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Search Engine Recap - Week 12 (2024)

We provide you with a weekly overview of the most important updates from the search engine, so you can keep your SEO strategy competitive. Welcome to week 12.

This week, we're diving into Google's latest spam update, exploring the issue of spammy backlinks, and looking ahead at what's in store for search volumes. Here's an overview for you.

Google Wraps Up Its Spam Update

Google has finished its March spam update, targeting thin AI-generated content, abuse of expired domains, and authority misuse, while its core update integrating the "Helpful Content" system is still in progress.

google spam update status dashboard

The update, which took around two weeks to fully roll out, introduced three new spam policies now in effect, with the reputation abuse policy kicking off in May.

Post-update observations reveal significant shifts in website rankings, with some sites entirely wiped from Google's search index, particularly those leaning heavily on AI-generated content.

Google also took manual actions against pure spam sites, separate from the algorithmic tweaks during the spam update. However, reports have surfaced of AI content still outperforming human-generated content in areas like recipe sites. More such adjustments in search results are anticipated over time.

As the core update continues to unfold over the coming weeks, Google advises businesses and content creators to focus on crafting original, high-quality content and to hold off on major adjustments in response to ranking shifts until the update is fully integrated.

New Updates to Shopping Results

Google has rolled out updates to its shopping results within the European Economic Area, aligning with the EU's Digital Markets Act, effective March 6.

new updates to shopping results

The act aims to foster fair competition by introducing new regulations for major tech firms tagged as "gatekeepers," including Google.

Changes include the introduction of 'Products' and ‘Product Sites’ tabs in search results, showcasing organic listings and carousels of product content with links to websites. This aligns with Google's February announcement aimed at enhancing the search experience in Europe.

These efforts are part of a broader EU initiative to regulate the digital market and curb the dominance of big tech firms, with more adjustments expected as companies adapt to the Digital Markets Act.

Google's Senior Search Analyst, John Mueller, addressed concerns on Reddit about the impact of spammy or unnatural backlinks on rankings, advising publishers not to fret excessively.

He emphasized - almost redundantly - that Google's algorithms are adept at sidelining such links, suggesting businesses focus on enhancing their domain's quality instead.

John Mueller advised against using the Disavow Tool, designed to help Google disregard certain backlinks.

The SEO community has been anxious about whether spammy links could affect a Domain Rating, a metric reflected in third-party tools, representing a website's link profile.

It's essential to remember that this metric is third-party-specific, and the focus should be on the value of links and their contribution to a website's quality.

Experts Challenge Gartner's Search Volume Forecast

SEO experts worldwide are contesting Gartner's prediction of a significant drop in search volume by 2026 due to AI chatbots. The experts argue that genuine AI search engines do not yet exist, as AI cannot index web content in real-time, keeping it always a step behind the latest content additions.

Moreover, the economics of AI search engines are questionable due to high costs, and generative AI technology remains immature, evidenced by incidents like Microsoft Copilot.

Additionally, the ongoing evolution of traditional search engines like Google, which already integrates AI, is expected to continue improving.

Key Takeaways and Recommendations

With Google's spam update fully deployed, we observe that many domains relying on thin AI content have lost visibility in favor of "helpful" content.

However, not all such content has been algorithmically removed, indicating more work to be done, possibly during the core update still in progress.

Overall, Google's algorithm has become adept at distinguishing between high and low-quality content, leading John Mueller to suggest that the disavow tool is often unnecessary, as the search engine already filters what it needs to.

In conclusion, Gartner's analysis predicting reduced search volumes was overwhelmingly challenged by experts globally. Yet, it remains exciting to watch how AI continues to influence search.

If you want to understand how these developments impact you and your business, feel free to reach out to Bonzer. As a specialized SEO agency, we fine-tune businesses to convert updates into growth on the search engine.

Thomas Bogh

CPO & Partner

Thomas er CPO samt Partner, hvorfor fokus til dagligt ligger i evig analyse af Googles algoritme og udvikling af SEO som produkt. Thomas har arbejdet med SEO i flere år med stor passion for at sprede know how på, hvordan man som virksomhed implementerer SEO bedst i sin forretning. Ved siden af Bonzer bidrager Thomas med viden til læserne hos bl.a. Search Engine Journal, DanDomain og Detailfolk. Herudover har han også undervist i Digital Mediestrategi på Copenhagen Business School i København. Har du ønsker eller spørgsmål vedr. SEO universet, kan du altid kontakte ham på [email protected].

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A brief meeting, where we review your position in the market and present the opportunities.