Are you finding it hard to keep up with the latest industry news? Do not worry, we have your back! Follow this post to get some actionable insights about the latest SEO news roundup.
Highlights of November 2022
November has passed and we are in December. This calls for a quick look through some SEO updates including Google algorithm changes and more. Why? This is because there was high speculation about a Google algorithm update being rolled out sometime in November. During November 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 20, plenty of discussions across various forums were seen. There were some suggestions that hinted towards some adjustments brought to the search. However, Google did not confirm such Google algorithm updates.
1. Google Lens Button in Search Box on Home Page
Google rarely changes its desktop homepage. But on November 1, they just did the unthinkable.
Google announced a change that they brought to their Google Search homepage. They added the Google Lens button to their desktop home page in the search box.
Here is a screenshot of the Google Lens button on the desktop homepage of Google:
Rajan Patel, VP of Engineering at Google and the Co-founder of Google Lens, Gboard, and Google Podcasts stated that Google has been working to improve the search experience of users. Now with the introduction of Google Lens to their desktop homepage, asking visual questions will be easy.
Although Google Lens looks like Google Image Search, there is a major difference between them. In front of Google Lens, Google Image Search looks like obsolete technology.
Google Lens promises to make the visual search experience a truly magical one. How? Google Lens simply compares the objects in your picture with other images and ranks the images based on their relevance and similarity to the original objects in the picture.
Even though the Google Lens button was present on the mobile homepage for some time, it got introduced finally for the desktop homepage.
2. Google Adds SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) Features for Deals and Offers
Another interesting SEO news is that Google launched shopping-related search features that will display deals, offers, and coupons for the product pages in a better way.
It is the holiday season in most parts of the world. During this season, most of us get into the shopping spirit and look forward to amazing deals and offers from our favorite brands.
In fact, a study showed that most Americans plan to shop during the holiday season. Around 43% of people look for deals and sales. For this reason, Google came up with new features that will allow users to find the right discounts they might have been looking for.
The features are:
- New Labels for Coupons and Promotions
- Compare Deals Side by Side
- Price Insights
Let us delve into these features in detail.
2.1. New Labels for Coupons and Promotions
Coupon codes allow you to save a lot of money. However, finding the right coupon and ensuring they work properly is a bit of a challenge.
To help shoppers save time and money, Google brought promotion badges in product searches. From now on, the promotion badges will be displayed in Google search on items that run the promotion.
Also, a new coupon clipping feature has been added. This will allow the shoppers to easily copy the promo codes when they want to make a purchase. This feature was also rolled out by Google in the early weeks of November.
2.2. Compare Deals Side by Side
Since last year, more than half of the U.S. shoppers paid a visit to various websites before finalizing what and where to buy. Now, users will be able to save time on researching and comparing the deals offered by various retailers on an item. For instance, when a user searches for an item, they will be shown a side-by-side comparison of the items. This feature is only for the US market.
2.3. Price Insights
Price insights is an interesting feature offered by Google. Often, holiday sales entice shoppers. But it becomes hard to tell if the sale is of substantial value.
The price insights feature will help shoppers have a better understanding of the prices they are seeing and accordingly make the right purchase decisions. Now, one will get to see the price comparison of the item offered by various merchants. In other words, one will get to understand whether the price of an item is extremely low or extremely high.
Merchants will be able to see if their deals are performing well or not. Also, they can review the promotions for their listed products on Google.
3. Google Adds 2 New Metrics to GA4 Reports
Google brought two new metrics to their Google Analytics. With these two new metrics, marketers will get a better insight into the number of pages a visitor views and the length of their stay on the pages.
The metrics are Views per Session and Average Session Duration. These metrics are easily available in Explorations and Reporting Customizations in Google Analytics 4. This is a piece of interesting SEO news for digital marketers.
The ‘Views per Session’ allows marketers to track the number of web pages or app screens that people view during their single visit. Similarly, the average session duration helps to measure the length of time spent by a user on the websites.
