The most comprehensive list of Google Shopping, PPC and SEO updates
Keeping up with the Kardashians is a far easier feat than keeping track of the multitude of updates Google makes every month across its Shopping, PPC and SEO offerings. Not only is it difficult, there is a real necessity to remain ‘in the know’ about these updates because, as search markets demonstrate, even one missed update can dramatically, and quickly, send you plummeting down from position 1.
This is why we’ve created the most complete list of Google updates for 2020 so far and expectations for 2021.
- February 4th 2021 – SEO Passages – Update – Passage indexing has been renamed passage ranking. With passage ranking, content will be extracted from webpages and served in the SERPs. Google has said passage ranking will affect 7% of search queries across all languages when fully rolled out globally.
- February 4th 2021 – Broad Match Modifier – Update – Google announced today that Phrase Match will cover the same terms as Broad Match Modifier from the 19th February and Broad Match Modifier will eventually be sunset in July 2021.
What this means: Broad Match Modifier and Phrase will be merged within your Google Ads account. This will lead to your keywords being triggered by a greater variety of search terms and, combined with the September 2020 search term threshold increase, could reduce the visibility and relevancy of your ads.
What to do: Use competitive intelligence tools to identify search terms to use as Exact matches, terms to be used as negative keywords and to understand the search term volumes in the areas you are active in.
- February 2nd 2021 – Discover Report – Update – The Discover Report in Search Console will now include data from Google Chrome. Your site traffic may increase in this report as more traffic is correctly attributed.
- February 1st 2021 – About Results – Update – A new menu icon will be added next to results pages. Users can click this icon to find more information about the company, extracted from Wikipedia. Where a wikipedia page is not available, Google will utilize other sources. In addition, security of connection will also be included and if a job search result, how the information was sourced will be included.
- January 27th 2021 – Buy on Google – Update – Disputed transactions, such as those around return or refund amounts, can now be raised via the settlement report in Google Merchant Centre.
- January 27th 2021 – Missing Energy Efficiency Class – Update – it is now required by law in the EU and Switzerland to include energy efficiency class information in Google Shopping ads.
- January 27th 2021 – Cross account bid strategies – Update – For both Search and standard Shopping campaigns, you can run portfolio bid strategies from your MCC account.
What this means: In your MCC accounts you can now run portfolio bid strategies, meaning you can combine multiple campaigns from different brands with different accounts to create a master smart bidding strategy.
What to do: Review how similar your individual accounts/products/services are and decide whether the time savings of portfolio strategies outweigh the potential for missed opportunities and terms.
- January 27th 2021 – Apple’s iOS 14 ATT policy – Update – Changes to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy will require developers to ask for extra permissions from users for advertising purposes. In addition to needing extra permissions, this new policy will affect reporting; iOS traffic reporting will see fluctuations and SKAN reporting may see modelled conversions.
- January 22nd 2021 – Mobile Search Results – Update – Mobile snippet results will appear further up on the page with fewer shadows and a greater use of colour. This new aesthetic will be rolled out over the following days.
What this means: Mobile snippets have had a major makeover, moving them higher up the page and more visually appealing. It is hoped by Google that users will be more inclined to engage with these updated results.
What to do: Ensure you have schema data on your webpages, review your organic positions for key terms and ensure that your on-site content reflects either these key terms or synonyms.
- January 14th 2021 – Sensitive Events – Update – Sensitive Events policy extended to include Google Shopping in regards to selling items which reference the candidates, the election itself and outcome.
- January 12th 2021 – Google News performance reporting – Update – Google News reporting has been launched in Search console and will aid in understanding user behaviour. Here you will find how many times your articles have appeared in Google News, how articles are performing for impressions and clicks as well as being able to segment this by country.
- January 11th 2021 – Index Coverage Data Improvements – Update – New improvements to the Index Coverage report in Search Console have been rolled out. These include removal of the generic “crawl anomaly” issue type, submitted but blocked has been replaced with indexed but blocked, indexed without content has been added as a new issue and soft 404 reporting is more accurate.
