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Showing posts from September, 2019

AdSense launching "new and improved" Auto Ads that work through any ad code

AdSense is updating the functionality of Auto Ads so that they work through any ad code.  If you have enabled Auto Ads anywhere on your site, pages that only have regular AdSense ad unit code will now start showing Auto Ads.

The change will go into effect in late October (the deadline on the main card in my account is October 19, but on the review page it's October 20). Review the Auto Ads settings on all your sites before then to make sure your site continues to show ads the way you want.

Note for Blogger blog publishers: using regular ad units to display Auto Ads "may not work correctly" if used via a host partner website like Blogger.

More information: Introducing the new and improved Auto ads
Review the new Auto Ads settings To go along with the change in Auto Ads functionality, there are now more controls to customize Auto Ads in your AdSense account.

AdSense will try to match your current settings at that time, but it's best to check before the deadline, becaus…

Weekly Update - September 28, 2019: YouTube, Twitch, PlayPass

Raise a toast to Google, that turned 21 this week and to Unix, that turned 50. Both helped produce computers, smartphones and the internet as we know them today. This week there are updates for video creators and webmasters, we say goodbye to Google Bulletin, check out Twitch and Yahoo’s rebranding and much more.
This week Google announced Google Play Pass, a monthly subscription that lets you access apps and games without ads or in-app purchases. Like the recently launched Apple Arcade, it costs $4.99 per month, with a free trial period. And like the Google Play Family Library, you can share your Play Pass subscription with your entire family. If you are an Android app developer, check out the details on this new way to make money. YouTube introduced new comment filters in Studio Beta. In addition to improved keyword search, you can find comments without responses, look for questions, and see comments from your public subscribers or channels with a minimum number of subs. You can co…

Filter your YouTube comments by sub status, questions and more

YouTube is has introduced new comment search filters in YouTube Studio. The new filters let you find comments on your channel that you haven't responded to yet, questions, the commenter's subscriber count, subscription and membership status. You can combine filters to fine tune your search.

Also, comment keyword search will no longer be limited to exact matches to your search terms. For example, if you search your comments for "subs", the results will not only include comments with the word "subs", but also the words "subscriber" and "subscribers".

I think the new filters are quite useful, especially for channels that get a lot of comments.

But I also expect that the minimum subscriber count filter will get some criticism. It feels like it encourages elitism, giving channels with more subscribers special attention. Of course, in practical terms, it's probably politic to make sure more popular creators do get a response if they ask y…

Google Bulletin will shut down in two weeks, recommends Blogger as alternative

Google Bulletin sent out notices today that it will be shutting down in two weeks.

Bulletin was launched in January 2018 as a way for users to share hyperlocal stories with images and video as they were happening. It is a progressive web app, so there is no need to install anything on your mobile device to start posting.

There were a number of updates since its launch, including using AMP Stories so that the stories look great on the mobile web. The focus was posting events - community meetings, sporting events, neighborhood concerts, "wild weather" - as they were happening, although stories could be edited after the fact.
I created a couple of stories, received the swag you can see in the top photo, but never really got into posting.  There were two main reasons why I rarely used Bulletin:

I didn't want to fuss with posting while I was at a local event. I do usually take photos, but that doesn't disrupt my experience the way trying to create a "story" doe…

Customize your site preview in Google Search results with new snippet settings

There are now more tools for websites to customize your webpage preview in the Google Search Results.

When a page from your blog or website appears in the Google Search results, it will show a title and snippet. The snippet is a brief description that shows how the result relates to the search query. Google creates the snippet automatically from the web page content, including your site text; structured data for content like reviews, recipes, events; and meta description tags.

Google Search result for "verification" with snippet
Previously you could only indicate that there should be no snippet for a webpage. Now you can add code that helps specify what content to use in the snippet.

