In September for our monthly Google Marketing Platform Sydney meetup, we talked about the latest Google search and tool updates.
But first, let’s take a look at what’s on our Digital Radar this month.
Marketer + Machine
Marketer + Machine is about people and tech working together. The podcast features some of the brightest names in the industry — all sharing actionable insights and innovative perspectives on where we are and where we’re headed.
Marketing Over Coffee
Christopher Penn (@cspenn) who is the founder and chief data scientist at Trust Insights has a great podcast called Marketing Over Coffee. It is a marketing podcast, audio on demand that covers both classic and new marketing updates.
Google Search and Tool Updates
View the slides here and read on to learn more:
Let’s go through the Google Search and Tool updates for September.
What’s New on SERPs
All the tests today. ‘More Results’ instead of page 2, 3, 4
— Rick Talbot (@rtalbot55) June 7, 2019
- Pagination testing
- Heavier testing on desktop
- More results came to mobile in April
- Started testing
- Now back on desktop
In April, Google launched the more results button on mobile search results. Google then may have begun testing the more results button on desktop. Over the past week or so, numerous people starting to see the more results button on desktop again.
URL Above Title Tag Snippets
@rustybrick Have you seen this? An entire SERP, paid and organic, with URL’s above the title tag. Interesting to see if this is a test for URL importance.
— Giovanna Angulo (@GioVanessaAng) August 14, 2019
- Paid and organic URLS above title
- Usually below the title
- Testing the importance of the URL
An entire SERP, paid and organic, with URL’s above the title tag. Spotted by Giovanna Angulo.
Ads Inside Business Listings
GMB Ad In-Listing Spotted in the Wild. Check this out! There is an ad for a Honda dealership on a Doge dealerships GMB Listing. The Honda dealer does have local extensions enabled in Google Ads. #localSEO
— Ben Fisher (@TheSocialDude) August 22, 2019
- Paid ads are appearing inside business listings
- Toyota ad for a Dodge Dealer
- Speculation, this may be a paid to remove feature (appeared in recent GMB survey)
Ben Fisher posted a screenshot on Twitter of Google showing an ad within the Google Local Knowledge panel for a Dodge dealership. The interesting thing is the ad is from a different brand, a Toyota!
”People Also View”
people also view section in Google search with thumbnail & images.. it’s a new section apart from …people also ask.. people also search..
— Raman (@RrRatan) August 20, 2019
- People also view test
- Favicon, image, title and description
- We have not seen images in people also view results previously
Google is testing the people also view carousel with images and icons in them. Here is a screenshot from Raman on Twitter that shows in the people also view carousel snippets the favicon, site name, title, description and an image.
”People Also Search For”
— Valentin Pletzer (@VorticonCmdr) August 21, 2019
- Recommendation cards
- Testing expandable search result
- Trend towards use of more images in “traditional” text results
Google is testing expandable “People also search for”.
Delivery in Local Pack
— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) August 20, 2019
- Addition of delivery icon
- Sends user direct to online delivery service
- Destination: ondemandplatform.google.com
- U.S. test can’t replicate in AU
Google has added delivery icons to the local pack listings so Google can send searchers directly to an online delivery service. If you search for [McDonalds] you might be able to see it, here is a screen shot. When you click on the icon, it takes you to ondemandplatform.google.com where you can pick a delivery service for the food. Joy Hawkins first spotted this and posted about it on Local Search Forums and Twitter.
Google Ad Pulse
Shopping Campaign Optimisation Score
- Optimisation and recommendations now available for shopping campaigns
- 0% – 100% score, with 100% fully optimised
- Individual scores for Search & Shopping Campaigns
- Advertisers with 10 point increase see 10% uplift in conversions from ads
Google recently expanded the optimization score to include Shopping campaigns “to provide more, real-time recommendations for improving overall account performance.” The optimization score for Shopping campaigns is the same as Search campaigns, 0% to 100%. If you can reach 100%, it means that your campaigns are set up properly and will perform to their full potential.