- January 7th 2021 – Smart Bidding – Update – From today, companies can exclude date ranges where conversions were not reported correctly or at all. This will remove these conversion averages from affecting auction bids.
- December 22nd 2020 – Similar Audience in Audience Manager – Update – Size of Similar Audiences will now be displayed in Audience Manager. Audiences sizes will only be displayed above 20,000 users for Search and 5,000 for YouTube.
- December 17th 2020 – AR Makeup- Update – Functionality to see the effect of different makeup colours and brands can now be viewed within Google Shopping, likewise via the Google App, consumers can now see what different makeup would look like on them through augmented reality.
- December 16th 2020 – Explanations for target CPA – Update – Explanations have been rolled out across target CPA search campaigns.
What this means: Google is increasingly expanding its AI capabilities. With explanations you can gain a very top-level view of performance for Smart Bidding, however thresholds for shifts being reported are not disclosed. Likewise, there is no current capability for Google to report on ad copy theme changes.
What to do: Review your current search intelligence platform to see if it is currently providing all the insight and intelligence you need to make the best business decisions.
- December 16th 2020 – Editor – Update – Google Ads Editor v1.5 has been launched. New tools for reviewing ad strength of RSAs, 6 additional recommendation types and image extensions.
- December 15th 2020 – Structured Data Testing Tool – Update – To ‘better focus’ the Structured Data Testing Tool, it will be migrated to a new domain serving the schema.org community by April 2021.
- December 15th 2020 – Name change for Shopping Actions and Surfaces – Update – Shopping Actions will be renamed as Buy On Google and Surfaces to Free Product Listings or Free Listings.
What this means: Buy on Google and free product listings have now been rolled out globally. With Buy on Google, consumers can buy your products directly from the search engine and with free listings, you will be allowed to have free ads which appear behind the paid ads.
What to do: Review your competitive space on Google Shopping to see if free ads have affected your position and competitor performance and analyse the impact on brand brand awareness where you are running Buy On Google and the user is buying direct from the SERPs.
- December 15th 2020 – Optimization Score – Update – From today, bidding strategy will be displayed beside optimization score to provide better context for suggestions, in addition to the top recommendation being highlighted.
- December 10th 2020 – Sensitive Events Policy – Update – The US election is now no longer considered to be a Sensitive Event.
- December 10th 2020 – Covid Vaccines – Update – Knowledge panels have been created for approved vaccines as well as information surrounding them gathered from authoritative sources.
- December 10th 2020 – Search Console – Update – There are 3 new updates to the Search Console. Users can now access fresh Performance Report data via the API, domain properties are now supported through the Sitemaps API and companies using external API libraries will need to update their API.
- December 7th 2020 – Improvements to Form Extensions – Update – Form extensions have been updated. They are now shareable across Search, YouTube and Discovery campaigns with 50 questions to ask consumers. In addition, Google has partnered with Zapier to add leads directly into CRMs.
- December 3rd 2020 – 3rd Core Algorithm – Update – Google releases core algorithm SEO update. These updates occur several times a year and are a rearrangement of ranking signals rather than targeting a specific aspect of SEO.
What this means: Key ranking signals have been amended and tweaked, leading to huge shifts in organic search position
What to do: Review where your and competitor sites rank for organic search terms and how this has changed month on month to understand the impact of the algorithm change.
- 2021 – Core Web Vitals – Update – Google announced Core Web Vitals are now a ranking factor, they are; Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) which measures page load time, First Input Delay (FID) which is the time taken between user first interaction and server response, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) which looks at looks at unexpected changes on pages whilst user is on them.
- 2021- Google Cache (Finance Product) – Intelligence – A new financial initiative is in the works for Google, partnering with CitiGroup, Bank Mobile, BBVA USA, BMO Harris, Coastal Community Bank, First Independence Bank and Stanford Federal Credit Union. The aim is for Google to partner with banks and financial services and to provide even more granular insights on the data, as well as new ways of selling checking accounts. This is suspected to go live in 2021.
