When it comes to search, Google is the primary gatekeeper between your content and your potential buyers. As of last year, nearly 92% of all searches were made on Google.
Whenever Google has a major algorithm update, it highlights just how much we marketers depend on it. Our relationship with it is almost mystical: We have a vague idea of how it works, reinforced by equally vague pronouncements from on high. We try to please it, and sometimes what it rewards or punishes can seem arbitrary.
But don’t build an altar and sacrifice iPhones to appease the Google gods just yet. Ultimately, you and Google want the same thing: To serve up high-quality content that is relevant to a user’s search intent (that is what you want, right?).
The last few core algorithm updates have been all about promoting better content. Each one has caused a shakeup in rankings — brands that enjoyed unassailable top spots lost positions, and new, more relevant content rose up the search engine results page (SERP).
The November update is no different. If you’re seeing changes in your content performance, here’s what you need to know.
What Marketers Need to Know about the Latest Core Algorithm Update
Algorithm updates are coming faster than ever. The last core update was in October, the one before in August. The October 2023 updates were focused on promoting high-quality content that demonstrates experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (EEAT). The November update has a similar focus, with a few new twists to keep an eye on.
Key Facts to Know:
Name: Google November 2023 Broad Core Update
Launch Date: November 2, 2023, at around 11:30 am ET
Rollout Duration: Ended November 28, 2023
Scope: A comprehensive update that evaluates all content types
Effect: Higher ranking for high-quality content with an emphasis on firsthand content
Global Reach: Affects all regions and languages worldwide
Impact: High — over 10% of top 10 rankings are new
Wide Influence: Extends its impact to Google Discover, featured snippets, and more
Recovery: If your site is affected, review your content and implement Google’s core update recommendations
Ongoing Evolution: We can expect more core updates to come, focused on the goal of providing higher-quality content to searchers
What’s included in the November 2023 core update
The new update includes changes to how people can search, in addition to the type of content that is most likely to be surfaced. Searchers can now choose to ‘follow’ a particular topic, which will cause related articles to appear on the homepage of the Google mobile app. Searchers can opt into notifications on the topics they’re following, as well. This is a boon for content teams that have a healthy library of well-organized, useful, and Schema-tagged content.
In addition to the “following” feature, the new update further prioritizes firsthand experience. This speaks directly to EEAT — it means an emphasis on the content creator, not just the content itself, with an eye towards promoting trustworthy content from experienced and authoritative people. This update includes the ability to filter search by firsthand accounts like social media, forum posts, and groups.
Google says it will display information about the individual content creator along with the search results, including social handle, follower count and content popularity.
You can adapt to these updates in a few key ways:
Make sure your content has a single credited author with a comprehensive author biography
Focus on telling stories from the people who make up your brand, your customers, and your prospects
Work with trusted influencers who have an established following and popular body of work
Provide genuine value in your content — make promises in your headlines and keep them with the content
It’s also important to note that this update comes in tandem with a Google Reviews update. If your site covers reviewable topics like services, businesses, destinations and the like, it’s more important than ever to follow the EEAT guidelines.
Impact of the update so far
This update appears to have a higher impact on rankings than the October update did. According to research from Semrush (reported on the Search Engine Land blog), over 10% of content now in the top 10 positions weren’t in the top 20 before the update.
This seismic disruption of the SERP shows that there’s still room for content to claim higher rankings — the top ten aren’t fixed. If you’re a B2B marketer looking to increase your content visibility, a sound strategy and great content can get you to the top.
What’s next for content marketers
The November core update finished rolling out on November 28th. But its effects will continue to impact marketers for months to come. What’s more, we can expect more updates along the same lines, each one aimed at surfacing more relevant content for searchers’ queries.
If you’re worried about future-proofing your content strategy, the way forward is clear:
Find the overlap between your brand’s expertise and searchers’ intent
Create high-quality content that answers specific search intent
Optimize the content with HTML tags and Schema markup
Credit the content to an author with experience and authority
These algorithm updates are good news for responsible content marketers. Each one is intended to reward experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness — precisely what we should be striving to embody in our content.
Make your content algorithm-worthy
The path to performing better in search is two-fold: First, evaluate the content you have with an inventory and performance audit. Then develop a content strategy to create content that’s helpful to — and created by — humans.
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