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

Welcome to our November 2023 SEO News Recap! Last month, we shared updates on several algorithm updates that have been released recently, how Google is expanding its AI search experience, and more.

In this month’s update, we have the latest on recent core algorithm updates, AI-augmented search creating content for users vs. for Google, and more.

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

Google Releases the November 2023 Core & Reviews Algorithm Updates

On November 2nd, Google released a core algorithm update. This broad update to its ranking system was followed by a reviews system update on November 8th.

This core update may come as a surprise since the most recent core update rolled out just last month (October 5th-19th). Google said in an explanation:

“We have different systems that are considered core to our ranking process; this month’s core update involves an improvement to a different core system than last month.”

The core update was completed on November 28th. The reviews update isn’t finished yet. Google spokesperson John Mueller stated that the “durations of updates is usually a mix of various internal factors, including the desire to do things incrementally for safety.”

Keep an eye on the Search Status Dashboard for live updates and historical information or check out our breakdown of the latest Google algorithm updates.

Make Content Changes With Your Users in Mind

Danny Sullivan of Google reminded us on X (formerly Twitter) that Google continues to push algorithm updates because “The Web Changes. Content Changes. People’s Expectations Change.”

Even with all the recent updates, he reminded us that small sites can still compete with the bigger ones in SERPs if they have great content and are helpful for users.

Google doesn’t show a bigger site for a particular query simply because it’s a large site. When crafting your content strategy, you should stop producing content solely for Google and plan it out based on what’s helpful to your users.

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Google Explains the Difference Between Helpful & Unhelpful Content (Again)

In late October, Danny Sullivan took to X to help SEOs understand what Google considers unhelpful content.

In a thread conversation with many participants, he explained that content written specifically to rank for a search term like “fun things to do” without your site users in mind is unhelpful. However, if you write about fun things to do because that’s the kind of topic your users expect and you put your personal experience into the article, then that is helpful content.

X user Oli Harris asked Sullivan, “How does one optimize content when writing about something if the primary purpose isn’t to have it rank more successfully?”

Sullivan clarified that optimizing to help Google discover content written for people is proper SEO, and Google has provided best practices for that purpose.

Several days later on X, Sullivan again encouraged writers to stop thinking about what they should do for Google when considering content production and simply write what is best for their site readers.

All of these conversations seem to be preparing site owners for Google’s ability to surface hidden gems. Google defines hidden gems as articles where “people share their first-hand knowledge and their own personal insights and experiences with others on the public web.”

This means that the “experience” portion of E-E-A-T will make a difference in whether Google deems content as helpful and focusing on experience can help smaller websites rise higher in web rankings.

Google’s Danny Sullivan Hints at What’s to Come

Speaking at Brighton SEO in San Diego, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan told the audience major changes are on the way to search rankings.

He was misquoted on X as saying, “Buckle up because big changes are on the way,” but he later clarified that the SEOs who need to buckle up are the ones who have been ignoring Google’s advice.

Though he didn’t specify, Sullivan did say that the big changes “will correspond to improvements we have in the works.”

A few days later, Sullivan shared his presentation on X. In it, he reminded the audience that people-first content has been a mantra at Google since at least 2002. He also admitted that the guidance to not do things for Google is counterintuitive to SEOs whose job it is to do everything with Google (and other search engines) in mind.

While Google often offers guidance on best practices, many SEOs tend to take the advice as “must do” even if it might not always make the most sense for their websites.

If all this seems confusing, don’t worry. ROI Revolution’s SEO experts stay on top of the latest news and Google guidance so we can customize brands’ strategies to fit their unique website. To discover the difference that comes with having a guide you can trust, book a meeting today.

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Schema Adds Visibility but Doesn’t Increase Ranking Potential

While we often include schema markup recommendations in our SEO strategy, it’s because it can help a site stand out more in SERPs and encourage additional clicks through to your site. It’s not because doing so affects SEO or rankings.

Danny Sullivan of Google reminded everyone that adding schema markup doesn’t provide a ranking boost. It simply allows a website to be eligible for certain SERP elements that the site otherwise wouldn’t qualify for.

Google Explore Moves Up in Search Results & Displays Products

Google has been testing the “Explore” experience in search since mid-year, displaying results about a topic parsed into related subtopics.

Previously, users found this section of organic results after quite a bit of scrolling. Now, it’s closer to the top of the SERP, landing on page 2 in October.

Along with Explore’s upward movement in organic results, users now see product information here, which is pulled from the Google Shopping index.

“About This Image” Officially Rolls Out With Recency & AI Details

With the rise of AI-augmented search, Google announced new ways to check images and sources online in October.

This announcement included a teaser for “about this image,” stating that users would be able to find an image’s history, descriptions of the image on other sites, and the image’s metadata directly from SERPs.

New images now show “this image may have recently appeared online” when Google interprets them to be new. There are also disclaimers about which images have been AI-generated, when users right-click an image and navigate to the “about this image” option.

Google Rolls Out New Ways to Find What You Need

On November 15th, Google announced improvements to the search experience:

  1. Follow
  2. Information about creators
  3. Notes

Follow is currently rolling out in the Google mobile app and Chrome and Safari on mobile in English. If your search activities indicate you show enthusiasm for a topic, Google will offer the option on the SERP to follow it. Clicking “follow” means Google can send you updates when relevant and reliable information surfaces that may interest you.

Google explains:

“We’ll take the same approach to surfacing high-quality information, based on factors like expertise, experience, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.”

This is another reminder that E-E-A-T matters!

Google is also introducing the Perspectives filter to desktop search. First established in mobile search in May, it’s meant to highlight creators with first-hand experience on a topic. Google will also show additional data about the author/producer on SERPs like their social handle, follower count, or how popular their content is.

If you enjoy testing Google Labs experiments, check out Notes. It’s a new way to share personal tips and advice about web content on Search. Since its introduction, X users have shared mixed reviews, so keep in mind that not all experiments are winners that make it to a global rollout.

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Book a Meeting to Start Achieving Your Potential With SEO

That’s a lot of November 2023 SEO news! But that’s to be expected. The organic search landscape is constantly changing. Even the largest, most established brands get caught off-guard.

Have you ever wondered what heights you could reach with a guide to show you the way? The organic search experts at ROI Revolution are dedicated to helping businesses successfully navigate the path to profitable growth. To explore the difference that comes with having a guide you can trust, book a meeting today.