- By the end of the year – SEO Subtopics – Update Google will deliver, by the end of the year, results not only related to user searches, but subtopics within that particular category of search.
- December 1st 2020 – Automatic Improvements for Buy On Google – Update – Non-compliant images for Buy On Google will be automatically amended, and promotional overlays removed, to improve appearance. Users will need to opt in to this via the Merchant Centre.
- December 1st 2020 – Discovery Ads – Update – Two new formats have been added for Discovery Ads. The first is a new 4:5 portrait aspect ratio to showcase products and services and the second, is lead form extensions where users can submit their details via Gmail. Forecasts for audience extensions will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
- November 24th 2020 – Search Console Crawl Stats – Update – A new crawl stats report has been rolled out on Search Console. This report will identify crawl errors and aid users in debugging issues.
- November 19th 2020 – Insights Page – Update – Insights has been launched in beta. This page is intended to provide broad analysis and recommendations for campaigns based on trends. There are only 2 report types to date but Google is expected to roll more out. This is available for paid search and google shopping.
What this means: Google is attempting to perform the function of a competitive intelligence tool, providing two new trends reports for users to utilize. This is currently in beta testing and the insights, in their current form, are too broad and mostly irrelevant.
What to do: Currently the Insights Page is still in its infancy. For vertical insights we recommend Search Intelligence Index reports to support you in understanding the biggest trends affecting your business.
- November 17th 2020 – Defect Alerts – Update – Order defect alerts can now be viewed from the Order page of Merchant Centre.
- November 17th 2020 – Smart Bidding Updates – Update – Google is rolling out new features for Smart Bidding. Previously you could only look at historic data for the last 7 days, but now Google will predict performance for up to 90 days in the future. In addition, there will be new keyword and budget optimizations recommendations for Smart Bidding. Average CPA and ROAS will now be surfaced through the campaign tab for both paid search and google shopping. By hovering over conversions in the campaign tab you can find out how many days are left for conversion reporting in a given time period. Lastly, Top Signals will be accessible via the Overview page and targets and names for shared campaigns can now be edited in the Shared Library.
- November 16th 2020 – Broad Match for Smart Bidding – Update – if you are using Smart Bidding strategies, Google will now make broad match modifier suggestions on the Recommendations page.
What this means: Broad Match has become one of Google’s priorities once more with a caveat: that it should be used in conjunction with Smart Bidding. However as search term thresholds have increased, Broad Match is still impeded by a lack of visibility around searches which triggered ads.
What to do: Use Broad Match sparingly as costs can spiral with irrelevant terms being captured. To manage it more effectively either utilize negative keywords or, alternatively, do your keyword research and slowly build up your exact matches to reduce costs.
- November 16th 2020 – Auction Insights in Report Editor – Update – A new predefined report has been created in Reports, where you can view trended auction insights across paid search and google shopping.
What this means: Whilst this new functionality will support users in understanding trended auction insights, key metrics such as competitor clicks and clickshare are still absent. Impression and outrank metrics are available and show views of ads but, without clicks, this information only tells you an ad was seen and not necessarily clicked.
What to do: Invest in an competitive intelligence tool which can provide both impression and click metrics, as well as which do not require ad spend in order to reveal named competitors.
- November 24th 2020 – Google Webmaster Central Rename – Update – Google Webmaster Central has been renamed to Google Search Central. Announcements, core updates and SEO guidelines have been consolidated and can now be found here.
- November 1st 2020 – Google Shopping – Update – 2 new performance metrics added for Google Shopping: Return Defects (anytime an item’s return is not processed within 2 business days of delivery at your return facility) and Delivery Defects (shipped on-time, delivered late) which has been broken out of Shipping Defects. For France only, after 4 months of below-standard performance your account will be suspended.
- Before the end of October – Google Shopping – Update – Free shopping ads extended to Europe, Asia and Latin America. Paid Shopping ads will still be available and will appear before free listings.
What this means: Whilst there is a great opportunity here for companies who have previously not advertised via Google Shopping, to try out and see for themselves how effective it is, overtime this could increase CPCs for paid brands.
