Google This Week: Google Says No to Clickbait, Machine Learning Models Enhanced and More

by | Jun 19, 2020

Google Search and Tool Updates
14 min read

It’s been a huge week at Google and we’ve got loads of updates for you. You absolutely won’t believe what Google does next! They’ve said no to sensationalism and clickbait for Google Ads. There are also plans to enhance machine learning models this year for app deep linking and a lot more. ICYMI, here’s what happened at Google This Week.

List Your Entire Product Catalogue in Google Merchant Center for Max Visibility

“In the past, I would just suggest, ‘Hey, just upload the products you actually want to advertise, it’s easier to manage,” Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing said on the Google Shopping session of Live with Search Engine Land.

“Now, I would reverse that and say ‘upload and manage your entire catalog because you could get free clicks.”

Opting into Surfaces across Google Merchant Center means showing your products organically in Google Images, Google Search, for example, the Popular Products carousel, Google Lens and now Google Shopping.

In the past, most users would simply list specific categories of products or popular products, not their entire catalogue. Now that Google has opened up its Shopping results to free listings adding your entire product catalogue means getting maximum visibility in organic results.

Old Spam is Still Spam

Spam is spam is spam. Last week, Google’s John Mueller replied to a Twitter post asking about old sponsored content. “If parts of your website don’t comply with our webmaster guidelines, and you want to comply with our webmaster guidelines, then it doesn’t matter how old those non-compliant parts are.” If you have any spam on your site, no matter how old it is, now is the time to fix it.

Organic Guest Posts Could Hurt SEO

Google has confirmed that its old advice on guest posts still stands. In 2017 Google’s John Mueller stated all guest posts should have all links nofollowed, whether paid or not. Last week he added that even if the links aren’t paid for, so long as they can potentially pass signals, they should be nofollowed. “The part that’s problematic is the links — if you’re providing the content/the links, then those links shouldn’t be passing signals & should have the rel-sponsored / rel-nofollow attached. It’s fine to see it as a way of reaching a broader audience.”

Google Does Not Look at Bounce Rate for Rankings

For the fourth year in a row, Google has stated that they do NOT look at analytics bounce rate as a ranking signal. In a webmaster hangout video, Google’s John Mueller said, “I think there’s a bit of misconception here that we’re looking at things like the analytics bounce rate when it comes to ranking websites, and that’s definitely not the case.” In 2008, Google said it is a noisy signal and click data is not used for rankings.

Google Says No to Sensationalism

This is incredible! You won’t believe what Google does next! Google has just announced that they will no longer support sensationalism on Google Ads. Starting next month, Google will introduce a new clickbait ads policy under the Google Ads Misrepresentation policy. Google stated

“This policy covers advertisement which uses sensationalist or clickbait text or imagery which intend to drive traffic to the Ad through pressurizing the viewer to take immediate action in order to understand the full context of the Ad.”

Google has already begun emailing advertisers about the change. They also gave additional details as to what makes a clickbait headline:

  • Ads that use clickbait tactics or sensationalist text or imagery to drive traffic: Examples (non-exhaustive): Ads that claim to reveal secrets, scandals or other sensationalist information about the product or service being advertised; ads which use clickbait messaging such as ‘‘Click here to find out”, “You won’t believe what happened” or phrases synonymous or similar to encourage the user to click on the Ad in order to understand the full context of the ad; ads which use clearly altered zoomed in body parts, mugshots, or real life accident or disaster photos to promote a product or a service; or ads which use “before and after” images to promote significant alterations to the human body.
  • Ads that use negative life events such as death, accidents, illness, arrests or bankruptcy to induce fear, guilt or other strong negative emotions to pressure the viewer to take immediate action: Examples (non-exhaustive): Ads that pressure the user to purchase, subscribe to or stop consuming a product or service in order to avoid harm; ads which use depictions of severe distress, pain, fear or shock to promote a product or service.”

Google Improves Data Quality with Merchant Center Changes

Each year Google makes changes to the Merchant Center product data specification to create a better shopping and browsing experience for users. This year’s updates focus on improving data quality.

