Updated 10. March 2021 of Thomas Bogh

Google News: February 2021

Google News: February 2021

Every month we summarize both updates and news from the search industry. News which you should know about when doing SEO.

We therefore here give you an overview of the latest news from Google in February – and a lot have happened.

Algorithm news

First we’ll begin with news related to how Google’s algorithm works.

Google adds 12 new types of manual penalties

Google has added a great amount of new manual action penalties, which include actions related to Google News and Google Discover.

manual actions report

This means that it’s possible to get a penalty for not only Google Search but also Google News and Google Discover.

The new penalties include areas such as:

  • Adult-themed content
  • Misleading content
  • Dangerous content
  • Harassing content
  • Hateful content
  • Manipulated media
  • Medical content
  • Sexually explicit content
  • Terrorist content
  • Violence and gore content
  • Vulgar language and profanity

Read about all manual actions here.

Google takes action against websites with inaccurate pricing

Soon Google will begin to take action against domains having a different price at checkout than the price provided in Google Merchant Center.

The policy of Google Merchant Center is for retailers to keep consistency between the prices provided to Google and the ones offered to customers.

Read more about the inaccurate pricing here.

Google adds more domain information to search results

From now on Google will show more information to describe domains in search results. The goal is to help the users learn more about the sources without even conducting multiple queries.

domain info serp

The update adds a new icon in the top right corner of the search snippets. Google further says that most of the search results (not all) will have one of the cards attached. This will be based on whether the site has a Wikipedia page related to it.

Read more about the new information here.

Changes to Google’s reports

During February Google also made changes to their reports.

Google makes changes in Core Web Vitals reporting

Google changes the way Core Web Vitals is measured and reported for the benefit of website owners.

In future, the limits will be based on whether the number ends in <= (less than or equal to).

This means that a “good rating” will occur if you land on the exact limit number. Before, the number had to be below the limit to force a “good rating”.

Read more about the update here.

Google Analytics stops collecting YouTube data

In the future, Google Analytics will no longer collect data from YouTube channels. Historical data will remain, but new data will not be tracked.

YouTube ‘creators’ have always had access to more data in YouTube Studio. Therefore, the direct connection between Google Analytics and YouTube was more of a ‘nice to have’ that one could take advantage of if one was generally most used to tracking data in Google Analytics.

Therefore, from now on, YouTube Analytics will be the best source to stay up-to-date with information from YouTube channels.

Many will therefore be forced to learn a new tool: YouTube Analytics. See more about it below.

Google Search Console gets new Association page

Google adds a new Association page to the Search Console, which will contain all associations.

association page search console

Association pages refer to a connection between Search console property and properties in one of Google’s other services. This could be Google Analytics, for example.

The updated Association page can be found in the menu on the Search Console and will support the following:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads
  • Actions Console project
  • YouTube channel
  • Chrome Web Store account
  • Play Console app

By connecting the Search Console with properties / properties in Google Analytics you will in future be able to gain better insight in the organic search results.

Read more about the Association page and understand what it means to you.