This Month in Search [October 2022]

Oct 3rd, 2022

October is here and spooky season is upon us, but don’t let the new search activity scare you away – Click is here to help you get your head around what’s new in the industry.

Performance Max Updates

There’s been quite a few updates to Performance Max campaigns, Google Ads have been busy adding support in performance planner, scheduled asset groups with automated rules, first-party data segmentation, and up to 15 headlines from only 5 headlines.

There’s a full discussion available on Twitter from Ginny Marvin, Google Ads Product Liason:

Google has said,

With the holiday shopping season coming up, it’s an important time for many businesses. Last year, 54% of shoppers used five or more channels—like search, video, and social media—to shop over a two-day holiday period1.
That’s why today, we’re excited to share additional new features to help Performance Max meet your business goals in three key areas:

  • Plan your campaigns more efficiently
  • Customize your asset strategy
  • Evaluate your results

Google Ads API Version 12.0 released

We reported earlier this month on the tentative schedule of the Google Ads API update, and now version 12.0 has been rolled out as part of Google’s plans.

Here are the highlights:

  • Added support for new recommendations: RaiseTargetCpaBidTooLowRecommendation and ForecastingSetTargetRoasRecommendation.
  • Added primary_status and primary_status_reasons to Campaign to provide insight into why a campaign is not serving or not serving optimally.
  • Added support for linked portfolio bidding strategies and campaign budget. You can modify these links using bulk mutates.
  • conversion_tracking_id will always be greater than 0 for all customers. In the previous versions, this field could be 0 for customers who had never created any conversion actions.
  • Updated SmartCampaignSuggestService.SuggestKeywordThemes to generate more keyword theme suggestions for Smart campaigns, including free-form keyword themes.
  • Local Services campaigns now support individual location targeting, except for proximity targeting.
  • Removed CampaignExperimentService in favor of the previously added new experiments.
  • Removed support for creating new Smart Display campaigns. To achieve the same goals, we suggest using standard Display campaigns.
  • Removed support for creating a new Gmail ad. Use Discovery campaigns instead.
  • Removed GenerateProductMixIdeas from ReachPlanService.
  • (For allowlisted customers) Added support for adding, updating, and removing CampaignAsset and AdGroupAsset with the field_type: AD_IMAGE (Image assets).
  • Added support for mutating and retrieving location asset sets for test accounts only. The location assets for the asset sets are automatically generated and non-mutable.

Double the search results?

Depending on the dimensions of your screen (or if you’re predominantly a mobile user) Microsoft Bing has started to show its search box in the bottom right corner of its search page – and if your page isn’t big enough for the whole search box, it’ll show up as a small magnifying glass that when you click on it, your search query will open up.

I had a little play around to see if I could bring up the search box myself, and ta-da! It came up right away, you can see my example below:

Google rolls out the Spam Algorithm Update

Surprisingly, in the span of about 2 days, Google had announced and rolled out the latest of the Spam Algorithm updates. Historically, their spam updates usually take between 1-2 weeks so the turnaround on this update has been pretty tremendous, and it seems like it’s already starting to get some traction with searchers.

The update targets websites that are basically spamming the search engine with information to try and appear in top results, and penalises them. What counts as bad practice (according to Google) includes:

  • Cloaking – presenting different content to users and search engines with the intent to manipulate search rankings and mislead users.
  • Doorways – leading users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination
  • Hacked Content – any content placed on a site without permission, due to vulnerability of site’s security
  • Hidden texts or links – content placed on a page in a way of manipulating search engines and not be easily viewed by human visitors
  • Keyword stuffing – filling a web page with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate search rankings
  • Link spam – links found to be used as a way to manipulate rankings to determine relevancy of web pages
  • Machine-generated traffic – machine-generated traffic sends automated queries to Google that consumes resources and interferes with Google’s search algorithm
  • Malware and malicious behaviours – websites that host malware or unwanted software that negatively impact user experience
  • Misleading functionality – sites that intend to manipulate search rankings by intentionally housing misleading functionality and services that trick users into thinking they would be able to access content/services but they cannot
  • Scraped content – sites ‘scraping’ content from other, reputable sites and copying the content
  • Sneaky redirects – sending visitors to a different URL than the one they initially requested
  • Spammy automatically-generated content – content that’s been programmed to auto-generate without creating anything original or of-value to users, but made to manipulate search rankings
  • Thin affiliate pages – pages with product affiliate links which the product descriptions and reviews have been copied from the original merchant with no added content
  • User-generated spam – spam content added by users that’s intended for users

You can the full policy list, as well as a more in-depth table of definitions here.

So, make sure you’re following Google’s guidelines on spam to avoid being penalised by the search giant themselves.

Group photos for businesses

Some people have noticed online that Google has been grouping photos together by categories for businesses local profile panels. The way they’re doing this is by highlighting pictures, adding a keyword and the number.

There have been people that have reported not being able to see this on certain business profiles, so hopefully this will be something that Google will roll out across different business industries.

Columns, columns, and more columns…

In Google Ads news, there are now 3 brand spankin’ new reporting columns available on Campaigns and also included in the custom reporting pages – the columns include results, results value, and conversion goals.

Google said,

Conversion goals make it easy for you to organize, group, and optimize for conversion actions in ways that can help you meet your marketing objective. However, in order to make sense of what these conversion goals actually mean to your performance, you need to apply custom segments to see each individual conversion action and the categories they fall under. We’ve heard your feedback, and we want to make this process easier for you. That’s why we’ve rolled out three new columns in Google Ads.

