This week the world’s second largest search engine, Bing, revealed its top searches in an unconventional manner. Google’s algorithm has been adjusted to be less offensive, Search Console received a small but important update, a critical update is on the way for AdWords, and Google is shutting down a test program in order to make it better for everyone.
Details about each of these stories are included in this week’s SEO news update.
Changes to AdWords Ad Group Targeting
Google recently announced changes to how it will be targeting AdWords ads starting on January 18, 2017. From that date forward, all ad groups with no targeting method selected will be automatically displayed throughout the entire Google Display Network. That’s right, ads will just get served without any targeting whatsoever. Previously, ad groups without any targeting in place would not get served at all. That’s about to change, so make sure targeting is specified for all of your ad groups before January 18, or you could end up showing ads to completely irrelevant audiences.
Google Adjusts Algorithm After Being Criticized for Offensive Search Results
As a response to recent backlash against Google for returning offensive search results and autocomplete suggestions, which we have chosen not to repeat here, the search giant has made adjustments to its algorithm. Google has confirmed that it will be making an ongoing effort to prevent non-authoritative information from ranking high in search results going forward.
Google Updates Search Console AMP Error Report
Google has done much to promote the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), but has done comparatively little to assist site owners along the way. Little by little Google is introducing new ways to help people implement AMPs correctly. It started with a very basic error report in Search Console, then came the AMP testing tool, and now the aforementioned error report is receiving a notable update. Instead of grouping all errors into one report, it now categorizes them by critical and non-critical errors. A critical error is one that would prevent the AMP from being served in search results. A non-critical error is something that one should consider fixing but is not a priority. This should help site owners better identify errors in their AMPs going forward.
Google Contributor Program is Shutting Down
Google’s Contributor program is shutting down in the new year as the company revamps it to make it better for everyone. The Contributor program allowed anyone to make monthly financial contributions to Google in return for seeing fewer Google ads on websites. When a Contributor visited a site displaying Google ads, the site owner would get a small cut of the proceeds. So it worked out for everyone — visitors saw fewer ads, and ad publishers still got paid. However, Google wants to make yet undisclosed changes to the program, so it will be shut down in January and brought back when it’s ready to be launched again.
Bing’s Top Searches of 2016
It’s not often Bing makes it into our news updates, but we would be remiss not to mention the #2 search engine’s top searches of the year. Bing released its top searches of 2016 in most unspectacular fashion, especially compared to Google’s viral top searches video that captured everyone’s hearts. Bing decided to deliver a small slideshow separated into categories. The company did not release an overall list of top searches, just a handful of top 10 lists for a variety of feel-good topics. Categories include things like top celebrities, most anticipated movies, top tech, top viral searches, and others.
Major changes coming to AdWords, Google is actively trying to be less offensive, the AMP error report has been updated, Google Contributor program is shutting down, and Bing released its version of the top searches of the year.
That’s a wrap before the big weekend tomorrow. Happy Holidays everyone!