What to do: Now is the time to review your products which appear in Google Shopping, to update your product descriptions with the most relevant keywords and review bidding strategy before long-term competition increases.
- November 1st 2020 – Googlebot Crawl HTTP/2 – Googlebots are now able to try downloading pages via the latest HTTP/2 protocol.
- October 30th 2020 – Ads Data Hub – Update – You can now link your Google Ads account to Ads Data Hub directly via the interface. With this functionality, you can share data across a whole suite of products, such as your first party CRM data with Google events data.
- October 27th 2020 – Real Time Campaign Alerts – Update – You will now receive real time alerts when creating your paid search campaigns. These will notify you of any impediments to launching your campaign, such as targeting an excluded location. In addition, your campaign drafts will automatically be saved, you can create campaigns from the overview page and can view disapproved ads there too. This will be rolled out across other campaign types in the coming months.
- October 27th 2020 – Sensitive Events Policy – Update – Update to advertising policy around posting ads which profit from ‘sensitive events’ such as health crises, natural disasters or elections. Heavy reference to ads which ‘exploit’ in some way the US elections candidates, the election itself or its outcome.
- October 29th 2020 – Reports Editor Update – Update – New functionality added to reports editor. The dimensions and metrics panel is now on the right, you can now search for the desired dimension or metric and chart icons have been added. In addition you can filter and sort data within a report and add a conditional format, to change colour based on a given value. Lastly you can add data fields to the report whilst it is still loading.
- October 29th 2020 – Maximize Clicks Sunset – Update – Maximize Clicks smart bidding strategy will be sunset from January 2021. Any campaign or budget using target spend with Maximize Clicks will be reverted to a daily budget.
- October 30th 2020 – Google Sheets Add-on for Google Ads – Update – You can now create custom reports in Google Sheets with this add-on. It is available around the world in english only.
October 22nd 2020 – Google Shopping – Update – Users can now utilize price insights, price comparison and price tracking when deciding on a purchase. From now on you can see where a particular price fits in the range of prices for the same product and can set-up price tracking to monitor shifts, drops and peaks in pricing.
What this means: Consumers can now find more information on the pricing of your and your competitors products, understanding the rises and falls and can compare pricing across multiple retailers of the exact same product.
What to do: With the user having this information at their fingertips, understanding what the best price point is as well as the right supporting, distinct messaging, will be the difference between success and failure.
October 22nd 2020 – Smart Shopping – Update – New Customer acquisition goal functionality for Smart Shopping campaigns, now you can add conversion value to optimize towards. There’s also a new aesthetic for dynamic display ads; name and logo can be added and shorter headlines. There’s also a new updated layout for carousel products. You can now add videos to Smart Shopping campaigns or have Google automatically generate them.Target and budget simulators are available for Smart Shopping campaigns, enabling measurement of how changes to your ROAS or budget, will impact metrics based on historical data from the last 7 days. Auction Insights added to retail category reporting. New Report Editor in Merchant Centre. Remarketing and conversion tags no longer necessary to set-up Smart Shopping campaigns.
What this means: Google is urging more and more advertising to use its Smart Shopping and Search options, by creating an improved aesthetic and new functionality for its products. However, as with Smart Bidding on search, Google’s new Auction Insights reporting does not provide clickshare for competitors.
What to do: Invest in a competitive intelligence tool which can understand the key terms, competitor click shares and more to compliment and improve your existing tech stack.
October 22nd 2020 – Google Shopping – Update – All eligible US retailers advertising on Google Shopping now automatically enrolled into promotions and approval time slashed from days to hours. On-sale filter added to Google Shopping interface. Extensions around contactless or curbside pick-up now in beta.
October 22nd 2020 – Journalist Studio – Update – Google has launched a new suite of tools for journalists. One tool called Pinpoint uses OCR and speech to text software to analyze mentions of people and places in scanned PDFs, images, handwritten notes, e-mails and audio files. The second tool, launched in beta, is The Common Knowledge Project which allows journalists to visualize large amounts of publicly available data.
