For our monthly Google Marketing Platform Sydney meetup, we talked about the latest Google search and tool updates in December.
First, let’s take a look at what’s on our Digital Radar.
Marketing over Coffee
Marketing over coffee is a marketing podcast, audio-on-demand, that covers both classic and new marketing.
Each show is 20 minutes long and routinely covers topics such as staying up to date with social networking, SEO and SEM, email marketing, multivariate testing, copywriting and “old school” offline marketing campaigns.
Digital Marketers Australia Conference
- Naomi Simson
- Mike Rhodes
- Harry Sanders
12,13,14 February 2020
Google Search & Tool Updates December 2019
View the slides here and read on to learn more:
Google Algorithm Updates
Neural Matching for Local Search
Google has added neural matching for Local Search. Many have had local ranking changes over the past month and Google has now confirmed the reports.
Neural matching means Google is better able to understand user intent. So even when a user does not include a business name or description Google can still understand that they’re looking for something local.
Businesses do not need to make any changes to benefit.
The use of neural matching means that Google can do a better job going beyond the exact words in business name or description to understand conceptually how it might be related to the words searchers use and their intents…
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) December 2, 2019
Google Search Pulse
Local SEO Update
This is Google’s largest local algorithm update since 2016. It means businesses need to be increasingly vigilant about fighting spam in affected areas.
Since the update businesses have seen drops in Google Maps traffic.
Search Engine Roundtable provided a clear picture:
This ranking update is another proximity update like “Possum” (Google’s update in 2016). Meaning businesses closer to a user performing a discovery search win.
Google Discover: More Traffic for Publishers
Publishers are getting excited about Google Discover. According to Vogue, October saw more users coming from Google Discover than from Google Search. However, more traffic seems to be coming from international editions than US, and there’s a smaller impact for iOS dominated markets.
While traffic from Discover is still erratic for most, it’s a promising platform for Publishers as it could build loyalty and habit among readers as early data suggests that each user’s Discover feed is personalised based on content they’ve searched for in the past and content users have read in other Google products, such as Google News.
Product Result Filter in Performance Report
You can now dig deeper into how your product rich results are doing in Search. The new product result filter in your Performance Report in Google Search Console captures and displays click and impression data when rich results display based on your use of product rich results markup.
Google Search Console Speed Report
Another new addition to Google Search Console is the Speed Report. This report helps you find URLs that may have speed performance issues. This tool should be used for monitoring performance over time and to track your fixes.
The report is broken down by mobile and desktop and the number of slow, moderate and fast URLs. Users are able to isolate their slow URLs and see tips for improvements.
Preview Recipes on Google Home Hub Devices
You can now use the Rich Results test to preview your results on Google Home and Smart displays. As more and more users are turning to their Assistant devices, it’s important to understand how your recipe markup is seen on these displays.
Google Search Console Training Series on YouTube
There’s a new Google Search Console training series on YouTube which will teach you everything from the basics, such as getting started, verifications, reports and settings.
Google Ad Pulse
Combined Audience Targeting
Now you can show ads to users who are in multiple specific audiences. You can layer combinations using “AND”, “OR”, “NOT” directives and you’ll have the ability to filter users who meet the combined audience criteria.
GOOGLE ADS: *ALERT* …Game Changer….
— Steven Johns (@stevenjohns21) November 13, 2019
Local Campaigns Inventory Expanded
New local inventory includes Promoted Pins in Maps and catalogue-style ads in Display.
Google is focussing on building out its advertising capabilities for brick-and-mortar and hybrid retailers across its properties. The new local campaigns support other goals including calls or directions that don’t require store visits measurement to be enabled. Advertisers can upload a local product feed and select a set of products to be featured.
Local campaign advertisers can also have their location pop up when users are getting directions in Google Maps.
Another feature, currently in beta, merchants can highlight whether a product is available instore for pickup today, rather than simply saying “store pickup” or if they can be ordered now and shipped for instore pickup later.
Car Rental Comparison Ad Unit in Search Results
Google is testing a sponsored widget for car rentals in Search results. This enables users to research and take action without leaving the search results page. Presumably, as with Hotels, Flights and Shopping ads, offers are powered by data feeds. It is not yet clear how widespread this test is.
Support for Discovery Campaigns
Google Ads Editor has been updated to include support for Discovery campaigns. In the edit pane you can condense fields to hide them. If you’ve already built out broadly applicable negative keywords lists you can now share them across accounts in the Shared Library. You can also now search for similar errors across your campaigns and accounts.
More Visibility for Shopping Campaigns on YouTube
Earlier this year, Google announced that Showcase Shopping ads would extend to Discover. These ads are primarily designed for apparel and furniture queries but have expanded to categories like beauty and electronics.
Sitelinks for TrueView for action ads enable users to access additional landing pages from your video ads. Google is currently testing Sitelinks with 30 advertisers. The results so far appear to be good, with a 23% increase in conversions.
Google Tool Pulse
Assistant to Buy Movie Tickets for You
Google has made it possible to use the Assistant (via Duplex) to buy movie tickets online. Users can now use Google Assistant for new reservation and purchase categories, with movie tickets just the latest example. This feature is currently only available on Android.
Follow Local Guides in Google Maps
Users in a number of cities using Google Maps will soon be able to follow Local Guides with local recommendations of places and things to do. This feature closely mirrors the local business follow feature in Google My Business and follow Lists feature in Maps under “Your Places”.
CallJoy Gets and Upgrade
CallJoy, Google’s virtual phone agent for SMBs has new capabilities and customisation options. It can handle enquiries regarding hours, location and service area among others. It can determine when the phone is answered and customise the personality beyond male and female. This way businesses can avoid common calls while ensuring customers get the answers they need. The transcripts can also be a source for insights and common queries.
Join Us for the Next Google Marketing Platform Meetup
Join us for our next Google Marketing Platform meetup in Sydney or Singapore to get the latest Google Search & Tool Updates.