google-doesn?t-have-an-?ideal?-page-speed

“[Optimizing for site speed] will never go to a point where you just have a score that you optimize for and be done with it,” said Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Martin Splitt on the October 30 edition of #AskGoogleWebmasters. Splitt joined fellow webmaster trends analyst John Mueller to field four questions on the topic of site speed, tools and metrics.

Ideal page speed. “What is the ideal page speed of any content for better ranking on SERP?” asked Twitter user @rskthakur1988.

“Basically, we are categorizing pages more or less as ‘really good’ and ‘pretty bad,’ so there’s not really a threshold in between,” said Splitt, advising that site owners should just focus on making their sites fast for users instead of fixating on an ideal page speed.

In terms of actual speed metrics, Google tries to calculate the theoretical speed of a page using lab data as well as real field data from users (similar to Chrome User Experience Report data), Mueller explained.

The best speed tool. “I wonder, if a website’s mobile speed using the Test My Site tool is good and GTmetrix report scores are high, how important are high Google PageSpeed Insights scores for SEO?” asked Twitter user @olgatsimaraki.

“In general, these tools measure things in slightly different ways,” said Mueller. “So, what I usually recommend is taking these different tools, getting the data that you get back from that and using them to discover low-hanging fruit on your web pages — so, things you can easily improve to really give your page a speed bump.”

The aforementioned tools are also meant for different audiences. “Test My Site is pretty high-level, so everyone understands roughly what’s going on there, where as GTmetrix is a lot more technical and PageSpeed Insights is kind of in the middle of that, so depending on who you are catering to — who you are trying to give this report to, to get things fixed — you might use one or the other,” said Splitt.

The best page speed metric. “What is the best metric(s) to look at when deciding if page speed is ‘good’ or not? Why/why not should we focus on metrics like FCP/FMP instead of scores given by tools like PageSpeed Insights?” asked Twitter user @drewmarlier.

FCP, which stands for first contentful paint, measures the time from navigation to when the first text or image is painted. FMP, or first meaningful paint, measures the time it takes for the main content of a page to become visible.

“It’s the typical ‘it depends’ answer,” said Splitt. “If you have just a website where people are reading your content and not interacting as much, then I think first meaningful paint or first contentful paint is probably more important than first input delay or time to interactive. But if it’s a really interactive web application, where you really want people to immediately jump in and do something, then probably that metric is more important.”

“The problem with the scores is they are oversimplifying things,” said Splitt, advising that instead of focusing on a score, “use the specific insights that different tools give you to figure out where you have to improve or what isn’t going so well.”

Imperfect speed metrics. “I am testing an almost empty page on #devtools Audits (v5.1.0) it usually gives minimum results which 0.8ms for everything and 20ms for FID but sometimes it gives worse results in TTI, FCI and FID. Same page, same code. Why?” asked Twitter user @ocurcelik66.

The acronyms above refer to the following:

  • FID – First input delay; which measures the time between when a user first interacts with your site (i.e., when they click on something) to the time the browser is able to respond to the interaction.
  • TTI – Time to interactive; the amount of time it takes a page to become fully interactive.
  • FCI – First CPU idle; the amount of time before there’s no longer any JavaScript or other work that needs to be done by the CPU.

“First thing’s first, these measurements aren’t perfect,” Splitt prefaced, adding that there will always be some noise in the measurements.

“Don’t get too hung up on these metrics specifically. If you see that there’s a perceptible problem and there’s actually an issue that your site stays working on the main thread and doing CPU work for a minute or 20 seconds, that’s what you want to investigate. If it’s 20 milliseconds, it’s probably fine,” said Splitt.

There’s no simple answer. “You can’t break down speed into one simple number — it is a bunch of factors,” said Splitt.

“If I’m painting really quickly, but then my app is all about interaction — it’s a messenger — so I show everything, I show the message history, but if I try to answer the message I just got, and it takes me 20 seconds until I actually can tap on the input field and start typing, is that fast? Not really. But, is it so important that I can use the contact form on the bottom of a blog post within the first 10 seconds? Not necessarily, is it? So, how would you put that into a number? You don’t.”

In the example above, Splitt highlighted the importance of selecting the speed metric that most accurately reflects how speed influences your user experience. Naturally, different types of content will require varying levels of interaction by the user, which is why certain metrics are more relevant than others.

Why we should care. Overemphasizing a particular metric, or even a specific speed score, may not be the best use of your resources as Google itself does not categorize speed in such a specific manner.