October 16th 2020 – US Voting Locations – From today, American users will be able to find their nearest voting locations via Google.
October 15th 2020 – SEO Passages – Update – Passages in pages now a ranking factor for pages in search results and can now appear in a separate listing from pages in search.
What this means: Meta descriptions in SERPs are now for those in second place. Now, if you have the right content, you will appear above all competitors (except paid) and an excerpt of your content will be pulled out of the main body.
What to do: Optimize your content with the highest ranking search terms, ensure pages on your site are distinct and not cannibalizing traffic from each other and, to appear above all organic content, identify terms which show no ad and implement a paid ad of your own.
- October 15th 2020 – Google Lens – Update – Google lens can now translate over 100 languages and you can tap words to hear them aloud. In addition you can now use the google search bar and AR function to help solve equations and view and manipulate 3d images. With Lens, using Style Engine technology, you can also take picture of clothing or patterns and search via google.
- October 15th 2020 – What’s this song? – Update – On mobile you can now search for songs on mobile by humming the tunes.
- October 15th 2020 – SEO Search – Update – New algorithm for matching misspelled words to searches and pages; according to Google “this single change makes a greater improvement to spelling than all of our improvements over the last five years.”
- October 15th 2020 – Live View – Update – New functionality rolled out across Business Profiles across Google Search and Maps, telling users if businesses require you to wear a mask, if you need to make an advance reservation, or if the staff is taking extra safety precautions, like temperature checks.
- October 15th 2020 – Video – Update – New AI for breaking up videos into steps or chapters, so users can find the particular piece of content they’re after. In Google’s Words, ‘we’ve started testing this technology this year, and by the end of 2020 we expect that 10 percent of searches on Google will use this new technology.”
- October 1st 2020 – Google Shopping – Update – Retailers utilizing free ads whose product inventory is out of stock, but whose website state items are in stock, will have ads preemptively disapproved.
- September 28th 2020 – Gift Cards – Update – Gift cards can no longer be sold on Buy on Google.
- September 28th 2020 – Google Shopping – Update – New ‘additional countries’ feature to make showcasing your products in multiple places, easier. Pre-selected countries are also now appearing in feed.
- September 21st 2020 – Robot Txt. Open Source – Update – Two new functionalities for robot txt. tools. For robots.txt parser developers, there is a new testing framework and an official Java port of the C++ robots.txt parser has been released.
- September 10th 2020 – Algorithm Change – Update – During elections and other sensitive events, autocomplete suggestions will have tighter restrictions so as to show an unbiased view of results.
- September 10th 2020 – Autocomplete Policy – Update – BERT, an AI language model, is now used to fact check news results against available ‘fact-checking’ data to improve the accuracy of SERPs. In addition, Google is able to break news much faster due to improved intelligence.
- September 10th 2020 – Wikipedia – Update – Google now utilizing different tools to detect and protect wikipedia from vandalism as it is a huge source for knowledge graphs.
- September 9th 2020 – Google Finance – Update – Updated Google Finance for desktop and mobile. Now you can group stocks and put them on a watchlist, can add company events and later in the year, you’ll be able to model portfolios.
- September 4th 2020 – Text Ads – Intelligence – Users unable to create new text ads, suspected phase out of text ads. 18th September 2020 update – Text ads available.
What this means: A number of businesses were unable to create text ads through their Google Ads account, instead the only option was Dynamic Search Ads. The suggestion is that Google was trialling automated-only ads, ready to roll out in future.
What to do: With the potential removal of text ads in the pipeline, the keywords you target will play an even more important role in your search strategy than ever before. Ensuring the search terms you appear for are relevant, targeted and cost-effective is imperative in addition to removing irrelevant “close matches”.
- September 3rd 2020 – Google Ads – Update – Google Ads now integrated with TCF v2.0. Companies wanting to use Adsense now need explicit opt-in consent from users for ad personalization. Where consent is not given, users will receive non-personalized ads by default.
