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Search Recap: Domain Licensing, GMB Updates, SharedArrayBuffer Warning

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6th April 2021 in

The search marketing industry is consistently facing updates and regulatory changes, impacting future strategy and planning. Over the past month, Google has released several updates with varying significance, including new Google My Business (GMB) features, Google News update, and a SharedArrayBuffer warning notification.

Read more about the top five recent search marketing news updates in the following recap.

1. New .au Domain Licensing Rules

Au Domain Administration (auDA) has released a new set of rules for .au country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) names coming into effect on April 12, 2021. These changes are due to impact the way website owners manage and acquire their domains. This update aims to consolidate and improve upon more than 30 policies and guidelines across licensing and registration of .au domain licences.

The most significant changes include:

  1. Stricter policies to prevent domain squatting,
  2. Stricter policies around transparency of domain ownership,
  3. Wider governmental powers for restriction of domains in special circumstances,
  4. Tighter restrictions on registering .au TLDs for foreign entities,
  5. Tighter restrictions on .org TLD registration,
  6. Changes to how and when state TLDs can be registered.

2. Google 2020 Ads Safety Report

Google’s recent publication of its annual Ads Safety Report discloses its protective response throughout 2020 by removing, restricting and suspending user accounts for breaches against Ads policies. The report explores Google’s main strategies to tackle the many challenges identified during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Google My Business (GMB) Updates

Review removal request

Google has introduced a new feature to allow businesses to better manage their reviews. The new tool offers the ability to quickly and easily report reviews that violate Google’s policies and track the review’s progress.

Local map pack menu highlight

Google has implemented a minor update to its local pack “justifications” to highlight menu items. This update has the potential to help drive traffic for relevant businesses based on specific keywords listed in its online menu.

Not Helpful Button

Google is currently testing a new button in its review tool for business listings. This added functionality could be beneficial for brands that receive frequent irrelevant customer reviews.

4. Google News Full Coverage Release

Initially launched in 2018, Google has recently introduced its Full Coverage SERP functionality. This feature utilises AI technology to present recommendations for news articles instantaneously whilst a user is browsing. Although this new addition may not be relevant for all stories at present, it has the potential to drive further reach and engagement for a brand’s content using SEO best practice overtime for trending topics. The rollout of this feature commenced earlier this month in the US and is expected to reach Australia in the coming months.

5. Google SharedArrayBuffer Warning

Business owners and marketers received the following notification from Google Search Console on March 19 regarding “new requirements for SharedArrayBuffers”, prompting significant concern and confusion.

Google published an article shortly after to provide clarity and explain the reasoning behind this type of notification. The SharedArrayBuffer is a JavaScript object that shares website memory space across threads.

Why did Google send out this alert? Although this is not currently a concern for website owners, this script has been identified by Google to impact website performance in its upcoming Chrome 91 release. To prepare for this, Google recommends reviewing your website for the SharedArrayBuffer and, if its application is unnecessary, removing and replacing its functionality.

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