Welcome to our December 2023 SEO News Recap! In November, we shared the latest on recent core algorithm updates, AI-augmented search creating content for users vs. for Google, and more.
This month, we have the latest news on more algorithm updates, Bing Chat, how Google is using AI to understand videos, and more.
Jump to each December 2023 SEO News Recap news topic using the links below:
- The Last Reviews Update Is Complete
- Google Introduces Gemini
- New Robots.txt Report in GSC
- Video Mode Changes
- Bing Chat Becomes Copilot and Gets Upgrades
- Google Bard Can Understand Some Videos
- Google Is Cracking Down on Parasite SEO
The Last Reviews Update Is Complete
This system is meant to reward product and service reviews that feature original research and helpful content. If your website features reviews and was hit by this update, it may recover over time if you improve your content quality.
The update overlapped with the November 2023 Core Update and contributed to SERP ranking volatility through most of November and early December.
Google Introduces Gemini
In an important piece of December 2023 SEO news, on December 6, 2023, Google announced Gemini, its most powerful AI model to date. Users can see it in action now with Bard and soon in the Search Generative Experience (SGE) lab.
Gemini can understand text, image, video, and audio inputs in a more advanced way than previous AI models. It also can pause and “think” through an answer instead of giving its first impression, which makes its responses to prompts more accurate.
Gemini will be available in three versions: Ultra, Pro, and Nano.
Ultra is the “largest and most capable” version that can work on highly complex problems. Pro is made to work across a wide variety of tasks, and it is the version now implemented in Bard.
In 2024, Gemini Ultra will be accessible through Bard Advanced. This technology has the potential to be world-changing, and we highly recommend you watch the short video embedded in Google’s blog post announcing it.
New Robots.txt Report in GSC
Google released a new report in Google Search Console for robots.txt, which shows when the file was last crawled and any issues found.
The old robots.txt tester tool will soon be sunset. To find the new report, go to Settings > Robots.txt > Open Report.
If you’re looking for which pages are being blocked via robots.txt, you can see that information in the Page Indexing section of GSC.
Missing the old tool? Bing still has one, and a variety of other companies have built their own.
Experiencing Google Search Console errors? Read our blog on how to find and fix GSC errors on your site.
Video Mode Changes
Google changed their guidelines for how they index pages with videos.
Previously, a blog post with a video, a PDP with a related video, or a video category page displaying multiple videos could have each been eligible to appear. Now, a video on a page must be the “main content,” or else it won’t be shown in Video mode (the video tab on Google).
If your site has lots of videos, you may need to rework those pages so that videos are considered the main content. You should also have a valid video URL, use a supported video format, contain the video within the viewport, and make sure it’s not too small or too tall for the viewport.
Bing Chat Becomes Copilot and Gets Upgrades
On November 15, Microsoft announced the rebranding of Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise to Copilot.
For easy access, go to copilot.microsoft.com. At the time of this writing, chat.bing.com still works, but Jordi Ribas of Microsoft said on X that they will eventually merge the user experience of the two.
Just three weeks later, in a post celebrating Bing Chat’s one-year anniversary, Microsoft announced several upgrades coming to Copilot:
- GPT-4 Turbo: The latest model of ChatGPT will allow Copilot users to complete more complex tasks.
- New DALL-E 3 Model: This image generation model uses your prompts to create higher-quality and more accurate images than older models.
- Inline Compose with rewrite menu: Microsoft Edge users will be able to highlight text on a web page and ask Copilot to rewrite it.
- Multi-Modal with Search Grounding: Combining GPT-4 with vision and Bing image search and web data, users should get better results when using image search.
- Code Interpreter: Microsoft is developing and testing “a new capability that will enable you to perform complex tasks such as more accurate calculations, coding, data analysis, visualization, math and more.”
- Deep Search: Harnessing the power of GPT-4, “Deep Search expands search queries into more comprehensive descriptions to deliver more relevant results.”
Google Bard Can Understand Some Videos
If you use Bard within a personal Gmail account and with the YouTube Extension, you can now have conversations about YouTube videos with the AI assistant.
Bard can understand the spoken word in videos and answer questions about them. In Google’s example of recipe videos for how to make an olive oil cake, you can ask Bard how many eggs are used in a video, and it can answer accurately.
According to Google, the goal of this new technology is to give users deeper engagement with videos.
Google Is Cracking Down on Parasite SEO
If you’ve never heard of parasite SEO, you probably will soon.
Parasite SEO is basically defined as content that’s hosted on a third-party site for the purpose of the content producer’s own site to rank better. There are two types of parasite SEO; one is done intentionally with the permission of the host site and the other is done by hackers. Neither type is good for SEO because even the intentional version is a “black-hat SEO” practice.
In several threads on X, Google claimed that it’s cracking down on parasite SEO (a name it does not use internally, by the way). Google will consider content on a website that’s outside the main purpose of the site and appears to be created independently of the website to be parasite SEO.
The goal is to use the Helpful Content System to recognize and penalize those websites. However, that process is not quite ready yet.
In the meantime, if you’re a victim of parasite SEO created by hackers, there are some things you can do about it:
- Double-check access to your DNS and be ready to change the password. A hacker with access can set up a subdomain or subfolder and start creating content, and it could take a while before you realize it has happened.
- Ensure your CMS/ecommerce platform is up to date. As platforms recognize weak spots in their security, they may add patches or fixes to prevent a hacker from attempting parasite SEO.
- Investigate and take immediate action if you notice an unexpected, sudden surge in the number of pages indexed for your site in Google Search Console. It could be a sign that your site has been hacked.
Your site will suffer in the SERP rankings if Google thinks you are practicing parasite SEO. You’ll have to work to prove to Google that your website deserves a second chance, so it’s a good idea to stay vigilant.
Book a Meeting to Start Achieving Your Potential With SEO
That’s a lot of December 2023 SEO news! The organic search landscape is constantly changing, and there’s always something new going on. Even the most successful brands get caught off-guard.
What heights could you reach with a guide to show you the way? The SEO experts at ROI Revolution help businesses successfully navigate the path to profitable growth. To discover the difference of having a guide you can trust, book a meeting today.
- Search Engine Roundtable, Google November 2023 Reviews Update Completed After 29 Days.
- Google Search Central, Google Search’s reviews system and your website.
- Google The Keyword Blog, State-of-the-art performance.
- Search Engine Roundtable, Google Gemini, Next Level AI, Comes To Bard & Coming To SGE.
- Search Engine Roundtable, New Google Search Console Robots.txt Report Replaced Robots.txt Tester Tool.
- Search Engine Land, Google expands video requirements for “Video mode” where video must be main content of the page.
- Search Engine Roundtable, Bing Chat Now Named Copilot.
- Microsoft Copilot.
- Microsoft Bing Chat.
- Official Microsoft Blog, Celebrating the first year of Copilot with significant new innovations.
- Search Engine Roundtable, Google Bard Can Now Understand YouTube Videos.
- Search Engine Roundtable, Google: We Have Taken Steps To Deal With Parasite SEO & More To Come.
- Search Engine Roundtable, Google To Rename “Parasite SEO” In Near Future.