• author: RustyBrick Barry Schwartz Search Engine Roundtable

Search Buzz Video Recap: Volatile Google Search Results, AI for SEO, and More


Welcome to another edition of the Search Buzz video recap! In this article, we will cover the search news that we discussed over at the Search Engine Roundtable at Scramtable.com this past week. From Google's volatile search results to the use of AI for SEO, there have been some interesting developments in the industry. So, let's dive right in!

Google's Volatile Search Results

Google's search results have been experiencing a high level of volatility in the past several weeks. While there hasn't been a confirmed update from Google since the April 2023 reviews update, something major happened today. There was a massive spike in volatility this morning, affecting various metrics and search ranking tools like AccuRanker, SEMrush, and Cognitive SEO. Google has not confirmed this update, but if you've noticed significant changes in your rankings today, you were definitely not alone.

Using AI and LLMs for SEO

Google recently spoke about the use of AI and LLMs (Language Models) for SEO purposes. However, Google's very own Gary from Google cautioned against using these tools to diagnose website issues, specifically related to SEO. While they may be useful for generating content ideas, it's not advisable to solely rely on them for diagnosing SEO problems. Gary emphasized that AI-based algorithms prioritize natural content and that quality matters more than who creates the content.

Google Search Central Live Event in Tokyo

The latest Google Search Central Live event took place in Tokyo last Friday. Although I wasn't able to cover it at the time, Kenishi Suzuki did a fantastic job live-blogging and tweeting about the event. The focus of the event was on AI, as it continues to become a vital component in search. One key takeaway from the event was that the quality of content matters more than how it is created. Google also clarified that AI-generated content is not internally annotated and that ML (Machine Learning) algorithms understand and promote natural content. With many changes in the pipeline, it's clear that Google is pushing forward with AI-based advancements.

Google Search Console Report for Core Web Vitals

In an effort to keep website owners prepared, Google has introduced the new Inp report for core web vitals. Inp, which stands for Interaction to Next, replaces the FID (First Input Delay) report and will be implemented in March 2024. Website owners can start familiarizing themselves with this report, as it will provide insights into how their websites perform in terms of user interaction. Google has reassured that this update will not have a significant impact on rankings, so there's no need to fret too much about it.

Mysterious Appearance of Local Guide Programs in Google Search Console

An interesting discovery was made regarding the mysterious appearance of local guide programs in the queries report of Google Search Console's performance report. When filtering by "local guide program" keywords, spikes in traffic, impressions, and clicks were observed across various campaigns. Although the cause behind this phenomenon remains unknown, Google has yet to respond to inquiries about it. We eagerly await their clarification on this matter.

Migrating Content to a New Domain Name

During a recent discussion, Google's John Mueller suggested launching a new domain name without migrating any content initially. This approach allows you to evaluate the new domain's performance separately from the content migration process. It helps to ensure that the new domain doesn't have any past issues, such as spam or filtering, which could potentially affect your rankings. By carefully assessing the new domain before committing to content migration, you can mitigate the risk of unintentionally harming your website's visibility.

Google's Sale of Google Domains to Squarespace

Recently, it was announced that Google will be selling its Google Domains service to Squarespace. While concerns were raised about this change impacting rankings and Google's algorithm, it's important to note that Google will no longer be a domain registrar. As Google only began selling domains to consumers in 2014, this divestment will not impact their domain registration status. Therefore, there should be no significant changes to rankings or algorithm behavior as a result.

Big Improvements in Google's Big and Big Image Creator

Microsoft's Big platform has seen significant performance improvements, as confirmed by Bikel. Users can expect these improvements to be reflected in the next version of The Prompt. Additionally, the voice SDK for both the Android and iOS versions of Big has been completely rewritten, resulting in enhanced performance. Furthermore, McHale shared that Big Image Creator will also see notable improvements in the coming months. This ensures that Google's AI-driven tools continue to deliver better results for users.

Google Sues Business Over Fake Profiles and Reviews

In an effort to discourage deceptive practices and protect users, Google has taken legal action against a business for allegedly creating numerous fake profiles and reviews. This lawsuit serves as a warning to others who engage in similar practices. Google aims to maintain the integrity and reliability of its review system, providing users with accurate information for making informed decisions.

Removing Address in Google Business Profile Affects Local Rankings

Joy Hawkins and Fred released a study that showed a significant impact on local rankings when the address is removed or set to not show in the Google Business Profile listing. The study revealed that removing the address led to a drop in rankings, while restoring it resulted in a recovery of rankings. Google advises businesses without service at their physical location not to display their address. This finding provides valuable insights into the correlation between address visibility and local rankings.

Google Business Profile Updates

Google Business profiles now show red dots for unread items such as reviews or unread messages. This change has been observed by Ben Fisher and it adds a visual indicator in the Google web search interface for the business profile. This feature has been in testing for many months and is now being rolled out more widely. With this update, users will see a separate section for reviews, a local pack listing, and the business profile listing itself. While this change is not substantial, it is noteworthy as it enhances the user experience by making it easier to identify and access unread items.

Google Merchant Center Bug

There seems to be a bug in Google Merchant Center that is causing disapproval of items. Several SEO experts, including Dennis Mood and Chris Feed Army, have noticed that disapprovals are occurring due to fake or incorrect 404 crawl issues, DNS issues, and other technical glitches. However, Google has not yet responded to these reports. This bug can be frustrating for retailers who rely on Merchant Center to showcase their products. It is important that Google addresses this issue promptly to ensure smooth operation of this critical tool for online businesses.

Upgrades and Changes in Google Ads

Google Ads has introduced new features and changes to benefit advertisers. Firstly, store sales reporting and bidding are now available in Performance Max campaigns. This enhancement allows advertisers to track the impact of their online ads on offline sales, enabling better optimization strategies. Additionally, Google Analytics 4 now allows for Google Ads conversion credit selection eligibility. This means that advertisers can manage their conversion attributes within Google Analytics 4, providing greater flexibility and control.

However, there are also updates that have led to some concerns among advertisers. Google is encouraging advertisers to transition from Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) to Performance Max campaigns. Some marketers worry that this push for transition will eventually become mandatory, limiting their options and potentially affecting campaign performance. Furthermore, Google Ads is now automatically showing or testing automatically created asset settings for Performance Max campaigns. Although this change requires an opt-in, it signifies a shift towards more automation and less manual control for advertisers.

Changes in Attribution Models

Google has announced a delay in the deprecation of certain attribution models. Originally set to be retired this month, attribution models such as first click, linear, decay, and position-based will now be phased out in mid-July. This extension provides advertisers with more time to adjust their strategies and transition to newer attribution models. While these models are being deprecated, it is still important for advertisers to make informed decisions about attribution to effectively assess the impact of their marketing efforts.

InIn conclusion, the search industry is abuzz with various developments and updates from google. from the volatile search results to the use of ai for seo and the latest improvements in google tools, there's never a dull moment in the world of search. stay tuned for more updates and valuable insights to keep you ahead in the ever-evolving search landscape.
, Google continues to introduce updates and changes across its various platforms. From enhancements to Google Business profiles and Google Ads, to addressing bugs in Google Merchant Center, these updates aim to improve the overall user experience and provide advertisers with more control and insights. As always, it is crucial for businesses to stay informed about these developments to adapt and optimize their online presence effectively.

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