Knowing what you’re measuring will allow you to select an appropriate metric to reference and tool to use so that you can improve your site’s speed in ways that will improve user experience, as opposed to pumping up a metric that doesn’t have meaningful implications for the way users interact with your pages. As with all metrics, context matters.

For the latest coverage on site speed, bookmark our SEO: Site Speed section.



About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

google-to-stop-indexing-flash-content

Google announced it will stop indexing and ranking Flash content in its search engine. This means Google will no longer process content within Flash SWF files, either on websites designed fully in Flash or web pages that have portions of the page in Flash.

What is Flash. Flash was introduced in 1996 by Adobe as a way of producing richer content on the web and on computers. It was a very popular web publishing platform in the late 90s but as time went on, fewer and fewer browsers continued to support Flash.

What is changing. Back in 2008 Google first began crawling Flash files and a year later, Google got more sophisticated in how it indexed those SWF files. But it never really ranked content within Flash files all that well.

Google’s announcement. Google said, “Google Search will stop supporting Flash later this year.” Specifically, Google said “in Web pages that contain Flash content, Google Search will ignore the Flash content.” “Google Search will stop indexing standalone SWF files,” also Google added. That means Google won’t be indexing or ranking content within Flash web sites or Flash elements on a web page.

The impact. Google said, “most users and websites won’t see any impact from this change.” Apple stopped supporting Flash when it introduced the iPhone on those devices and the company may have been credited as killing Flash. As we said above, fewer and fewer browsers have supported Flash. Google said “Flash is disabled by default in Chrome (starting in version 76), Microsoft Edge, and FireFox 69.”

Alternatives. Google said you should look towards HTML5 and other newer forms of JavaScript. But Flash is something Google will stop working with for indexing.

Why we care. If you have a website fully designed in Flash or parts of your website’s content in Flash, and you depend on Google search traffic, you should really consider updating your website and stop using Flash going forward.



About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

welcome-bert:-google’s-latest-search-algorithm-to-better-understand-natural-language

Google is making the largest change to its search system since the company introduced RankBrain, almost five years ago. The company said this will impact 1 in 10 queries in terms of changing the results that rank for those queries.

Rolling out. BERT started rolling out this week and will be fully live shortly. It is rolling out for English language queries now and will expand to other languages in the future.

Featured Snippets. This will also impact featured snippets. Google said BERT is being used globally, in all languages, on featured snippets.

What is BERT? It is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.

It was opened-sourced last year and written about in more detail on the Google AI blog. In short, BERT can help computers understand language a bit more like humans do.

When is BERT used? Google said BERT helps better understand the nuances and context of words in searches and better match those queries with more relevant results. It is also used for featured snippets, as described above.

In one example, Google said, with a search for “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa,” the word “to” and its relationship to the other words in query are important for understanding the meaning. Previously, Google wouldn’t understand the importance of this connection and would return results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. “With BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word “to” actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query,” Google explained.

Note: The examples below are for illustrative purposes and may not work in the live search results.

In another example, a search for “do estheticians stand a lot at work, Google Said it previously would have matched the term “stand-alone” with the word “stand” used in the query. Google’s BERT models can “understand that ‘stand’ is related to the concept of the physical demands of a job, and displays a more useful response,” Google said.

In the example below, Google can understand a query more like a human to show a more relevant result on a search for “Can you get medicine for someone pharmacy.”

Featured snippet example. Here is an example of Google showing a more relevant featured snippet for the query “Parking on a hill with no curb”. In the past, a query like this would confuse Google’s systems. Google said, “We placed too much importance on the word “curb” and ignored the word “no”, not understanding how critical that word was to appropriately responding to this query. So we’d return results for parking on a hill with a curb.”

RankBrain is not dead. RankBrain was Google’s first artificial intelligence method for understanding queries in 2015. It looks at both queries and the content of web pages in Google’s index to better understand what the meanings of the words are. BERT does not replace RankBrain, it is an additional method for understanding content and queries. It’s additive to Google’s ranking system. RankBrain can and will still be used for some queries. But when Google thinks a query can be better understood with the help of BERT, Google will use that. In fact, a single query can use multiple methods, including BERT, for understanding query.

How so? Google explained that there are a lot of ways that it can understand what the language in your query means and how it relates to content on the web. For example, if you misspell something, Google’s spelling systems can help find the right word to get you what you need. And/or if you use a word that’s a synonym for the actual word that it’s in relevant documents, Google can match those. BERT is another signal Google uses to understands language. Depending on what you search for, any one or combination of these signals could be more used to understand your query and provide a relevant result.

