Google is constantly making changes to the algorithm, their product line up and even their business model. Even just looking specifically at upcoming changes that affect SEO, there are quite a few to consider. Let’s take a look.

Google changes and practices that are important for you to know about:

1. Google Analytics 4. This is an important implementation and makes the top of the list because it’s not something you can ignore for very long into 2023. The previous Google analytics platform called Universal Analytics is going away and being replaced with Google Analytics 4. The main difference is that there will be fewer privacy concerns with GA4, according to Google. That’s a good thing if you’re tired of ads following you all over the internet for products you may have looked at one or two times on a website. The bad news is the new method of collecting data might be confusing at first because it’s going to track slightly different parameters. You will see data on “sessions” rather than the more familiar page views and user information. Still the change has to be made because after July 1, 2023, Universal analytics will no longer work, so if you don’t have GA4 installed, there won’t be any data collection.

2. Speaking of privacy concerns, Google Chrome is apparently eliminating or severely curtailing the use of cookies. That means no more third-party data collected that you can use to retarget your customers. The best defence? Make sure you are interacting with your audience and capturing your own “first-party” data via newsletter signups and free content.

3. Algorithm changes are expected to continue in 2023.  Google will be placing even more emphasis on video content, particularly short form video content, such as shorts and Google web stories. The other big algorithm adjustment to be aware of is Google’s newfound abilities to discern intent. Google has gotten very good at understanding what the user is looking for by the nature of the search query. That means that you will want to make sure you include content on your website that appeals to visitors at all stages of the buying cycle – from someone just investigating your industry to a repeat visitor who is now ready to buy.

4. Google Ads changes. Gone are the days when advertisers spent hours creating the perfectly-worded search ad for their Google ad campaigns. Now Google pretty much decides the content of your ad based on some content you input. On the other hand, they’ve also introduced the ”performance max” style of ads, which give you as the advertiser a bit more control over the content, since they are visual ads. They also have wider reach than the strictly text-based search ads, through exposure to Google’s site network across the internet. If you haven’t looked at this ad strategy, you might want to try it out. An additional advantage: if your performance max ad is a quick video, YouTube may show it in its Shorts section in some feeds.

Changes and practices that you don’t need to worry about:

1. Chrome updates – Other than the cookies updates, there’s nothing to see here except a few alterations to the design of Chrome’s interface.

2. Negative back linking. I include this because I’m occasionally asked about it. If you’re not in a tremendously competitive space with ruthless cut-throat rivals in your industry, I don’t think – at least I hope – you don’t need to worry about competitors spending time and money to sabotage your backlinks. Your competition would have to be a) willing to pay for this tactic; b) know how to do it or where to go for the service; and c) completely without scruples. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen; absolutely it does, but let’s not jump to any conclusions. You can easily check the quality of your backlinks using a tool like seoreviewtools.com, ubersuggest.com, semrush.com and many more.

3. The Google Page Experience Update. This is an update that was made last year and I’m sure will continue to be applied. However I have to say there’s nothing to be afraid of. The page experience that is referenced is nothing more than what you would include in any SEO campaign. Page speed, useful content, mobile friendliness and a few other obvious parameters that you would be doing anyway are what makes up this update. If your web designer or SEO service is keeping your site updated, these will as a matter of course be included.  The only caveat is to make sure you are continuing to offer valuable content to your audience.

If you have more thoughts on the subject of Google updates, please post them in the comments below!