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August 2, 2023

4 Important Digital Marketing and SEO Updates From July 2023

The digital marketing world has seen countless changes over the first half of 2023, and July was no exception. Staying up to date is key to generating more conversions, maximizing organic reach, and improving overall ROI.

But if you’re responsible for your company’s daily marketing efforts, keeping up with the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape can be a challenge.

That’s why we’ve put together this recap—to provide the most vital information regarding digital marketing and SEO updates from July 2023. 

From new AI considerations to additional visual elements added to Google Search, here are four updates to know from the past month. 

The Future of AI Remains Unclear

If there’s one thing that digital marketers have discussed endlessly in 2023, it’s AI and the latest tools from the biggest players in search.

In fact, many marketers are already implementing tools like ChatGPT and others into their daily workflow, specifically in content marketing. 

However, as questions about ethics and impending regulation—particularly in the EU—entered the public discourse surrounding AI, the future of this new technology is still unclear. Specifically, many wonder just how capable these tools will become, when and how they’ll be regulated, and their long-term implications on digital marketing. 

In July, some predictions about the future of AI came to pass in unsurprising ways. For example, a new Google Merchant Center policy update clarifies that it views AI-generated reviews as spam and will not allow them. Though new, this policy makes plenty of sense, and most digital marketers saw it coming from a mile away. 

Another widely anticipated development was the addition of new features to Google Bard. We figured Bard would eventually see augmentations such as “speak aloud” responses, different tones and styles, plus the ability to upload images as prompts and share responses. 

These are certainly new and appreciated enhancements to Bard, but nothing earth-shattering. 

Even so, those waiting for the other shoe to drop regarding AI finally got it in July. Proposed legal action and a large-scale Hollywood strike are highlighting some of AI’s potentially problematic and tangible impacts. 

A proposed copyright lawsuit in San Francisco alleges Google caused at least $5 billion in damages when it illegally used copyrighted material and stolen personal information to train AI products in violation of federal privacy and consumer protection regulations. 

Meanwhile, SAG-AFTRA members are striking in Hollywood after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers went south. While there are multiple issues at play in the strike, the likelihood of AI replacing actors is a cornerstone. 

But what does this have to do with digital marketing? The bottom line is this: Serious, high-dollar questions remain around the implementation of AI-powered tools, including in the digital marketing world.

No, you probably don’t need to call your attorney before using ChatGPT. But if you’ve been looking to leverage AI-powered tools as a significant part of your brand’s marketing strategy, you may want to reconsider while regulators, courts, and governing bodies decide where to come down. 

Farewell, Universal Analytics

The beginning of July marked the end of Universal Analytics. 

If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Google’s next-gen measurement solution or set up Google Analytics 4 for your eCommerce site, you’re behind the eight-ball in terms of data collection and analysis. 

While we’re all officially embracing GA4, some users did see UA continue to process new hits after the July 1 deadline—something Google cautioned us would not happen. 

Don’t read too much into it. UA is done and is only going to serve as a historical data repository for the next few months before it’s eliminated entirely. 

If you haven’t already exported the data you want to keep from your UA property, set a deadline on your calendar. Otherwise, you could wake up in a few months to find that your UA property is completely gone—along with all your valuable data. 

More Visual Elements Could Be Coming to Google SERPs

When Google tests out new features, the SEO community takes note. That was certainly the case in July as the search giant experimented with new visual elements within search results. 

The tests presented themselves in the form of image boxes across featured snippets, top stories, products, and other areas. 

It’s widely known that Google views high-quality images as significant contributors to a richer, more valuable search experience, so this test comes as no surprise, even if it did grab the community’s attention. 

For digital marketers, the takeaway is clear: First-rate, unique images are extremely helpful in communicating the value of your content to searchers and search engines alike. 

It’s worth noting the image boxes seen in widely-shared screenshots of Google’s test showed no descriptive text and little more than a dozen characters for each title. Based on this, marketers should aim to capture, create, and employ images that capture a page’s value as visually as possible in case this test becomes a full-fledged update. 

What Google has planned next remains unclear, but should we find ourselves on SERPs with far less text and more space dedicated to image elements, sites lacking visual elements might find themselves at a disadvantage.

A Reminder Not to Conflate the Impact of Vital SEO Elements

A triple venn diagram showing the different types of seo

Having a mechanic balance and rotate your tires will make for a smoother ride and can extend the life of your tires, but you wouldn’t expect it to increase your vehicle’s top speed. 

Similarly, jogging for 30 minutes each morning is great for cardiovascular and overall health but might not be key to increasing your bench press strength.

When we think about optimizing and improving the various elements of any system, it’s vital to understand how these elements do or do not relate to one another. 

SEO is no exception, and focusing on just one element won’t typically result in major gains.

In case the marketing world needed a reminder, Google’s John Mueller took to Twitter in July to discuss how various aspects of site performance and visibility do or do not impact one another. 

“A good page experience is useful regardless of SEO,” Mueller wrote. “There are case studies by various commercial sites showing how a minimal improvement maps to a measurable change in user behavior. A great UX doesn’t fix other problems, but users have high expectations nowadays.”

Separately, Mueller made another remark that should inform digital marketers across all verticals: “No ranking factor compensates missing relevance or missing user interest.”

While your site should deliver an absolutely peerless UX, if you aren’t publishing the helpful content searchers find valuable while facilitating quality link building work, expect your site traffic, conversions, and digital revenue to remain flat. 

SEO must be considered holistically, but that doesn’t mean each element you address will have the same bearing on your brand’s digital growth. It’s a balancing act that requires continuous optimization, careful planning, and helpful content that naturally attracts and engages visitors. 

Instead of emphasizing just one part of the SEO equation, partner with an ROI-driven marketing agency that can help improve your SEO performance across the board and generate sustainable results. 

Trust the SEO Experts at VELOX Media

As an ROI-focused digital marketing agency, VELOX leverages expert strategy, deep research, and proven techniques to help enterprise brands achieve exponential growth. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing, which is why the SEO, PPC, and SEM specialists at VELOX customize every campaign and provide high-touch service. 

VELOX is a Google Premier Partner, ranked among the top 3% of digital marketing agencies worldwide, with over a decade of experience delivering results that exceed client expectations. Whether you want to see 30-40% growth in your paid channels or target 400-800% ROI on organic search campaigns, VELOX offers solutions to enhance your online visibility and help your business scale. 

Contact VELOX today for a tailored campaign that will drive revenue and push your brand toward sustained search engine dominance. 

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