Don’t miss this roundup if AI SEO and Google’s recent updates have been on your mind. The guides, case studies, and news items we’ve got for you will catch you up on everything happening.
This month’s guides focus on AI and a recent change in Google’s algorithm. You’ll get tips on how to future-proof your marketing for AI, advice on how to incorporate AI chat into your SEO, and a breakdown of how to respond to a broad core update.
The case studies are next. First, you’ll learn how Google changes your searches, then you’ll learn what happened to one site when they experimented with removing content.
Finally, you’ll get some of the biggest SEO headlines of the past month. Google has announced another update and may have already started a different one. You’ll also learn about Google’s mobile-first indexing announcement and discover how a presidential executive order may impact your marketing tools.
How to Future-Proof Your Marketing for an AI-Centric Search World?
Rand Fishkin brings you his vision of how marketing departments may need to adapt to AI in the coming years.
He posits a hypothetical future where Google search results may look more like the output of an AI tool—with links and snippets replaced with generated statements that include information, advice, and possibly only a few tailored links.
There are at least a few reasons to believe this might be what’s coming, and he spends most of his analysis discussing how this new model might play out and how you need to adapt.
As far as preparations go, he argues you need to tie your brand to words and phrases people enter into search experiences so that it can be mentioned. If Rand is right, this may be the only kind of SEO that matters in the future.
Check out his full piece for tips on adjusting to AI-driven changes for SERPs in the next few years. Next, you’ll learn how you can adopt the AI chat technology that’s already here.
How to Incorporate AI Chat and Software into Your SEO Workflow
Katherine Waiter Ong brings you this look at where the current generation of AI chat tools belongs in your project development process. She has a series of ideas for how you can put these AI tools to work, including some she has already put into practice.
The detailed guide covers prompts that you can use in all parts of your workflow, including:
- Discovering topical gaps
- Choosing topics and subtopics
- Drafting meta titles and descriptions
- Finding internal links
- Improving copy
- Generating interview questions for content
- Creating social media posts
- Gathering data
She gives you plenty of alternate prompts for each task so that you can test them out on your own preferred AI Chat program. In the final guide of the month, you’ll get a broad core explanation that can help you troubleshoot site problems.
Google’s Broad Core Algorithm Updates: Important Points and Frequently Answered Questions for Site Owners and SEOs
Glenn Gabe provides a guide for site owners who are having a bad time with the recent broad core updates or those who just want to understand how core updates work on a deeper level.
He covers the major points, including what site-level quality algorithms are, how content is judged, and what makes content “quality.”
You’ll learn some recovery steps that you can follow to improve your performance next time. As he explains, improvements aren’t likely to be recognized until the next update rolls around. Take that time to implement some of the higher-impact improvements Glenn recommends.
He covers his “kitchen sink” approach to remediation and provides evidence for why he believes Google is looking for significant improvement over the long term. He advises you to look at content, UX, ads, affiliate setup, and technical SEO across your site.
Check out the complete guide for more information on playing the long game with broad core updates. For now, you’re ready to move on to the month’s case studies. The first has three different case studies on the impact of Google’s Search Generative Experience.
How Google Changes Your Searches (A Study of 10,000 Queries)
Dr. Peter J. Meyers analyzes over 10,000 results to tell you what’s really happening with your queries.
His analysis follows a recent wire article published (and then withdrawn) claiming Google was replacing searches with branded searches. Google has denied that charge, so Myers launched a case study into what they really were doing.
He tracked thousands of results and recorded how they were changed. He then applied his own analysis to the changes and their intent. From his results, he created several categories of the changes
- Transparent corrections (“Did you mean,” etc.)
- Minor modifications (without notice)
- Medium modifications (without notice)
Overall, he argues against bad intent on Google’s part. You can see his data and make up your mind for yourself. The next case study is a bit of fun, but it might have some real implications for site owners. You’ll explore what really happens to a rank when content gets deleted.
I Deleted the Content From Two Posts to See if They’d Still Rank. Here’s What Happened
Patrick Stox brings his personal experiment into removing content and its consequences. You might be surprised to learn this isn’t necessarily a death sentence for your pages.
He starts with an interesting reveal from Google’s John Mu. In it, Mu explains that it’s not necessarily Google’s policy to stop ranking pages that lose content. He goes as far as saying that Google may continue to show an empty page if it serves some relevant search purpose.
