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Welcome to your May 2023 SEO News Recap! Last month, we shared the latest news about AI and SEO, the impacts of a core update from March, a change coming to attribution models in GA4, and more. In this month’s SEO news update, we have the latest on Google and Bing’s AI advancements, upcoming changes regarding helpful content, an update about GA4 that is likely to bring a smile to many marketers’ faces, and more.

Google Reviews Update Completed on April 25, 2023

The most recent Reviews update from Google started on April 12 and took about 13 days to fully roll out. Originally called the Product Reviews Update, the difference with the latest update (and all future Reviews updates) is that Google now considers reviews of all types, including products, destinations, services, and media.

If your website offers reviews of any kind, be sure to read the updated information from Google to ensure your content is in line with Google’s expectations.

Microsoft Announces New Bing Chat Features, Kills Waitlist

About 90 days after first launching Bing Chat, Microsoft opened Bing Chat to everyone and announced new features in an early May event. To access Bing Chat, all you need to do is download the most recent version of Edge and sign in with your Microsoft account.

In addition to killing the waitlist, Microsoft has added new features to Bing Chat, including:

  • More images, charts, videos, and graphs included in answers
  • Making image creator available in over 100 languages
  • The ability to save and export your chat history
  • Improved formatting of answers, including math formulas
  • The ability to upload an image and ask for more information about it

Microsoft also announced it will introduce third-party plugins, turning Bing into a platform for developers.

Less than two weeks after the event, some of the updates to Bing Chat went live, including image knowledge cards, chat history export, and visually optimized answers.

Google Presents the Future of Search and Improvements to Bard

Not to be outdone by Bing, Google made big announcements of its own at the annual Google I/O event and in the days that followed. Here are some of the highlights.

Applying generative AI to enhance search results: When appropriate, Google will show AI-generated answers to user queries. The answers will show as a box of information on the page with the text answer on the left and clickable image links on the upper right.

Below the text, there will be options to ask a follow-up question or buttons for additional, more specific information. Those buttons will take you to additional information that builds on the original query.

Google is calling this Search Generative Experience (SGE). It’s currently available in Google Labs on Chrome, in English only.

Vertical Search with AI: Building the new answers experience, Google will also be able to pull shoppable products from the 35 billion product listings in the Google Shopping Graph. Keeping your product information up to date will be even more important when this new feature is rolled out.

The Perspectives feature: More on this in the next section about page experience, helpful content, and EEAT!

Google will steer clear of answers related to Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) topics and is expanding that definition to include civic information. Instead, the SGE will answer “safer” queries where responses can be more fluid and potential hallucinations (defined as AI-generated, made-up information) won’t be detrimental.

Another update announced at I/O is that Bard will become more visual. Knowledge graph answers will show images. Maps will be incorporated, and you can use Google Lens to upload a picture and ask Bard for captions. Plus, the Bard waitlist is no more; everyone has access now.

As Microsoft/Bing and Google go head-to-head, rolling out advancements in AI-generated answers, the ROI Revolution SEO team will continue to stay on top of new developments and keep our clients (and the ROI Revolution blog) up-to-date on best practices.

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Google Releases Flurry of Information on Page Experience, Helpful Content, & EEAT

In the last month, Google has provided a wealth of information hinting at how SERPs will change in the coming months, starting with a Search Central blog post on April 19th. That post explains that the page experience guidance (including Core Web Vitals) is changing along with the Search Console reports associated with them.

The post says:

“The Page Experience report within Search Console will transform into a new page that links to our general guidance about page experience, along with a dashboard-view of the individual Core Web Vitals and HTTPS reports that will remain in Search Console.”

Core Web Vitals and mobile usability are still important factors in how Google determines page rank on the SERPs, but they are part of a bigger picture that includes writing helpful content for people as opposed to search-engine-first content.

In early May, Search Liaison Danny Sullivan reiterated on Twitter that there is no EEAT (expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) algorithm, but Google uses a combination of factors to determine if a page demonstrates EEAT and provides useful information to the reader.

Helpful, people-first content continues to grow in importance for visibility in the SERPs. Just two days after Sullivan’s Twitter thread, Google said there will be another update to the Helpful Content system that will focus on “content created from a personal or expert point of view.” The update is expected to help Google surface “hidden gems” from across the web that may include pages from little-known blogs or websites.

All this information seemed to lead to the May 10th announcement of a new filter feature called Perspectives on Google’s results pages that should be available to everyone soon. The way it works is this: When a user enters a query that would benefit from the wisdom of first-hand experience, they’ll see the Perspectives filter as an option. Clicking on it will show results from a variety of sources that could range from blog posts to forum threads – all sharing personal knowledge of the subject.

The key takeaway from all of this is that Google is looking for insights that only humans can give. A generative AI tool like ChatGPT can cull the web for enough information to write a decent blog post, but it can’t provide a unique perspective. If you can, your content has a much better chance of rising to the top of the SERPs.

Read this blog post to explore more about using AI for SEO.

Don’t Use Coming Back Soon Page During Site Migration

Migrating a site sometimes requires a period of downtime to switch everything over to the new platform or experience. Google Search Advocate John Mueller recommends to avoid using a “coming back soon” page and instead using a 503-server status code if necessary.

He cautioned, though, that this status code is only meant to be used for a few hours (and definitely less than a day). Do not let your site serve a 503 for multiple days or there will be a negative effect on your SEO.

Export Your UA3 Data by July 1, 2024, but Set Up GA4 by July 1, 2023

Do you have a plan in place for Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? Have your goals and events been migrated? Have you started to get used to the new interface, including reports and explorations?

Don’t wait until the last minute! But if you do need to wait to export your Universal Analytics (UA3) data or want to be able to compare data after the sunset date (July 1, 2023), Google posted new details in its help documentation saying that you’ll retain view access (with the ability to export) to all UA data until July 1, 2024.

Are you prepared for the transition? Whenever a big change like this happens, it can be overwhelming. We want you to feel confident about using GA4 to meet your business needs. Peruse our resources below to ensure you’ll be ready once July 1st rolls around:

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Tying It All Together: May 2023 SEO News

The SEO landscape is always shifting. We know it’s a lot to keep up with because we’re in the trenches with it every day so that our clients don’t have to be. At ROI Revolution, our SEO subject matter experts are dedicated to staying knowledgeable of all of the changes in order to build and execute proactive SEO strategies for our clients.

To explore how you can achieve your business growth goals through SEO, send a message to our team.

May 2023 SEO News Sources