Google This Week: Spam Update, Google Business Profile & More

by | Nov 5, 2021

Google This Week
19 min read

This is our 80th week of Google This Week updates and we’ve never had more news to share! There’s a new spam update rolling out, Google My Business is now Google Business Profile, plus Google has added new ways to chat with customers in Search and Maps. There are new features to explore Deals in Google Shopping, Google Ads has introduced conversion goals, tag assistant and explanations, plus Performance Max Campaigns are now available to all advertisers. Also in Google Ads, you can now optimise bids for in-store transactions with Smart Bidding for store sales.

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

Google Play Making App Privacy More Transparent

Google is making app privacy and security practices more transparent with a new Data safety section coming to Google Play. Starting in February next year, app users will be able to see a summary in the Play Store app listing page for the data apps collect and share, and why.

This includes data used by the app’s third-party libraries or SDKs and may include whether your app follows certain security practices, like data encryption. Google Play will require all apps to provide data security and privacy information through the Google Play Console. You can begin today by going to the new Data safety form under App Content in Play Console.

Google Play Making App Privacy More Transparent

Google Announces New Features to Explore Deals in Google Shopping

Google is building out new ways for people to explore deals in Google Shopping and improve its reporting capabilities so you can better understand the performance of your deals. Products with a deals badge will now appear in a new feed in the Shopping Tab. All products with a deals badge are automatically eligible for inclusion and will be highlighted based on “the attractiveness of the offer and discount.”

You’ll be able to see which of your products qualify for a deals badge (promotion, sale price or price drop) right in the products tab within Merchant Center. In the Shopping Ads report you’ll be able to see the performance of badged products so you can see your top-performing promotions and types of deals that drive the most conversions.

Beginning next month, businesses using Shopify’s Google channel and WooCommerce’s Google Listings and Ads will be able to sync existing and new promotions to their products listed on Google directly within their store dashboard.

Google Announces New Features to Explore Deals in Google Shopping


Penguin Algorithm May Target Whole Sites

When Google released Penguin 4.0 it said the update would simply ignore spammy links but your website would not be demoted due to the bad links. In an SEO Office Hours chat, Google’s John Mueller said that sometimes Google can demote your site. Mueller said,

“So for the most part when we can recognize that something is problematic and any kind of a spammy link and we will try to ignore it. If our systems recognize that they can’t isolate and ignore these links across a website. If we see a very strong pattern there then it can happen that our algorithms say well we really have kind of lost trust with this website and at the moment based on the bigger picture on the web, we kind of need to be more on almost a conservative side when it comes to understanding this website’s content and ranking it in the search results. And then you can see kind of a drop in the visibility there.”

Google Ads Introduces Conversion Goals, Tag Assistant and Explanations

Google is introducing conversion goals, a new way to optimise towards your objectives at the account or campaign level. Google gave this example, “Let’s say you’re an online clothing retailer. Going forward, you can set a purchase as your account default goal so that all of your campaigns can optimize for that outcome. Within this purchase goal, you’ll also be able to define which specific conversion actions, such as “completed sale”, should be used for bidding.”

Google is also adding Tag Assistant support to help you confirm that your conversion tags are working correctly. The tool will help you diagnose issues and you’ll be able to see in real-time, which conversion actions are being measured properly. Google Ads is also adding explanations for Target ROAS and Maximize conversion value in your campaigns page for Search campaigns. You’ll see explanations for any change in conversion value in a single click so you can spend less time investigating performance issues.

Google Ads Introduces Conversion Goals, Tag Assistant and Explanations


Performance Max Campaigns Now Available to All Advertisers

Google Ads is making Performance Max campaigns available to all advertisers. Last year, Google introduced Performance Max campaigns as a way to buy Google ads across YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps from a single campaign. Google says that after strong beta results, Performance Max campaigns will roll out to all advertisers around the world starting now. They will also become the next generation of Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, which will both be upgraded to Performance Max next year.

Performance Max Campaigns Now Available to All Advertisers


Updates to Google’s Policy Center

Google is making some changes to the Policy center in Ad Manager, AdMob and AdSense including an improved account health summary to provide a quick overview of the total number of sites and apps with issues, highlighting the number of issues that are a “Must fix” to help publishers prioritise issues. Google has also added more robust filtering and search capabilities across the issue table. Issues across sites and apps are also now part of a single issue table, so Ad Manager publishers have a more comprehensive view of issues across their inventory.

Updates to Google's Policy Center


Report Domain Verification and User Management Issues in Search Console

Google is piloting a new tool that enables some users to contact Google over Search Console domain verification and user management issues. Google said, “Earlier this year, we expanded our program for site owners to report urgent bugs or other issues related to indexing. That program has been working well, so we’re expanding it to handle domain verification and user management issues for Search Console.” Google said the feature is currently piloting in the US and should be fully available to all in the US within a week or less.