Learn more and get instructions for implementing these on your Blogger blog:.
Use the data-nosnippet HTML attribute to exclude text from snippetsControl Google Search snippets with a robots meta tagMore information A word of caution: only make changes if you are sure you understand the consequenc…

Weekly Update - September 21, 2019: YouTube, AdSense, Search

Autumn is approaching, the end of Q3 draws near, and the week has been lively with updates. There are new features for Google Fi customers, YouTubers, AdSense publishers and much more.
Google Fi announced a new Unlimited plan, including calls, texts and 22GB of high-speed internet for $45-$70/month (depending on the number of people on your plan). It includes free calls from the US to more than 50 countries, free data and texts while travelling internationally, and Google One membership. It’s a great deal for families or folks who use a lot of data. The alternative is the original Flexible plan, which costs $16-$20 for texts and calls, and $10/GB data (you only pay for what you use, and the maximum total cost is $80/month). You can switch between Unlimited and Flexible plans each billing cycle, at no added cost. If you are in the US and want to give Google Fi a try, click here to use my referral code, and we both get a $20 credit after you have used Fi 30 days.The past couple days hav…

YouTube revises changes to verification badges

YouTube has backtracked (at least a bit) on their plans to change the verification badge system in response to considerable concern and confusion from creators.
To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification. While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark. As I write this, we're working to address your concerns & we’ll have more updates soon. — Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) September 20, 2019 Today, after an apology from CEO Susan Wojcicki YouTube announced a change in plans:
currently verified channels (like mine) will keep their verification badgechannels with 100,000 subscribers can apply for verification via an improved review processreplacement of the checkmark badge won't happen until next yearsome channels that are "well-known outside of YouTube" may be "proactively verified" even if they have fewer than 100,000 subscribersYesterday YouTube announced substantial ch…

YouTube tightens verification eligibility requirements

September 20, 2019: YouTube has revised and reversed some of the changes listed below. See my updated post for details.
---------- YouTube is changing the criteria for verification to focus on "prominent channels that have a clear need for proof of authenticity". YouTube will automatically verify creators, artists, companies and public figures that meet the following criteria: A large audience and community on YouTubeWide recognition outsize of YouTube, with a strong online presenceYour channel has a unique name could be confused with other YouTube channels There isn't any way to request verification. 
Verified channels will no longer have a special checkmark badge. Instead the channel name will have a grey background to highlight the channel name.
YouTube says one reason they are making this change is that many viewers associate the checkmark with an endorsement of content, rather than identity. The new look will display across all platforms and "is more difficult to…

Add timestamps to your YouTube videos for Key Moments to appear in Search

Starting today, Google Search results will start showing "key moments within videos".
When you search for things like how-to videos that have multiple steps, or long videos like speeches or a documentary, Search will provide links to key moments within the video, based on timestamps provided by content creators. You’ll be able to easily scan to see whether a video has what you’re looking for, and find the relevant section of the content. For people who use screen readers, this change also makes video content more accessible. This currently is only available for Google Search in English.  \And I'm currently only seeing it in the Google mobile app, not on desktop.

For your videos to show up in Search with a "key moments" timeline, all you need to do is add timestamps to your YouTube video descriptions.

Timestamps are formatted as minutes:seconds, so if you discuss three topics, starting at 30 seconds, 2 minutes 10 seconds and 5 minutes 30 seconds, you would add …

AdSense changes behavior of responsive ad units - check your ad code!

AdSense has changed the way responsive ad units work to improve performance on desktop. They have also enabled more ad size combinations. These changes may require you to modify the ad code or the HTML of your site.
Responsive ad units automatically adapt the size of the ads to fit your page layout. It can adapt to different browser window sizes, from a large desktop window, to a tiny browser window on a mobile phone. And it can adjust the ad size when a phone's orientation is changed from portrait to landscape.

Now a responsive ad unit can resize the HTML container that it is within. That means you may need to modify either the ad code or your site to make sure AdSense can calculate the ad size correctly.
The ad code should not be in a container with a fixed or limited heightThe ad code should to be a container with a width set (or the ad code must be modified).Third party scripts executed before the responsive ad code may require you to specify the ad sizeRead on for more details…

Weekly Update - September 14, 2019: Blogger, Google Search, Photos

This week there are a heap of updates for bloggers, webmasters, YouTubers, business owners and much more.
If you use Blogger in Draft, you should see a “Try the New Blogger” button on the left menu. If you opt in, you can try out a new mobile-friendly design for the Blogger Comments and Stats pages. You can switch back to Classic Blogger at any time, so there’s no reason not to give it a whirl. I’ve written up an overview of the changes. Will there be more? The message you see after opting in says “Blogger is gradually introducing some fresh pages that work well on mobile. Keep an eye in the coming months as these are rolled out.” Google Photos now shows story-like “Memories” at the top of your gallery, with machine-learning curated photos and videos from previous years. Ane in near future you will see the photos and videos you’ve shared with friends or family - and that they have shared with you - as an ongoing private conversation (yes, another way to message on Google) making it ea…

Google Search will use nofollow, sponsored, and ugc link attributes as "hints"

Google has announced two new link attributes, "sponsored" and "ugc". Those, in addition to "nofollow",  will provide hints about what links Google will consider or exclude from search.

