It has been an interesting two weeks of Google news, updates, and industry anger. A major newspaper made some claims about Google that greatly upset the industry, and algorithm updates have caused a lot of problems for many businesses, bloggers, and agencies. However, throughout all the upset, Google has made some updates that will help businesses this holiday season. So keep reading and see which of these changes could help you, and be sure to let us know if recent algorithm updates have affected you in any way.
GOOGLE SEARCH NEWS
Wall Street Journal Report and Search Community Backlash
Probably the biggest story of the last two weeks was the huge dispute that fired up after the Wall Street Journal published this report on Google. Among other claims, journalists accused Google of manipulating search results, favoring big companies over small businesses, and more. The search community as a whole was not happy over what they felt were inaccuracies, false/biased reporting, and outright mistruths.
There’s a lot of speculation and inference and claims with no evidence to back them up. Even the people they quoted said things that we know aren’t true.
— Ryan Jones (@RyanJones) November 16, 2019
Barry Schwartz said on SEL, “What the Wall Street Journal published to me is either showing how it has a complete lack of understanding of search or even worse — the publication has its own agenda against Google, which honestly makes me sad.”
It appears several SEOs were interviewed for the piece, but what was printed didn’t represent what they said, or what they said isn’t what the journalist wanted to hear
Here’s more information about the quote. I was completely misquoted. I never said that. It’s ridiculous they would write that. And… I was off the record when they questioned me. So I should have never been quoted https://t.co/vnikZdEivf
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) November 15, 2019
Ugh. I was interviewed for this WSJ piece. The reporter seemed fixed on proving that Google was manually inserting big brands at the top of the results. She was disappointed when I shared with her that in the example she gave the top organic result had hundreds of good links. https://t.co/zBzqkUWxOi
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) November 18, 2019
The WSJ lost all credibility with this article. They won’t survive as a serious source of news in my mind ever again. They are writing about a topic with an expertise that they don’t have & writing gibberish. Waiting for their article on how to optimize pages for BERT.
— Bill Slawski ⚓ (@bill_slawski) November 16, 2019
A piece like this is not good for Google and the SEO industry as a whole.
Sources: Misquoted and misunderstood: Why many in the search community don’t believe the WSJ about Google search, Wall Street Journal Is Wrong & Why I Think The Google Story Should Be Retracted
Algorithm Updates Confirmed by Google
Yes, more algorithm updates. Around November 8th, there numerous reports of fluctuations at Webmaster World. With lost rankings and traffic being reported, Google did confirm the update:
Some have asked if we had an update to Google Search last week. We did, actually several updates, just as we have several updates in any given week on a regular basis. In this thread, a reminder of when and why we give specific guidance about particular updates….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) November 12, 2019
And users replied:
But this update seemingly makes no sense. Low-quality content jumped above high-quality content. Top posts dropped from the carousels. This is one where guidance would be truly appreciated because what jumped ahead doesn’t make a lot of sense to the outsiders view.
— Britni Vigil (@PlayPartyPlan) November 12, 2019
Not sure why our content was considered “great” last week and not this week. We’ve lost 63% of SEO traffic overnight. Years of hard work wiped out in a few hours…
— Peter John Watson (@Scratch_Video) November 12, 2019
On November 18th, Danny Sullivan confirmed that there was another update this past weekend after SEOs were reporting changes they were seeing.
Source: Google Confirmed Search Algorithm Update Rolled Out; Here Is What We Know
Single Box for Same Domain Results Tested
A user noticed a new layout where results from the same domain were grouped together in a box on the SERPs. Barry Schwartz could not replicate it; it could have been a test.
Source: Google Search Tests Grouping Results From Same Domain In Single Box
Google Tests Removing A Site’s Normal Snippet When Featured Snippet Is Displayed
In the past, if you earned a snippet, you had additional real estate in the SERPs with a link in the main listings. Now it appears Google is testing the removal of a spot in the main listings if you have a featured snippet.
This could be a test or a preview of what is to come. The question will be, what happens if you lose your page one listing for a snippet, and later lose the snippet? Will you get your page one spot back?
Source: Google Tests Removing A Site’s Normal Snippet When Featured Snippet Is Displayed
GOOGLE ADS NEWS
New Features in Google Ads Editor v1.2
On November 7th, Google released its Ads Editor version 1.2 that includes support for new campaign types and updates to multi-account management. These new features will help you save a lot of time.
Support for New Campaign Types
The new campaign types the editor supports include App campaigns for engagement and Discovery campaigns. You can now create and edit these new campaign types at scale within Editor.
