And the 9th Google Update, November 2023 Reviews Update, was released on November 8th.
Will there be another update before the end of the year?
There could be one in December since the Reviews Update was only number 9 this year. 2022 and 2021 had 10 announced updates each.
Here’s a quick recap of 2023 updates:
4 Core Updates
3 Reviews Updates
1 Spam Update
1 Helpful Content Update
What’s next? Do we get a HCU or Spam in December?
Hard to predict. And let's not forget the possibility of an under-the-radar update that could still make waves.
AI has significantly disrupted Search. From Google’s own SGE and Bard to ChatGPT, Bing Chat, and others - Google is scrambling to catch up and protect their bottom line.
They’re going to make small and big adjustments to find that ‘happy place’ when it comes to revenues.
What can we do during the update? Nothing, other than play the waiting game.
But here’s what I’m NOT doing - making drastic changes during updates.
As with any update, I don’t make knee-jerk reactions and drastic changes on sites because any increase or decrease in traffic could be reversed with algo tweaks during the update.
As there's often pre- and post-update movement, the wisest course is to evaluate your sites, identify potential improvements, and hold off on any major shifts until the dust settles and your site's metrics stabilize.
In the meantime, why not prep for Black Friday?
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Google said a reviews update was coming and here it is!
Martin Splitt, joined by Gary Illyes and John Mueller from the Google Search Relations team, continue discussing the evolution of 'Steve', their fictional search engine.
They discuss the intricate process of enhancing and refining search engine features, balancing innovation with user experience, and the complexities involved in feature ablation (the gradual removal of features).
The conversation covers various aspects of search engine development, focusing on the user-first approach. They underscore the technical and strategic decisions made behind the scenes.
Steve Paine shares various "winners" and "losers" from the November 2023 Core Update, based on changes in their search visibility. Here are some examples:
Reddit.com - Saw a 22.90% increase in visibility.
Quora.com - Experienced a 15.90% increase.
Hopkinsmedicine.org - Increased by 11.10%.
Asos.com - Notched up 10.80%.
Goodreads.com - Improved by 10.70%.
Autotrader.co.uk - Dropped by 5%.
Marksandspencer.com - Also fell by 5%.
Dictionary.com - Decreased by 6%.
Nytimes.com - Lost 6%.
Tiktok.com - Reduced by 6%.
Cyrus Shepard highlights three pillars from DOJ documents on Google’s ranking factors: Body (document content), Anchors (web references), and User Interactions (user feedback, clicks). It also discusses the use of click data in Google's algorithm and the search team's efforts to keep ad influence out of organic results. Do take it with a grain of salt though because the documents are from 2016.
Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) now reaches over 120 countries and adding four new languages. New upgrades include easier follow-up questions, AI-assisted translations, and extended definitions in areas like coding and health.
Martin Splitt highlights Google Search Console's critical role in enhancing website performance. He covers five key features, including tracking page visibility and integrating with other analytics tools.
Brodie Clark explores how Google's search results now resemble an online store, complete with a default side panel filter. He offers five valuable SEO tips for on-SERP browsing in 2024, focusing on e-commerce sites. These include ensuring valid merchant listings, maintaining a high seller rating, optimizing image indexing and multi-image thumbnails, having effective shipping and returns policies, and using engaging favicons and site name representations.
Barry Adams discusses the SEO implications of user-generated comments on websites. He explains that while comments can enhance engagement and provide additional content for Google to index, they require careful moderation to avoid negative SEO impacts.
Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison, shares internal documents and examples from his process of compiling and presenting this feedback to Google's search teams. The article highlights Sullivan's efforts in addressing issues like helpful content updates, 'parasite SEO', and the challenge of creating user-centric content, providing a rare glimpse into Google's internal response to SEO community feedback.
Victory Umurhurhu offers a comprehensive roadmap, complete with clear workflows and practical tips, to effectively implement content strategies. The guide includes vital components like content format, workflow, promotion, and distribution plans, emphasizing the importance of detailed planning in achieving marketing goals.
Georgi Todorov breaks down the concept of topical authority, a key player in SEO strategy. He outlines a step-by-step approach for building this authority. Some of the key takeaways:
Topical Keyword Research: Start by exploring keywords related to your niche, aiming to understand the broader landscape.
