21 min read

For our monthly Google Marketing Platform Sydney meetup, we talked about the latest Google search and tool updates in October.

GMP Sydney Meet up. 02.10.2019 from Don’t Shoot Yourself on Vimeo.

But first, let’s take a look at what’s on our Digital Radar this month.

Digital Radar

Growth Marketing Toolbox is a podcast dedicated to exploring the latest growth marketing tools and technology.

Each week, Nicholas Scalice from Earnworthy, a growth marketer specialising in landing page design, A/B testing, and conversion optimisation interviews the folks who make, market, and use these tools from marketers to product creators, startup founders, marketing technologists, and more.

Growth marketing toolbox - digital radar

Learn more about Growth Marketing Toolbox here.

Tod Maffin

Tod Maffin - Today in Digital Marketing



Festival of Marketing

The Festival of Marketing is a two-day experience where ambitious marketers can discover, learn, celebrate and shape the marketing world together.

The Festival reflects the very nature of marketing – seamlessly blending inspiration and practical application.

Festival of Marketing - Digital Radar
The Festival of Marketing is in London, October 10-11.

Inbound 2019 Recap

An intense week of inspiring talks and educational sessions at one of the biggest inbound conferences. INBOUND 2019 is over. 

Here are a few highlights from the conference:

“Clean and well-organized data in CRM is your superpower. CRM driven marketing lets you create personalized and contextual experiences across every channel. Remember, every interaction matters.”

Petra Niemi, Inbound Marketing Designer, Avidly Finland


Seeing your clients as members will connect them more to your business, establish a more personal relationship between you, and you will become the go-to partner for services within your field.”

Kristine Hansen, Head of Consultants, Avidly Norway


Email delivers solid ROI. According to a study done by Salesforce, the average ROI for email is 3800%. And this is the case regardless of industry.”

Jens Jørgen Jensen, Inbound Marketing Specialist, Avidly Denmark


On experience-driven marketing, we are now able to gather all the customer data together to create brilliant experiences. However, in terms of delivery, we need to remember to wrap an effective story around our actual delivery. Stories are more memorable, and they bridge the gaps between the head, gut and heart. With the right tech and authentic stories, you can produce experiences that go straight to people’s hearts and move them.”

Henri Pallonen, Country Manager, Avidly Finland


Inbound 2019 - highlights

Learn more about Inbound 2019 here. 


Google Search and Tool Updates October

View the slides here and read on to learn more:


Google Search and Tool Updates - October at GMP Sydney

Google Algorithm Updates

Google Algorithm Core Updates

  • Started 24th September…Google told us!
  • Widely notable effects are to be expected: Drops or gains in search rankings
  • Sites aren’t being penalised. They’re being reassessed against other web content that has been published since the last update
  • Focussing on providing the best possible content is the top recommended way to deal with the impact of a core algorithm update
  • Improvements do not guarantee recovery
  • Choosing not to implement any improvements will virtually guarantee no recovery

Google gave SEOs and site owners advanced notice that a broad core algorithm update would be released on September 24th. 

As usual, no further details are provided. But, this marks the second time that Google has announced a broad core algorithm update in advance, which is further indication that the company is taking webmaster outreach more seriously. As stated, Google’s guidance regarding this update remains the same. Here’s a quick refresher on Google’s guidance regarding core updates: 


Google Search Pulse

Preview Content

  • Able to specify a maximum text-length, in characters, of a snippet for your page
  • Nosnippet attribute for a guaranteed way to opt-out of featured snippets 
  • Able to specify a maximum duration in seconds of an animated video preview

We know that Google search provides content previews like text snippets and media to help people decide whether a result is relevant to their query. Now you may have some input or idea of how the information you provide will be generated in search results. Google explained the update in its blog post: 

“…we recognize that site owners may wish to independently adjust the extent of their preview content in search results. To make it easier for individual websites to define how much or which text should be available for snippeting and the extent to which other media should be included in their previews, we’re now introducing several new settings for webmasters. Previously, it was only possible to allow a textual snippet or to not allow one. We’re now introducing a set of methods that allow a more fine-grained configuration of the preview content shown for your pages.”