Google said, “We also added unique recommendations just for Shopping Campaigns, like switching to Smart Shopping campaigns and adding seller ratings. “
New Bid Strategy
- Smart bidding announced in May
- Automated bidding strategy
- Purpose “maximise conversions”
- Feature is now live
- Before you start, set conversion values, for all conversion types
Google announced a new smart bidding strategy “maximize conversion value” in May, and now it’s here. The new automated bidding strategy will help you maximise the total conversion value of your campaign within your specified budget. You can now use maximise conversion value for all search campaigns. Before you start, you should set conversion values for your conversion types or use transaction-specific values.
Average Position Sunsetting
- Rules using average position
- Custom columns using average position
- Saved reports that filter on average position
- Saved filters with average position
- Instead use: top and absolute top impression rate metrics
- Scripts: If you have google scripts that use average position, make sure they will still work!
As announced at the beginning of the year, Google is going to remove the average position indicator starting September 30th. According to Google, this indicator does not reflect the real picture of the display of ads (since, for example, you see one position, but it can be in the lower block). They recommend, “using search top impression rate and search absolute top impression rate. These metrics reflect the actual placement of your ad on the page, rather than the position of your ad compared to others.”
Accelerated Delivery Disabled In Search And Shopping Campaigns
- Not effective for campaigns not limited by budget
- Standard Delivery maximises spend over the day
- From Sept 17, Standard Delivery will be the only option
- October 1: campaigns will be switched to SD
- If you need this function use ad scheduling
- Accelerated Delivery to continue for display & video
Google Ads announced that starting September 17th, they will be updating ad delivery options to maximise performance within your daily budget. Accelerated delivery will no longer be an option, and standard delivery will be the only ad delivery method for search campaigns, shopping campaigns, and shared budgets. If you are using accelerated delivery, it will be automatically switched to standard delivery by October 1, 2019. Accelerated delivery will be available for display campaigns and video campaigns.
What’s New on Google Tools
- Google feed to surface content when you’re not searching
- 800 million users now use the product
- New name & look: Discover
- The product is all about you and your interests
- Strategically important: shift from ask to recommend
- Discover is coming to Google.com on all mobiles browsers
- Remember: Discover report was added to GSC in APRIL
- Runs in separate threads
- You can add components to page and keep things fast
- Allows for sharing across Amp pages & non-amp pages
Rich Results Error Types In Google Search Console Reports
- Rich results include:
- Sitelink Search box
Google has updated its rich results reports within Google Search Console, adding new types of structured data: product, sitelink, searchbox, and unparsable. Now, if you made any mistakes when implementing these types of markup, you can find and fix them using the information from Google Search Console.
Google My Business Reviews In Single Report
- All reviews in one place
- Switching not required to move between branches
- Businesses can view, respond and flag reviews in one place
- You can manage reviews in bulk
- Not available for manager accounts or businesses with >500 branches.
Google announced it saying “Businesses can view reviews for multiple listings at once. With bulk reviews, you’ll be able to view, reply to, and flag reviews for multiple listings from one place.” The new feature is not available for manager accounts or for accounts with more than 500 listings.
Privacy Sandbox Project
- Aim “build more private web”
- Framework to include:
- Confidentiality standards
- Data scope in terms of quality and quantity
- Talk of setting a privacy budget
- Reaction Safari ITP 2.2 standards
Google is launching a new Privacy Sandbox project aimed at “building a more private web”, with the goal of finding a compromise between personalising ads and protecting personal data. Within the framework of this project, new standards of confidentiality will be developed, and the quantity and quality of data collected from users will be determined by artificial intelligence. For example, one of the ideas is to set a privacy budget, which will allow sites to collect user data only within a given budget.
Google Maps Travel Updates
Google continues move into OTA space.
- Google wants users to have more confidence when booking flights
- Now: shows prices are high or low
- Future: exact itinerary, fair movement and predictive price increase or at lowest
- Shocker: Google will refund any difference if price drops lower (land grab for bookings)
Google has announced new Google Maps travel information when you search for flights and hotels. They already showed whether prices for a flight were high, low or typical, and now you can see the same data for your specific travel itineraries. Google has taken the extra step of guaranteeing users that if it fails to show the best prices for their travel, it will refund their money.
How it works: If you book a flight and receive a confirmation in Gmail, they can assist you with recommendations when searching for hotels, restaurants, and things to do. They can also help you find the best neighbourhoods to stay in, the best time to visit, and will show you the typical hotel prices at the top of your hotel results.
Join us for our next Google Marketing Platform meetup to get the latest Google search and tool updates.