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Search Engine Recap - Week 4 (2024)

Each week, we bring you a roundup of the latest news in SEO to keep you ahead of the competition. Welcome to week 4.

search news week 4

Week 4 brings a few but exciting updates. We will cover news from Google's Quality Raters, the Google SEO Starter Guide, and how to trigger a re-indexing of your website.

Google Terminates Contract with 'Search Quality Raters'

Google has terminated its contract with Appen, a company that provided so-called quality raters - individuals employed to evaluate the search engine and provide quality assessments to Google.

The termination will take effect on March 19, 2024, ending the relationship between Google and Appen, which was significant for Appen's business, as the agreement constituted 26% of their revenue.

The cancellation of the contract raises questions about the future of Google's quality assessment methods, which is becoming increasingly important as the search engine evolves. The last update to Google's Search Quality Rater Guidelines was in November 2023.

This termination coincides with Google recently laying off employees in several departments as part of its efforts to expedite AI development projects.

industry experts who were formerly quality raters

This move has led to criticism of Google's strategic direction, with former employees calling for more creativity, compounded by the company's tendency to abandon projects if they do not quickly achieve massive user numbers.

It will be particularly interesting to see how Google will assess the success of its many AI investments in the future and what this will mean for the ongoing development of the search engine.

Google Advises on Full Website Re-indexing

In a video released by Google, they share knowledge on how to get a domain re-indexed on the search engine.

In summary, a domain must undergo a significant change or update before Google will automatically perform an in-depth crawl.

Google further explained that there is currently no mechanism to request a complete re-indexing as it stands today. Instead, they emphasize that they will update the search engine over time.

However, Google's John Mueller has provided several steps to facilitate the re-indexing process, including:

  • Using 301 response codes, which are crucial when a website's URL changes, informing search engines that the page has permanently moved to a new URL, prompting the search engine to search for and index the new page.

  • Using 404 server response codes to indicate to Google that a page no longer exists.

  • Optimize the domain with links, aiding Google in prioritizing the crawling of important pages, which can help search engines index pages.

  • Update essential information such as new phone numbers or addresses on some of the main pages of a domain.

John Mueller further mentioned that while 301 redirects are crucial for informing the search engine that a page has moved, a thorough change in content could lead to a longer process for Google, as they must first assess the quality anew before the page is re-ranked.

Google Updates Its SEO Starter Guide

Many of you may be familiar with Google's SEO Starter Guide when looking for best practices for optimizing your or your clients' websites.

Despite its beginner format, the guide is a valuable and guiding resource for everyone working with SEO.

google seo starter guide

Now, the Google Search Relations Team has announced in their podcast “Search Off The Record” that the guide will be updated.

A guide that ranks highly for "SEO" and is one of Google's most visited pages, highlighting the ongoing demand from businesses to optimize their domains as effectively as possible.

The reason for the update is that Google has identified a need to streamline content that is already managed by various CMS and thus considered self-evident, such as guidance on having an HTTPS domain or a mobile-friendly site.

Additionally, there are ongoing changes in the search engine, necessitating Google to update its guidance for the many businesses looking to read their advice.

Currently, the guide is over 8,000 words, and the updated version appears to be more than halved in length.

You can view Google's own starter guide right here on the site.

Takeaways and Recommendations

It's no secret that there's a lot happening at Google - and other search engines - these days. One aspect is the development of the search engine itself; another is 'behind the scenes', where several have been laid off, or contracts with external providers have been terminated.

What this means for the future of the search engine is yet unknown, except that Google itself indicates that all this is to be even stronger in AI development.

It is therefore reasonable to assume that Google will focus even more on AI in the coming period. It will be exciting to follow their update of the well-known SEO Starter Guide, known for being helpful for those new to SEO, covering all the known 101 tips.

But with more development than ever, it also needs to be updated. It seems that Google wants us to move away from outdated tactics and rethink our approach to SEO. Whether this will involve more AI-based guidance remains to be seen. But what we do know for sure is that we must keep up.

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.