Google This Week: Two Indexing Outages, News Showcase Features and more

by | Oct 2, 2020

Google This Week
13 min read

A week of good and bad news this week at Google. From the bad news of the indexing issue that impacted your rankings to the good news of Google’s News Showcase, Shopping Ads to be made free and more.

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


Merchant Center Image Policy Enforcement Change

Google is changing the way it enforces image policies for advertising, selling and listing your products. Google is sunsetting account-level image enforcement and switching to item-level disapprovals. You can opt-in for automatic image improvements in Merchant Center, which will try to fix non-compliant images by automatically removing promotional overlays. If successful, the image will be replaced and the offer will be reapproved.


Another Indexing Issue with News Content

Google once against had an indexing issue with news content on the 29th. Google confirmed the issue on Twitter saying “We have an issue with indexing News content, at the moment. It began around 4pm PT. We’re working to correct and will update when this is resolved.” Two hours later, Google said the issue was resolved. We have been reporting a lot of indexing issues with Google lately and other visible bugs.


Google Launches Mini-Site of Holiday Marketing Resources

Google has launched a mini-site of holiday marketing resources to help you reach customers through Search, Shopping and Maps.  The site shows personalised recommendations for small businesses. The site contains new tools, lessons, livestreams and how-to guides. There are two new tools for marketers. Grow My Store is a tool that analyses your site’s customer experience and shows how your site performs relative to others in the same retail category.  The Local Opportunity Finder tool helps businesses get the most out of their Google My Business profile by providing personalised recommendations.

Google Launches Mini-Site of Holiday Marketing Resources


New Performance Insights Metrics for Google My Business

Google My Business Insights has a new feature and is adding new performance metrics. It said that “business Profile Performance reporting is moving closer to your profile on Search and Maps. You’ll be able to access more of the core profile metrics directly from your Business Profile.”

They also added that “we start with interactions to let you know how often people have contacted you. More metrics will follow over the next months and will include detailed reports about searches and the number of people who saw the profile. After metrics are added to Performance reporting, the older versions of those metrics will eventually be removed from the Google My Business web and app platforms.”

Google mentioned specifically that these reports are initially only available on Search and will soon be coming to Maps.

New Performance Insights Metrics for Google My Business


Google is Now Testing ‘People Also Search For’ on the  Autocomplete Search Suggestions

Google is testing and showing the ‘people also search for’ options. You won’t only get it on the search results, you will also have it on the Google search bar.

Check out the photo below from Saad AK on Twitter. Have you seen this and are you able to replicate it in the search auto-complete suggestion bar?


Google & Mirror Copies – A Duplicate Content Issue?

Interestingly and look like they host and have the exact same copies of the info. A duplicate content issue it seems? In a twitter discussion, by Jamie Alberico , it was mentioned that if you search for [ faq] you get both and

John Muller of Google responded with this tweet:” I don’t know if this is still the case, it used to be that the responsibility for keeping the site up was shared and rotated between some of the initial companies involved. They likely all have a version of the site hosted somewhere because of that.”

Google & Mirror Copies - A Duplicate Content Issue


Shopping Ads to be made Free Worldwide by Google

Currently, Shopping Ads have been free in the US since April. Now they are bringing it to Europe, Asia and Latin America. Retailers can soon run a free listing on their Shopping tab. This will take effect as soon as mid-October.

Because of the pandemic that has resulted in a financial crisis, Google is trying to help businesses in these trying times. And this also the time many more people are moving their shopping activity online.

Google said: “And as consumers increasingly shop online, they’re searching not just for essentials but also things like toys, apparel, and home goods.

While this presents an opportunity for struggling businesses to reconnect with consumers, many cannot afford to do so at scale.”

“With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship but are less discoverable online.”

According to Google, this resulted in significantly increased engagement between customers and merchants in the US.

Shopping Ads to be made Free Worldwide by Google

URL Fragment Identifiers Showing on Google Search

Google was found testing Search Console on displaying featured snippet scroll to  and highlights in Search Console and even some Sitelinks. In your Google Search Console reporting, sometimes you’ll see URL fragment identifiers – URLs with the # sign.

In a tweet, Google’s John Mueller said: “You might see fragment identifiers in Search Console if we show jump links in search, which sometimes show like sitelinks would.”

Here is an example of what it looks like:

URL Fragment Identifiers Showing on Google Search


Two Indexing Outages Affecting Google Search Results

There have been two kinds of outages impacting Google Search, and it was announced on twitter by Danny Sullivan of Google. Mobile indexing is one of them and the second is on the canonicalization. The duplicate content is directly affected by the second outage – how it will be displayed and handled in search results, even the syndicated content is not spared.

Google responded to the outage on Twitter:

Google was very clear that they have already identified the problem and currently resolving the issue.


Google’s Showcase News features will be coming to Search and Discover feed

Last June, Google showed us its ‘News Showcase’ and yesterday they posted that they are rolling it out with a $1 billion financial commitment on partnering with publishers. Also, this will follow to Search and Google’s Discover feed.

There are two basic aspects of this feature, the significant content-licensing payments to news publishers and new “packaged” content panels providing deeper context and storytelling of different types with audio & video. Now publishers can control their new story panels, which in the past controlling such presentation was not possible.

Launching first in Germany and Brazil on Android, with OS to follow.

Google's Showcase News features will be coming to Search and Discover feed



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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