Shared Negative Keyword Lists
You can now share existing negative keyword lists across accounts by applying them in the Shared Library within Editor.
Don’t worry about spending tons of time trying to find where a particular error occurred anymore. To help save you time by finding and fixing these errors faster, you can now search for them across campaigns and accounts.
Condensed Edit Pane
To help save you time and make it easier to find the fields you need, empty fields will now be hidden in the edit pane, but you do have the option to show these fields when needed.
Source: Google Ads Editor v1.2 Adds New Campaign Types & Cross-Account Features
New Extensions for YouTube Ads
Google has introduced new YouTube ad extensions aimed at helping businesses reach their business goals by making it easier for customers to take action.
Augmenting its search extensions, YouTube ad extensions will offer useful information for consumers, such as store location, interest forms, and display calls-to-action alongside businesses’ video ads.
Previously exclusive for TrueView in-stream and non-skippable ads, the call-to-action extensions will be available for 6-second bumper ads later this year. Currently, Sitelink extensions are in beta testing and will be generally available for all TrueView for action ads in the coming months.
Source: Elevate your video campaigns with new extensions for YouTube ads
GOOGLE TOOLS NEWS
Martin Splitt, a developer at Google, announced that the JavaSscript SEO basics guide & the JS troubleshooting guide had been extended for web components.
Source: Martin Splitt Twitter
Google Merchant Center Redesign
The Google Merchant Center added some upgrades to help businesses get their products in front of more shoppers this holiday season. Shopping ads now available in more than 50 new markets, which makes a total of 95 markets worldwide.
Google explained, “Start showing your products globally with multi-country feeds, which allow you to target multiple countries that share the same language by using a single feed in that language. For example, if you upload product information in German for Germany, those products may be automatically available to show in other German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland. You’ll just need to set up shipping and location targeting for these countries in your Shopping campaign in order to start promoting your products in these new countries.”
Source: Merchant Center upgrades to get your products in front of more holiday shoppers
Google My Business Launch: Businesses Can Have Up to 20 Service Areas
Google My Business made an announcement on November 5th, “Service area businesses are now limited to having a maximum of 20 service areas per business. If more are needed, we recommend expanding the existing ones to cover larger areas. You can set your service area based on a combination of entire cities, districts, postal codes, or other areas that you serve.”
If you have more than 20 service areas, you will receive suggested updates from GMB about service areas.
Source: Launch: Add up to 20 service area businesses
Thanksgiving Tips from Google Maps
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays in the US, both on land and by air. To help people avoid traffic jams and save time, Google has some tips on using their maps. They analyzed traffic data to pinpoint the best and worst times to start your Thanksgiving road trip. They created an interactive website to help people in some of the largest metropolitan areas determine when to and not to drive.
They also have information on the best and worst times to get things done, top holiday spots, and when traffic spikes in some of the largest cities. Check out their website and save yourself some time.
Source: Map out Thanksgiving with these tips from Google Maps
Search Console Training Video Series Announced
Need help using the Google Search Console? They have a new series starting on YouTube to help you. Here is a video where Google explains what you can learn:
So if you are a new business that needs to know how to get started with GSC, get your site found in Google, and how to monitor your site traffic, this is the series for you.
Source: Google Search Console Training – Official Trailer (New Series)
Chrome Dev Summit 2019: Elevating the Web Together
Google is focused on making loading disappear for all our users. At this year’s I/O, they previewed Portals, an API that can improve your navigation UX. It will allow developers to create a seamless experience by pre-rendering content and optionally embedding it in the page to change the way users navigate on the web.
At the Chrome Dev Summit this year, they previewed Web Bundles: “an infrastructural API that will allow developers to distribute their web content across any format – email, FTP, or even USB, without any compromises.”
Google also explained that “In the future, APIs like Background Periodic Sync and Content Indexing will allow developers to proactively cache and surface relevant web content for people even if they’re not on an active internet connection.”
Note: Web Bundles is now available behind the experimental flag, and the other two are now available as origin trials.
Google breaks down strategies they see that will help provide people the best, unique web experience here.
Source: Chrome Dev Summit 2019: Elevating the Web Together
New Google Search News Video
If you just read our digest and still crave for more news, feel free to check the new episode of Google Search News by John Mueller himself:
Source: Google Webmasters YouTube Channel
Thanks for checking out all the latest news!
We will be back in two weeks with new updates, and hopefully with better algorithm news.