Content Clusters and Topical Maps: Organize your content into clusters around pillar topics and related subtopics, creating a cohesive topical map.
Quality Content Production: Focus on publishing well-researched and authoritative content that establishes your expertise.
Strategic Internal Linking: Link related content within your site to strengthen the relevance and authority of your topical clusters.
External Authority Building: Enhance topical authority with contextual backlinks and a strong social media presence, alongside generating non-article content like e-books and courses.
Sofie Couwenbergh shares how to craft effective SEO content briefs to enhance online content. She emphasizes the importance of clear instructions for writers, covering key aspects like target audience, keywords, and page type.
Louise Linehan and Andrew Broadbent explore the pros and cons of content pruning for SEO. They get into its origins, risks, and the backlash CNET faced for deleting old content. The article emphasizes the importance of carefully considering content pruning and suggests alternative strategies like content consolidation and updating. Some of the key highlights:
Content Pruning Risks: Removing content can lead to lost internal links, backlinks, and topical authority.
CNET Case Study: CNET's large-scale content removal sparked debate over the strategy's effectiveness and potential harm to a site's SEO.
Balanced Approach: The article emphasizes considering alternatives like content consolidation over outright deletion.
SEO Community Insights: Experts in the SEO community share varied opinions on content pruning, underscoring its context-dependent nature.
Practical Steps: Offers a 3-step guide to content auditing, identifying updates, and deciding on pruning actions.
OpenAI's recent DevDay announcement brought a suite of exciting updates and new products for developers. Some of the key announcements include:
GPT-4 Turbo Launch: A more capable version of GPT-4, offering a 128K context window and reduced pricing.
New Assistants API: Simplifies the development of assistive AI apps with enhanced functionality.
Multimodal Capabilities: Introduction of vision, image creation (DALL·E 3), and text-to-speech technologies.
Enhanced Functionality: Improvements in instruction following, JSON mode, and function calling accuracy.
Additional Updates: Reduced pricing across many services, introduction of reproducible outputs, log probabilities, and updates to the GPT-3.5 Turbo model.
My Take: All these updates are game-changing. It’s not just a GPT-3.5 to GPT-4 type of update. The GPT apps, Assistants, and Multimodal capabilities are big. Not just for creating content, but they will also heavily impact many of the startups who have created apps built on ChatGPT.
OpenAI introduces customizable ChatGPTs (GPTs), enabling users to create tailor-made versions for specific needs. These GPTs can perform varied tasks, from teaching math to designing stickers, without requiring coding skills.
A GPT Store will also launch, showcasing user-created GPTs. OpenAI prioritizes privacy and safety in this innovative venture, aiming to enhance AI utility and societal adaptation.
I just got access to this and eager to see what I can do!
For Moz’s Whiteboard Friday, Alisa Scharf discusses the evolving role of generative AI in the world of SEO and content creation. She recognizes the skepticism surrounding AI but emphasizes its potential when used effectively.
She introduces the PARS framework developed at Seer Interactive, comprising Populate, Activate, Retrieve, and Scrutinize, as a comprehensive approach to integrating AI with SEO strategies. This method blends data, human insights, and AI capabilities to produce unique, high-quality content that aligns with brand and SEO objectives.
The report is a collaboration between iPullRank and MarketMuse, drawing on survey responses from 489 participants across various industries and company sizes. It reveals a growing interest in generative AI, although its integration lags behind the enthusiasm. Key takeaways from the article include:
High Rating for AI Content: 70% of respondents rate generative AI-created content at 4 or above out of 5.
Adoption vs. Policy: While two-thirds of companies endorse generative AI, the same proportion lacks a formal policy on its use.
Budget Constraints: A notable 60% of businesses allocate no budget for generative AI, with only 5% investing over $1000.
Rising Visual Content Creation: Usage of AI for visual content, including image and video generation, is rapidly increasing.
Need for Oversight: Around 10% of users do not edit AI-generated material, highlighting the need for more internal education on AI’s challenges.
OpenAI experienced a DDoS attack that resulted in periodic outages affecting ChatGPT, API, and other services.
Kristi Hines also explores the GPT Builder further and built her own Web Quality Analyst GPT for tasks like evaluating websites for E-E-A-T and generating topic ideas. Hines highlights the ease of customization, even for those less experienced in prompt engineering, and discusses the integration of third-party APIs and multimodal features for enhanced functionality.
