Webinar recap: Google & Local SEO Updates | November 2023

Discover the latest updates on Google Business Profiles and local SEO in this informative webinar recap. Gain insights on Google Core updates, Performance Max, and more. Stay up to date with the latest trends in digital marketing.


Introduction and topic overview - starts at 00:35 

In this month's webinar, we cover these main topics: 

  1. Local SEO updates
  2. Google Core update and algorithm changes 
  3. Performance Max overview 
  4. Google Ads updates 

After the topic discussion, the webinar concludes with an expert Q&A. 

Speaker Introductions - starts at 01:55

Bringing together the local SEO and advertising worlds, we are happy to announce our two hosts and speakers for this event, Justin Dombrow and Yan Gilbert.

Justin Dombrow is an ex-Googler who spent more than 11 years working with some of the largest retailers, helping them grow their digital and offline presence with Google products like Inventory Ads and PMax. He currently serves as dbaPlatform's Senior Vice President of Advertising.

Yan Gilbert is the creator of Local Falcon, the original Google Maps grid tracking system, and currently the Product Expert here at dbaPlatform and takes on private clients as an SEO Consultant. Yan is one of only a handful in the world to be included in the exclusive Google Platinum Product Expert team for his contributions to the community and mastery of Google services.

New GBP Categories - starts at 3:30 

Google is constantly adding new categories for business owners to add to their Google Profile to help better define their business and more easily be found through searches and maps. Some of the most recent categories include beach clubs, waste transfer stations, and special educators. 

Google Business Profile Bugs - starts at 4:35 

Most recent bugs that our team has noticed or been made aware of include: 

  • Inability to upload images/posts
  • Attribution de-selection issues
  • Video verification process 

Yan discusses in full the issues and recommends a course of action. 

Local SEO: What's New? - starts at 7:00 

The updates are plenty in the SEO realm. In this section of the webinar, he dives into the following updates and subsequent impacts: 

  • Google November Core update 
  • Google reviews update 
    • This was specific to product reviews to reduce and remove spam. 
  • Control to update and add social media links on GBP
  • Google Maps Lists feature 
  • Business Profile suspension and reinstatement policy changes

Google's Core Update - starts at 17:00

Google's most recent core update has just been completed and is still being analyzed by the community to see ranking and other impacts. Initial observations include a lowered three-pack on search results and an increase in secondary categories on Google Business Profiles.

Understanding Performance Max - starts at 20:22 

Google Performance Max is a relatively new campaign type in Google Ads that aims to maximize your conversions and value across all of Google's advertising channels. It does this by using automation to optimize bids, budgets, audiences, creatives, and attribution, all in one single campaign. Pmax reaches new and identified ideal consumers through every part of the conversion funnel. 

  1. Display Ads - Google's display network includes 2 million websites and apps where ads can appear. Display ads reach 90% of web users worldwide. This format helps with acquisition and prospecting.
  2. YouTube Ads - Short pre-rolled video ads related to the category of interest with a possibly new product or company. The ad may have nothing to do with the user's video content but will connect to the consumer's interests. 
  3. Discovery Ads - These ads are visually engaging and personalized. Google's Machine Learning is used to identify users most likely to engage with a business based on interests and browsing behavior. These are commonly visible on Android, the Google app, and the home screen on Chrome.
  4. Gmail Ads - These take on a view similar to an actual email but are very clearly labeled as ads. These are great ads for consumers in the awareness and consideration stages. 
  5. Map Ads - These ads appear on the map pack when consumers act like they are looking for store hours or directions. These are highly targeted and are used for consumers in the decision-making stage. 
  6. Shopping Ads - These play a critical role in the PMax funnel. Shopping Ads/ Local Inventory Ads will show on the top of Google search. They are proven high-performing ads, delivering higher ROAS than other formats. First place ad will get 75% of all clicks  

Watch this section to see visuals of all ad types across multiple types of industries. 

Generative A.I. for asset creation - starts at 30:55

In part of the webinar, Justin reviews the details of the new Gen AI tools for text and images within PMax. Eligibility requirements include an active ad account for at least 30 days and only apply to accounts in the United States. These tools are expected to be widely available for everyone in the U.S. in early 2024. 

In Google beta - search themes as an audience signal - starts at 36:08

Justin reviews and explains this new beta feature that allows PMax ad managers to use search themes on PMax inventory to reach people who are either currently searching for or have previously searched for the search themes.

Search themes have the same prioritization as a phrase or broad match keywords. Exact match will be prioritized over search themes. This feature can be leveraged to help PMax ramp up and optimize faster.

Pmax case study results - start 39:00

dbaPlatform recently partnered with Google on an Ad pilot for Pmax with vehicle feeds. The testing framework included side-by-side comparisons with traditional vehicle ads. A few note-worthy results included: 

  • 48% Increase in conversions
  • 41% Increase in conversion value
  • 19% Decrease in cost per conversion

Google references our case study in its materials.

Segment Reference Articles:

Google: Vehicle ads will be upgraded to Performance Max with vehicle feeds

Case study: dbaPlatform drives 48% conversion increase with Performance Max with Vehicle Feed

Local listing and ads solutions - starts at 40:55

dbaPlatform offers solutions that help businesses manage local listings and digital ads. We have you covered from done-by-you to done-for-you options. 

You can learn more here

Expert Q&A  - starts at 42:24 

Here is a summary of the questions asked during the live expert Q&A. Watch the complete section for expanded answers, and D.M. us on Instagram if you have any additional questions.

  1. Should I run PMax campaigns with my other campaigns if I am starting to run ads on PMax? 
  2. Will Google let us turn off the Generative AI tools? 
  3. Besides having fewer campaigns with Pmax, what is the real benefit/how can I sell this to my clients?
  4. Does Microsoft have Performance Max?
  5. How much do you charge for Google management per location?
  6. Is there a specific minimum budget amount you recommend for testing PMax campaigns? Most of our clients have limited budgets, about $500/month, and we have yet to find much success with PMax compared to search campaigns.

If you have any questions about the webinar, please email us

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