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Search Recap: Google & Australian News, Google FLoC, Contextual links & iOS Privacy Update

Article by
15th February 2021 in

This year has already proved to be an evolutionary time for search marketing. Key industry figures like Google and Facebook have recently experienced significant challenges prompting major change.

The following recap outlines the key updates and insights from recent months in Australia’s digital marketing industry.

1. Google & News Media Bargaining Code

As many are aware, there is a significant debate underway between Google and the Australian Government regarding the free publication of news online. As it stands, Bing maintains second place to Google as Australia’s most favoured search engine. If Google draws back its offering alternatives such as Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo, Ecosia, and DuckDuckGo will simply take on the available market share. Businesses concerned about losing online awareness should consider optimising their website for alternative search engines. No matter the result of this situation, it is recommended that your website maintains a healthy ranking across all major networks.

Bonfire’s Head of Marketing and Sales Rene LeMerle recently published an insightful article exploring the News Media Bargaining Code and Google’s potential exit from Australia, read more here.

2. Google Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC)

Only weeks ago, Google announced the launch of its first-party data solution Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) for public testing in Q2 2021. The FLoC solution provides marketers with the ability to track users by grouping them based on their interests protecting the individual’s identity. Google intends for this model to drive the future of advertising measurement protecting user privacy whilst providing marketers with sufficient reporting and attribution data. As the need for first-party data collection rises, Google has requested advertisers step forward to assist in testing and identify any improvements to ensure the platform effectively guards user privacy.

3. Contextual links

In November 2020, Google SERP began returning contextual links in its featured snippet panel. The featured snippet offers businesses with high-visibility making its position exceedingly valued by SEO specialists. Presently, contextual links in SERP are still being refined and tested and only hold value for reference websites and sites with significant resource-style content. The introduction of contextual links has prompted considerable discussion in the SEO industry regarding the best optimisation strategy. Whilst the future for contextual links remains uncertain, SEOs are calling for better reporting and information to better understand its impact on CTR.

Google SERP Feature Snippet - Contextual Links

Google SERP Feature Snippet – Contextual Links

4. Google Web Stories

Late last year, Google introduced the Web Stories feature to its native mobile app on Android and iOS. Building open the vastly popular short-form stories found in popular social media platforms, Web Stories provides users with an interactive carousel series of relevant visual content. This feature can also be accessed throughout Google SERP on mobile, amongst other relevant visual and text-based results. Many businesses are employing this new content form to encourage website traffic however, Google reports that real value from this new feature comes from strategically designed content snippets to showcase value for further brand engagement.

Google SERP Web Stories Feature

Google SERP Web Stories Feature

5. Google Ads + iOS Privacy Update

As many marketers are aware, Apple recently announced its iOS 14 software update would include new privacy features for users. The update has caused significant anxiety for advertisers based on the predicted high-rate of users opting out of data collection permissions. Google has responded to the change in iOS visibility by encouraging marketers to utilise the newest version of the Google Mobile Ads SDK app and Google Analytics Firebase. The latest update of their mobile app will provide advertisers with sufficient tracking and data for Ads campaigns for future optimisation and management. Considering the everchanging nature of this situation, Google has provided marketers with a series of articles and educational tools to keep you up-to-date and prepared for new challenges.

Bonfire’s Digital Marketing Manager Gabe Mach recently shared his thoughts on Apple’s update and its impact on Facebook advertising, read more here.

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