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Nov072018

Google Search Console & Chrome 71 Notifies of Unclear Subscription Pages & Harmful Ad Experiences

Google is starting to display a warning to users when it encounters web pages with “insufficient mobile subscription” information such as unclear billing and subscription forms.

This will help people to decide whether they want to proceed to the page and sign up to mobile-based subscription services or go back in case they were unaware of these billing pages.

This feature will begin to function with the forthcoming update to Chrome browser with version 71 or higher starting in December 2018.

An example of the warning shown to the users entering unclear billing pages is like the one in the image below:

Google Chrome 71 Warning for Unclear Billing Pages for Users

In addition to notifying users through a warning, Google will soon start sending notifications to site owners as well to let them know when they have unclear billing pages.

The notification will be sent out via Google Search Console.

Site owners will be provided with an option to make changes to such pages to clear the billing process and submit an appeal through Google Search Console.

Once an appeal is received, Google will remove the warning after reviewing the changes.

Google says it will also contact site owners who’re sites are affected and are not yet verified in Search Console. And, will answer questions on the issue in its public support forum.

Site owners need not worry if their billing pages go through a clearly visible and understandable billing process as described in the best practices below:

  • Display users on what actions they will be charged for.
  • Billing information should be visible on all devices and should not be hidden or obfuscated.
  • Fee structure should be clearly understandable. It must Include information about fee amounts and billing frequency; for example, is the fee charged daily, weekly, or monthly?

Google notes, the new Chrome warning will not have any impact on a website’s ranking in Google Search.

What’re Unclear Mobile Subscriptions?

As an example a subscription page that requires users to enter their mobile phone details, without making them aware that a charge will be added to their next monthly bill of the subscription.

Here is an example image of unclear subscription page:

An example image of Unclear Subscription Pages

Google is making efforts to make users aware of such sites before subscribing to them with their phone numbers by providing them clearer billing information.

“We want to make sure Chrome users understand when they are going through a billing flow and trust that they’ll be able to make informed decisions while browsing the web.”

That said, when Chrome detects a page that doesn’t provide required billing information to users, the warning as shown in the top image will be displayed to the user on Chrome mobile, Chrome desktop and Android’s WebView, says Google.

Also, earlier this month, Google has announced that it’s upgrading on its last year’s set of user protections against “abusive experiences,” that are designed to mislead and trick users into taking action on the web.

The protections were designed to block “pop-ups” and “new window” requests from sites with certain abusive experiences such as redirecting pages.

Here is an example GIF that shows a close button but instead opens unwanted pop-up windows:

Chrome 71 Abusive Experience: a close button but instead opens unwanted pop-up windows

Google says because these protections didn’t do enough, so starting with Chrome 71, “all ads on some small number of sites with persistent abusive experiences will be removed.”

Site owners will be able to see if their site contains any of these abusive experiences that need attention can use the “Abusive Experiences Report” in Google Search Console.

Sites that are affected will have a 30-day window to fix the issues flagged by the Report before Chrome removes ads.

In other Search Console news, Google is testing a new way for site owners to add all data of a site’s subdomains, protocols, and subpaths.

To accomplish this, Google has created a new experimental web property called “Domain property.”

By just adding a Domain Property (a bare domain or subdomain without any protocol or path) to Search Console would also include all protocol and subdomain variations for a given domain.

Google explained it through an example stating,

“if you define a Domain property as “example.com”, it includes example.com, any subdomains of example.com (for example, m.example.com, support.m.example.com, www.example.com, and so on), as well as any subpaths in any of those domains, on both HTTP and HTTPS.”

Domain properties are currently in the experimental stage, available through invitation only.

Users who are selected to use Domain Property will be contacted via Search Console.

Check out this help page for more information on Domain Property here.

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