Can you optimize for BERT? It is unlikely. Google has told us SEOs can’t really optimize for RankBrain. But it does mean Google is getting better at understanding natural language. Just write content for users, like you always do. This is Google’s efforts at better understand the searcher’s query and matching it better to more relevant results.

Why we care. We care, not only because Google said this change is “representing the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.”

But also because 10% of all queries have been impacted by this update. That is a big change. We did see unconfirmed reports of algorithm updates mid-week and earlier this week, which may be related to this change.

We’d recommend you check to see your search traffic changes sometime next week and see how much your site was impacted by this change. If it was, drill deeper into which landing pages were impacted and for which queries. You may notice that those pages didn’t convert and the search traffic Google sent those pages didn’t end up actually being useful.

We will be watching this closely and you can expect more content from us on BERT in the future.



About The Author



google-chrome-will-block-mixed-content-?-are-you-ready-for-it?

Recently, Google Chrome announced that they will soon start blocking mixed content also known as insecure content on web pages.

This feature will be gradually rolled out starting from December 2019. This should give website owners enough time to check for mixed content errors and fix them before the block goes live.

Failing to do so will cause poor user experience, loss of traffic, and loss of sales.

In this guide, we will explain Google Chrome’s mixed content blocking and how you can be well prepared for it.

Getting ready for mixed content block by Google Chrome

Since this is a comprehensive guide, we have created an easy to follow table of content:

What is Mixed Content?

Mixed content is a term used to describe non-https content loading on an HTTPS website.

HTTPS represent websites using a SSL certificate to deliver content. This technology makes websites secure by encrypting the data transfer between a website and a user’s browser.

Google, Microsoft, WordPress.org, WPBeginner, and many other organizations are pushing HTTPs as the standard protocol for websites.

They have been very successful in their efforts. According to Google, “Chrome users now spend over 90% of their browsing time on HTTPS on all major platforms.”

However, there are still many websites serving partial insecure content (mixed content) over HTTPs websites. Google aims to improve this situation by giving website owners a nudge in the right direction.

Why Google Chrome Wants to Block Mixed Content?

Google Chrome already blocks mixed content, but it’s limited to certain content types like JavaScript and iFrame resources.

Blocked mixed content on a web page

From December 2019, Google Chrome will move forward to start blocking other mixed content resources like images, audio, video, cookies, and other web resources.

An insecure HTTP file on a secure HTTPs webpage can still be used by hackers to manipulate users, install malware, and hijack a website. This jeopardizes your website security as well as the safety of your website visitors.

It also creates a bad user experience as Google Chrome cannot indicate whether a page is completely secure or insecure.

What Will Happen if a Website is Showing Mixed Content?

Google Chrome has announced a gradual plan to implement mixed content blocking. It will be implemented in three steps spawning over the next three releases of Google Chrome.

Step 1

Starting from December 2019 (Chrome 79), it will add a new settings option to the ‘Site Settings’ menu. Users will be able to unblock the mixed content already blocked by Google Chrome including JavaScript and iframe resources.

If a user opts-out for a website, then Google Chrome will serve mixed content on that site, but it will replace the padlock icon with the insecure icon.

Step 2

Starting from January 2020 (Chrome 80), Google Chrome will start auto upgrading HTTP video and audio file URLs to HTTPs. If it fails to load them over https, then it will automatically block those files.

It will still allow images to load over HTTP, but the padlock icon will change to Not Secure icon if a website is serving images over HTTP.

Step 3

From February 2020 (Chrome 81), Google Chrome will start auto-upgrading HTTP images to load over HTTPs. If it fails to load them over https, then those images will be blocked as well.

Basically, if your website has any mixed content resources that are not upgraded to HTTPs, then users will see the Not Secure icon in their browser’s address bar.

This will create a poor user experience for them. It will also affect your brand reputation and business.

No need to panic though. You can easily prepare your website to fix all mixed content errors.

How to Prepare Your WordPress Website for Google Chrome’s Mixed Content Block

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world among both mobile and desktop users.

Leaving your website with incomplete HTTPS implementation or no HTTPS at all will result in loss of traffic, sales, and overall revenue.

Here is what you need to do to prepare your website for these changes.

Move Your Website to HTTPS

If your website is still using HTTP, then Google Chrome will already be showing a ‘Not Secure’ icon when users visit your website.

Not Secure HTTP website

It is about time to finally move your website to HTTPS.

