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November Google Updates

While Google's November update wasn't as major as their previous updates in the past, this doesn't mean that you can take a break. Make sure to run continuously to ensure that your website rankings are not affected by these small updates.


Keep an eye on your website monitoring tools, as it is important to keep track of how your website rankings are changing.


First you will need to run an audit and take a look at all the data that you should be collecting throughout the month such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Business, A/B testing and any heat maps that you may be running.


Let's get into all of the updates that you need to know to plan an effective SEO strategy.


Google Weekend Update (November 11th)

It seems we have been seeing more volatility signals on the weekends than weekdays. For example, we had reports of an update last weekend, on November 4th and 5th, the weekend before that on October 28th/29th, the spam update kind of surged on a Friday/Saturday with Octber 21st and 22nd, but the one before that was on a Thursday, October 13th.

Recently, it just seems we are seeing adjustments on Fridays and Saturdays. I mean, that can make sense if Google has search launch meetings towards the end of the week and pushes happen on Fridays? I am just guessing here...


Google's New Spam Policy: Policy Circumvention

A while ago Google updated their spam policies to make it more clear what constitutes spam. The new section is called "circumvention of spam policies" and basically says you can be penalized for trying to go around a Google spam policy.


If you find a way around one of the Google spam policies, their Terms of Service team might end up penalizing your site or content or account. This could show up as anything from being banned from AdSense to having your blog posts removed from the search engine results pages.


Google says:

If you engage in actions intended to bypass our spam or content policies for Google Search, undermine restrictions placed on content, a site, or an account, or otherwise continue to distribute content that has been removed or made ineligible from surfacing, we may take appropriate action which could include restricting or removing eligibility for some of our search features (for example, Top Stories, Discover). Circumvention includes but is not limited to creating or using multiple sites or other methods intended to distribute content or engage in a behavior that was previously prohibited.

They have uploaded their rules on their Google Search Central in a document for everyone to make sure they are following their rules. This is not one that you want to skip out on.


What is policy circumvention?

  • It is an action that is intended to bypass any of the Google spam or content policies.

  • It is an action that undermines the restrictions Google has placed on the site, content or account

  • It is an action that finds other ways to distribute the content that was already removed or downgraded for previous violations

  • Circumvention, as Google defines it, "includes but is not limited to creating or using multiple sites or other methods intended to distribute content or engage in a behavior that was previously prohibited."


Google Documents Search Rankings Updates As Systems

Google has published a new document named a guide to Google search ranking system. The document outlines the "notable" ranking updates that are currntly live and running for Google Search and some of the historical algorithms. They are also moving away from the word "update" to avoid confusion of SEO.


Personally, I think this wording can be quite confusing for my clients. They don't understand that Google is a living entity that is constantly changing so they use the new of an "update" as a reason to update their website when you should constantly update your website.


Also, Google's Danny Sullivan said these should be called ranking "systems" and not "updates." "Going forward, we'll be more precise with our wording when differentiating systems from updates. Yes, we'll still have things like a "helpful content update" or a "product reviews update", but when possible we will explain those as updates to the respective systems, such as the "helpful content system" and the "product reviews system." We'll also be refreshing our help pages to reflect this terminology change, over time," Danny wrote.


Last Batch of sites moving to Mobile-first indexing coming soon!

I can't tell you how many people I have talked to about speeding up their mobile website to accomodate Google's new mobile-first indexing. Well they have officially announced that they are going to be fully leaning into this update soon.


Google's John Mueller tweeted in response to a worried website owner saying that unless you have serious issues on mobile that you won't have to worry about it too much.


He said this before, saying that the last batch would be in July 2022 but then in August said they were not done. As a reminder, Google started its mobile-first indexing initiative over 6 years ago, in November 2016. But we still have sites that are being migrated over from Google desktop-first indexing to mobile-first indexing at the end of 2022.

Yes, last November, Google removed any deadline they had for the mandatory mobile-first indexing switch over. As a reminder in May 2021 we reported that mobile first indexing switch was not done yet and then in March we reported that Google was going to migrate over the last batch of sites to mobile first indexing soon. This was after moving the mobile-first indexing deadline from September 2020 to March 2021. Well, Google is still not done moving some sites to mobile-first indexing, even as we approach the end of 2022.


Google Week end update (November 25) and E-A-T For all queries

Google announced an update for Black Friday but it is just a update to the algorithm. They have now updated every weekend in November. It seems like we are seeing a little bit of pattern here. Google changed the "more recommendations" label to more products. Source.

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