His simple test involved two old blogs with decent traffic. The content was removed on August 8th, and then restored on the 20th.
First, he found that Google was able to detect when the change happened. Traffic dropped immediately, but what he noticed was that most of the rankings only lost a few positions. The rank loss remained consistent, without growing worse over the course of the experiment.
He offers some final notes toward the end of the experiment. He argues that more testing will be necessary to understand the long-term effects. Additionally, he points out that a recent test to remove links had a similar outcome.
Now, you’re ready to catch up on the news. The first item is the announcement of November’s updates.
Announced: November 2023 Core Update
Google Search Central’s team brings you this news of several major updates, including the newest core update.
They acknowledge that this news will surprise some SEOs who didn’t expect another one so soon after the October update. This update will focus on a different core system than last month’s. They clarified that their guidance is the same for both updates.
However, as the announcement clarifies, this won’t even be the only update rolling out in November. In the same statement, Google confirmed that an update to the review system would also be rolling out.
With this announcement, they also said they will no longer give updates on review system changes. This will be because the updates are moving to a format of regular, ongoing changes rather than big rollouts.
The core update began on the 2nd of November. The rollout is predicted to take about two weeks. However, in many past updates, Google has exceeded these deadlines (sometimes by several more weeks).
The rest of the announcement contains some helpful resources on updates for site owners who may want to review information about what to do next. Another update may have also landed near the end of October. The next piece brings some data and chatter about it.
Google Search Algorithm Ranking Update October 25 (Unconfirmed)
Barry Schwartz brings you this analysis of an update that may have had an impact on some sites out there. It was not announced before it began acting on rankings, but drove some interesting volatility and a lot of chatter from SEOs.
The volatility that he was tracking began to spike around October 25th. Barry takes you through the major tools and what they detected. You’ll get to see the results from about 10 of them to get an idea of how the tools are measuring the action.
Barry also covers some of the active chatter from the SEO community. A number of SEOs responded that they experienced sudden drops or increases that leveled off over the day. Some reported the traffic spikes had also resulted in much higher conversions.
Ultimately, it wasn’t clear what had caused everything that had been recorded and discussed. This may have been an aftershock of the earlier update, or it might have been testing or preparation for the November update.
Google did have one major announcement to make just before October ended. On the final day of the month, they declared that the long-delayed mobile-first indexing had finally arrived.
Mobile-First Indexing Has Landed – Thanks for All Your Support
The Google Search team brings you the news that the trek to mobile-first indexing is finally complete. This process has been ongoing since early 2016. The final date was pushed back multiple times before it finally was declared complete with this statement.
Google included justifications for the change in their writeup, including data on the increasing numbers of users who use phones to access search. Their data reveals that some regions of the world are almost exclusively using phones now.
The team plotted out some of the ongoing work that is still happening to ensure that all sites are mobile-accessible.
Google confirmed there was a small but still relevant set of sites that do not work properly on mobile devices. Google is still crawling these sites with the legacy crawler but suggested the list of sites offered this privilege will be under review every year.
The team also announced that some changes would come to the Search Console due to the completion. Console users will no longer be able to access “indexing crawler information” from the settings page. This is because the mobile crawler is handling nearly all sites now. The “crawl stats report” is available to provide you with some of the old information.
The statement closed with a thank you to all the site owners who made it happen. The final news item of the month comes from the President of the United States office. A recent executive order may have major implications for marketers.
How Biden’s AI Executive Order Could Impact Marketing Tools
Matt G. Southern brings you this breakdown of a recent executive order on AI development and use. It may impact many popular AI tools used by digital marketers. The order is intended to do all of the following—
- Require that developers of the most powerful AI systems share their safety test results and other critical information with the U.S. government
- Develop standards, tools, and tests to help ensure that AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy
- Protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials
- Protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content
- Order the development of a National Security Memorandum that directs further actions on AI and security
Matt analyzed the order and the included statement from the President. His expectation is that this will result in some swift changes for tools. He predicts stricter audits and more comprehensive oversight for some of the rapidly growing AI tools, as well as possible competitive benefits for ethically-driven tools.
Check out his complete analysis and the order itself for more details. It is not often immediately clear how orders will be enforced, but if it means big changes for AI or SEO, you’ll be able to find more news and tips about it in an upcoming roundup.