SEO news recap - Magnifying glass sitting on top of computer keyboard.

Welcome to our July 2023 SEO News Recap! Last month, we shared the latest on Google indexing mobile sites first instead of desktop versions, AI in search, how Google views videos, and more.

In this month’s update, we have the latest on ChatGPT, AI shopping features, building trust for Google Shopping, and more.

Jump to each July 2023 SEO news topic using the links below:

Google’s Email Notifications for Poor INP Scores Cause Concern

Google has introduced a new Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console.

The new Interaction to Next (INP) report will replace the First Input Delay (FID) report as a metric for responsiveness beginning in March 2024.

The report aims to show website owners how their sites are performing in terms of interaction latency. INP represents a page’s overall interaction latency by selecting the longest interactions that occur when a user visits a page.

Google is sending email notifications to site owners whose sites have poor INP scores. These emails have caused concern and confusion among site owners. It is important to note that there are no immediate changes, and site owners have several months to improve their INP scores.

INP is just one score among the core web vitals and page experience of Google Search. Danny Sullivan, a Google Search Liaison, advised:

While not all aspects may be directly used to inform ranking, they do generally align with success in search ranking and are worth attention.

Robot hand typing on laptop.

OpenAI’s “ChatGPT Browse With Bing” Feature Faces Legal Scrutiny

The browse with Bing add-on feature in ChatGPT has been temporarily disabled by OpenAI due to concerns regarding accessed and shared content behind paywalls.

This precautionary measure has been taken to uphold the rights of content owners while the issue is being addressed. According to reports from Windows Central, some users were able to bypass paywalls using ChatGPT.

OpenAI is actively working towards a swift resolution and the eventual restoration of the beta feature.

It is important to note that OpenAI is currently facing legal challenges related to copyright infringement and privacy violations, with allegations of unauthorized use of copyrighted books for AI training and data collection without proper consent.

The outcomes of these legal cases hold the potential to shape future privacy and copyright laws, potentially leading to financial penalties and heightened regulatory scrutiny for OpenAI.

Bing Expands AI Shopping Features

Three new AI-powered shopping features are coming to Bing, Bing Chat, and Edge.

Let’s take a look at each:

  • Buying Guides compile suggested products based on the category you’re browsing for, including product comparisons and specifications.
  • Review Summaries synthesize insights and popular opinions from real online reviews of a given product.
  • Price Match finds the best price for a product online, with the ability to opt in for notifications of price changes and drops on an item. This allows customers to reach out to retailers for price match opportunities or partial refunds on already purchased products.

You can view demos of each new feature, compiled by Barry Schwartz.

Smiling woman using smartphone and credit card. Young female making a purchase online.

Building Trust for Google Shopping & More

Google detailed four ways to build trust with your customers in a document recently posted to the Google Merchant Center. It says:

“Customers should feel confident about the offers they are browsing and the businesses they are purchasing from … The more we know about your business, the better we are able to represent you.”

It went on to explain four key principles to build that trust, including:

  1. Business identity: Make sure your business name is consistent everywhere, use an “About Us” page on your website, and include links to social profiles from your website.
  2. Transparency: Provide clear, useful documentation on your website regarding returns, shipping, and privacy policies, and be transparent about your business model.
  3. Online reputation: Ensure your website has product reviews and testimonials, as well as third-party awards and article mentions. Provide clear contact and customer support information.
  4. Professional design: Make sure your site is secure with an SSL certificate, make it accessible for all users, clean up broken pages and unnecessary redirects, and use real images and text instead of placeholders.

While this article was specific to the Google Merchant Center, these are all useful strategies for building trust and boosting the “T” in E-E-A-T.

In addition to earning your customers’ trust, it’s also important to gain trust from Google. To do that, check out this handy list.

Large Language Models & AI for Diagnosing SEO Issues?

Should you use large language models (LLMs) and other AI tools to diagnose SEO issues for your website?

In short, Gary Illyes from Google says no. He explained on LinkedIn that you should avoid using these tools for finding SEO issues or problems with your website.

While these tools can be helpful for a variety of reasons, they don’t actually know anything about your website. They also have limited data they’re pulling from. If you’re going to use data or advice an LLM or AI tool gives you, always check it and confirm it’s real and makes sense.

To learn more about using AI for SEO, read this blog.

Google Reminds SEOs to Create People-First Pages, 20 Years Later

The Google Search Liaison Twitter account tweeted a reminder to “Make pages for users, not for search engines,” a quote originally posted by Google in 2002.

Screenshot of a tweet from @searchliaison that says "Make pages for users, not search engines." -- Google, 2002. Our good advice then remains the same over two decades later. To succeed in Google Search, focus on people-first content.

This advice on how to rank well in Google Search goes hand-in-hand with more recent updates, like the August 2022 Helpful Content Update and the December 2022 implementation of E-E-A-T, which focus on providing web content that is helpful to the user and designed to fulfill their needs, not to play the algorithm game.

The Quality Rater Guidelines warn website owners not to “play tricks” like link spamming or presenting different content to search engines than what is displayed to users.

Semantic HTML Does Not Trump Relevance as a Ranking Factor

In a recent Ask Googlebot YouTube video, a user asked, “Does semantic HTML help Search identify and evaluate content?” John Mueller answered yes.

While pointing out that it’s not a direct ranking factor, he explained that HTML elements such as header and anchor tags and images placed near their related content can help Google understand a page.

In a discussion that followed on Mastadon, Mueller reminded users that no ranking factor is more important than relevance or interest to the user – once again reminding SEOs that helpful content is key to successfully ranking in the SERPs.

Consider a Soft Launch of a New Domain Before a Migration

Answering a Twitter question, John Mueller said that launching a new domain before migrating an existing site to it can reduce some internal and external risks.

He explained:

“This lets you test the waters a bit beforehand. Being in a position where you don’t have to do a secret overnight move makes life easier.”

Taking the time ahead of the full migration to test aspects of the new domain while it’s live can make the transition smoother for both Google and your site’s users.

Young man wearing a black t-shirt holding a phone in hand with a search bar over it.

Tying It All Together: July 2023 SEO News

The whirlwind of July 2023 SEO news isn’t out of the ordinary. The organic search landscape is constantly shifting. It’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of changes to the search algorithm and the way that content is prioritized.

The SEO experts at ROI Revolution are dedicated to staying up-to-date with all of the changes so that our clients are positioned to crush their competition.

What if you had a team of experts helping you improve your SEO based on all the latest changes? To discover the brand growth opportunities waiting for you through SEO, send a message to our team today.