You can find out more here.

More on this topic? Yes please!

And in Microsoft news, Bing is testing a feature in Bing Search news section called “more on this topic from…” showing results related to your search by listing a list of news publication logos for you to click on to see more news.

I tried to have a go at bringing it up, but had no luck – so we’re thinking this feature probably is yet to roll out to certain countries, you can see my example below:

Google Ads roll out the sponsored label

We have known for awhile that Google has been testing new ads labels, with one such label being the sponsored label. The label is officially live in search results, with Google saying;

This new label and its prominent position continues to meet our high standards for being distinguishable from search results and builds on our existing efforts to make information about paid content clear.

Goodbye Webmaster…

Honestly, this update is way less dramatic than what the headline makes it sound. However, it’s worth noting that Google’s Webmaster Guidelines are now known as Google Search Essentials, and with it came a whole load of new updates.

Some changes in the guidelines that have been changed include:

  • Technical requirements: What Google needs from a web page to show it in Google Search.
  • Spam policies: The behaviors and tactics that can lead to lower ranking or being completely omitted from Google Search results.
  • Key best practices: The main things that can help improve how your site appears in Google Search results.

It’s worth checking out Google’s website for a more in depth list of changes.

More features added for businesses

Are you a business on Google? Are you a business on Google that sells tickets? Well the latest Google feature will probably peak your interest. Attractions and tour operators (or any place that sells tickets, really) will be able to take advantage of the ability to edit your ticket prices directly through Google Business Profile. All you need to do is search your business name in Google Search, click ‘edit profile’, and you’ll see the admission tickets option for you to edit ticket prices. Voila.

and finally, an update from Bing!

It’s not often (not as often as Google anyway) that we see updates from Bing but today Microsoft have made their knowledge panel live, described as

[a] fun interactive feature introduced, including polls for you to vote on.

(First-party) cookies, anyone?

We’re back with another Google update (I know, I’m losing track at this point too) and this time, Google AdSense has announced support for personalisation with first-party cookies. Google wrote,

First-party cookies for personalisation help to show personalised ads to your users when third-party cookies aren’t available, which may increase your revenue.

To get this option, ensure that you’ve turned on “allow first-party cookies” in your AdSense settings. This comes in to affect from 10th November 2022 – so you won’t notice any changes until then!

Friday 8th October

Tag, you’re it!

There’s a new tag that’s come to Google Tag Manager that will allow you to use the tag across your whole website and connect the tag to multiple destinations. With the previous tag you had to set up a global site tag (gtag.js) but this has now evolved into a single tag that will help you do more on your website without throwing a load of code at it. Yay.

The new Google tag is rolling out – the aim is to make tagging easier and ensure reliable measurement for the long-term. If you’re already using the global site tag, you don’t need to take any action, your existing installations automatically become the Google tag.

Google Ads API 2023 schedule released (tentatively)

Google has released the schedule for the 2023 Google Ads API (but it’s worth baring in mind that the schedule isn’t set in stone, so be aware that it could be subject to change).

Below is the release schedule:


More policy updates…

To add on to the previous update on policies, Google is also updating their UK Financial Services policy to knuckle down on financial fraud in the UK – and will go into effect in December. This measure is to protect both consumers and legitimate advertisers in the UK.

Here’s a summary of the proposed policy update:

The Google Ads Financial Products and Services policy will be updated to require that all advertisers be FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) authorized for debt adjusting and debt counseling in order to show debt services advertisements starting from 6 December 2022. Insolvency practitioners, including those licensed by a recognized professional body, will no longer be allowed to advertise for these services. Advertisers must successfully complete the updated verification process by the time enforcement begins on 16 January 2023. The policy update also allows advertisers that are included on the FCA Financial Services Register as ‘exempt professional firms’ or recognized investment exchanges to be verified as UK FCA-authorised advertisers.

Google Maps cracking down on deceptive reviews

Google has updated contributor guidelines for Google Maps to prohibit “discouraging or prohibiting negative reviews, or selectively soliciting positive reviews from customers.” The guidelines align with Google’s remit of putting the users first, and ensuring they’re providing helpful content (shout out to HCU) and genuine reviews. This is a new addition to their ‘Fake engagement’ policy (as seen below).


New features for Microsoft Advertising!

Excitingly, Microsoft Advertising has gained quite a few new features for October, including being able to import your Google’s performance max data (table below illustrates how they would map in Microsoft Advertising).


The full list of features is available on their website, but you can expect to see features such as:

  • New video ads in Microsoft Audience Network
  • Smart campaigns available in 6 new markets
  • Data exclusions for automated bidding now in open beta
  • Asset Library available worldwide

Issue 11 of Our Free Search & Digital Marketing Magazine Available Now!

At Click, we have an exceptional team of talented experts and we love to showcase their views and opinions on their particular skillsets. The Benchmark Search & Digital Marketing magazine communicates the latest news and views from the world of search, and also gives us a chance to let our team explore the most crunching topics in their departments.

The Benchmark Search & Digital Marketing Magazine Issue 11 covers:

  • All the most important news from the world search of social media marketing from the last quarter
  • Discussion of how online privacy is changing and what that means for users.
  • Digital avatars and AI influencers and what they mean for the future of content marketing?
  • How search will thrive in the metaverse – but not the metaverse we’re being sold.
  • And much more…

You can read Issue 11 now!

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