Google This Week: Another Algorithm Update Again?

by | Jun 26, 2020

Google This Week
16 min read

It’s been an absolutely massive week for Google This Week with a potential new algorithm update … again? Plus news of Safari blocking Google Analytics (the real news is they don’t). Google has also launched new tools for publishers and they’ll start paying for free access for users to view content behind a paywall. They’re also making it easier for advertisers to monitor ad performance and enabling greater deep linking.

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

Keen, Google’s New Personalised Search and Social Mashup

Google has launched Keen, it’s new personalised search and social mashup. It’s seen as a big competitor to Pinterest with users able to save “gems”, explore and search the site. New users are first shown a grid of public topics to explore. You can save any of the results in a “keen” (each topic is a keen) or create new ones based on a collection (yep, like Pinterest).

Keen was developed by Google’s Area 120 group and created in conjunction with Google’s People and AI Research team “dedicated to human-centered machine learning systems”. Keen has been created to be the one answer to all your feeds while focussing more on your personal interests. Google is using the tools it uses for Search, News and its Discover feed to power the site.

Keen, Google's New Personalised Search and Social Mashup

Free Promotion in Google Maps

Google is offering free promotion to businesses in Google Maps. Businesses can now promote themselves for free in Google Maps until September. Google Ads is rolling out promoted pins to smart campaign advertisers for free for the next few months. Advertisers with a Google My Business listing will not be charged for clicks, calls or sales generated from their promoted pins during this time.

Google is offering promoted pins for free to advertisers to help small businesses in the process of reopening after lockdown. Google has already started rolling out the free pins to smart campaign advertisers with a Google My Business profile. The promotion will be fully available shortly.

Free Promotion in Google Maps

Monitor Ad Performance in Google Search

Google Ads users can now monitor their smart campaign performance directly in Google Search. To make its reporting features more accessible, Google has made it so advertisers can now view their performance directly in the search results. Users can now see the status of smart campaigns, their performance and how the ads look to leads.

All you need to do is search “My Ads” or “Google Ads” while signed into your Google account. This feature is being rolled out immediately and will be available to all smart campaign advertisers shortly.

Monitor Ad Performance in Google Search

Google to Start Fact Checking Images

Google is now fact checking Google Images worldwide to ensure users make more informed judgements and decisions about what they view online. Fact checks have already been launched on Google Search and Google News. Now it’s Google Images turn. When users search in Google Images they may see a “Fact Check” label underneath the results. Users can tap on one of the images to view the full fact check information. The labels may appear for both fact checked articles about specific images and for fact checked articles including a specific image.

​Google to Start Fact Checking Images

To determine the facts, Google uses “independent, authoritative sources on the web” that meet their criteria, relying on ClaimReview, which is also used by many other publishers. Adding the fact check label to a result will not affect its ranking. Images will still rank according to the “most relevant, reliable information available, including from sources that provide fact checks.”

A New Algorithm Update … Again?

There has been a lot of talk on Wednesday about a potential new big Google Search ranking algorithm update. This month, we’ve seen a lot of volatility in this space with potential reported updates on June 10, June 18 and again over the weekend. However, there’s been a lot of chatter brewing again. While Google has not confirmed or denied anything as yet, there are signs of a Google search update. It’s still very early days yet and we’ll keep you updated.

A New Algorithm Update Again

Google “How To” Schema Now on Desktop with Images

Last month Google was testing “how to” schema rich results on desktop after only showing them on mobile. Earlier in June, the test was removed and came back on June 16. Now it’s back and displaying image thumbnails next to the results.

Google “How To” Schema Now on Desktop with Images

Safari Does NOT Block Google Analytics

“No, Safari 14 (or any other version of Safari) will not block Google Analytics from loading and running on a website.” – Simo Ahava.

This week there were announcements that Google Analytics had officially been blocked on Safari according to Apple’s new Privacy Report. One of the report previews showed that Google Analytics was listed among the trackers that are being prevented on websites. While the media was quick to run with the story, Safari does not in fact block resource loads. That’s not how Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) works.

While the Privacy Report says it blocks or prevents trackers, what it really means is that the ITP algorithm has flagged a domain as having cross-site tracking capabilities which have been stripped of their capabilities to carry cookies in cross-site requests (or third-party cookies).

