November has been a busy month – Google has released multiple new updates, including BERT, and we are all trying to see how it affects website traffic and conversions. Some industries saw positive improvements and others noticed dramatic dropoffs. One of the major strategies for SEO is to know what’s going on in the industry so you have a chance to act proactively rather than reactively. Check out the most important things that happened in the world of SEO and what you can do to stay ahead:
November Google update?
Websites across different industries are seeing either a dramatic surge or decrease in their organic traffic and it is speculated that a new update is underway and has been released early this month. Travel sites, recipe sites, and food bloggers seem to be affected the most at this moment. Here you can see the reactions of Gray Hat, Black Hat, and No Hat SEOs to these changes and what they experienced in relation to this potential new update:
Broad core November Google update! Confirmed.
Google did release multiple series of tweets from their Google Search Liaison and Google Webmasters accounts saying that they did release updates, as they do every week. However, there seems to be a correlation between link quality, thin content and the drop-off in organic traffic. Besides travel and recipe sites, others that saw a drop in traffic include directories and affiliate sites. Amazon, on the other hand, saw an uptick in traffic – the mobile visibility is up even more than the desktop. From Marie Haynes’ research, seen below, it seems like poor link profiles contributed heavily to the loss of organic traffic, especially if links were purchased or not obtained organically.
Summary of BERT update just for SEOs
Google’s language processing algorithm, BERT, the release of which we covered last time is making an impact already. Here is what you need to know: it is not currently used on ads, but it is affecting 1 in 10 queries, although only in the English language. BERT is a neural network that was trained using the entirety of English text available on Wikipedia. There is no way to “optimize” your site for this new update but the recommendation is to focus your text towards humans rather than search engines. Here is more:
Do you E-A-T properly?
No, we’re not talking about food. We’re talking about a concept that Google published 5 years ago to help people optimize their websites and content to better match the quality standards set out by Google. These standards are used by thousands of reviewers that Google hires to manually examine webpages for quality. The acronym stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. E-A-T was a significant part of the August 2018 core update, however, it is not an algorithm on its own. There is also no E-A-T score that you can achieve and ride off into the sunset. There are myths about this crucial concept that SEJ debunks in this useful article:
Paid ads are expanding yet again
You know how Google and Facebook seem to read your mind and suggest you ads for the products you merely thought about? It’s about to get even crazier with YouTube shopping ads, “a scrollable catalog of static images, which will appear on the home feed and in search results (based on previous searches for products on Google).”
Just in time for the holiday shopping season -> YouTube announces “Shopping” ads, a scrollable catalog of static images, which will appear on the home feed and in search results (based on previous searches for products on Google) https://t.co/fzBuQEI0LL pic.twitter.com/w9jJtSZK1w— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) November 6, 2019
Google has been hard at work with the September 2019 Core Update, now the November Core Update, and BERT as well. Paid Ads are expanding like never before and we are learning more and more about core concepts like E-A-T. While it’s been a busy fall, these updates will help to display more relevant and accurate search results for users. We are going to continue monitoring the updates and delivering the most important news to you. If you’re not sure how to adapt your website in line with these big changes, reach out. We can help.