There have been some exciting developments at Google This Week with the introduction of server-side GTM in public beta and the ranking chaos on Monday. Google has also made it easier to use product data across countries and update your GMB profile in Maps and Search. There are also more official updates on COVID-19 around flights and hotels.
ICYMI, here’s what happened at Google This Week.
- Article Structured Data Now Supported in Google Rich Results Test Tool
- Google’s “Virtual Webmaster Unconference” Sold Out
- Search Bug to Blame for Ranking Chaos
- Google Introduces “People Cards” in Search
- Google Makes it Easier to Use Product Data Across Countries
- Server-side GTM in Public Beta
- COVID-19 Features Around Flights and Hotels in Search
- It’s Now Easier to Update Your GMB Profile
Article Structured Data Now Supported in Google Rich Results Test Tool
Article structured data is now supported in Google’s rich results tool. Google has been continuously updating this tool, adding more support for structured data. Now the rich results test tool supports article structured data.
Google’s “Virtual Webmaster Unconference” Sold Out
Google has announced this year’s Google Webmaster Conference will be held online. There also won’t be any formal presentations. Instead there will be a “series of interactive discussions”. Googlers have proposed 18 different topics.
“In this event, you decide what sessions will happen and will actively shape the content in them, by taking part in discussions, feedback sessions, and similar formats that need your input.”
Google expects attendees to “actively participate in the sessions you’re interested in via voice and/or video call through Google Meet.”
The event was sold out just a few hours after it was announced. Google opened up a few more spots but they were filled very quickly. Currently there are over 500 people on the waitlist. Google’s Martin Splitt expects 20, maybe 30 people to attend per session.
500 people on the wait list and interactive sessions don’t scale well. If things go well there’ll be more of these.
— ? Splitti is on vacation ? (@g33konaut) August 13, 2020
Google Search Bug to Blame for Ranking Chaos
The SEO community went into panic mode on Monday after noticing massive ranking changes in the SERPs. It initially appeared like a Google algorithm update, however eventually things just started to look not quite right. There was a lot of talk around whether it was an algo update or a bug. It was indeed a bug. Google confirmed, stating it was an issue with its indexing systems.
On Monday we detected an issue with our indexing systems that affected Google search results. Once the issue was identified, it was promptly fixed by our Site Reliability Engineers and by now it has been mitigated.
Thank you for your patience!
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) August 11, 2020
Google Introduces “People Cards” in Search
Google launched public search profile cards, AKA “people cards”, for individuals in India on Tuesday. The feature has already begun rolling out in English for mobile users. The people cards are a knowledge-panel-like list of links and info about an individual available for potential customers and clients.
After claiming your people card you can add things like a personal description, occupation, employer, location, avatar, phone number, website and social media accounts.
Google Makes it Easier to Use Product Data Across Countries
Google has announced additional ways to determine where your product data can be used and performance across countries. For some Shopping programs, you can now specify in which additional countries you want your product data available on the feed level.
Google has also introduced a shopping_ads_excluded_country attribute, so you can exclude individual countries for certain products.
Google Launches Server-side GTM in Public Beta
Google has announced that server-side GTM is launching into a public beta. Server-side GTM is now available to all Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 customers.
Server-side GTM allows advertisers to move many third-party tags off their site and into a new server container hosted on Google Cloud. This means faster page load times, greater data security and additional data controls.
Google Adds COVID-19 Features Around Flights and Hotels in Search
Earlier we reported that Google was testing features around COVID-19 in certain travel searches. Now, Google has officially launched new travel search features to give up to date information for those travelling during the pandemic.
“Because the impact of COVID-19 on destinations can vary, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest travel-related information for places you may want to visit.”
Google is showing travel trends and travel advisory notices for specific regions that users are searching for.
“As restrictions and advisories begin to lift, we’re adding information about travel resuming in a specific destination on Google Search.”
The data is based on the Google Flights and Hotels data from the previous week.
It’s Now Easier to Update Your GMB Profile
Google is making it easier to update your Google My Business profile through Google Search and Maps.
“Now you can create posts, reply to reviews, add photos and update business information right from Google Search and Maps.”
Google is also launching new free tools on Maps and Search to help you understand how your business is performing. You’ll see a revamped performance page with new customer interaction insights which will evolve over the coming months.
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.