Robots Meta Tags and Headers

  • Using the robots meta tag on HTML
  • Using the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header
  • Multiple X-Robots-Tag headers can be combined within the HTTP
  • New directives to control indexing and serving with the robots meta tag and the X-Robots-Tag

Google’s Gary Illyes announced the Robots meta tag, data-nonsnippet, and X-Robots-Tag specifications have been updated. Developers and webmasters should review what has changed.


Original Reporting

  • Ranking principles changes to support original reporting
  • Better recognises and displays original reporting more prominently
  • Applies on Google Search, News and Discover

Google released a statement about their new approach to “original reporting”. As the company’s VP Richard Gingras explained:

“In today’s fast-paced world of news, the original reporting on a subject doesn’t always stay in the spotlight for long”.

Google wants to give more credit to original sources of information by moving them up on SERPs and making sure they stay on top longer. 

Original Reporting in Search - Google Search and Tool Updates October

Learn more about Original Reporting here.


Key Moments

  • A timeline with each moment’s description
  • Convenient for how-to videos that have multiple steps, long videos like speeches and documentaries
  • Available only in English search 

A new feature announced by Google allows users to see key moments within videos on SERPs. A timeline with each moment’s description is visible under the video. These descriptions and timestamps must be added by content creators. At the moment, this feature works only in English search and is available for a small number of providers.

Key Moments - Google Search UpdatesKey Moments - Google Search & Tool Updates OctoberLearn more about Key Moments here. 


Review Markup Update

  • Clear set of schema types for review snippets
  • Self-serving reviews aren’t allowed
  • Name of the thing you’re reviewing is required
  • Supply ratings for books, courses, events, how-tos, local businesses, movies, products, recipes, software apps

A few changes have been made to Review Rich Results documentation. All of them are summarised in this tweet by Google Webmasters. Specifically, for now on, only certain schema types will be accompanied by review snippets. Apart from that, Google has stopped displaying “self-reviews” in rich results. 

“In the past, an entity like a business or an organization could add review markup about themselves to their home page or another page and often cause a review snippet to show for that page. That markup could have been added directly by the entity or embedded through the use of a third-party widget.”

Review Markup - Google Search and Tool Updates OctoberLearn more about review markup update here. 


Google Ads Pulse

Manual CPC Bidding

  • You can now manually set conversion values as the goal
  • Simplified version of smart bidding
  • Optimise for conversion value option with eCPC
  • Doesn’t have a goal of spending your daily budget
  • Can’t set a target return on ad spend

Google has extended maximise conversion value optimisation to manual CPC bidding when you’ve opted into enhanced CPC (eCPC). Scott Clark of BuzzMaven in Lexington, Kentucky was among those who noticed the new option showing in Google Ads.

That option aims to optimise for the greatest conversion value (cart value or value you’ve applied to your conversion actions) while spending your entire daily budget. The optimise for conversion value option with eCPC is a simplified version of the smart bidding option. It doesn’t have a goal of spending your daily budget, and you can’t set a target return on ad spend like you can with the smart bidding option. It will raise your max. CPC bids for clicks deemed more likely to lead to a higher conversion value (rather than simply a conversion) when you choose that option. If you have products or services with varying prices, conversion value might align better than conversions with your goals. If you switch over to conversion value optimisation, you’ll want to closely monitor the impact on your metrics and ROAS, or ROI if you have cost data.

Learn more about Manual CPC Bidding here. 


Medical Ads

The new policy applies as of September 6th. 

  • A new policy on advertising for speculative medical treatments
  • Prohibited by Google: experimental medical treatment ads and any type of therapy ad that has no biomedical or scientific basis

Speculative and experimental medical treatment advertising is now officially prohibited by Google. Among treatments in this list are “most stem cell therapy, cellular (non-stem) therapy, and gene therapy” and generally any type of therapy that has “no established biomedical or scientific basis”. You can check the latest version of Google’s healthcare and medicines ad policy from Google Advertising Policies.

Learn more about Medical Ads here. 


Store Visits Optimisation

  • Smart bidding campaigns to optimise for in-store visits
  • Optimise for total omni-channel performance
  • Only available by enabling the campaign-level conversion setting

Smart bidding campaigns in Google Ads can now be used to optimise in-store visits.  In an announcement, Google stated:

“People move seamlessly across online and offline channels to find the products and services they need. To make it easier to maximize omnichannel ROI, store visits in Smart Bidding is now available to all advertisers for Search and Shopping campaigns.”