Carly Boddy, Product Manager at Google Analytics, demonstrates how these metrics can be added while building custom reports.
While tracking views per session and average session duration for Universal Analytics (UA) properties, one gets to see some key differences regarding GA4.
4. New Guide to Google Search Ranking Systems
The key SEO update from the month of November is that Google published a new guide titled ‘A Guide to Google Search Ranking Systems.’
This is a new document or guide for their automated ranking systems. Moreover, this document brings forth the ranking systems in use and those that have retired. It properly explains how Google ranks the search results. Hence, this is a valuable guide for marketers.
4.1. What Does the Guide Present?
Google usually shares news about various SEO updates through blogs and articles. However, this time Google prepared a comprehensive guide that offers in-depth insight into Google’s Search Ranking Systems.
The guide also contains new terminologies that need to be used when talking about Google SEO updates. Also, the terminologies will help to distinguish between ranking “systems” and ranking “updates.”
For instance, a system like RankBrain runs in the background constantly. On the other hand, an update refers to a one-time change made to the ranking systems. Some good examples of one-time changes to ranking systems are core algorithm updates and spam updates.
Some valuable insights from the guide are presented below. Take a look:
4.1.1. Google Ranking Systems That are Currently Operational
Here is a list of Google’s ranking systems that are currently in use.
BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) allows Google to understand how combinations of words can express different meanings and intent.
184.108.40.206. Crisis Information systems
Google has systems in place to provide certain sets of information during times of crisis, such as SOS alerts when searching for natural disasters.
220.127.116.11 De-duplication systems
Google’s search systems intend to avoid presenting any duplicate or near-duplicate web pages.
18.104.22.168. Exact match domain system
This system ensures that Google does not give much credit to sites with domain names matching the search query.
22.214.171.124. Freshness systems
It shows fresher content for queries where it is usually expected.
126.96.36.199. Helpful content system
A system that ensures people see original, helpful content instead of content that is made primarily with the purpose of gaining search engine traffic.
188.8.131.52. Link analysis systems and PageRank
A system that helps to determine what the pages are about. This is considered extremely helpful in response to a query based on how pages link to each other.
184.108.40.206. Local news systems
A system that surfaces local news sources when relevant to the query.
Short for Multitask Unified Model, MUM is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) system capable of understanding and generating language. It improves featured snippet callouts and is not used for general ranking.
220.127.116.11. Neural matching
A system that helps Google understand representations of concepts in queries and pages and match them to one another.
18.104.22.168. Original content systems
This system tries to ensure that Google shows original content rightly in search results, which includes original reporting, ahead of those who solely cite it.
22.214.171.124. Page experience system
A system that evaluates diverse criteria to consider if a webpage provides a good user experience.
126.96.36.199. Passage ranking system
With this AI system, Google identifies individual sections or any passage from a web page and tries to understand if the page is relevant to the search.
188.8.131.52. Product reviews system
This system rewards high-quality product reviews written by expert authors with their insightful analysis and original research.
An AI system that helps Google understand the way words are related to concepts. It even allows Google to show results that do not contain the exact words used in a query.
184.108.40.206. Reliable information systems
Google uses multiple systems to show reliable information, like demoting low-quality content, elevating authoritative pages, and rewarding quality journalism.
220.127.116.11. Removal-based demotion systems
This system demotes websites that are subjected to a high volume of content removal requests.
18.104.22.168. Site diversity system
It is a system that stops Google from showing more than two listings of the webpage from the same site in the top results.
22.214.171.124. Spam detection systems
This system deals with behavior and content that violates Google’s spam policies.
4.1.2. Google Ranking Systems That Have Retired
Here is a list of Google’s ranking systems that have retired permanently.
- Hummingbird: It was a noteworthy improvement to Google’s ranking systems that rolled out in 2013. Since then, systems have evolved greatly. For this reason, this ranking factor has been made to retire.
- Mobile-friendly ranking system: This system prefers content rendered better on mobile devices. It has since been incorporated into Google’s page experience system.