It doesn’t really matter that Google Analytics is prevented as a tracker. It’s ability to leverage third-party storage doesn’t alter how the tool is used. For now Google Analytics users don’t need to worry. Google Analytics does not require cross-site tracking capabilities and Safari does not block its use.


New Google Tools for Publishers

Google is helping publishers with by launching new and improved tools. On Wednesday Google introduced News Tagging Guide (NTG), a new tool to help news organisations make the most of Google Analytics by showing engagement metrics that matter to their audience and revenue growth.

Google has been working closely with publishers to determine the right data points to measure. The data points are grouped into 3 categories in the tool: video analytics, reader engagement and reader revenue. This data also unlocks new actionable recommendations in existing Google tools.

New Google Tools for PublishersGoogle has announced News Consumer Insights 2.0 which gives publishers personalised business recommendations based on Google Analytics data. NCI 2.0 also offers video insights and reader revenue tabs. Real Time Content Insights 2.0 helps to improve content performance and now has the capability to give insights on video content. It also includes a new historic performance section.

Google Will Stop Tracking You … Eventually

Google stated on Wednesday that they will automatically delete some location history after 18 months for new users. They’re also making it easier for users to access Search, Maps and YouTube apps without being tracked. Under the new settings, YouTube’s viewing history of new users will disappear after 36 months with location tracking and web browsing history to disappear after 18 months. Google users have the option to choose a shorter or longer timeframe.

Google to Push More Deep Linking

Google is now enabling deep linking from YouTube ads, Hotel ads, Gmail ads and ads in Discovery. Previously deep linking was only available in Search, Display and Shopping ads.

“Users don’t think so much about whether they’re on a website or in an app – they just want the experience to be seamless,” David Mitby, director of product for app advertising at Google said.

Google is also now enabling deferred deep linking to bring users to a specific page inside an app within 24 hours following an ad quick and app download. “This really helps with the conversion rates in the app, because the person doesn’t have to go and search for the product again.”

Deferred deep linking also complements another feature Google is rolling out: product feeds in App campaigns. Now marketers can link their Google Merchant or business data feeds into their app campaigns to show multiple products in one ad. According to Mitby, brands typically see 2x the conversion rate in apps compared with the web.

Google to Push More Deep Linking

Send Business Messages Via Google Maps and Search

You can now send business messages through Google Maps and Search via Google My Business. According to Google, twice as many businesses are messaging via Google now, compared to last year. Due to the growth, Google is expanding Business Messages in Maps and Search.

They’ve already introduced smart replies, visual product carousels, and unique welcome messages. They’ve also added a smooth transition from automated replies to a customer service agent. Several organisations including Woolworths and MyGov have already taken up the tool. Business Messages is currently only available in English with other languages to be launched soon.

Send Business Messages Via Google Maps and Search

New Licensing Program for the News Industry

Google has launched a new licensing program to support the news industry. Google will now pay publishers for high-quality content in a new news experience launching later in the year. Participating publishers will now be able to monetize their content. In the Keyword, Google said,

“This endeavor will diversify our support for news businesses today, building on the value we already provide through Search and our ongoing efforts with the Google News Initiative to help journalism thrive in the digital age. While we’ve previously funded high-quality content, this program is a significant step forward in how we will support the creation of this kind of journalism. To start, we have signed partnerships with local and national publications in Germany, Australia and Brazil.”

Where available Google will also offer to pay for free access for users to view articles behind a paywall. The new product will launch first on Google News and Discover.

Google Combines Search Console and Analytics Data in One Report

Google is working on combining data from Search Console and Analytics in one report, accessible from both services. Google has been emailing site owners via Search Console, with information about the trial. The email states Google will begin allowing the export of data from Analytics and a linked Search Console property. The trial will only affect one Search Console property, outlined in the email. Site owners will receive another email when the new report is available. It’s estimated that the report is a few weeks out from launch.

New Attributes in Google My Business

Google has added 4 new attributes to Google My Business listings. Carrie Hill, a local search analyst reporting seeing the 4 new attributes in her business’s knowledge panel.

  • Online Care
  • Online Appointment
  • Online Estimates
  • Online Classes

You can add these or any other existing attributes to your Google My Business profile and Google may show them in search results for relevant queries.


Thank You for Reading

Have you noticed any changes from Google this week?

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

Paul Hewett

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