Store visits in Smart Bidding will help advertisers drive better results in less time by allowing for total online & offline performance optimisation. Google highlights how European retailer MediaMarkt improved its campaign performance by changing its smart bidding strategy to incorporate store visits.

MediaMarkt’s digital marketing manager stated:

“By switching our bidding strategy from online-only to omnichannel, we were able to increase omnichannel revenue by 113% in our test campaigns. We plan to roll this approach out across other campaigns.”

Learn more about Store Visits Optimisation here. 


Optimization Score

  • Now available in the Google Ads mobile app
  • Available starting from September 13th

Optimization score helps you prioritise recommendations for your campaigns so you can achieve your business goals faster and more efficiently. Ranging from 0% – 100%, the score is an easy way to see if your account is set to perform at its full potential. Previously, this score was only available on desktop. Starting from September 13th, you can see and act on your optimization score in the Google Ads mobile app.

Optimization Score - Google Ads Updates

Learn more about Optimization Score here. 


Optimization Score - Google Marketing Platform Sydney meetup

Google Tool Pulse

Search Console Performance

  • Less than a day old data in Search Performance report
  • Seeing the weekend performance on Monday morning (no need to wait until Wednesday)
  • Checking on stats first thing in the morning after, or even during, important days such as holidays, global events, and shopping days
  • Checking if the traffic rebounds soon after fixing an important technical issue

Have you ever dreamed of not having to wait for three days before being able to see your website’s organic performance in Google Search Console? Well, now you can! On September 23rd Google announced a new improvement to the report based on users’ #1 feature request – improved data freshness! With the new fresh data, users can see data as recent as less than a day old. A significant improvement compared to the previous few days. 

This improved data freshness allows you to better monitor and track your site’s performance and addresses some important needs such as:

  • Seeing your weekend performance on Monday morning – no need to wait until Wednesday.
  • Checking on your site’s stats first thing in the morning after, or even during, important days such as holidays, global events, and shopping days.
  • Checking if your site’s traffic rebounds soon after fixing an important technical issue.

Google Search Console UpdatesLearn more about Search Console Performance here. 


New Reports in Search Console

  • Breadcrumb and datasets reports available under Enhancements
  • Datasets report available only if using datasets markup on your web pages
  • Breadcrumbs reports detect errors with breadcrumb markup implementation

Google has added new reports to Google Search Console to let you see how your datasets are performing in Google Search. Datasets and Breadcrumb Structured Data can be found in the enhancements section. The new dataset report shows errors and warnings if applicable and also how many URLs have valid datasets markup on it. 

If Search Console detects errors with breadcrumb markup implementation then it will identify what’s missing from the markup so you can fix the problem quickly and efficiently.

New Reports in Google Search ConsoleLearn more about New Search Console Reports here. 


Lazy Load WordPress Plugin by Google

  • Lazy loading as a native browser functionality
  • “NATIVE” means “FAST”
  • Not relying on custom JavaScript logic
  • Relies on the new loading attribute
  • Supported by Chrome
  • Self-improving plugin 

Google has released a new WP plugin. The WordPress plugin page explains the purpose of the new plugin: It “relies on the new loading attribute, which makes lazy-loading a native browser functionality. The attribute is already supported by Chrome and will be rolled out to other browsers over time. The “native” solution means that it does not rely on custom JavaScript logic, and thus is more lightweight. And “more lightweight” means “faster”. Last but not least, a neat thing to keep in mind is that this plugin will essentially improve itself over time, as more browsers roll out support for the loading attribute.”

If you have a WordPress site and want all of your images and iframes in post content to be loaded lazily, just install and activate the plugin. 

Lazy Load WordPress Plugin by Google - Google Search and Tool Updates OctoberLearn more about Lazy Load WordPress Plugin here. 


Ask Google Webmasters

  • Google sharing their view!!!
  • Technical SEO topics
  • JS redirects
  • Mobile-First Indexing 
  • AJAX Crawling 

Learn more about Ask Google Webmasters here. 


Join us for the next Google Marketing Platform meetup

Google Marketing Platform

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

Google Marketing Platform Sydney

Paul Hewett

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