Welcome to your monthly round-up of industry news from Distinctly. Below you’ll find stories on the very latest developments, rollouts and updates in PPC and SEO.
Small UK businesses with active Google Ads accounts could receive advertising credits worth up to $1000 over the coming weeks to help them recover from the Covid-19 crisis. The scheme has begun rolling out in New Zealand, and it applies to any SMEs which are existing customers and used Google Ads for at least 10 months in 2019 and in January or February 2020. The amount credited will be based on historical spend and valid for use until 31 December.
Ecommerce businesses using Google’s Smart Shopping product are set to be able to better optimize towards acquiring new customers, thanks to a new goal type which is currently in its beta testing phase. Using a 540-day lookback window, the ‘new customer acquisition’ goal will assess Google’s native data to determine whether a customer is new or not, and target them accordingly with greater accuracy. Once rolled out, the option to utilise this tool will be listed under ‘Conversion goals’ on the Smart Shopping dashboard.
With businesses of every size having experienced unforeseen fluctuations in performance over recent months, Google Ads has introduced a new script which provides an easy way to visualise exactly how the Covid-19 crisis has impacted your PPC campaigns. It overlays your performance metrics timeline with the dates of significant government-imposed changes such as the beginning of lockdown and the closure of non-essential shops, and can be added as a new script in your account now.
With audience needs shifting as a result of Covid-19, LinkedIn has introduced a number of tools for advertisers to retarget users. These are tied to features such as video ads, lead generation forms and safety integrations for its Audience Network. The addition of these new capabilities reflects an ongoing shift in focus for the platform, responding to a greater demand for virtual engagement and looking to smooth the journey taken by advertisers and their target audiences. Testing has seen conversions increasing by up to 20%.
Google has updated its advertising policy to prevent advertisements by housing, employment and credit companies from targeting or excluding certain postcodes or demographics including gender, age and marital status. This follows a similar move by Facebook in 2019, and extends Google’s existing policies implemented over a decade ago, which prevent advertising based on race, sexuality, religion or other factors. The change is expected to be rolled out in the US and in Canada by the end of 2020.
Users of Google’s PageSpeed Insight report recently found that it has been updated to include the core web vitals report and data. Any metrics around core web vitals are now shown on the dashboard with a clearly visible blue badge next to them. Google’s John Mueller explained that it is part of an ongoing effort to add core web vitals to most of the places that speed metrics are displayed.
Google’s Webspam Report 2019 details its ongoing efforts to create the most useful experience possible for searchers, by taking measures to tackle the 25 billion spam pages that it discovers every day. Highlights and new developments since the previous report include no growth in user-generated spam, and the use of machine learning to reduce auto-generated spam by 60%. Google is using a number of new initiatives to work more closely than ever with webmasters around the world.
In the wake of recent controversies around the statue of Sir Winston Churchill, Google has found itself having to apologise and explain why the wartime Prime Minister’s image disappeared for several hours from his Knowledge Graph entry. In clarifying how the system works, Google explained that the error was said to have occurred during an automatic image update, which had initially been triggered in April but was not completed until recently due to a bug in the system.
Google webmasters John Mueller, Martin Splitt and Gary Illyes have started a brand new podcast to offer a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on at Google Search. Offering information on the decision-making process behind big launches and what projects are currently in the works, ‘Search Off the Record’ promises unique insight from inside Google and expert comment on trending topics in the SEO community. You can listen to episode 1 here, which delves into nofollow links, core web vitals and more.