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It’s been an interesting week at Google This Week with Google Ads’ enhanced conversions for Leads, Google Shopping’s Trusted Store badge, added context to Structured Data Issues in Search Console, phase-out of Maximize Lift bidding, deprecation of Google URL Parameters, updated documentation on crawlable links, and more.

ICYMI, here’s what happened at Google This Week.

Updated Documentation on Crawlable Links

Googlebot now only considers URLs in the href attribute of HTML for crawling links. Links that use other formats won’t be followed by Google’s crawlers.

Updated Documentation on Crawlable Links

Google cannot follow links without a href tag or other tags that perform a link because of script events.

Visual Search Interface with Grid Format on Google Search Mobile

Google has rolled out a new mobile search interface that allows a more visual look at some search results. A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land about this new interface that helps “surface relevant information related to an image, so users have a deeper understanding of the results they’re seeing”.

Visual Search Interface with Grid Format on Google Search Mobile

The new interface is currently live for mobile searches on Google for select queries [hand tattoos] or [game room design].

Google Ads Testing Out New Ad Extension Icons

Google seems to be testing new Google Ads extension icons in the search results. New contact us and buy now icons are being placed in the Google search ad snippet.

Deprecation of Google URL Parameters

Google announced the URL parameters tool is going away next month, citing the tool has little or low value. The search company will be sunsetting this feature on April 26, 2022, and users will no longer be able to access the tool after that date. Now, Google’s crawlers will learn how to deal with URL parameters automatically.

Deprecation of Google URL Parameters

The search company said that only 1% of the parameter configurations currently specified in the URL Parameters tool are useful for crawling. Given how far the value of this tool has declined over the years, Google is officially deprecating it next month. Google adds that hreflang can be used to specify language variations of a site’s content.

Added Context to Structured Data Issues in Search Console

Google is adding more contextual information to the structured data error reporting within Google Search Console, the rich results test and the URL inspection tool. This means errors will be more descriptive and helpful in debugging issues with your structured data.

Added Context to Structured Data Issues in Search Console

Google gave an example “if a website doesn’t provide the name of the author in Review snippet markup, Search Console currently reports an error named Missing field “name”. Starting today, that error will be named Missing field “name” (in “author”). The more detailed context in parenthesis can help you find the issues more easily in your structured data”.

This is simply a change in the issue name, it will not affect how Search Console detects errors, and all the issues that are being closed will be replaced by a new issue with the additional context in the issue name.

Setting up your Google Analytics 4 this week? Here’s a complete guide on how to set up GA4!

Google Shopping Adds ‘Trusted Store’ Badge on Listings

Google is introducing a “trusted store” badge for reliable merchants, a new tool to help merchants stand out among online shoppers. The Trusted Store badge is meant to help shoppers “know they’re spending money with a business they can trust”.

Google Shopping Adds 'Trusted Store' Badge on Listings image

It’s part of Google’s Shopping Experience Scorecard program to “reward merchants for good customer experiences and help them build their reputation with potential buyers”. The badge will be awarded based on performance metrics like shipping speeds, shipping/return costs, and return windows. This blue checkmark appears next to the ratings/reviews overview in the Buying options list for a product.

Added Search Console Insights to Google Data Studio

Additional data from Google Search Console is now available through the Google Data Studio connector, allowing users to visualise traffic from more Google sources. Google also announced that its Search Console connector now includes Discover and Google News traffic data.

Added Search Console Insights to Google Data Studio

Google has shared a dashboard template to use in Data Studio to monitor Google Search Performance that can help find issues as they happen with simple visualisations such as line or bar charts, which are quick to interpret.

YouTube is Phasing Out Maximize Lift Bidding

Google will sunset the once-popular targeting tool called Maximize Lift bidding for YouTube. Ads that use the tool will be supported until today, March 31. This will leave TrueView as the only in-stream ads option as YouTube continues to enhance its ad offerings.

Maximize Lift was a very specific bidding strategy that worked in conjunction with Brand Lift measurement with a goal of hitting more of the right audience that was currently in the consideration phase.

New Google Search Label For Highly Cited Sources

Google announced two new features for English language searchers, a ‘Highly Cited Label’ in the top stories results and an improved ‘About This result’ feature for rapidly evolving topics. 

Google's 'Highly Cited Label' and Improved 'About Results'

This label will give confidence to searchers that the story is cited by many other journalists and probably offers unique and valuable information that you can rely on. Google said this helps searchers find the “most helpful or relevant information for a news story”.

Google Tests its Privacy Sandbox

Google Privacy Sandbox, an initiative designed to help improve web privacy for consumers, announced that it is beginning the next stage of testing, running original trials for features including Topics, FLEDGE and Attribution Reporting. These ad technologies are the replacement for the beleaguered FLoC initiative that was killed off back in January.

Google Tests its Privacy Sandbox GIF

During the testing process, the Google Privacy Sandbox initiative will also begin testing updated sandbox controls that will enable users to see and manage the interests associated with them.

Thank You for Reading

Have you noticed Google Shopping’s trusted store badge or any other changes from Google this week?

Check back next Friday for the latest from Google This Week.

Kirsten Tanner

Kirsten Tanner

Editor in Chief at In Marketing We Trust. Passionate about content marketing and dogs. Loves creating long-form, evergreen and 10x content. Is mentioned in Guy Kawasaki's latest book.

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