Holiday season is officially here! But before we indulge in too many sweet treats and delicious meals, we have plenty of digital marketing headlines to cover. We spotted big news from Google in SEO, paid media, and digital analytics, of course, but we also found equally interesting stories from Shopify as well as the world of artificial intelligence (AI).

Get the full story on these topics and more in our November Digital Roundup.

SEO stories

Is Google launching a core algorithm update coming in December?

There are many rumblings across the industry that Google could be rolling out another core algorithm update before the year comes to a close. There has been significant ranking flux over the past few weeks and in late November, our SEO team observed sizable share-of-voice (SOV) increases across a number of clients.

As UK Head of SEO Ewan Stevenson said, “Either Google is testing something in the wild, or we're seeing the initial impact of tweaks to the core algorithm update.” He went on to say that “Some expect greater stringency for low quality AI content, whereas many are calling out for a reduction in rankings for barnacle SEO leeches, ranking forum content spam on authoritative but often unrelated websites.”

As always, we will definitely keep you updated in the coming months.

AI news spotlight

OpenAI’s GPT-3 releases impressive “davinci-003” update

If you’re on the fence about AI-written content or simply want to learn more about it, you should get familiar with OpenAI’s GPT-3. Why? Because it just released the incredibly impressive “davinci-003” update, allowing it to write long-form content and perform tasks requiring an in-depth knowledge of the desired subject matter. “It’s also more capable of creating more natural copywriting,” Ewan said. “And it beats AI detection tests pretty reliably without the need for manual input.”

Ewan also wanted to highlight some very useful AI sites that you may not know: 

Paid media stories

Shopify experiments with universal search

Shopify is testing a new feature that allows users to search for products from every merchant on the platform. But here’s the kicker: it’s not available to everyone—yet. The Shop app now includes an option to “Search for anything” in the search box, and Marketplace Pulse reported that “a ‘cycling jersey’ search returned 6,937 results from hundreds of Shopify merchants.”

“While this isn’t universally available, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on,” said Head of Paid Media Lucy Whittaker. “If it’s indeed rolled out to everyone, it will mean potential ranking opportunities, both paid and organic, directly in Shopify’s ecosystem.”

Google Ads cost per lead rises for majority of industries year over year

The Google Ads cost per lead for nearly all industries (91 percent) has increased year over year. The average increase was 19 percent, though it went up 134 percent for arts & entertainment and 68 percent for travel. There were a few industries that saw a decreased cost, finance & insurance and education & instruction, but they were outliers compared to the others. You can see a full report on these figures at Wordstream.

Google Ads now includes Podcasts Lineup

The podcast listening audience is already pretty massive, but it’s only expected to continue growing in the next five years. And if you’re a Google Ads user trying to reach that audience, you’ll be excited to find that the platform now includes the Podcasts Lineup to target listeners on YouTube. This is a big addition to Google Ads considering that YouTube is the second most popular way to listen to podcasts in the US, per Edison data.

Digital analytics stories

Google adds new dimensions to GA4 reporting

In early November, Google rolled out several new dimensions for Google Analytics 4 reporting, and the one that stood out to our team was the Hour and Day dimensions. According to UK Director of Analytics Gareth Williams, the previous lack of these dimensions was quite significant. “Marketers could not easily view key data, such as sales, by the time of day,” he explained. “Instead, they would need to rely on the GA4 data being processed at hit level in BigQuery — but not anymore.” You can learn more about these new dimensions in Google’s Analytics Help section.

Content marketing stories

Copywriting strategies everyone should know

Copywriting and content marketing writing aren’t the same, as Sonia Simone pointed out in her excellent copyblogger article, but they do complement each other. If you work in content marketing and need some pointers about how to move the needle on your next project, you may find some gems in this piece. Sonia provided advice on some key dos and don’ts, how to find your audience, and much more. Check it out over at copyblogger.

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