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A Guide to the November 2023 Core Update

by | Jan 8, 2024 | Blog

The month of November was a very busy one for SEO last year, notably due to the latest developments in the Google search algorithm.

Building on a substantial core update in October, which centred on improving search results and minimising the presence of spammy or low-quality content, the Google algorithm experienced its fourth core update of the year. We’re sorry SEOs, we know you’re doing your best to keep up!

This latest major Google update emphasises the ever-changing landscape of SEO, where being adaptable and staying aware are crucial survival skills for success. In this blog, we unpack exactly what the November 2023 Core Update is and how SEO should respond in order to maintain those all-important rankings, touching on a few of our own tests along the way.

Read on for more.

A people-first focus

One of the most crucial elements of the Core Update was a greater emphasis on people-first content. Let’s dive into how this update will impact businesses’ online presence, focusing on Google’s newfound emphasis on content that targets users first. The goal of people-first content is to offer an informative, user-friendly, and, ultimately, helpful experience to users.

Adding ‘Experience’ into E-A-T

To provide context, towards the end of 2022, Google extended its E-A-T acronym (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) by adding an extra letter (Experience).

This addition has led to a noticeable preference for user-generated content within Google, particularly emphasising the ‘experience’ aspect. At Sleeping Giant Media, we’ve conducted thorough tests to pinpoint the particular content that is influencing search results, finding platforms like Reddit and other user-generated forums now perform exceptionally well. These results highlight Google’s newfound appreciation for first-person opinions, ideas, and experiences.

Are you using AI to create content?

This people-first trend aligns with the increasing use of AI. If you’ve been using this tool to create content, take heed! Our testing indicates that content with a human touch outperforms purely AI-generated content markedly.

While AI serves as an excellent starting point for top-level ideation, it falls short of replacing the thoughts and words coming directly from a real human — and Google can tell the difference. Exercise caution and view AI as a tool to enhance, not replace, your copywriter!

The importance of first-hand experience & opinion

Let’s explore the next crucial aspect of Google’s November 2023 Core Update. It’s highly recommended to strategically enhance your website’s value by bringing reviews and first-hand experiences to the forefront of your content strategy.

As an example, imagine you’re an E-commerce business specialising in outdoor equipment. Crafting content that can significantly boost your visibility on Google might involve writing comprehensive blog posts, and a guide on recommended hiking shoes or an insightful piece detailing the essential gear needed to conquer the Three Peaks is what Google is looking for here.

In Google’s ongoing mission to elevate review content, this becomes an excellent opportunity to showcase first-hand experiences, complemented by quality images on your site if you have the resources to do so, resulting in substantial SEO benefits.

Don’t forget your structured data

Here’s a pro tip for maximum impact: ensure that these pages are tagged with structured data.

It’s not just a technical task that needs ticking off by your developer; it’s a strategic move. Structured data serves as the information backbone of your website, guaranteeing that search engines accurately interpret and present your content and get it in front of the right audience.

By taking this extra step, you’re not just optimising for search engines but also elevating the overall user experience – a win-win in the ever-changing landscape of digital visibility. So, as you embark on this journey to enrich your website, remember that structured data is the essential foundation that will transform your content from merely visible to prominently featured in search results.

Prioritising for mobile users

Finally, the era of Google’s desktop crawler has officially come to a close with the full implementation of mobile-first indexing.

If your website was built with a focus on desktop users, it’s time to bid farewell to that approach and make a decisive shift towards prioritising mobile optimisation. Ensuring a seamless experience on mobile devices is not just a recommendation but it should now be considered an essential digital tactic. Make sure to check that all features on your website function seamlessly on mobile, and, in cases of content variations between mobile and desktop versions, guarantee that your content remains both visible and accessible on mobile phones and other devices to avoid being penalised.

Stay agile and informed

Navigate steadily through these updates: focus on prioritising people-first content, with an emphasis on quality, and a top-notch user experience. Whilst you won’t be penalised by Google for missing any of our suggested tactics, adapting means you will be rewarded. Stay tuned in to Google’s announcements, implement changes to tailor your content in favour of the algorithm and stay agile to come out on top.

Elevate your SEO game with our industry-leading expert team! Whether it’s fine-tuning your SEO strategy or conducting thorough SEO audits, we’ve got you covered at Sleeping Giant Media. If you’re ready to boost your online presence, let’s chat! In the meantime, never miss a Google update again by keeping up with our blog.


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