SEO recap for 2023: The year the robots started taking over

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Janet Mobley

(Queue all the references Skylab, killer robots and Terminator. In our humble opinion, 2023 may be the year that the sh*t started to hit the proverbial fan.)

So, what changed in last 12 months? And how do those changes impact your need to generate home improvement leads? Let’s take a look!

What did Google change in 2023?

Short answer: a bunch of stuff.

Long answer: Google released NINE algorithm and FOUR core updates this year. Here’s are a few notable highlights …

The robots are here (well….really AI is here, but what’s the difference?)

In May, Google officially announced AI-powered search, called the Google Search Generative Experience. What is that, exactly? It’s an experimental search experience that uses AI to provide users answer with quick and clear overviews of topics — without having to click on an individual web page.

In other words, this change just made it even harder to drive traffic to your website. Well, yay. As if it weren’t already hard enough. **sigh**

Then, in September, Google released an update to its “helpful content” guidelines and removed the words “written by people.” So, it’s official, the biggest search engine in the world now promotes and rank content written by robots. Yikes.

Reviews, reviews, reviews.

In February, Google rolled out changes that promoted in-depth product reviews over “thin” product reviews.

Then, in November, another change rolled out that went beyond product reviews to promote reviews of services, businesses, destinations and media.

We haven’t seen it happen yet, but we predict that soon we may see service businesses — like a kitchen and bath company, for example — partner with 3rd party “influencers” to create “independent” in-depth reviews. If and when that happens, we suspect that these in-depth reviews will rank above everything else related to a local kitchen and bath search. Again, we haven’t seen it yet, but maybe we’ll try it with one of our clients this year and report back on the results.

Mobile-First. No joke, Google means it for real this time.

Mobile-friendliness has always been important, but now it’s absolutely non-negotiable.

Seven years ago, Google launched a “mobile first” initiative. That means search results have been engineered to favor websites that perform (and look) better on mobile devices. Seven years ago! That’s a lifetime on the internet. Well, now it’s official. Mobile First Indexing is now complete.

What does this mean for you? If your website was built more than 5 years ago, chances are it doesn’t look great on mobile devices. If that’s the case, you can officially kiss your chances of local SEO ranking goodbye. It ain’t gonna happen for you until you fix that dusty old website. Sorry. Those are just facts.

If you need help keeping up with the crazy internet changes, or you want a fresh set of eyes on your online lead generation strategy, give us a call!

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