. So we can soon expect better optimized and smarter (in terms of keywords strategy) video content. Rumor has it, this feature might also be added to the desktop search.

Video previews on SERP

Source: Video Previews Help You Find What You’re Looking For Even Faster

Google Maps Supports Video Sharing

There is only so much you can tell with a still image, but videos, they can be a goldmine! Google Maps is now supporting video sharing. So far we can only see videos from those who own an Android device, although the video can be deleted from both desktop and mobile. You can find a more detailed information about video sharing on Google Maps via the Help Center.

Video on Google maps

Source: Be the First to Share Videos on Google Maps

YouTube Re-designed

YouTube has rolled out a new look based on Material Design concept. A fresh, new logo, a cleaner, leaner look and a dark theme (once the video starts rolling), providing users with a cinema-like experience. Just go on and enjoy the update!

New YouTube logo

Source: A New YouTube Look that Works for You

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BONUS NEWS

Can Google Lose its Trademark?

Now here is some solid ground for gossip and contemplation. Google’s trademark case is currently being reviewed by the US Supreme Court. The lawsuit claims that a “google” trademark can no longer be protected by the trademark law for the word “google” is widely used as a verb that means “looking for something on the Internet”.

It seems bizarre and very unlikely that Google might lose the unique right to its name. But history has already proven that “genericide” - when a brand becomes a victim of its own success - is a deadly path to take. Do you remember when thermos, hoover, and aspirin used to be trademarked? Let’s wait for the ruling!

Source: Supreme Court Asked to Nullify the Google Trademark

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BARRY SCHWARTZ'S SEO RECAP

Final Words

It has been a busy season. We hope you’ve embraced everything new Google has to offer! Now you should go on and test all these cool new features. Maybe try not to spend too much time trying out YouTube’s new design.

If you spot anything new in Google's SERPs, go ahead and publish it in the comments. We are really nerdy about Google search screenshots with latest updates and great examples of companies utilizing those features. I am collecting screenshots for my future talks and will definitely give you a shout out when using yours.

Yay! That is the end of our Google digest for the last two weeks. Have you found it useful? I assume it is a "yes" since you've scrolled all the way down. Please let me know how I can make it better next time.

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Olga Andrienko is the Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush. Olga specializes in conversion and relationship marketing and has increased SEMrush social engagement by 400% in one year together with her team.
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