- September 3rd 2020 – Conversion Categories – Update – 6 conversions categories now expanded to 19. Expansion of categories intended to improve understanding of funnel objectives.
- September 1st 2020 – Location Extensions – Update – Ability to choose locations based on chains within Location Extensions.
- September 1st 2020 – Location Targeting – Update – Household income has been moved from location and into demographic.
- September 1st 2020 – Search Term Reports – Update – Threshold changes within Search Term Reports affecting visibility of search terms without ‘significant’ traffic.
What this means: Up to a third of your terms will be missing from search term reports and a fifth of clicks hidden.To find out more, and how you can combat it, head to our “Google Ads slash search term report visibility. What now?” response.
What to do: Now is the time to consider investing in a competitive intelligence tool, to see the low volume search terms you might be appearing on, paying for, but can’t see in Google Ads.
- September 2nd 2020 – Trend Searches for Researchers – Update – Searches in English and Spanish in the US around covid-19 and symptoms has now become a freely available dataset for researchers.
- September 1st 2020 – Invoices – Update – From the 1st November 2020, a 2% Digital Services Tax will be added to the monthly invoices of all UK companies using Google Ads.
- September 1st 2020 – Google Shopping – Update – Image policy infringement now at an item rather than an account level. Image promotional text disapprovals at an account level now overturned.
- August 31st 2020 – Google Images – Update – Changes to Google Images interface and filters. For results where the publisher or image creator has provided licensing information, there will now be displayed a “licensable” badge over the image as well as the ability to filter images by Creative Commons licenses or Commercial licenses.
- August 20th 2020 – SOS Alerts – Update – New wildfire map for US users, including where the location is, the size and tips on avoidance.
- August 18th 2020 – Activity Cards – Update – Activity cards for Shopping, Jobs and Recipes have been updated. Now previous searches will be recorded, recommendations based on prior searches for products or recipes will be made and even products viewed previously in articles will be suggested.
- August 17th 2020 – Performance Planner – Update – Plan your budget more effectively with new Performance Planner features. Now you can see performance on shared budgets and share/edit plans with colleagues.Lastly, if your conversion delay is longer than 7 days, this is now included in the reports.
- August 13th 2020 – Live Sports – Update – You can now see the live streaming options for sports within the US via google search. In addition, for television and movies, there will now be carousels for live entertainment options as well as on mobile, live and streaming recommendations.
- August 13th 2020 – Google My Business – Update – New free tools for Google My Business. There is a new performance page with consumer insights, you can now also create posts, reply to reviews, add photos and update business information right from Google Search and Maps.
- August 10th 2020 – Bug fix – Update – Bug which was affecting ranking has now been fixed.
- August 4th 2020 – Google Go – Update – Google Go, a lightweight search app, launched to support developing markets. Webpages read out loud, to aid language learning, more focus on trends rather than individual results, and set second language for results.
- August 2020 – Dishonest Behavior Policy- Update – Updated policy prohibiting the sale of spyware, GPS tracking without content, spying equipment and more.
- July 31st 2020 – Manager Accounts – Update – New in manager accounts: optimization score and recommendations.
- July 31st 2020 – ValueTrack- Update – Warning is ValueTrack parameters are present in url in link, mobile_link, and canonical_link attributes and, instead, use the ads_redirect attribute or a tracking template instead.
- July 21st 2020 – Editor – Updates – Google Ads Editor v1.4: Support for recommendations and local campaigns. Recommendations can be reviewed and applied across campaigns at scale and editor now supports local campaigns.
- July 15th 2020 – Buy on Google – Updates – Launched in the US, and 2021 for the rest of the world, Buy on Google for Shopping will enable users to purchase products on mobile without having to land on a company’s webpage. The retailer will however still handle fulfillment.
- July 15th 2020 – Smart Shopping – Update – Google launches new features for Smart Shopping Campaigns. You can now add a conversion value for new customers, new visual and discovery features and new ways to highlight product features like free delivery.
