SEO Insights: April 2024 Report

SEO Expert Duncan

Our April 2024 SEO Insights further examines the recent Google Core Update’s impact on rankings and content quality, plus the potential for AI to revolutionise how we access online information.

As the search landscape continues to evolve and AI models like ChatGPT integrate content and linking capabilities, the lines between search engines and AI assistants may start to blur. Rest assured Artemis is at the forefront of these cutting-edge developments, and our continued investment in AI research translates to tangible benefits for our clients. We develop advanced SEO strategies that adapt to the ever-changing demands of search and user experience, helping to ensure your website stays ahead of the curve.

Google Core Update – March/April 2024

After an update spanning over a month from 5 March to 19 April, we’re pleased to confirm that the Core Update has finally finished rolling out!

Core Updates are a critical area of focus for SEOs. As is always the case, our SEO team closely assesses and monitors all client website performance, gathering valuable insights to understand the impact of the updates, if any. We leverage these insights to identify trends and implement strategic improvements across all our clients’ websites. By analysing how different websites respond to Core Updates, we can identify best practices and refine our SEO strategies to ensure long-term performance.

We are always closely examining the impacts, and typical questions we ask include:

  • How will the new algorithmic enhancements impact rankings for our clients’ websites across various industries and sectors?
  • Which specific types of websites and content categories will see the most significant shifts, both positive and negative?
  • Is our existing content strategy and execution hitting the mark in terms of providing genuinely helpful, high-quality information to users?
  • What adjustments or new initiatives do we need to implement on clients’ websites to maintain and improve their visibility and competitiveness in this ever-changing, uncertain online market?

The Background

We started seeing signs of ranking volatility, within the SEO community, related to the Core Update from rank tracking tools around 3 March. Some sites reported major ranking drops and third-party tracking tools noticed considerable fluctuations. Google also released the March 2024 Spam Update simultaneously, which only increased the potential for drastic rankings spikes.

While many websites experienced fluctuations, we are pleased to say that on the whole, our client’s performance have remained stable overall. Some sites even saw excellent wins in challenging industries, which is hugely pleasing to see. We’ve managed to avoid seeing significant traffic declines which is a testament to our commitment in prioritising helpful and informative content and adhering to Google’s guidelines across all SEO methods, from on-page and technical SEO to link building strategies.

Core Update Summary:

  • The March Core Update ranking improvements, tackling spam and low-quality content on Search, are now finished rolling out.
  • On 5 March, Google launched enhancements to their core systems and spam policies to reduce content created solely for search engines.
  • The updates reportedly led to a 45% reduction in low-quality, unoriginal content in search results, exceeding the expected 40% improvement.
  • As the web and spam tactics evolve, Google will continue working to reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in Search.

AI – The incorporation of search influences

AI technology continues to evolve rapidly, with discussions ongoing about how, when, and where these technologies will be used and cultivated by tech gurus, academics, business leaders, and creators.

A fascinating announcement from OpenAI has hinted that search-related influences are being incorporated. OpenAI has agreed on a partnership that puts ChatGPT on the path to displaying attributed summaries, quotes, and links to websites in response to user queries.

Implications of the Partnership

The partnership between The Financial Times and OpenAI will enhance ChatGPT with the ability to show real-time content with links in response to queries. Historically, content deals between AI models and publishers have provided data for language models to learn connections between words and concepts.

However, this deal goes further by explicitly mentioning the use of licensed content so that ChatGPT could directly quote it and provide links to the licensed content. The deal aims to improve ChatGPT’s “usefulness,” which could mean incorporating online content with attribution.

Brad Lightcap, COO of OpenAI, directly referenced showing real-time news content in ChatGPT and exploring new ways to present content to users. Displaying direct quotes from The Financial Times with links is similar to how search engines work, potentially signalling where ChatGPT is heading – a functionality that incorporates online content with links to that content.

The Future of AI and Search

This kind of AI-powered content integration and linking could be a game-changer, blurring the lines between traditional search engines and conversational AI assistants like ChatGPT. If successful, we may see AI systems become powerful entry points for finding, consuming and making sense of the vast realms of online information.

Questions remain around the legal implications of AI-generated content, including licensing, fair use, and potential copyright infringement. The rise of AI-powered search also presents challenges in content quality and the spread of misinformation. As these systems evolve, robust policies and safeguards to ensure transparency, accuracy, and balance in how information is presented will be vital.