Carl Franzen of VentureBeat shares early examples of third-party GPT applications, such as product prototyping and social media optimization, showcasing the tool's vast potential and ease of use.
Anne Moss emphasizes the dangers of relying on a single traffic source for web publishing businesses. Highlighting her shift from focusing solely on Google to diversifying traffic sources, she shares a comprehensive list of potential traffic platforms.
The list includes social media, content syndication, and collaboration strategies. Anne's approach encourages exploring multiple avenues to enhance visibility and reach for online content.
Aleksandra Beka Jovicic shares a comprehensive guide for businesses seeking the ideal influencers. She elaborates on various influencer types, from nano to mega influencers, and offers practical strategies to identify the right match for your brand. The article highlights the importance of aligning influencers with your target audience and how utilizing tools like Influencer Analytics can streamline this process, ensuring a successful marketing campaign.
The Semrush Team explores ten real-world growth hacking examples, including Dropbox's referral marketing and Airbnb's A/B testing, showcasing how these tactics can significantly enhance customer engagement and revenue.
Charles Floate presents his "-100 Days SEO Strategy" for effectively ranking new websites in Google. His approach emphasizes the importance of preparing each page of a website to attain the highest possible quality score before going live.
This strategy, based on Google's patents and real-world site launches, suggests that Google assigns a quality score to each page and the overall site, impacting how quickly and effectively a site ranks. Key takeaways from the video include:
Pre-Launch Preparation: Ensuring every core page (home, about, contact, blog, etc.) is of the highest quality and all categories have at least one post.
Quality Score Optimization: Focusing on improving the quality score of each page, which influences the site's overall quality score.
Staging Site Utilization: Building the site on a staging site to prevent premature indexing and ensuring all pages are ready for indexing upon going live.
Post-Launch Strategy: Implementing a topical content campaign with daily posts to leverage Google's freshness metric and increase crawl frequency.
Ongoing Maintenance and Expansion: Regular site audits, content expansion, and selective link building to strengthen the site's authority and reach.
My Take: I followed his strategy on my latest site launch with 146 pages on Day 1.
Zak Kann, founder of PeakSERP, details a methodical approach to understanding and recovering from different types of updates. Zach emphasizes the importance of analyzing search intent changes, identifying update impacts, and tailoring strategies for each update type. Some of the key takeaways:
Understand the Type of Google Update: Recognize whether it's a core, helpful content, spam, or review update.
Analyze Search Intent Changes: Determine if Google's search intent for keywords has shifted.
Site-Wide Impact for Helpful Content Updates: Focus on the overall site rather than individual pages.
Avoid Immediate Reactions to Updates: Quick fixes during updates can be counterproductive.
Learn from Competitors: Study changes made by successful sites to inform your strategy.
He focuses on how to use the PeakSERP rank tracker for analysis, but you can also use other rank trackers if they offer the same insights and data. PeakSERP is a low-cost rank tracker, so it won’t be a big hit to the wallet and offers great value for the features.
Matt Diggity debunks the overcomplication of SEO, emphasizing a more straightforward, effective approach. He underlines the importance of high-quality content, regardless of production method, and the need to satisfy both Google's algorithm and the reader. Here are a few key takeaways from the video:
Focus on Writing for Search Engines First: Prioritize SEO tactics to drive traffic before optimizing for reader engagement and conversion.
Understand and Match Search Intent: Align your content with the formats and styles of top-ranking Google articles for relevant keywords.
Content Structure is Crucial: Reverse engineer the competition's heading structure and content length to align with what's ranking on Google.
Topical Authority Matters: Establish your site as a trustworthy source in a specific area by creating comprehensive content on related topics.
Effective Use of Backlinks: Utilize both high relevance, high volume links, and high authority, low relevance links to bolster your site's trustworthiness and authority.
Yulia Deda dives into the world of SEO keywords, explaining how they're categorized based on length and intent. She covers short-tail, medium-tail, and long-tail keywords, explaining their unique characteristics and uses.
The WordPress 6.4 release introduces the Twenty Twenty-Four theme with 35 layout patterns, making website creation quicker and more intuitive. Enhanced editing and development features, along with over 100 performance improvements, offer a smoother user experience.
A day or two after, an update was sent out 6.4.1 too, so make sure you’re updated to that if you’re not yet.
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