This week: Google rolls out a new version of the Search Console, there’s a welcome change in PageSpeed Insights, and wait until you hear about how much voice assistant sales are growing.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Rolls out New Search Console
This past week, Google announced that a beta version of the new Search Console will be available to everyone.
Google expects to roll out the new version in the coming weeks.
As is usually the case with these kinds of rollouts, Google gives you the option to switch back and forth between the old version and the beta release.
What’s in the new version? For starters, you’ll have access to 16 months of data.
You’ll also see a new Search Performance report. That’s really not new, though, because it’s just the Search Analytics report with a different name.
The new report format is designed to help you find and fix any pending issues. Specifically, it helps you identify errors related to AMP and Job Postings markup.
Search Console will also provide you with information on how to fix any problems.
Google PageSpeed Insights Now Uses Data From Chrome Users
Google announced that its PageSpeed Insights tool now uses data from the Chrome user experience report. That means it will show you analytics from “real-world Chrome users who experience popular destinations on the web.”
In other words, you’ll get a read on how long it takes real users to load your page.
The tool grades your page load speed as follows:
- Fast – in the fastest third of all loaded pages
- Slow – in the lowest third of all loaded pages
- Average – in the middle third of all loaded pages
PageSpeed Insights also uses two categories to measure performance: Speed and Optimization.
The Optimization category reports the “old” score. That’s the metric on a scale of 0-100 that describes how well your site is optimized to load quickly on a mobile or desktop device.
The Speed category reports the “new” score in terms of Fast, Slow, or Average as described above.
Google Will Display Publisher URLs in AMP Cache Search Results
In a welcome announcement for many publishers, Google says that this is the year it will start displaying publisher URLs instead of Google URLs in the accelerated mobile pages (AMP) cache search results.
💥 You don't like https://t.co/tpOl8FTL7v URLs? Neither do we👊
And so we are making the changes to no longer need them while retaining the performance & privacy benefits of AMP.
Read this post for details & thanks so much for all the feedback! ❤️https://t.co/qdJmVfpSm5
— Malte Ubl (@cramforce) January 9, 2018
Google has already taken steps in this direction, but the company never rolled out a full solution.
Soon, that will change.
Malte Ubl, tech lead for the Google AMP project, tweeted: “You don’t like http://google.com/amp URLs? Neither do we And so we are making the changes to no longer need them while retaining the performance & privacy benefits of AMP. Read this post for details & thanks so much for all the feedback!”
That tweet was accompanied by a link to a document explaining the change.
Google Claims Assistant Is Now on More Than 400 Million Devices
Here’s a stat that’s sobering if you’re still blowing off optimizing your site for voice search: Google Assistant is on more than 400 million devices. That’s according to Google itself.
The company claims that Google Assistant is on devices like Android smartphones, headphones, TVs, and tablets.
At this time, though, Google isn’t saying how many Google Home Mini and Max speakers were sold in 2017.
So maybe the Big G is “fudging” its numbers a bit.
Sales of Voice Assistants Grew 103% in Q4 of 2017
Here’s another sobering stat related to voice search: sales of voice assistants grew 103% in the fourth quarter of 2017. That’s according to Adobe Digital Insights.
The research is based on sales data from more than a thousand U.S consumers.
According to ADI, more than half of consumers who own voice assistants use them at least once a day. Almost a quarter (22%) say they use them for shopping.
Moz Won’t Update Its Search Ranking Factors
If you rely on Moz to continuously update its search ranking factors, you’re probably out of luck. The company said that it has no plans on updating the survey.
It used to be the case that Moz updated it every couple of years.
Thanks Roger. I might do it solo on my own and publish 🙂
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) January 8, 2018
Some people have speculated that Moz is giving up on the survey as part of its cost-cutting measures.
All might not be lost, though. Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of Moz, tweeted that he might update the survey on his own.
Fishkin, you might recall, is no longer with the company.
Google: Too Many Folders Won’t Hurt Your Rankings
So your website has categories and sub-categories and sub-sub-categories? Don’t worry, that won’t hurt your rankings.
This past week, somebody on Twitter asked the Google Webmasters account about that very issue: “Can having too many sub-folders in the URL affect rank?”
Google Webmasters replied: “No, as long as the URLs work and are linked consistently, that should be fine.”
No, as long as the URLs work and are linked consistently, that should be fine.
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) January 5, 2018
Google AdWords Rolls out New Experiments Features
Google AdWords is rolling out two new Experiments features:
- Ad Session Length – tells you how much time people spend on your site after clicking on your ad
- Ad Balance Tool – automatically weeds out poorly performing ads from the rotation
Experiments will also now autocomplete when they’re marked “ready to complete” even if there’s no clear winner. You can still manually choose a winner during the next time period, though.
Google Will Drop AdWords Review Extensions
Google announced that it will drop the AdWords feature to show review extensions in ad copy.
Review extensions debuted in 2013. They’ll end later this month.
Going forward, you’ll have to find another way to use social proof in your online marketing.