October is the time for tricks and treats – and this can certainly be said for the world of search this month! From unexpected core algorithm updates to awfully frightening ad-free social media, the month of October was an eventful month for those in digital marketing. Read on to learn more (if you dare) …
Another Core Algorithm Update Comes Our Way
Kicking off the list of spooky happenings in October is Google’s third Broad Core Algorithm Update of the year. And no, you haven’t got déjà vu, it is the second core update in the space of three months!
Announced on the 5th of October, Google’s latest Core Algorithm Update took the usual two weeks to rollout, finally completing on the 19th of October. As always, Google held their cards to their chest when revealing the exact changes made to their algorithm. But don’t be complacent – just because it’s so soon after August’s Core Algorithm Update, doesn’t mean there’s no impact!
As always, the best thing to do when a core algorithm update hits is to monitor for change until the rollout has settled. Keep an eye on your rankings, assess where you’ve been impacted (if you have at all), and then you can begin to review your site for any opportunities to improve once the update itself has calmed down. Remember – don’t be hasty.
Google Spam Update
…and another update! Yes, Google didn’t just treat us to one update in the month of October, but two.
On the 4th of October, Google announced the October 2023 Spam Update would begin rolling out. Updating their spam detection systems, this routine update aimed to:
‘clean up several types of spam that our community members reported in Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and other languages. We expect this to reduce the visible spam in search results, particularly when it comes to cloaking, hacked, auto-generated, and scraped spam.’
Two weeks later, the spam update was complete on the 20th of October. In regards to any actions off the back of this – unless you’re doing obviously spammy and harmful things online, you don’t need to worry about this one.
Meta to Introduce Ad-free Social Media (At a Price)
With the news that Meta will be charging $14 a month for ad-free versions of Instagram and Facebook, tech conglomerate Meta continues to make waves in the industry.
Currently being rolled out across Europe, this move is likely in response to the European Union’s Digital Services Act. From the 1st of January 2024, the Digital Services Act will introduce rules on serving personalised advertising without seeking consent prior.
The problem? Well, if a significant number of users opt for the ad-free versions of Instagram and Facebook, that means less and less users seeing paid advertising. While the seemingly high subscription fee may deter some for now, it’s something for those in paid media to consider…
Google-Extended Answers to All AI-Related Concerns? Not quite…
Last month we received the news that there was a way to prevent your website’s content from being used by Google AI such as Bard. To do this, you would just need to block the specific crawler Google-Extended in your robots.txt file. We thought this would extend to Google’s Search Generative Experience… but we were wrong.
It was confirmed this month that even if you disallow Google-Extended in your robots.txt file, you won’t be excluded from the new Google Search Generative Experience. The only option to be excluded is to block Googlebot completely, which obviously we would never advise! This means you would have to take your website out of Google entirely.
So, while Google-Extended does provide a solution to many wishing for their content to stay out of some AI tools, there’s certainly no escape to joining Google’s future of searching.
Gmail Introduces Stricter Email Authentication Standards
Announced on the 3rd of October, Google announced that from February 2024, Gmail will be enforcing stricter policies for email senders, especially for those that send over 5k emails through an ESP (Email Sending Provider, like Mailchimp or Zoho) a day. This matches Yahoo’s recent announcement, and it’s expected that this will soon become standard across the industry.
The main takeaways are:
- Requiring large volume senders to have DKIM and DMARC authentication methods. These help to verify that the person sending the email through an ESP is the actual owner of the domain. This helps to reduce spam and increases trust with inbox providers, like Google and Microsoft.
- Aiming to reduce spam to less than 0.3% in Google Postmaster
- Requiring a one-click unsubscribe
The most notable one for us here is the one-click unsubscribe. Previously, the industry consensus was to have the same number of steps to unsubscribe as there are to subscribe, but in light of this announcement, those in email marketing will need to adopt the new one-click unsubscribe approach from next February.
Google Goes Lightweight with ‘GSE Lite’
We don’t know about you, but we’re constantly awaiting new updates around Google’s new Search Generative Experience. October didn’t let us down!
It appears that Google is now testing a ‘lightweight’ version of the Search Generative Experience, coined ‘SGE Lite’ amongst industry speculators. While only a small development, it’s certainly one to pay attention to. With subtle graphic design changes in its answer box, appearing more like a featured snippet, we can see that Google is considering how best to display its AI generated results to its users.
SGE continues to evolve. I'm now seeing what I'm calling "SGE lite" in the SERPs. SGE doesn't trigger a large block by default anymore… it's now much smaller with a large "Show more" button. Again, IMO SGE will not roll out unless it's revenue-neutral or positive… Stay tuned: pic.twitter.com/JSlUJ7V7ef— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) October 7, 2023
Well, keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned for more updates!
Move Over ChatGPT – Google Search Generative Experience Can Now Create Images
For many, the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) looks to be offering some incredible, fun features through its interface.
In a more fun update this month, it was announced that Google’s Search Generative Experience, like many other AI tools, can now generate AI images at your request.
As we continue to experiment with bringing generative AI to Search, we’re adding new capabilities to help you get more done — like the ability to generate imagery or create the first draft of something you need to write. Learn more ↓ https://t.co/bmWZ48gAwv— Google (@Google) October 12, 2023
Available in search and Google Images itself, all you have to do is simply ask it to ‘draw a picture of’ whatever you so desire, and away you go. Pretty cool right?
Be at the forefront of search
If you’re looking to stay ahead of the competition and at the top of the search results – look no further. Staying visible with MRS Digital is easy. Reach out to one of our digital marketing specialists to see how.