Google has made some changes to mobile search which will give users one-tap access to the exact type of information they’re looking for. Several updates have been rolled out to paid search, which also includes ads on YouTube. It’s now easier to reclaim ownership of a Google My Business listing. In another update from Google this week, its Google Posts feature has been opened up to more business types.
More details about each of these top stories are included in this week’s SEO and paid search news roundup.
Google Mobile Search Shortcuts
Searchers in the US now have one-touch access to information about specific topics with the addition of tappable shortcuts. These shortcuts have been rolled out to mobile search, as well as Google’s iOS and Android app.
You will see these shortcuts immediately upon landing on the home screen. A carousel of shortcuts will appear, which you can swipe through to get access to information about things like sports, food & beverage, entertainment, weather, and more.
Android users in particular will have access to a plethora of shortcuts, with exclusive shortcuts that include:
- Nearby attractions
- Internet speed test
- Currency converter
- Roll a die
- Animal sounds
With this update, Google is evolving search past the traditional search box to help users find what they need even faster. These shortcuts will be continually updated for big moments and current events, so Google recommends staying on top of app updates.
Google AdWords Introduces Rewording and Reordering for Exact Match Keywords
Google recently announced it will expand close variant matching with rewording and reordering for exact match keywords. This update is expected to roll out in the next few months.
What does that mean exactly? When this update is rolled out, exact match queries will match with other queries that share the same meaning, even when the words are in a different order. This will occur as long as the user intent is believed to be the same.
Google provides some examples in the chart below:
Google is making this change because the company believes it will be a benefit to advertisers. The thought is that it will prevent AdWords users from creating large lists of keywords, which can be an arduous process.
Google says its reordering of queries will not add words to keywords in an advertiser’s list, it will only match reordered keywords with queries where the meaning behind the keywords in the same.
Ignoring Function Words
In addition to reordering exact match keywords, Google will also ignore function words as long as it doesn’t change the intent behind the query.
Function words include prepositions (in, to), conjunctions (but, for), articles (a, the), and other types of words that Google says do not impact the intent behind the query.
Here are some examples provided by Google:
The company notes that AdWords will still default to using keywords identical to search queries before it goes about reordering keywords or ignoring function words.
Google is Giving Advertisers More Control Over Where Ads are Shown
There was some bad news for Google this past week as several major US brands started pulling their ads from Google’s advertising network. This started occurring after ads were found being displayed next to controversial and extremist content.
Google made a promise to advertisers that it would do a better job of ensuring ads will not appear alongside controversial content, and the company is now following through on that promise.
Changes were made this week which involve Google implementing improvements to its ad policies, ramping up its enforcement of those policies, and providing new controls for advertisers.
More specifically, these changes include:
- New Ad Policies: Google will more effectively remove ads from hateful, offensive, and derogatory content. YouTube ads will now only show up on videos from publishers in the YouTube Partner Program.
- More Control for Advertisers: Google will change default settings so ads do not show on potentially objectionable content. It will also be easier for advertisers to exclude specific sites and channels from all of their AdWords for Video and Google Display Network campaigns.
- Increased Transparency: Google will do a better job of informing advertisers of exactly where their ads are being displayed.
Reclaiming Your Google My Business Listing
When marketing your business online, you can’t do everything yourself. That’s why agencies like ours exist. Having an agency or consultant do your digital marketing can involve giving them ownership of your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
If, for whatever reason, you have to cut ties with the agency it could be difficult to regain ownership of your GMB listing if they don’t willingly transfer it over. We’re not saying you would ever have that problem with us, but if this were to happen with another agency it may escalate to the point of “conflict resolution”.
Google is now automating the process of conflict resolution for GMB listings so you can reclaim your rightful ownership in a timely manner. In the event you end up dealing with an agency or consultant who won’t cooperate, you can verify yourself as the business owner by following a few simple steps.
- Navigate to Google My Business.
- Sign in to Google with the account you use to manage your business.
- Enter the name or address of your business, then select it from the search results.
- You may see a dialog showing part of the email address that verified the listing. If you manage this email address, sign in to that account to access your business listing.
- Fill out the form. The current listing owner may need to contact you for more info, so you won’t be able to submit your request without sharing your contact details with them.
- Click Submit.
- The current listing owner will receive an email asking them to get in touch with you, and you’ll receive a confirmation email. Check on the status of your request by clicking the link in your confirmation email.
- Allow a full 7 days for the current listing owner to respond to your request. If you don’t hear back after 7 days, you’ll be able to verify your affiliation with the business to gain access to the listing.
Just like that, a process which could have taken several weeks to months can now be resolved in no longer than 7 days.
Google Posts Now Available to More Businesses
Google Posts is a powerful tool which allows eligible businesses to publish text, images, videos, and events directly to the front page of search results. When users search for the name of the business or entity, the front page will display the latest Google Posts.
Google is slowly but surely expanding this feature to include more business types. Following an update this week, Google Posts is now available to musicians, museums, sports teams, sports leagues, and movies.
To start publishing via Google Posts, you first need to have a verified GMB listing. Next, if your business category is currently supported by Google Posts, you have to fill out an application.
If your business category is not currently supported by Google Posts, stay tuned for further updates because the company says it will continue to experiment with other types of businesses. Before long, we predict all business types will eventually be able to publish to search results pages using this tool.
Wrapping it Up
Mobile search is becoming even faster and more functional with the addition of shortcuts. Where paid search is concerned, exact match isn’t quite exact match anymore. Google advertisers can ensure their ads do not appear next to controversial content. Google has streamlined the process of reclaiming ownership of a GMB listing. Google Posts is expanding, so stay tuned for future updates because soon your business category may be supported.