8 min read

This month we launched Google Marketing Platform Singapore. We covered the latest Google Search and Tool Updates for January and our resident Analytics specialist Benoit Weber spoke about the Google Marketing Platform Tools in his Ultimate Guide.

Google Search & Tool Updates – January

Google Algorithm Updates

January 2020 Core Update

On January 14, Google announced a new broad core update named the January 2020 Core Update. While Google simply suggested following best practices as usual, this algo update does appear to be big. Many SEOs are stating substantial uplifts rather than many downward trends.

 BERT Roll Out

Google BERT: What it is and How to Optimise

Introduced to search in October in English, Google’s new language representation model, BERT is now being rolled out to Google Search in over 70 languages. Google has said that 10% of all searches are impacted by BERT, which makes it the biggest change to hit the Search engine in over 5 years. You can read more about Google BERT here.


Google Search Updates

Improved Accuracy for Search Console Coverage Report

The index coverage report is now reporting more accurately on indexed pages. Prior to the update some of the pages were indeed indexed even when the report stated “Crawled – currently not indexed”.

Search Console Coverage Report - Google Search & Tool Updates - January - Search Updates


Fresher Data in Discover Performance Reports

Site owners can now view data less than a day old in their Search Console Discover Performance report. Fresher data provides a more accurate picture of the performance of your content. The Search Analytics API does not yet support fresher data.

Fresher Data in Discover Performance Reports - Google Search and Tool Updates - January


Messages Can Be Viewed Without Leaving Reports

Messages within Google Search Console can now be viewed in reports. The messages are categorised by type and are easier to locate when dealing with a specific issue.

Google Search Console Notifications


Google is Working on Fixing Data in the URL Parameter Tool

Data currently shown in the URL Parameter Tool is not accurate. Some are seeing no parameters where they had 100+. Google has implied that it is a data issue and they are working to solve the problem. Ignore the report until it is fixed. Do not make any changes in the tool as it can cause ranking issues.

Google Ads Updates

Extended Optimization Score for Display Campaigns

Optimization Scores in Google Ads are now available for display campaigns. Scores range from 0% to 100% and indicate how well your campaigns are expected to perform. The score comes with a set of recommendations along with indicators to show the uplift you can expect from adopting them.

Extended optimization score for display campaigns

These scores and accompanying recommendations can be directionally helpful, but don’t accept the recommendations blindly. Carefully consider them and whether they are right for your campaign. And equally important on the flip side, an optimization score of 100% with no recommendations does not mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities for improvement.

No More Social Customer Support

Google Ads is no longer providing customer support via social channels (Facebook and Twitter). Customer support requests shift to an online form. The Google Ads customer can still opt to call, email or chat with a representative to get support.

Google Ads are Testing Reporting Based on Business Structure

Custom dimensions are used to group and report on campaigns with a hierarchical structure. This enables you to append annotations to your campaigns to report on categories and subcategories aligned with your business structure and goals.

The test is only in beta now and is accessible from the Tools dropdown in Google Ads when enabled. If you’re already using labels, extensive campaign naming taxonomies or have VLOOKUP templates in Excel or another method to achieve this level of reporting, custom dimensions may soon make your life a lot easier.

Unlike labels, custom dimensions are designed to work with all of your campaigns and remain consistent over the longterm. Secondary dimensions enable you to add a hierarchical structure to your reporting and drill down from department to product line for example.

Reporting based on business structure in Google Ads - Google Search and Tool Updates - January


Google Tool Updates

Request Quotes Above Local Pack on Mobile

It remains unclear whether this is a test or a permanent feature on mobile. ‘Request Quotes’ above the local pack enables users to directly request a quote from multiple businesses. The feature looks to be available to businesses participating in the Local Services Ads program. It uses Google My Business messaging.

Reviews Carousel on Local Business Profiles

Reviews carousels can now be seen on local business profiles when relevant to the query and the business has enough high-quality reviews. This is the first time that reviews are in a scrollable carousel format in Google. This is beneficial to business with quality reviews and stresses the importance to others to get them.

Google My Business Review - Google Search and Tool Updates - January


Incognito Mode in Maps for iOS Users

In our Google Search and Tool Updates in November we reported that incognito mode was available in Google Maps for Android users. Now the feature is available to iOS users. The update also includes a bulk location history deletion in Timeline for Android users.

Searching in incognito mode in Maps will stop users from getting personalised recommendations based on their location. Google is building more trust by providing more control over privacy settings.

Google Maps Incognito Mode - Google Search and Tool Updates November


Join Us for the Next Google Marketing Platform Meetup

Join us for our next Google Marketing Platform meetup to get the latest Google search and tool updates. See you there!

Paul Hewett

Recommended for you

Get Our Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and receive monthly updates on what we’ve been up to, digital marketing news and more.

Your personal information will not be shared, and we don’t like mail spam or pushy salesmen either!