In 2005, Google introduced the rel="nofollow" link attribute as a way for bloggers to "prevent comment spam". Adding that attribute meant that "those links won't get any credit" when Google ranked websites in the Google Search results.

Google has also long recommended that sponsored or advertising links be given the "nofollow" attribute so they not be considered part of a "Link Scheme". And "nofollow" is used by bloggers and webmasters to link to sites they don't necessarily want to endorse.

There are now two new link attributes webmasters can use:

rel="sponsored" can be used to identify advertising or compensated links.

rel="ugc" can be used to identify links in User Generated Content, s…

Try out the new more mobile-friendly Blogger!

Blogger is finally getting a mobile-friendly interface! Starting today, you can try out the updated version of your blog's Comments and Stats pages by switching to Blogger Draft and opting in to new Blogger. The new design is cleaner, more modern, and responsive, so it works in any size browser window.
"Blogger is gradually introducing some fresh pages that work well on mobile. Keep an eye in the coming months as these are rolled out. To start, check out Stats, Comments, and Theme." Note: only the updated Stats and Comments pages are available today. Classic Comments Page Interface
New Comments Page Interface
To opt in, first switch your account to Blogger in Draft in your Blogger's Settings > User Settings.  You should see a big Try the new Blogger button at the bottom of the left menu. Click that to get started. (If you don't see the button, make sure you are on draft.blogger.com) You can see the new interface by clicking Stats or Comments on the left menu…

Weekly Update - September 7, 2019: Android 10, YouTube, AdSense

This week Android Q graduated to Android 10, YouTube announced new privacy practices for content aimed at kids and a new fashion hub, AdSense will require re-review of inactive sites, you can find more movies and TV shows in search and much more.
Android 10 was released for Pixel phones. It didn’t get sweet Q nickname, and the official statue isn’t quite as much fun as previous versions, but has some nice features, like device Dark Theme, new gesture navigation, better control over notifications, Focus Mode to silence distracting apps, and improved privacy controls.AdSense is now requires sites that are “inactive” for at least five months to be re-reviewed to display ads again. If any of your sites have been inactive for at least four months, you should see a notice on the Sites page of your AdSense account. You can reactivate a website by placing ads on it. If you do that before the five month deadline, your site will not have to be reviewed again.Fashion! Turn to the left. Fashion! …

AdSense removing "inactive" sites from the Sites list

Any website in your AdSense Sites list that does not show ads for 5 months will have to go through the review process again to display ads.

AdSense now shows a warning message if you have any sites in your Sites list that has not shown ads for at least four months.  That gives you one month to get ads showing again.

If your site does not show ads for over five months, it will need to be reviewed to show ads again.
Check if any of your sites are inactive in AdSense 1. Sign in to AdSense (www.google.com/adsense)

2. If any of your sites have not shown ads for at least four months, you should see a notification under the bell and a banner at the top of your account.

3. Click Go to Sites on the warning banner, or click Sites on the left menu.

4. The Sites page will have a box with a list of Inactive Sites URLs

Note: if you set up AdSense for your Blogger blog, then later added a Custom Domain, the old blogspot.com URL may be inactive. That should not be a problem as long as your Custom Dom…

YouTube will treat all "children's content" as if kids are watching

YouTube is making changes to treat all "children's content" as if a child is watching. That will affect the way they collect data, serve ads, and what engagement features are available.

Update November 12, 2019: YouTube now requires creators indicate whether their videos are "made for kids" or not. Learn how to update your channel or videos' Audience setting.

If you create YouTube videos that could be considered "children's content" upcoming changes may affect your channel. And if you are a parent, you'll be glad to learn that YouTube is finally acknowledging that younger kids aren't always using YouTube Kids to watch videos.
Starting in about four months, we will treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user. That means the changes will go into effect around the beginning of January 2020.

Here is what's changing on videos "made for kids":
YouTube w…
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