- July 15th 2020 – Responsive Search Ads – Update – new features for responsive search ads. Addition of location insertions to dynamically add where product or service is offered, countdown customizers for time-limited events or offers, recommended phrases for ad copy, cross-campaign asset reporting and new recommendations for RSAs which are underperforming.
- July 13th 2020- Shopping Actions Policy – Update – Advertisers will now no longer be able to sell downloadable software CDs and DVDs, however videogames will still be available.
- July 8th 2020 – Knowledge Graphs for Images – Update – Knowledge graphs now shown for images, to provide greater information and validation of imagery.
- July 7th 2020 – Overview Page – Update – Google releases three new features on their overview page. You can now apply recommendations from the overview page, optimization score has been added here and you can now download the overview page as well as individual cards within it.
- July 7th 2020- Manager Accounts – Update – Manager accounts are now available in the Google Ads mobile app.
- July 2020- Eligible Countries – Update – Product data submitted for primary country where there are other countries with the same language, with shipping and location targeting set up, will now cover additional countries.
- July 2020- Misrepresentation Policy – Update – Misrepresentation policy expanded to include phishing sites which mimic other brands or cannot actually provide products stated.
- June 25th – Business Messages in Search and Maps- Google My Business profile now able to integrate into internal client services software. What this means is businesses are now able to process consumer queries through GMB seamlessly with internal systems.
- June 22nd – Fact Checks for Video and Images – ClaimReview attribute now available for videos and images, ensuring third-party validation of information presented in Google Images and Video.
- June 15th 2020 – Product Data Specification – Update – Attributes for products have changed. Values for the installment and subscription_cost attributes now accepted for wireless products and services in only approved countries, new product_detail attribute to cover technical product details, product_highlight attribute added to allow spotlight on core functionality or selling point, details for sales_price annotations relaxed and now the base price must only have been active for any 30 non-consecutive days in a 200 day period.
- June 15th 2020 – Coronavirus Guide for Google Shopping – Update – Google launches a guide on how to manage Google Shopping campaigns and new policies through COVID-19. Temporary restriction on selling masks to non-healthcare workers. Government organizations, healthcare providers, non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations are allowed to run covid-19 ads. Prohibition of targeting audiences using coronavirus related content. New coronavirus FAQs.
- June 15th 2020 – `Coronavirus Guide for Paid Search – Update – Google Launches a guide on how to manage search campaigns through COVID-19.
- June 9th 2020 – Webspam Report – Update – A retrospective report looking at 2019 spam issues, trends and reports.
- May 28th 2020 – Bug fix – Update – Bug which was affecting ranking has now been fixed.
- May 28th 2020 – AMP – Update – AMP no longer required for pages to appear in Top Stories on mobile.
- May 28th 2020 – Anxiety Self-Assessment – To support mental health during covid-19, Google has unveiled anxiety self-assessment tests through google to help users identify and combat symptoms.
- May 27th 2020 – Local Business Support – Update – Support links for gifts cards and donations now rolled out to a further 18 countries.
- May 15th 2020 – Gallery Ads Beta – Update – Google announced that they plan to sunset Gallery ads beta in August, moving towards a bigger focus on Image Extensions.
- May 11th 2020 – Local Business Support – Update – New functionality for business profiles, where merchants will be able to add a donation link, gift card link or both to their profiles, through PayPaul and GoFundMe. This is available for the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
- May 7th 2020 – Think with Google – Rising retail categories tool added to Think with Google to provide daily data to businesses to understand changing consumer trends.
- May 6th 2020 – Covid Guide – Update – Google launches guide on how to “navigate your retail business through COVID-19 – Our new guide for retailers and brands provides tips and insights to help your business adapt to this dynamic environment.”
- May 4th-18th 2020 – 2nd Core Algorithm – Update – Google releases core algorithm SEO update. These updates occur several times a year and are a rearrangement of ranking signals rather than targeting a specific aspect of SEO.
