Google’s Latest Search Update:SEO Industry Prepares for Major Changes
In a highly anticipated announcement, Google unveiled three significant changes as part of its November 2023 Search Update. These updates, combined with the introduction of Bard AI results in Google Search, are expected to have a significant impact on the SEO industry. However, it is important to note that some of these updates are still in beta and are currently only available in selected territories, so their permanent implementation in Google SERPs worldwide remains uncertain.
Several SEO experts, including Lily Ray, have noted a noticeable shift in the visibility of user-generated content (UGC) sites on the SERPs over the past few months. This shift has raised questions about the implications of this update for the SEO industry. With the aim of showcasing more content from social media, blog posts, and forums that offer personal insights and experiences, Google’s update seems to prioritize the importance of E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) in search rankings. This emphasizes the need for content creators to demonstrate their credibility and trustworthiness by ticking all the relevant boxes.
One essential aspect of this update is the increasing emphasis on personal profiles and digital PR efforts. Building the authority of businesses and their spokespersons is crucial in an era where AI-generated content is becoming more prevalent. Users want to trust that the information they receive is genuine and comes from knowledgeable sources. For instance, when someone searches for pros and cons of dental implants, they are more likely to trust a blog post written by a dentist with credible credentials and an active presence on major news platforms and social media, rather than a generic article by an anonymous author with no credentials.
One of the notable changes Google is introducing is the Perspectives filter, which may appear for certain search results, offering users diverse viewpoints on a topic. This feature, however, is currently only available in the United States. Another feature to be introduced is the Follow button on SERPs, intended to provide users with a more customized and personalized search experience. This button allows users to follow specific topics and discover curated articles associated with those topics. Although this feature may prove valuable for marketers in terms of content planning and keyword targeting, UK marketers will have to wait for its rollout as it is currently limited to the US.
Google’s announcement of the Notes feature has sparked divergent opinions. This feature enables users to share their knowledge directly on the search results page, thereby assisting others in finding useful answers. While the potential benefits are evident, it also raises concerns about potential misuse. Users can add their feedback and comments to the SERPs, but this opens the door for spamming, negative comments, referencing competitors, and trolling. Including AI-generated or stock images in these notes further raises concerns about visual falsification. Google acknowledges these risks and plans to use a combination of AI and human content moderators to address them. However, how effective this moderation system will be remains to be seen. For brands, this feature presents a potential nightmare, as they would not only have to monitor and respond to negative reviews and comments on various platforms but also on any SERP linked to their domain.
Website owners are left wondering whether they will be notified when a user publishes notes on a SERP or if they will need to monitor this manually. Google has vaguely mentioned exploring ways to provide site owners with insights into notes on their content in the months ahead, without specifying the execution plan.
As these updates continue to roll out and impact the SEO landscape, it is crucial for marketers and businesses to adapt their strategies accordingly. Emphasizing credibility, expertise, and trustworthiness in content creation, optimizing for personalized search experiences, and staying vigilant about potential challenges introduced by features like Notes are key aspects to consider.
Overall, the SEO industry awaits these updates with anticipation and caution, fully aware of the potential implications and opportunities they may bring. As Google continues to fine-tune its search algorithms and features, SEO professionals must stay proactive, agile, and focused on delivering valuable and trustworthy content to users worldwide.