We know that changes like these can be a bit intimidating for beginners. Some site owners postpone the move due to cost, which is no longer an issue as you can easily get a free SSL certificate for your website.

Other website owners delay it because they think it will be a complicated process and could break their website.

That’s why we have created a step by step guide to easily move your WordPress site from HTTP to HTTPS.

We will walk you through every step and show you how to get that secure padlock icon next to your website address in all browsers.

Finding Mixed Content on an HTTPS Website

If you already have an HTTPS-enabled website, then here is how you will find mixed content on your site.

The first indication of mixed content issues will be visible in Google Chrome’s address bar when you visit your website.

If Google Chrome has blocked a script on your website, then you will see the scripts blocked shield icon at the right corner of the address bar.

Blocked mixed content on a web page

Google Chrome has already blocked the insecure content and that’s why the padlock icon on the left corner of the address bar will not change.

The second indication that you should look for is the info icon. This icon will replace the padlock if the page you are viewing has mixed content that Google Chrome has not blocked.

Unblocked mixed content

Clicking on the icon will show the notice that ‘Your connection to this site is not fully secure’.

Usually, this content includes images, cookies, audio, or video files. Chrome does not block those files at the moment and that’s why it shows this notice.

If your site has both icons, then this means your site is loading multiple types of mixed content files using HTTP.

Next, you need to find out which files are loaded using the insecure HTTP URLs. To do that, right-click anywhere on your website and select Inspect tool from the browser menu.

Console tool in Inspect view showing mixed content errors and warnings

Switch to the ‘Console’ table under the Inspect window to view page load errors. You’ll be looking for ‘Mixed content:’ errors and warnings to find out which files are blocked and which files are loaded using the HTTP URLs.

Fixing Mixed Content Errors in WordPress

There are two easy methods that you can use to fix mixed content warnings and errors on your WordPress website.

Method 1. Fix Mixed Content Errors and Warnings Using a Plugin

This method is easier and recommended for beginners. We will use a plugin that will find and replace HTTP URLs to HTTPs on the fly before sending it to user’s browser.

The downside is that it adds a few milliseconds to your website’s page load speed which is barely noticeable.

First, you need to install and activate the SSL Insecure Content Fixer plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Settings » SSL Insecure Content page to configure the plugin settings.

Secure Content Fixer plugin settings

Select the ‘Simple’ option and then click on the ‘Save changes’ button to store your settings.

Visit your website to look for mixed content warning errors.

For more detailed instructions, see our article on how to fix mixed content error in WordPress.

Method 2. Manually Fix Mixed Content Issues in WordPress

This method can get a bit complicated for beginners. Basically, you’ll be finding the insecure URLs across your website and replacing it with secure URLs.

We will still use a plugin to find insecure HTTP URLs on your website. However, you’ll be able to deactivate the plugin once you have changed the URLs, so this will not impact your page speed like the first option.

Let’s get started.

First, you need to install and activate the Better Search and Replace plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Tools » Better Search Replace page.

Under the ‘Search’ field, you need to add your website URL with http. After that, add your website URL with https under the ‘Replace’ field.

Better search and replace plugin settings

Click on Run Search/Replace button to continue.

The plugin will now run and find all instances of your website URLs starting with http and replace them with the https.

The plugin works on your WordPress database, so it will only change URLs for your content areas.

If the mixed content resources are loaded by your WordPress theme or plugin, then you will need to inform the theme or plugin developer, so they can release a fix for that.

For more details, see our complete beginner’s guide to fixing the common SSL/HTTPs issues in WordPress.

We hope this article answered your questions regarding Google Chrome’s mixed content block and helped you get ready for it. You may also want to see our guide on how to use Google Search Console to grow your website traffic, and the important marketing data you must track on all WordPress sites.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

google-announces-they-have-achieved-?quantum-supremacy?

Today, Google announced the results of their quantum supremacy experiment in a blog post and Nature article. First, a quick note on what quantum supremacy is: the idea that a quantum computer can quickly solve problems that classical computers either cannot solve or would take decades or centuries to solve. Google claims they have achieved this supremacy using a 54-qubit quantum computer:

Our machine performed the target computation in 200 seconds, and from measurements in our experiment we determined that it would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to produce a similar output.

You may find it helpful to watch Google’s 5-minute explanation of quantum computing and quantum supremacy (see also Nature’s explainer video):

IBM has pushed back on Google’s claim, arguing that their classical supercomputer can solve the same problem in far less than 10,000 years.

We argue that an ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity. This is in fact a conservative, worst-case estimate, and we expect that with additional refinements the classical cost of the simulation can be further reduced.

