Google This Week: Lead Forms in Search Ads, Algorithm Update & More

by | Feb 12, 2021

Google This Week
8 min read

There has been some interesting news from Google this week, with lead forms now available directly in Search Ads, passage ranking now live in the US and an unconfirmed Google Search algorithm update.

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

New Manual Actions Under Google News and Discover Penalties

Google has published a new set of manual actions under Google News and Google Discover policies and guidelines. Google is yet to announce the new manual actions, however, they are now visible in the help documents. Manual actions occur when human reviewers apply a penalty to a site after something was done not in accordance with Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Previously, Google only had manual actions for Google web search guidelines. The new manual actions for Discover include policy violations around adult-themed content and misleading content. Manual actions for News includes violations around transparency, while there are policy violations for both News and Discover around dangerous content, harassing content, hateful content, manipulated media, medical content, sexually explicit content, terrorist content, violence and gore content, plus vulgar language and profanity.

YouTube Now Accredited by MRC

YouTube has become the first digital platform to receive accreditation for content level brand safety from the Media Rating Council (MRC). The accreditation followed an audit reviewing the policies that determine which videos can be on YouTube and which are eligible to monetise with advertising.

“YouTube is the first service we’ve accredited against MRC’s Enhanced Content Level Context and Brand Safety Guidelines.” said George W. Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC.

“This ongoing commitment presents a much needed path for other digital platforms and the rest of the industry to follow.”

The accreditation is specific to ads sold through Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and YouTube Reserve, including in-stream ads.

Page Experience Filter in Performance Report

It appears Google is preparing to update the performance report in Google Search Console to show an appearance filter for Page Experience. JR Oakes first noticed the update in the source code of the Search Console report. The change is not live yet. Likely, you’ll be able to use the filter to show when the label or indicator shows in the search results.

Page Experience Filter in Performance Report

Unconfirmed Google Search Algorithm Update

There are early signs of a big Google search ranking algorithm update happening now. This is unconfirmed by Google but there is chatter within the SEO community and many of the tracking tools are showing big fluctuations. The update may have been as early as Monday.

Unconfirmed Google Search Algorithm Update

Google Officially Rolls Out Years in Business in Local Pack

While we’ve already updated you on Google testing showing years in business in the local pack, it’s now official. Google has rolled out the new feature with the years in business label now in the local pack listing within Google Search results.

Google Officially Rolls Out Years in Business in Local Pack

To get the label, simply provide the open date in your Google My Business Profile. Log in to Google My Business, click your location and select “info” from the menu and click on “add opening date”.

Get Leads Directly in Google Search Ads with Lead Form Extensions

You can now get leads directly in Google Search Ads with lead form extensions. You can show a lead form when a searcher taps the headline of your Search ad, rather than guiding them to a landing page.

Get Leads Directly in Google Search Ads with Lead Form Extensions

You can get started by adding a lead form to a Search campaign and selecting to “Always show the lead form when someone interacts with my ad.” After a lead submits the form they can visit your site or return to the search results.

Passage Ranking Now Live in the US

In October we reported that Google was introducing passage indexing, where Google would rank specific passages from a page in the search results. Now passage ranking is officially live in US English search results. Google said this could have a 7% impact on search queries.

Google Images Reduces Duplicate Image Results

Google just announced an update to Google Images that it released back in November which reduces duplicative images in the results. “We made an improvement to Image Search to reduce duplicate images, so that we can display others that are relevant yet visually distinct.”

The update also included improvements to images and categories used for alternate meanings of words.


Thank You for Reading

Have you noticed any changes from Google this week?

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

Paul Hewett

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