Report Domain Verification and User Management Issues in Search Console


Updated Google Best Practices for Embedded Videos

Google has updated its Google Search Central Video Best Practices help page by adding a new recommendation to help Google find and index video content better and make it available for Google’s rich results. Google added the recommendation that the video is given its own web page in addition to the page the video is hosted on.

“To give your videos maximum exposure, create a dedicated page for each video, where the video is the most prominent subject on the page. Some features require that type of video page, including Key Moments, the Live Badge, and other rich result formats.

It’s fine to include the same video on both a dedicated page and its original page alongside other information, like a news article or a product detail page.”

Search Console Has Been Overcounting Mobile Page Experience Data Since June

For four months Google has been overcounting the mobile page experience data in the Google Search Console reports. This impacted the performance report and the page experience report. The data has been overcounted since June 29th through to November 1st. Google posted a notice in the data anomalies page saying “June 29 – November 1: Search Console was overcounting mobile Page Experience data during this period. On November 1 you should see a return to correct data.” You will see an annotation in the reports showing that on November 1st, Google resolved the issue.

Search Console Has Been Overcounting Mobile Page Experience Data Since June


Google Enables Publishers to Share Publisher Provided Identifiers

Google is launching a new functionality in Ad Manager that enables publishers to share Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs) – pseudonymised first-party identifiers that are created and controlled by publishers – with Google’s programmatic demand. Google is helping publishers expand the use of their first-party identifiers to more transaction types, including the Open Auction, so they can show ads that are more relevant for their audience. Google said,

“In our initial experiments, we observed that Beta partners experienced an increase of 15% or more in programmatic auction revenue when passing PPIDs in inventory without other identifiers.”

Buy on Google France to End in December

The Buy on Google France program is set to end on December 7, 2021. On December 7, all Buy on Google listings in France will become inactive. Participating advertisers will still be required to fulfil all orders received through December 7, 2021. Merchants will still have access to the order management and payment sections in Merchant Center for at least 2 years.


Google My Business is Now Google Business Profile

Google My Business is being renamed to Google Business Profile. Google is recommending that small businesses manage their profiles directly on Search or Maps. The Google My Business app will retire next year “so more merchants can take advantage of the upgraded experience on Search and Maps.” The existing Google My Business web experience will transition to primarily support larger businesses with multiple locations and will be called Business Profile Manager.

Google My Business is Now Google Business Profile


Talk to Your Customers on Search and Maps

Google is introducing new features to help you connect with your customers on Search and Maps. Google is launching call history for all US and Canadian merchants with verified Business Profiles so you can see which inbound customer calls came from your Business Profile. Last year, Google added functionality so you could chat with customers directly in Google Maps, now you can also respond directly to messages from your Business Profile on Google Search. Google is also launching read receipts for all Business Profile merchants this month.

Talk to Your Customers on Search and Maps


Optimise Bids for In-store Transactions with Smart Bidding for Store Sales

Retail and restaurant advertisers can now use Smart Bidding for store sales to optimise bids for in-store transactions, not just visits. Advertisers are now able to upload first-party, transaction data to optimise for store sale conversions for Search and Shopping campaigns with the goal of driving in-store sales.


More Ways for Google to Calculate Custom Shipping Speeds

If you’re a retailer that ships products to the US, there are now two ways to let Google calculate custom shipping speeds for you. First, you’ll specify your shipping carrier, shipping service, and ship-from location and Google will calculate estimated speeds. Or, when creating a shipping service you can link to your partner to authorise them to share your historical order tracking signals with Google.


Page Experience Ranking on Desktop Will Rollout in February

Google has announced that using page experience as part of its desktop ranking systems will be rolled out in February 2022. The rollout will be complete by the end of March 2022. The launch will be based on the same page experience signals that were rolled out for mobile earlier this year.


Destination Mismatch Disapproval Glitch in Google Ads

Advertisers have been reporting destination mismatch ad disapprovals in Google Ads. Google’s ads product liaison, Ginny Marvin stated the team is aware of the issue and is investigating. Google Ads now has a notice about the issue in the help section.

“We’re currently experiencing a volume increase due to ad disapprovals for Destination Mismatch. We don’t have a workaround at the moment, however this is a known issue affecting multiple advertisers and our technical team is working on a solution to address this ASAP. If your account is having the same issue, please rest assured that it’s being worked upon even if you don’t file a support ticket.”

November 2021 Spam Update Rolling Out

Google is rolling out a new spam algorithm update called the November 2021 Spam Update. It should take about a week to fully roll out. Google has not announced specifically what this update targets.


Google Launching New PageSpeed Insights

Google is working on a new version of PageSpeed Insights with a new user interface to make the data easier to understand. The update will begin rolling out later this year in the hopes that it will be easier to interpret and act on the data. \

Google’s primary goals with the update include:

  • Making the UI more intuitive by differentiating between lab data and field data
  • Communicating how the Core Web Vitals assessment is calculated
  • Modernising the look and feel of the UI

Google Launching New PageSpeed Insights


Thank You for Reading

Have you noticed any changes from Google this week?

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

Kirsten Tanner

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