Google Search Updates – September ‘21 Changes
Another month has come and gone, and September has been another busy month for the search landscape. We’ve seen more updates finish rolling out, developments in the title tag debacle, as well as some updates to both paid and organic product offerings from Google.
Take a look at what’s been going on in search for the month of September 2021:
Historical Query Data Updates for Google Search Terms Report
In September, it was announced that Google Ads’ search terms report will now show advertisers historical data for search queries that received impressions, yet no clicks for both Search and Dynamic Ads queries.
This is great news for marketers on the lookout for more actionable insight – more search data means more keywords and variants to potentially focus on within their overall strategy. As you can imagine, this is shaping up to be extremely valuable when it comes to paid and organic search alike.
However, Google did reiterate that they are “Still only providing reporting for terms that a significant number of users have searched.”, which means that whilst we’re getting more insight on unclicked queries, we’re also losing out on that more granular insight – which is less than ideal for niche offerings.
Lastly, an additional change has been announced for the search terms report. After February 1st 2022, historical queries collected prior to September 1st 2020 that don’t meet current Google’s current privacy threshold will be removed from reports. So don’t panic if you suddenly see a dip in historical query data around this time.
We’re Given More Clarity on Title Tag Changes
Google gave us an update on ‘Titlepocalypse’, informing us that: “Title elements are now used around 87% of the time, rather than around 80% before,”. This is great news for SEOs who are less than thrilled about their set title tags changing. However, Google has also now given further clarity on the common reasons for not using HTML title tags:
- Empty or half-empty titles (” | Site Name”)
- Obsolete titles (“2020 admissions criteria – University of Awesome”)
- Inaccurate titles (“Giant stuffed animals, teddy bears, polar bears – Site Name”)
- Micro-boilerplate titles (“My so-called amazing TV show,” where the same title is used for multiple pages about different seasons)
Upon asking John Mueller previously about the changes, we were told that Google still takes your set title tags into consideration when it comes to SEO, so you needn’t rush and panic change HTML titles. However, if you feel any of your titles fit into the above categories, perhaps it’s time to enhance and give them a refresh for your users’ and visibility’s sake.
Google Reportedly Working on Indexing Instagram & TikTok Videos in Search
According to a report mentioned in Search Engine Journal, Google is negotiating deals with Instagram and TikTok to index their apps’ content in the search results.
It’s reported that deals and talks are underway to grant Google the data it requires to index their video content. This is likely to be similar to the deal agreed between Google and Twitter back in 2015, which has meant that tweets have been easily accessible in the search results for many years now.
This deal could be a win-win situation for all parties. For Instagram and TikTok, this could open them up to a whole new audience and a new flow of users coming in. For Google, they get to index millions of juicy, relevant video listings. Let’s hope the deal gets done!
Google Reveals New Organic and Paid Features for Travel & Leisure
Google has announced a number of new features designed specifically for businesses within the travel and leisure industry. Google now offer:
Ticket Booking Links
When looking at attractions and experiences in search, Google can now show links for ticketing options on various different sites and in-person. This is an example of Tokyo Tower’s Google My Business listing where the ticket feature is in action:
Ticket booking links can be promoted at no extra cost. Google stated that “In the months ahead, we’ll also begin showing information and booking links for experiences in a destination, like wine tasting in Paris or bike tours in California,”. Instructions for how businesses can integrate ‘Things to do’ features can be found in Google’s Help Centre.
‘Things to do’ Ads
This new paid product allows advertisers to display their ads in an above the fold carousel when users search for tours, activities and attractions. This type of ad specifically shows reviews, images, pricing and a link to book the activity.
‘Things to do’ ads are easy to set up – according to Google, they “automatically use data from your inventory feed based on the ad group label.” This means that there’s no need to create ads and target keywords within your campaigns. All kinds of bidding strategies are also able to be used.
So, if this falls under your offering, make sure you’re making the most of this new product for additional visibility right at the top of the search results.
A new ‘eco-certified’ badge is being introduced for hotels that are certified for high standards of sustainability. This badge will be great for travellers who are interested in staying in an eco-friendly hotel or resort – it will easily allow them to differentiate between locations and select the sustainable hotel that’s perfect for their needs.
Microsoft Advertising Introduces ‘Marketing with Purpose’ Business Attributes
Microsoft Advertising has launched attributes that allow advertisers to communicate and highlight business values to your customers.
These attributes include:
Supports a cure
Supports disease research
The idea behind the inclusion of these attributes is to enhance trust and inclusivity between business and customer. You also benefit from standing out further in search against the competition, particularly if they spot a value that aligns with their own values.
Google Page Experience Update Finished Rolling Out
Google completed the Page Experience Update rollout as of September 2nd, which included Top Stories mobile carousel updates for non-AMP content. Additionally, Google News App updates have been rolling out, which means that non-AMP articles will soon also display in the News search app alongside AMP articles.
In regards to Google News and Top Stories, this is promising news for publishers not utilising AMP who are waiting to attract new users to their content through this additional avenue. For the Page Experience Update, marketers have been waiting for this to finish rolling out for a while now, however by now there should be no surprises in store when it comes to working with Core Web Vitals.
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