Industry Update: Top SEO News & PPC News from September, 2020

Industry Update: Top SEO News & PPC News from September, 2020

Top Digital Marketing News for September

1. Google now uses BERT to for more reliable news

This year has been full of non-stop national and international events, including but not limited to,  natural disasters, civil unrest, COVID-19, and a Presidential election. With all of these major events unfolding, it is important for reliable news to be accessible and useful. With this in mind, Google has made changes and updates to Google Search in a continuing effort to provide relevant, fast, reliable, and unbiased information. 

What Has Changed?

Here is a brief summary of each of the changes and updates that Google has made over the past year leading up to now. 

Identifying Breaking News More Quickly And Reliably – Google has shortened the amount of time that it takes to detect breaking news. Breaking news queries can now be detected within a few minutes. In past years it could have taken up to 40 minutes. 

As news develops, google can give timely information that is also accurate and trustworthy. 

Fact check label – Fact checks are made visible in Search, News and Google Images by displaying fact check labels. So far, In 2020, the fact check label has been shown over 4 billion times in search.

Knowledge graph and Wikipedia – Google has worked closely with Wikipedia to provide additional protections against vandalism within Wikipedia. Google relies on information from  Wikipedia for use in knowledge panels and featured snippets so they have an incentive to make sure Wikipedia entries are reliable and accurate. Google is able to detect 99% of vandalism cases against Wikipedia and correct them quickly. 

BERT & Full Coverage For Fact Checking Google is now using BERT to make better connections between the information in new stories and available fact checks. BERT can better understand whether a fact check claim is related to the central topic of a story, and “surface those fact checks more prominently in Full Coverage”.

Autocomplete Policy Changes & The Presidential Election Google has also expanded their Autocomplete policies related to elections to “remove predictions that could be interpreted as claims for or against any candidate or political party”. 

They will also remove predictions that could be interpreted as a claim about participation in the election. Such as statements concerning: 

  • voting methods 
  • requirements
  • the status of voting locations 
  • the integrity or legitimacy of electoral processes

Google will still return results around these topics. The search engine simply will not autocomplete your query.   

Search Quality Raters and Guidelines – Google has more than 10,000 search quality raters around the world performing millions of sample searches. They rate the quality of the results according to how well they meet Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness standards.

Google feeds the feedback from the quality raters guidelines into machine learning models and engineers use the feedback to improve search overall.

2. Official Launch of the Bing Webmaster Tools URL Inspection Tool

Although it has been accessible since July 30, Bing officially announced the full launch of the Bing Webmaster Tools URL Inspection Tool on September 10. 

Key functionalities of the Bing URL Inspection Tool include: 

  • Index details –  Shows the index status and details of the URL. Includes information detailing when and where the URL was discovered, crawled and indexed. 
  • SEO details – This section provides details about SEO based errors and warnings on a webpage. It uses 15 SEO best practices to provide a detailed analysis of the errors. Furthermore, it highlights the corresponding in-code HTML and suggests steps on how to fix them.
  • MarkUp details – Checks for selected structured MarkUp languages and determines if they are implemented in a way that is readable to Bing.   
  • Live Check – This feature tests whether a page on a website can be crawled or not without requesting it for index. 

Although Google also has a version of this tool it may be a good idea to inspect URLs using the Bing tool as well. One tool may expose errors that were missed by the other. If you want to be sure that your website is indexed by both search engines without issues, then why not use both URL inspection tools?

3. Google Search Query Reporting Hides Some Searches:

Google announced it would update Search Terms reporting to only include search results for terms that were “searched by a significant number of users.” This decision leads to reduced visibility in the search query report, which shows what users searched to trigger your keyword (and fire your advertisement).

Changes to the Search Terms Report

This move is a disappointment for advertisers because they will no longer have a full set of data to base their decisions on. This switch also comes at a time when Google is including more exact match variants and Dynamic Search Ads are being used in more accounts. With exact match variant, Google tries to match words that are different iterations of your term. With Dynamic Search Ads, you use the landing page and leverage Google’s data to help create the best ad for the user without the use of keywords. Without being able to see the results, Google makes it trickier to cut waste out of the account.

This change means advertisers need to be more vigilant in monitoring the Search Queries that we do have visibility and to be aware of how many terms they are not being shown. You can see this through a script that was created by Optmyzr created that you can run to tell you what % of traffic goes to unknown clicks.

4. Facebook Advertising makes multiple changes throughout September

Ad Limit Policy Update

Facebook announced it will start limiting ads on a tier-based system starting in February, 2021. 

You can view what your limit will be and how many ads currently running by visiting Facebook’s ad limits section

Chart of advertising tiers

They made this move because ads don’t get enough air time to make it through the learning phase when companies run too many. In fact, Facebook states that 4 of 10 ads never exit the learning phase. Ultimately this decision was made to help reduces the time you will need for tests and frustration with ads that never seem to exit the learning phase. 

Image Text Ratings

20% Ad Text Overlay to be RemovedFacebook announced that they will be removing their 20% Ad Text Overlay policy. This change came to help reduce confusion as to why ads are getting disapproved when advertisers thought their ads should comply with the policy. The new criteria allow ads to get approved regardless of text levels, however the further you deviate the lower reach you may have. With this rule change, it will allow you to test various ads with different levels of text. While this may contribute to lower reach you can test if that ad has a higher conversion rate. 


Every week, the digital marketing analysts at Rocket Clicks round up the most interesting, exhilarating and dare we say controversial news to share with the team. We’ve collected the most notable digital marketing news stories from the month of September to share with you here! Contributors to this post include PPC Analyst Pete Von Rueden and SEO Antonio Ninham.