- Page speed system: A system introduced in 2018 that gave preferences to content that loaded fast on mobile devices. It has since been incorporated into Google’s page experience system.
- Panda system: It was introduced in 2011. This system showed a preference for high-quality and original content. In 2015, it became a part of Google’s core ranking systems.
- Penguin system: Rolled out in 2012, this system demoted websites that followed spammy link-building practices.
- Secure sites system: A system introduced way back in 2014. It preferred HTTPS-secured websites. Since then, it has been made a part of Google’s page experience system.
These rankings have either merged with other systems or integrated into Google’s core ranking system.
Transparency allows the SEO experts to have a better understanding of how the ranking systems work. Plus, how does Google define these ranking factors?
Well, SEO experts do not need to implement any actions on an immediate basis. However, they need to stay strong on the fundamentals which are going to be the success mantra for most brands.
At the same time, any significant gains made from publishing content, link building, or working on improving the technical infrastructure hold the chance of improving the positioning before any core Google algorithm update.
From the latest SEO news, it can be concluded that it is best to wait for the algorithm update that might be rolled out next year. Meanwhile, it is high time to check if there are any blockers for page speed and if a site adheres to the EAT fundamentals.
5. Google Changes Webmaster Guidelines to Search Essentials
Another interesting SEO news from the month of November is that Google is bringing a major change to its Webmaster Guidelines. Nobody expected such a move from Google.
In this Google SEO news, fewer references about PageRank are seen in the revamped Webmaster Guidelines. On the contrary, there are several references for E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
Also, additional changes that have been brought to the Webmaster Guidelines are regarding the documentation of the Sitemaps.
Previously, Google wrote: “Don’t include session IDs from URLs in your sitemap. This reduces duplicate crawling of those URLs.”
Now, Google says: “Do not include session IDs and other user-dependent identifiers from URLs in your system. This reduces duplicate crawling of those URLs.”
Basically, Google shed light on the matter that session IDs and other user-dependent identifiers must not be used in the sitemaps.
6. Google Disavowing Random Links
Google stated that they are going to ignore spammy links that point toward a website. John Muller from Google offered some information about the link disavow tool. Although the tool was introduced ten years ago, there is some confusion regarding the tool’s use.
To clear doubts, Muller stated this tool was introduced following the Penguin Algorithm update in May 2012. Before the Penguin algorithm update, there was ultimate chaos. The search marketing community found that people were buying and selling links to rank high. But with the Penguin algorithm update, many sites lost their rank. Ultimately, the job of buying or selling links came to a stop.
During that time there were many requests from site owners to remove the link. As a result, the SEO community urged Google to offer a straightforward way to deny links. In response to the request, Google releases the Link Disavow tool in October 2012.
With this link disavow tool, the issue of any spammy links pointing to a website is easily addressed. However, as per the SEO news, there is nothing much to worry about with this tool. This link will send mail to site owners when it finds proper evidence of paid links or link schemes violating the quality guideline.
7. Google’s Panda Algorithm Evolved into Coati Algorithm
One SEO news that digital marketers should keep in mind is that Google’s Panda algorithm now ceases to exist. Google Panda algorithm is now a part of the larger core ranking algorithm.
We all know that Google has a history of rolling out algorithm updates from time to time. The new Google algorithm update replaces the old ones. Google followed the same route this time also. During the SMX Next, Google revealed that the Panda algorithm got replaced with Coati. Coati was a successor to Panda.
During the SMX Next keynote, Hyung-Jin Kim, VP of Google Search stated that Panda evolved to Coati. Hearing someone speaking on the Google algorithm update or launches is something new for the SEO industry. Coati is a solution for combatting low-quality content.
Just like other significant updates, this is an important SEO update from Google. If you did not take note of it, do that now. The reason is simple. This Coati Google algorithm update is incredibly old within the algorithm world. Coati might not be a core algorithm update but is a part of the core ranking algorithm.
8. Google’s New Local Search Features are Here
Another important SEO news is that Google is going to roll out the local search features. This feature holds the ability to search the surroundings with the phone camera.
