The Latest from Google: September 2018

Google recently deployed an algorithm update, released the new Search Console from beta and rolled out more new features powered by their machine learning efforts.

“Medic Update”

On August 1, Google rolled out a “broad core algorithm update” nicknamed the “Medic Update.” It seems to have had the most impact on health, medical and your money your life (YMYL) sites. YMYL sites are those that are generally focused on money and life events – anything from offering advice on parenting and buying a home to legal issues and e-commerce sites. Entertainment and gaming sites were affected as well, while websites in the travel and real estate industries were the least affected.

According to search engine experts, the sites that saw a negative impact from this recent update were usually low on three main factors: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). “The August 1, 2018 Google update was a massive one. I believe that it was primarily about Google’s ability to determine E-A-T for a website. I also think that the T in E-A-T became even more important as Google is working harder to determine which websites are the most trustworthy to show searchers,” writes industry expert Marie Haynes.

So, what does Google say? There is no “fix” to improve rank after an update, but rather the key is to maintain high quality content and over time your rankings may improve.

The New Search Console Graduates

Google launched a new Search Console in beta at the beginning of the year and has been busy adding new features, migrating key reports and features and tweaking it in response to user feedback. On September 4, the new console officially graduated out of beta. While not all features of the old console are available yet, the most common use cases are supported and even better than before. The new console provides more data, better alerting and new “fixed it” flows in addition to simplified sitemaps and account settings management.

To help ease the migration, reminder links will appear in old reports and when an equivalent feature exists in both the old and new console, messages will point users to the new version. The main differences between the old and new console, a comparison of tools and reports and tips for new ways to perform old tasks are outlined in the Google help center.

Responsive Display Ads

Earlier this year, Google launched responsive search ads that allow advertisers to create multiple headlines and descriptions and let Google determine which combination is likely to perform best for a given search query. This functionality is now being rolled out to display ads as well and will become the new default ad type for the Display Network. Advertisers can input up to 15 images, five headlines, five descriptions and five logos, and let Google do the rest. Responsive Display ads can also support dynamic remarketing when a feed is attached. Performance reporting by asset will show a rating of “Learning,” “Low,” “Good” or “Best”. According to Google, test results show that Responsive Display delivers an average of 10 percent more conversions at a similar cost per acquisition as single asset ads. Not ready to give up full control? No need to worry, there is still an option to build and upload your own ads.

Source:  Google, 2018

Close Variants

Google’s machine learning technology is now also powering matches based on intent instead of words alone. With exact match close variants your ads will show for searches that include implied words, paraphrases and other words with the same meaning, regardless of spelling or grammar. (This feature does not apply to phrase, broad and broad match modifier keywords.) This is especially helpful considering Google’s research shows roughly 15 percent of searches every day are new. Close variants will help you reach more users despite slight variations in the way they search without managing exhaustive keyword lists. Early test results show an average gain of 3 percent in clicks and conversions for advertising using mostly exact match keywords.

Source:  Google, 2018

As we learn more about these new features and developments, we’ll continue to keep you apprised of what you need to know. Reach out to us if you have any questions. As a Google Premier Partner, we can help you navigate through all things Google, so you can continue to drive qualified traffic through your campaigns.

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