Because the original meaning of the term “quantum supremacy,” as proposed by John Preskill in 2012, was to describe the point where quantum computers can do things that classical computers can’t, this threshold has not been met.

One of the fears of quantum supremacy being achieved is that quantum computing could be used to easily crack the encryption currently used anywhere you use a password or to keep communications private, although it seems like we still have some time before this happens.

“The problem their machine solves with astounding speed has been very carefully chosen just for the purpose of demonstrating the quantum computer’s superiority,” Preskill says. It’s unclear how long it will take quantum computers to become commercially useful; breaking encryption — a theorized use for the technology — remains a distant hope. “That’s still many years out,” says Jonathan Dowling, a professor at Louisiana State University.

More about…

a-deeper-look-at-google-search-console-speed-reports

Google has experimental reports in Google Search Console for the new speed reports. We covered it when Google announced it back in May, but very few had access it then. Now, some of us at Search Engine Land, have access to these new experimental speed reports.

Larger roll out. Some people at the Search Engine Land team now see this new speed report listed under the “Enhancements” section. It is named “Speed (experimental).” Maybe Google has pushed out this report to more Search Console users?

The reports. Since we now have access, we wanted to share our reports from Search Engine Land’s web site.

Broken down by mobile and desktop and the number of slow, moderate and fast URLs.
You can isolate the slow URLs and see tips on how to improve these URLs.
Here is another view showing you the moderate speed URLs and fast URLs.
You can drill into each issue and Google will show you the individual URLs affected.
If you want to show off, Google also shows you the URLs that are super fast. Of course, you can use this to see what you are doing well and apply it to the slower URLs.
You can click on the URL and it shows you more details from PageSpeed Insights.
Here is another example.

Why we care. As we said before, speed is not just important for ranking in Google but also important for your website visitors and for your conversion metrics. Having this data within Google Search Console gives SEOs and webmasters a single place to go and see this information without having to go into the PageSpeed tools. In addition, this report gives you historical data on improvements or possible problems as they get worse over time.



About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

google?s-free-coding-tool-for-beginners-lands-on-desktop

Google is officially bringing its free coding tool called Grasshopper to desktop web.

Originally launched as an Android and iOS app in April 2018 under its Area 120 incubator initiative, it offers an easy option for beginners to get their way around the nuts and bolts of computer programming.

Since then, more than two million people have used the application to develop their coding skills, the company said.

Google is also using this opportunity to introduce two new classes specifically designed for desktop use: Using a Code Editor and Intro to Webpages.

The web client is intuitively designed, and it has a three-panel interface that resembles many popular code editors and IDEs such as Atom and Eclipse.

The left-most vertical panel is reserved for the program instructions, the center one to write the code itself, and the panel on the right to view the results of the execution.

Credit: Google

“Grasshopper students include stay-at-home parents, construction workers and factory machinists — people who don’t necessarily have programming experience, but who are interested in exploring coding as a career option,” Google said.

The internet giant already provides a wide array of ed-tech tools catering to “beginner-centered learning environment,” and Grasshopper’s desktop expansion is the latest to join that arsenal.

It’s worth noting that Grasshopper is far from the only code learning app on the market.

There’s Mimo, Hopscotch, Py, Encode, and Programming Hero — all designed with an intent to help understand basics and make programming fun. While Mimo is geared towards more advanced concepts, Google’s new web offering has the potential to set it apart from the other mobile-only players.

Read next:

France says hackers might go after supply chains after Airbus cyber assault

google-to-address-ad-frequency-with-machine-learning-when-cookies-aren’t-available

Google will be rolling out an approach to ad frequency control that doesn’t rely on cookies in Display & Video 360 over the coming weeks. The company said Tuesday that it plans to bring it to Google Ads in the future.

The feature uses machine learning to analyze traffic patterns when third-party cookies are available and build models to predict patterns when a cookie isn’t present. “This allows us to estimate how likely it is for users to visit different publishers who are serving the same ads through Google Ad Manager. Then, when there is no third-party cookie present, we’re able to optimize how often those ads should be shown to users,” said Rahul Srinivasan, product manager for ads privacy at Google, in the announcement.

Why we should care

Choose whatever metaphor you want, but the cookie has been crumbling for some time now. They aren’t supported on mobile apps and Google and Facebook have led the shift toward using deterministic IDs of signed-in users. This news is also a reaction to Apple. Apple has continued its push against cookies and ad tracking with regular updates to its Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) in Safari. ITP almost entirely blocks the ability of advertisers and ad networks to use cookies. These cases coupled with privacy constraints of GDPR and the upcoming CCPA have put a giant wrench in the system that Google and just about every other entity in the digital advertising industry have operated within.

