Digital Marketing Updates: November 2023

Remember, remember the 5th of November. Not just for the gunpowder plot, but also for the explosive barrage of digital marketing updates Google deployed during this eventful month which have had us marketers running around in circles.

The fireworks this month included fundamental algorithm updates, new reports, and AI integrations – but now I’m spoiling the blog. So, without further ado, here are the latest digital updates that you could capitalise on to boost your brand’s visibility and help Santa find you that little bit more easily this Christmas.

  • SEO Market Updates: from the November 2023 core update to the new robots.txt report. 
  • PPC Market Updates: including Google Ads Editor version 2.5 and new shopping features.

SEO Market Updates

Google November 2023 Core Update Rolls Out 

Another one?! Yes, Google is cooking this year with the release of a fourth core update of 2023 in November.

The update started rolling out on the 2nd, just two weeks after the conclusion of the October 2023 core update. The November core update then finished its deployment on the 28th, taking 26 days to roll out in total.

As always, there’s often some volatility in search results during these core updates and negative rankings don’t always signal that something is wrong with your site. 

If you feel like your site has come out worse for wear from the November 2023 Core Update, brush up on Google’s latest advice and make sure your content stands up to their best practice guidelines. Alternatively, get the professionals on the case!

Google Rolls Out November 2023 Reviews Update

Also rolling out through last month was the November 2023 reviews update.

The update was released on the 8th and marked the last time a reviews update would be announced. 

Google said: “Going forward, as the reviews system is now being improved at a regular and ongoing pace, we will no longer be posting about future updates on the status dashboard.”

It’s worth a reminder that these updates are no longer labelled as product review updates since April and now affect all review content across media, destinations, services, and businesses. 

If your site has a focus on review content, study up on Google’s guide on how to write high quality reviews to ensure you’re in Google’s good books.

Page Experience Report Updated in Google Search Console

The page experience report within Search Console has been transformed into a new page that “links to [Google’s] 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”, Google said.

Google wrote on Twitter that the report has evolved to “help site owners consider page experience more holistically as part of the content creation process”.

Here’s what it looks like:

Google also stated they will be retiring:

  • “Mobile Usability” report
  • Mobile-Friendly Test tool
  • Mobile Friendly Test API

In the announcement they made it clear that mobile usability is still important for success within search, however: “in the nearly ten years since [Google] initially launched this report, many other robust resources for evaluating mobile usability have emerged, including Lighthouse from Chrome.” 

Personal Search Experience Launched by Google 

Google is hoping to make the search experience that little more personal with some new features added in November including a follow button and tailored search results.

The Follow Button 

If you’re looking to keep up to date on a subject, Google has introduced a follow button within search results. Clicking the follow button will allow Google to send you notifications, if you’re using the Google App, and serve you articles and web pages within your home feed.

Tailored Search Results

Google will be rolling out a new ranking feature which will serve you more results from the sites you visit the most within search results. So if you visit a website quite regularly, Google may rank their page on a topic over other sites.

New Robots.txt Report Added to Google Search Console

A new robots.txt report has been released within Search Console which shows you information Google has on your robots.txt file including:

  • which robots.txt files Google found for the top 20 hosts on your site
  • the last time they were crawled
  • any warnings or errors encountered

The report also allows users to request a recrawl of a robots.txt file for emergency situations.

This report is located under settings within Search Console under the Crawling subheading.

At the behest of this report, Google sunset the robots.txt tester – RIP. 

You can find more information in Google’s detailed help document.

Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines Updated

Google updated its search quality raters guidelines in November, making it the first time they’ve updated it this year.

Google said: “[W]e’ve simplified the “Needs Met” scale definitions, added more guidance for different kinds of web pages and modern examples including newer content formats such as short form video, removed outdated and redundant examples, and expanded rating guidance for forum and discussion pages.”

As a reminder, these quality raters are used to assess search results by outside consultants.

Google said that these changes don’t “involve any major or foundational shifts in our guidelines”. 

PPC Market Updates

Google Ads Editor version 2.5 Brings 16 New Features

Google has unveiled its shiny new Google Ads Editor version 2.5 and with it comes a slew of exciting features for advertisers to play around with. 

Here’s the full list for your viewing pleasure: 

  • App URL for App Install Ads
  • Automatically created assets in Ad Strength of responsive search ads
  • Asset source in asset report
  • Additional fields in Discovery product ads
  • In-feed video ads
  • Text mode for selecting videos
  • Campaign level broad match
  • Video view campaigns
  • Search themes in Performance Max campaigns
  • Replace Text tool for product groups
  • Device targeting in Discovery campaigns
  • Brand settings for Search and Performance Max campaigns
  • Features related to Dynamic Search Ads in Performance Max campaigns
  • Ad format controls for Video reach campaigns
  • Ad group level location and language targeting for Demand Gen campaigns
  • Dynamic Search Ads campaigns to Performance Max upgrade tool

Wow, Christmas has come early for you PPC folk! You can find out what your new toys do right here.

New Shopping Features Hit the SERPs

Do you ever find yourself scrolling through Google’s shopping results and sigh when the deals you’re presented with don’t quite hit the mark?

Well, ‘Tis the season for online shopping, and to assist brands in engaging with shoppers, Google has set out to make it twice as likely that you’re presented with a good deal from shopping results. 

To enable this, it has rolled out some new features including:

  • A deals hub
  • New pricing tools
  • The annual Holiday 100 

Deals hub 

The deals section is a new feature designed to house exclusive shopping deals to make it easier for shoppers to find deals from various sites in one place. 

Here’s what it looks like:

New pricing tools

Google has launched these new pricing features to help convert searchers into conversions. These new features include:

  • A dedicated deals page 
  • A “resume browsing” feature within desktop search that displays recently viewed products to users
  • A discount tag which alerts users if there are discount codes available

The annual Holiday 100 

Google is launching its annual list of gift ideas, purely based on trending searches throughout the year. Shoppers will be able to get Christmas inspo all in one place!

I’m already running out of time before Christmas – what on earth am I meant to do about all these updates?

Part of the beauty of the digital landscape is that agencies like ours exist to consume and digest all the latest knowledge in the market as soon as it becomes available. We test all new technologies, such ad campaign types, on day one – and we constantly push our busy client teams forward and equip them with the tools needed to deliver ambitious results.

You could ask Santa for some better SEO performance in 2024, or you could give the poor guy a break and get in touch with one of our friendly experts for an obligation-free chat.

Check out our blog for more digital marketing insights.