- April 23rd 2020 – Call Ads – Update – Google introduces Call Ads with an optional website link. “To give your customers more flexibility in how they connect with your business, you can now include an optional “Visit website” link with your call-only ads. As part of this update, we’re also simplifying the name of “call-only ads” to “call ads.”
- April 23rd 2020 – Irrelevant SERPs – Update – Google has started telling users in the US, where search results are not particularly relevant and tips on how to reformulate search query.
- April 23rd 2020 Identity – Identity Verification Program – Update – Google announces they plan to roll out identity verification programs to all advertisers by summer. “Users should be empowered to make informed decisions about the ads they see online. That’s why we’re launching advertiser identity verification, a policy that requires advertisers to verify their identities for ads served through Google Ads.”
- April 21st 2020 – Google Shopping – Update – Google Shopping opens up to free product listings in the US. “Beginning next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online”
- April 1st 2020 – Monthly budgeting – Update – Google Ads ends monthly campaign budget test. “Advertisers were told, “Monthly budgeting will no longer be available as of April 2020. Your campaign budgets will automatically switch to daily then, or you can update to daily budgets anytime before April.”
- April 1st 2020 – Shopping Actions France – Update – Advertisers in France can now download EU VAT invoices from Shopping Actions.
- March 25th 2020 – Covid-19 Google Shopping – Update – New guides and tips published for managing Google Shopping during Covid-19.
- March 16th 2020 – Shopping Defect Rate Adjusted – Thresholds for Shopping Actions Retailer Standards performance goals changed for defect rate; now retailers have more leeway.
- March 11th 2020 – NHS Knowledge Panels – Get helpful health info from the NHS, right in Search. Users in the UK now have easier access to information from the National Health Service (NHS). Beginning this week, when you search for health conditions like chickenpox, back pain, or the common cold, you can find Knowledge Panels with information from the NHS website that help you understand more about common causes, treatments and more.
- March 10th 2020 – New Smart Bidding Strategies – Update – Use Maximize conversions and Maximize conversion value with portfolio bid strategies. Portfolio bid strategies originally were available for Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Click and Target Impression Share, but this has now been extended to Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value.
- February 28th 2020 – Selling Opioid Medication – Update – The selling of opioid medications is now prohibited on Google Shopping in the US and Canada.
- February 20th 2020 – Merchant Centre Products – Update – You can now add products listings directly from Merchant Centre rather than setting up a feed, however bear in mind that; it’s not available for local inventory ads, can’t be combined with inventory feeds, can’t be affected by feed rules and multi client accounts can’t do this.
- February 7th-12th 2020 – Algorithm – Update – General algorithm update, target of update not known.
- February 2020 – Market Insights – Update – Market Insights now available under Growth to offer retail data on price competitiveness, best sellers, position and benchmarks.
- January 23rd 2020 – Dataset Search – Update – Dataset Search has left Beta, now users have access to almost 25 million different datasets around everything from fast food locations to breeds of dog. Not all the datasets are free however and for some there will be a charge.
- January 22nd 2020 – Google Shopping OTC Drugs – Update – Pharmacies with certificates in Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, Portugal, and Slovakia will now be able to promote over-the-counter medications on Google Shopping ads,
- January 15th 2020 – Clothing in Search – Update – A new way to find clothes, shoes and more on Search. Search has always enabled users to find links to different products and stores, but starting today and rolling out this week in English in the U.S., you’ll begin to see clothes, shoes and accessories from across the web in one place on Search. This update only affects your mobile device.
- January 13th 2020 – Simulators – Update – Simulators added for budgets and Target ROAS bid strategies. Find the right Target ROAS level or the right budget level, by exploring simulator suggestions to apply to your campaigns.
- January 13th-20th 2020 – Core Algorithm – Update – Google releases core algorithm SEO update. These updates occur several times a year and are a rearrangement of ranking signals rather than targeting a specific aspect of SEO.
- January 7th 2020 – Google Ads Forum- Update – New Shopping Actions’ specific space has been added to Google Ads Forum.
- January 2020 – Connecticut Sales and Use Tax – Update – Updated policy regarding market facilitator tax in the US.