Pure SEO’s This Week In Search series takes a look at the top SEO and SEM news stories from the week.
This week Google launched 2018 Winter Olympics features across the web, changed its image size requirements for AMPs, made stricter rules for ticket resellers, officially launched the new Google Search Console beta for everyone, and added hotel bookings to search results.
Google Launches 2018 Winter Olympics Features Across Search Results
Google has launched its 2018 Winter Olympics themed features across the web. Searching for anything related to the Winter Olympics will now feature additional information such as number of medals won by a country and how a particular athlete is doing in their sport. There will also be a daily recap report in Google Search, as well as verified news updates by worldwide broadcasters.
YouTube will feature video highlights from official Olympic broadcasters – for the first time ever, people can watch the Olympics live and for free on YouTube’s Olympic channel. A new ‘sports’ category in Google Earth Voyager contains 5 stories that will take users to various key destinations of this year’s Olympics, and Google Assistant can answer questions about the Winter Olympics.
Google Enlarges Image Size Requirements for AMPs
According to a change in Google’s article guidelines for AMPs, images should now be almost as twice the width of the previous recommended size. Google has increased the image width recommendation from 696 pixels to 1200 pixels. In addition, images should contain a minimum of 800k total pixels and be presented in aspect ratios of 16:9, 4:3, and 1:1.
Google AdWords Tightens its Leash on Ticket Resellers
Advertisers that resell event tickets are facing stricter rules set by Google AdWords. New rules have been introduced because some ticket resellers have been ruining the game for everyone by inflating costs or making it unclear whether they are officially associated with an event or venue.
To increase transparency, ticket resellers are now required to be certified by Google. This way Google will have more information about the vendor reselling the tickets, including costs. To become certified by Google a ticket reseller must:
- Not imply they are the original ticket seller
- Make it clear that they’re a reseller/secondary marketplace
- Indicate that tickets may be sold above face value
- Provide the original face value of the tickets
- Provide a total breakdown of costs before the user enters payment information
The new rules are effective immediately.
New Google Search Console Now Available to all Sites
The new Google Search Console beta is officially available to all sites. Its most notable feature is the 16 months of data instead of the usual 3. Google will continue to test the new Search Console to see how users interact with it, so what we get now is not its final design.
One thing Google is still working on is migrating all data sets to the new Search Console. At present it does not contain all the same data as the classic version, but Google is working to remedy this and refine all other features of the new Search Console.
Google Adds Hotel Bookings to Search Results
Continuing its journey to enhance the travel search experience, Google has added the ability to book hotels from search results. Hotel searches will also let users filter prices in new ways and find amenity information much easier.
Google’s intention is to integrate Google Flights into hotel searches and vice versa, so users will be able to easily jump between the two. With the two services integrated, it will become possible to display hotel and flight options on the same screen when a destination is searched for. It will also allow Google to keep track of flight and hotel information in one place.