The changes that are beginning immediately include:

  • Instalment and subscription cost attributes
  • Product detail attribute
  • Product highlight attribute
  • Sale price annotations

Other changes come into effect September 1st, 2020:

  • Category-specific requirements for Google product categories
  • Description attribute
  • Material, pattern and image link attributes

You’ll need to ensure your products are still being served and prevent possible disapprovals. Go to the diagnostics page of your Merchant Center account to review affected products and apply the necessary changes for those in immediate effect. You’ll need to do this again in September when the additional changes are made.

Get the details here.

Updates to Adsense Experiments

Google is continuing to invest in Adsense’s optimisation features. They have recently refreshed the experiments interface to make it easier to monitor and act on existing experiments. They’ve also moved the “Automatic experiments” option to the Experiments page and changed its name to “Auto optimize”.

Google has also introduced global settings for ads. The “Global settings” tab on the Ads page is a new home for your account-level ad settings. It includes the ad sizes optimization setting with more global ad settings to be released soon.

DV360 Features in the Pipeline

There are a bunch of new Display & Video 360 features in the pipeline. Including:

  • Additional language targeting options: Bengali, Malay, Malayam, Marathi, Persian, Tamil, Telugu
  • Unused scheduled reports in offline reporting automatically deactivated
  • Continuing to scale brand safety targeting options for connected TV globally
  • CPA bidding to audio line items
  • Expanded branching options to TrueView video ad sequencing
  • Updates to the popular content option in TrueView placement targeting
  • Improved bulk editing working for apps & URL, keyword, and category targeting

SA360 Supports Microsoft Parallel Tracking

Search Ads 360 now supports Microsoft parallel tracking. Parallel tracking is a technique that enables landing pages to load faster while still allowing external tracking systems to measure clicks and conversions.

When a customer clicks your ad, the engine sends the customer directly to your landing page while in parallel sending a request to the ad’s tracking URL.

With Parallel Tracking

sa360 with parallel trackingEngines that don’t use parallel tracking redirect through Search Ads 360, then any third-party trackers specified in your URL templates before landing on your site.

Without Parallel Tracking

sa360 without parallel trakcing

Google Analytics Web + App Updates

App + Web updates in June include:

  • The default channel grouping dimension and advanced Analysis in the conversion detail report.
    • You can now apply comparisons (which let you compare and filter data) and secondary dimensions to your conversion data, similar to other App + Web reports.
  • Update the attribution window.
    • Starting June 29th Google will change the attribution window for all re-engagement conversions from 180 to 90 days.
  • Purchase event in ecommerce data.
    • To collect purchase activity, purchase is the recommended event to collect. If you have been using the ecommerce_purchase event you can still do so but you’ll miss out on new insights and features built for the recommended purchase event.

Google Analytics Web + App Updates

Enhanced Machine Learning Models for App Deep Linking

Google on delivering a better mobile ad experience. Google’s Phil Mattia, Lorenzo Bianchi and Spencer Shimko talk app deep linking and measurement and take us under the hood at Google.

“App deep linking is the new mobile frontier for advertising because you can now create one page for both app and web.”

App deep linking is important because it enables users to get traffic your driving through your ads and send it in to the app deep linking automatically when the app user has your app installed. This helps you to drive better results and more retention for those app users.

Google is getting smarter about the way it’s optimising app deep linking. This year, Google is making an enhancement to its machine learning models because they found that if the user has the app installed and is going into an app deep link it may be possible to say that actually, this is a higher value click. So if an ad goes into an app where the mobile conversions are higher then Google’s smart bidding algorithms will take that into consideration and bid higher to capture more value for those clicks.

Data Studio Moves Away from Google Drive

Data Studio is moving away from Google Drive. This migration is complete for non-G Suite users. G Suite users will be migrated in the coming weeks. You don’t need to take any action.

As a G Suite or Cloud Identity administrator, you can control how users in your organisation share Data Studio assets. This helps ensure that Data Studio usage is secure and complies with your policies.

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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