Google is increasingly relying on models to inform how ads are delivered when it doesn’t have access to data it could once count on. Google is in an enviable position, however: the massive volume of data it’s still able to collect combined with significant investments in machine learning means it can make do with less.

More on the news

  • The company says it aggregates user data before applying its machine learning models, so no user-level data is shared across sites and relies on publishers’ first-party data.
  • The company also says the feature “respects a user’s choice to opt out of third-party tracking.” Google and other digital advertising companies have long ignored Do Not Track.
  • Chrome announced changes to the way it is handling cookies and fingerprinting in May. It will start requiring developers to specify which cookies are able to work across sites and potentially used to track users.


About The Author

google-adsense-publishers-can-now-turn-on-auto-ads-without-new-code

Google announced updates to Adsense Auto ads Tuesday designed to make them easier to implement and customize. AdSense publishers will be notified via email when the updates, which will be rolling out over the next several weeks, are live in their accounts.

No code needed to turn on Auto ads in any AdSense account. Auto ads, introduced last year, use machine learning to determine where and when to place ads on publishers’ pages. Originally, to use Auto ads, publishers had to place a code on their sites. Now, Auto ads will work via any AdSense ad unit code, so any AdSense publishers can now turn on Auto ads in their accounts without having to add any code to their sites. You can see your Auto ads settings in the new Ads > Overview page in AdSense.

More controls and reporting. To turn Auto ads off on specific pages or sections of your site, you can now add the URLs to the Page Exclusions list.

Google has also added a preview tool to see how the Auto ads will look before going live. Inside the preview, you’ll be able to delete specific ad placements. Auto ads will then automatically create a new placement somewhere else on the page for you to review.

An ad load slider allows you to control the number of Auto ads to show on your pages, and you can specify the types of ad formats that can get placed by Auto ads, including Matched content.

The reporting dashboard will now show manual ad and Auto ads performance comparisons.

Google also teased a new experiment type for Auto ads that it’s working on to see how Auto ads will look on your site and trial them on a segment of your traffic.

Why we should care. Google is building on its machine learning capabilities for ad placement optimization. While keeping user experience in mind, the combination of Auto ads and manual controls should result in more revenue for publishers. With the new side-by-side reporting on manual and Auto ads, publishers will be able to see if these new tools deliver on that goal.



About The Author

get-lead-scoring-data-right-in-google-analytics-with-google-tag-manager
Ruth Burr Reedy, VP Strategy at UpBuildisn’t seeing them convert like quickly enough. “Top of funnel marketing means you’ll get top of funnel leads,” said Ruth Burr Reedy, VP of strategy at digital marketing agency UpBuild, during a talk at our Martech Conference in Boston last month. Those higher funnel leads will, by their very nature, need more touches to convert to sales. “If the sales team is not expecting them, they’ll be unprepared to deal with them,” said Burr Reedy.

Expectation-setting is critical when marketing teams run higher funnel lead gen campaigns. To help marketers get a claear sense of how their campaigns are performing, the touches involved in converting certain leads and other insights, Burr Reedy laid out a framework for setting up lead scoring for attribution in Google Analytics. This can provide a better picture than what you get in your CRM. “Attribution in CRM can be really confusing and not snapshot of reality,” she said.

How to get started

First, talk to the sales team about how they qualify leads. “If you press them,” said Burr Reedy, “they’ll tell you they look at one or two dimensions — often title, company revenue or company size.” Then agree on the thresholds for those dimensions that qualify a lead as hot, warm or cold. Be sure you’re capturing these criteria in your forms.

sure they’re returning the data you want. (If you want to track fields from a dropdown list on your forms, Burr Reedy recommends Simo Ahava’s blog post for tips.) Of course, be very sure you’re not collecting personally identifiable information (PII).

Next, in GTM, create Triggers for each lead type — hot, warm, cold — and then Event Tags for each one.

set up, you’ll be able to get a much better picture of how these leads perform from within Google Analytics.

See customer pathing to understand how long the leads take to convert. Share this information with sales to help set expectations as well as get a better understanding of where you should focus your efforts by seeing which referral sources drive a disproportionate share of hot/warm leads that convert. You can also use this information to find on-page optimization opportunities. Look at landing page reporting in Analytics to see which pages drive hot/warm leads and which pages only drive cold leads.