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This Week in Search: 5 Moves by Google!

Pure SEO’s This Week In Search series takes a look at the top SEO and SEM news stories from the week.

This week Google made 5 announcements.

Google to Boost News Articles in Search Results for Paying Subscribers

Soon, Google will boost news articles in search results for paying subscribers of those publications. According to Bloomberg, Google is making this change in an effort to assist publications with finding and retaining paying subscribers. Additionally, Google will share search data which shows who is most likely to pay for content, meaning publishers can better target new subscribers.

Google Publishes Annual Bad Ads Statistics

Every year, Google gets faster and more efficient at removing ads that violate its policies. In 2017, over 3.2 billion ‘bad ads‘ were removed, which translates to an average of 100 bad ads per second. These bad ads included:

  • 79 million attempting to send people to malware-laden sites
  • 66 million ‘trick-to-click’ ads
  • 48 million attempting to get users to install unwanted software

Other common violations include scraping, duplicating, and copying content from other websites. 320,000 ad publishers were removed from Google’s ad network last year, and Google banned 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps from being able to display Google ads. Google introduced 28 new advertiser policies last year, as well as 20 new publisher policies, and it is likely these changes added to the massive number of bad ads.

Google AdWords Bans Ads for Cryptocurrency

Starting June 2018, AdWords ads for anything related to cryptocurrencies will be banned. This includes exchanges, ICOs, and informative pages about trading, and is a response to harm caused by consumers by cryptocurrency scams.

AdWords’ Financial Services ad policy has been updated:

“In addition, ads for the following will no longer be allowed to serve:

  • Binary options and synonymous products

  • Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)”

Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads for Google, stated:

”We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”

Google Adds Title Tags to Image Search Results

Starting this week, thumbnails in image search results on iOS and Android, as well as mobile browsers, will be accompanied by captions. These will consist of the page title where the image is published, which intends to assist searchers by adding more context to what the image is about. Google hasn’t provided any specifics about character limits, but it appears that image captions are cut off after roughly 35 characters.

Google AdWords has New Performance Insights for Click-to-Message Ads

Now, businesses can measure the effectiveness of their click-to-message ads with the new ‘message reporting‘ feature which contains the following insights:

  • Chat rate: How often searchers start a conversation with your business
  • Chat start time: Timestamps indicating when searchers initiated conversations
  • Messages: The total number of messages exchanged in a single chat session

Message reporting will be available in the next few weeks to advertisers in the US, Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, and the United Kingdom.

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16 March 2018


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