In September, during Google’s Search On virtual conference, a buzz was created within the company about the innovative updates to local search. Basically, Google preliminarily examined an option to search restaurants by dish name. Also, a new search capability is going to be built within Google Maps’ Live View.
8.1. What are the Updates to Google Local Search
Here are some of the updates brought to local search. They are:
8.1.1. Search With Live View
Google announced starting from November 21, Google Maps Live View would be rolled out in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, San Francisco, and Tokyo for iOS and Android. This feature will allow a user to find information about places around them through the phone’s camera.
Hence, a user will be able to find out if a business is open or closed, the star ratings, and many more things.
8.1.2. Search Restaurant by Dish
Now, foodies can find local restaurants in their area in two diverse ways. A user can search for a particular dish either by typing it manually or by conducting a visual search with Google Lens.
On the other hand, Google’s ‘Multisearch near me’ was launched in the U.S. in English during the third week of November. This will allow the people of the US to use Google Lens within the Google app to take a picture or a screenshot of a dish and add words like ‘near me.’ This will allow them to search for places easily.
8.1.3. Find Fast Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles
Google added a feature that allows a user to search for charging stations for electric vehicles. This means if a user searches for ‘EV charging stations’ and then clicks on the ‘fast charge’ filter, they will get a list of stations with 50kW chargers or more than that.
One can even filter for stations that provide plug types for EVs in more countries. These features are already live on Android and iOS in countries that have EV charging stations.
8.1.4. Find Wheelchair Accessible Places
Using Google to search for stair-free and wheelchair-accessible places is now available worldwide. After Accessible Places is turned on in Google Maps app, one will get to see the wheelchair icon across those business profiles that offer such entrance facilities. In case the option is not offered, then the wheelchair icon will have a strikethrough.
Just like other SEO updates, this is another SEO update that is worth taking note of. It would be helpful for users who have some disabilities.
9. Google Introduces a New Shopping Tab with Search Console
To help businesses grow across Google, Search Console introduced a new section for Shopping Tab listings. This listing will help online store owners show their products under the shopping tab on Google.
Basically, eCommerce sites that use product structured data will be able to use a new section within the Search Console, known as Shopping tab listings. This section will allow the merchants to create a Merchant Center account easily without the need for re-verifying their site ownership. In fact, this feature will help them to get their products quickly under the Shopping tab within the search results.
10. Google Spam Update Policy
The month of November saw another document update from Google. It is the addition of a Policy Circumvention section to the October 2022 Spam Update policy document. Along with the extensive list of identified spam techniques, this new section hints that Google will be able to easily detect formerly penalized content, even when it is published on a new site.
11. Google Says 200,000 Words of Content is Not Required
Google’s John Muller said that a website does not need to have 200,000 words to show itself as authoritative. This piece of SEO news is important for marketers and business professionals.
Muller stated that they came up with this message to debunk some SEO myths that were doing rounds. He even pointed out that Google does not have any word requirement for websites to prove their authority.
12. Googlebot Capable of Crawling from Outside the US
Gary Illyes from Google affirmed that Google now has the power to crawl ‘from’ addresses that are not in the U.S. This does not indicate that Google recently added this ability to crawl websites outside the United States; rather, it means that Google launched the Googlebot crawls feature from addresses that are not in the US.
For instance, if you are running a site that can be viewed by a certain country only, others might be redirected to a blocked notice post. Earlier Google had a tough time crawling the site and content, as it used to crawl only US IP addresses. But with the Googlebot launch, Google can easily crawl to vast locations.
It seems that Google is broadening its capacity to search content. From this Google SEO news, it is also clear that this update will impact many sites where regional content is blocked and redirected.
13. Google Tests Reward Ad Program for Publishers
There is a bit of interesting SEO news or development for publishing websites that operate on Google Ads. Google has started to test its “Reward Ad Gate Beta Program.” So, if you do not have any idea about this program, read on.
