News Round Up: Google Latest

Google’s next chapter for metrics to focus on clarity once ‘average position’ is removed

When AdWords was launched, one of the original key metrics was Average Position. However, this has lost its usefulness and will be phased out later this year.


What Does This Mean?

While Average Position used to be useful when ads would consistently appear in the same position, advertisers now compete for all slots on the SERP based on Ad Rank. Google also ensured that ads would only show in the organic results if they reached a certain threshold of relevance. So, advertisers have been using average position as an input to bid management strategies. Fred Vallaeys says “They’d do far better by implementing proper conversion tracking so that automated systems can set the right CPC bids for each auction to achieve the target CPA or target ROAS.”

Discover more here


Google tests ads in Assistant results

It appears that Google is currently testing ad delivery on the results of Google Assistant – the rival to Alexa/Siri/Cortana. This shift was inevitable and hardly surprising but could be an opportunity for businesses to reach customers when they are asking questions relevant to your product or service. Furthermore, it’s likely that there will be only one single ad result, resulting in higher CTRs. We’ll keep you posted on any official news from Google.


Google call-only ads getting ‘expanded’ with more characters

Google is giving its call-only ads an overhaul. Instead of a single 25-character headline, you’ll have two 30-character headlines. Plus, descriptions are increasing from 80 to 90 characters. The business name will also move to the description line. Here’s an example:


We recommend a lot of testing. If you have a recognisable brand name, the business name shift could have an impact. Learn from successes and failures on expanded text ads and ensure that every word encourages that call!


Google to kill off property sets within Search Console

Propert sets are poised to go at the end of March. Google Search Console owners have been emailed about this closure but you need to communicate the change to your managers and clients soon. Property sets was a method to allow one to combine multiple verified profiles into a single set. So if you have an http, https, mobile site, an app, etc all verified for the same brand in Google Search Console – Google would enable you to group them all together in a new property to see how well the property as a whole was doing in the aggregate.

Here’s the email, in case you missed it:

You can learn more on how it works over here

Google revamps Test My Site mobile site speed tool

Google first launched Test My Site back in 2016, and announced Monday that the site will be getting a revamp for mobile. Here’s what SearchEngineLand had to say about the new revamp:

What’s new? Within several seconds, the tool will generate a report to show you:

• The speed of both the entire site and of individual pages and whether the site or page speed is faster or slower compared to the prior month.

• A Fast, Average or Slow score for site speed or page speed and a benchmark report against competitor sites.

• The potential impact of site speed on revenue and a detailed list of recommended fixes to increase speed on up to 5 pages on the site.

• A complete report to download and share with your team.

Why you should care. Site speed has been a success metric for ages, and the growth of mobile only amplified its importance. Google cited The State of Online Retail Performance finding that a one-second delay in mobile load time can impact conversion rate by as much as 20 percent. Site speed tools like Google’s can offer directional insights on your site’s performance as well as suggestions for improving load times and, with that, user experience.

The Importance of Security on Your Website

This post is not about GDPR, we promise. But it is about web safety. Something you and your clients have a vested interest in – as business owners and consumers.

Internet users are more concerned than ever about web encryption, with so much personal information and transactions happening. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that more is being done to make us feel secure online. Effective from July, Google has been marking non-secure sites in the Chrome browser. So we expect SSL as default on websites and will think twice before using a website that is not encrypted.

“Installing SSL will see an uplift in organic and paid traffic, both because the search engines favour these implementations, but also because users feel more secure and are more likely to not bounce and even return in the future.”, says Jose Faria, Marketing Manager at Broadplace Advertising.

The change has been a long time coming, with Google pushing for web developers to switch to secure sites for some time – even incentivising them with rankings boosts. But now time is up for those who’ve lagged behind. And it appears that this is really just mopping up the remaining insecure sites.

According to Google:

  • over 68% of traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81% of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default


Securing Your Website

Again, according to Google, there are three main reasons why you should switch to HTTPS:

Data sent using HTTPS is secured via Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS), which provides three key layers of protection:
Encryption. Encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure from eavesdroppers. That means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages or steal their information.
Data integrity. Data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer, intentionally or otherwise, without being detected.
Authentication. Proves that your users communicate with the intended website. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits.

Updating to an HTTPs site from HTTP can be pretty laborious, depending on the size and depth of your site. However, there are plenty of website hosts and CDNs offering free certificates.

For a really comprehensive guide on SSL certificates, SearchEngineLand have one you can take a look at.

Google Removes Right-Hand Ads

So Google has officially pulled the plug on right-hand ads (also known as sidebar ads). They’ve been testing this for quite some time, but now it’s actually happening across the world. The cut-off day was Friday 19th February. As of now, Google will only be showing ads at the top and bottom of the search engine results page (SERP). This can change for searches that are highly commercial.
While the change is good for users, it does seem counter-productive for a company that makes its money from advertising – why reduce the ad space on a page? What does this mean for advertisers? Who can take advantage of the changes?

Google Removes Right Hand Ads – The Facts

Well, here are the cold, hard facts:

  • The right-hand space will still be used for Product Listing Ads and ‘Knowledge Graph Boxes‘ – learn more about those here.
  • Knowledge Graph ads will still appear.
  • 3 ads will appear at the top of the page (possible 4 for more commercial searches, with 3 at the bottom of the page. That’s 7 spots.
  • Things are about to get seriously competitive (and potentially expensive) for the top spots.
  • According to some sources the reasoning behind the change could be because Google have deemed the click through rate on Right Hand Ads too low, across many verticals, and so increased ad spend on other areas will make up for removing the right hand ads.
  • The change makes organic space even more important. To see Broadplace’s SEO offering, click here.
  • Because the right hand space will still be used for Product Listing Ads (Google Shopping), so eCommerce customers should take advantage and up their spend on PLAs.
  • Moz’s Dr. Pete Myers reported that their data went from less than 0.1% of tracked search results having 4 ads above the fold, to a massive 19%. SEOs are going to find that organic listings are pushed even further down the SERP, especially on commercially-popular searches like car insurance or hotels.


Google’s statement on the change said,

“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”


Anjay Ramanlal, Digital Manager at Broadplace Advertising, had this advice for advertisers:

“If you have a low/restrictive budget, it will be very difficult to be competitive in the future and you will struggle to get enough impressions to make PPC worthwhile. If you find yourself in position 4 and below consistently, things are about to get really tough. If PPC is already profitable, look at investing more where necessary. You can contact us today for further advice on this topic – even if you’re not already a Broadplace client.”


  On a slightly more amusing note, the Google AdWords twitter guys were taking in their stride the ribbing on social media from PPCers waiting for the official announcement:  

Anjay is available for concerned customers who want to talk through the ramifications of this change. Even if you’re not already a Broadplace customer, he’s happy to chat through what Broadplace intends to do to make things easier for its clients who may be effected by this announcement. Contact Anjay today at or on 07805 760 471.
impact SMEs right hand ads
Right Hand Ad Removal Impact on CTR

Call back form