As per the industry updates, the Reward Ad Gate Beta Program gives an opportunity to win some of the most engaged users. When a user visits a site frequently, it will allow the site owners to earn some added revenue.
This means that when an engaged user visits a publisher site, like Techradar or New York Times, they will get to see an ad that will block them from accessing the publisher’s content. In case the user or the visitor does not view the ad, they will not be able to view the content until the next month.
While the ads are going to add a new revenue stream for the publishers, preventing a viewer or a user from viewing the content can have a negative impact since a viewer might go find another publisher offering similar content.
14. Google Published SEO Office Hours
Some interesting SEO news for the SEO community is that Google came up with a new edition of SEO office hours. This time, the SEO office hours have a completely new setup. Professionals from Google, like Gary Illyes, Alan Kent, Lizzi Sassman, John Muller, and Duy Nguyen answered all sorts of questions that SEO professionals had in mind.
In fact, for November’s SEO office hours, interesting topics, like indexing issues, the impact of backlinks for ranking, product reviews, HTTP/3 and SEO news, and many other things were discussed.
15. No Extra Benefit for Google Verified Websites
John Muller from Google replied to a question raised by one SEO professional regarding whether the crawl frequency would get affected in case the site is not attached to Google Search Console. To this question, Muller stated that crawling is completely independent or free of the Search Console.
16. HTTP/3 WON’T Impact SEO
Another piece of Google news SEO is that HTTP/3 will not impact a site’s SEO. This piece of information was shared by John Muller during Google’s SEO office hours Q&A sessions for November.
Muller even pointed out that HTTP/3 provides performance benefits over HTTP/2. However, the performance gains will not bring any change to the SEO.
17. Nonindexed Pages Will Not Impact Crawl Budget
If you have followed the SEO news section of the Search Engine Journal, you will know that Google’s Search Relations team affirmed that non-indexed pages will not negatively influence the site’s crawl budget. As a matter of fact, this topic was discussed thrice during the November edition of Google’s SEO hours.
18. Links Will Stop Being Considered a Ranking Factor
Links always have played an important part in how Google crawls a site and discovers updated content. However, the scenario is going to change quickly.
19. No Need to Keep HREFLANG Tags Hierarchical
This is not one of the latest SEO updates, but this information is important for SEO professionals. John Muller mentioned clearly that there is no need to keep the HREFLANG tag links in hierarchical order.
According to the latest SEO news, links as a ranking factor will not have the same level of importance as they hold today.
20. Category Pages and Internal Search Results
This SEO news should be considered carefully by every SEO professional. As per recommendation, the best practice is to set the internal site search result pages as nonindexed. Google should not be able to index those internal site search result pages physically.
According to industry experts, when a website has good category pages, there is not any need to keep the site search pages indexed. If the internal site search result pages are not taken good care of, it will lead to confusing results.
21. Use of Search Volume Lists for Writing Contents Will Result in Mediocre Content
This piece of information is important for SEO professionals. From this SEO news, it is easy to deduce that when content writing is based on the keyword search volume lists, then it will affect the writing quality. The content quality will be mediocre and not one of the best.
John Muller pointed out to SEO professionals that when the latter searches for content ideas and uses the high search volume list as their base, then the content will not rank well in Google search. So, writing on a new topic completely will always help.
The list of the latest SEO news and updates will go on. However, we have handpicked some important Google SEO news for you from the month of November.
The Need to Stay Updated on the Latest SEO News
If you are running a business, you will likely have a website. So, you should keep up with Google SEO updates. This will help your business stay ahead of the competition. In other words, when you keep up with the latest SEO trends, you will be able to implement them and stay ahead of your competitors. Doing so will help a business have better outreach.
Staying abreast with the latest SEO updates is very important for business professionals. When they remain aware of all the latest SEO news and strategies, they can easily implement them for their website or business. This will always help them to beat the competition. In case you do not have time or knowledge of the SEO industry, you can take the help of eWay Corp professionals. Contact us today.
November was much lighter compared to other months, like October or September 2022. In terms of SEO news, there were some changes and new introductions that were announced by Google.