SEO News Curated by SUSO

Our roundup is a curated collection of articles about what we found particularly exciting in our industry this month. Our teams deal with technical SEO, specialized content marketing, Digital PR and SEO client care – so get ready for a holistic collection of thought-provoking content.

June 2024

Google I/O 2024 Keynote: Responsible AI

Google YouTube Channel

During the Google I/O event, Google announced new AI safeguards and introduced a new set of tools. This includes LearnLM – a family of models based on Gemini – that are supposed to make learning more engaging and accessible, as well as more tailored to a person’s individual needs.
Google I/O 2024 Keynote: Responsible AI

Google Now Indexing .epub Files

Search Engine Journal

After years, Google has started indexing .epub files. However, it seems that it is still not ranking them, at least not at this moment.
Google Indexing .epub Files

Doubts Emerge Over Alleged Google Data Leak

Search Engine Journal

Many people have reached similar conclusions about the alleged leak. It’s an API, not Google’s internal search; it’s deprecated and out-of-date, and many of the values are more likely for machine learning, testing, or monitoring. Naturally, some people are going to make a big deal of this data. However, it’s more likely a distraction and detriment to the industry than a benefit. At best, this data gives SEOs some new vocabulary for systems Google may be using. But it’s not likely to change how the industry operates in any tangible way.
Doubts Emerge Over Alleged Google Data Leak

Mobile-First Index for Google Search

Google Search Central

Google is now reaching the final step of its mobile-first indexing. Sites that are not accessible via mobile will cease to be indexable. There will still be some visits from Googlebot Desktop, but we’re towards the end of the transition to a mobile-first index.
Mobile-First Index for Google Search

English Google SEO Office-hours from June 2024

Google Search Central YouTube Channel

In the June segment of SEO Office Hours, John Mueller and Gary Illyes answer a number of SEO and Google Search related questions, including whether autotranslation of a website can affect its rankings negatively or whether it’s important for title tags to match the H1 tag.
Google SEO Office-hours

May 2024

Google Drops Video Carousel Markup

Search Engine Roundtable

Google has stopped supporting video carousel markup and removed the video carousel guidance from its video structured data documentation. However, if you have them on your website, you can still leave the markup, as it can help search engines (but not only) better understand your page.
Google Video Carousel Markup

Anatomy of a Search Result

Google Search Central YouTube Channel

Google’s Gary Illyes takes a deep dive into what a search result is made up of—part of a series called How Search Works.
Anatomy of a Search Result

Content Decay

Google Search Central YouTube Channel

A time-worthy discussion between Lizzi Sassman and John Mueller about content decay and its implications for search engine results, as well as the best ways to tackle it.
content decay and its implications for search engine results

April 2024

Rank Math WordPress SEO Plugin Vulnerability Affects +2 Million Sites

Source: Search Engine Journal

Rank Math, a WordPress plugin used by more than 2 million websites, recently patched a stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability, which allows attackers to upload malicious scripts. This can result in stealing cookies, further leading to sensitive data compromisation and unauthorised website access.
Rank Math WordPress SEO Plugin Vulnerability

The Essential Guide to Using Images Legally Online

Source: Search Engine Journal

Knowing how to use images available online legally can help you tremendously in avoiding accidental copyright infringement, which can lead to legal action and, depending on the severity of the violation, to further consequences like your content being deleted or hefty fines.
Guide to Using Images Legally Online

Content Pruning

Source: Ahrefs Blog

Content pruning (removing low-quality or low-relevancy content) can help with improving the performance of the remaining content – however, it’s a risky change, so it needs to be done wisely to avoid anything going wrong.
Content Pruning

Why ‘Key Events’ Change in GA4 Is a Game-Changer

Source: Search Engine Land

The change from “Google Conversions” to “Key Events” in Google Analytics 4 allows SEO specialists (but not only) to better measure things that actually matter for a business. What’s more, being able to measure both the quantity and quality of the organic traffic, referral, and organic social traffic can put you in a better position to survive and thrive once significant changes in search marketing happen.
Key Events Change in GA4

March 2024

New Ways We’re Tackling Spammy, Low-Quality Content in Search

Source: Google

This explanation from Google’s blog makes me think that some of the documentation talks about manual penalties, and this 5th of May deadline might suggest there’s a manual penalty wave coming for guest post websites. The effect would likely lead to these links becoming ineffective, as opposed to a manual penalty for client websites.
Google March update

Google March 2024 Update: 6 Insights on Manual Actions

Source: Search Engine Journal

Another take on the March 2024 update from Search Engine Journal – although this update isn’t exactly “easy” because some claim that it can be ranked up there with Florida, Panda, and Penguin updates. This is because of the sheer scope of effects it will have on the way that websites are managed in order to rank well. The penalties are coming quickly, and a lot of the deindexed sites are ones that some SEO link builders might recognize from their lists of easy-to-purchase links. The volume of manual action penalties in this update also leaves us a lot to think about.
Google March 2024 Update

Search Volume Predicted to Drop by 25% by 2026 Due to AI

Source: Gartner

There seems to be an ongoing concern about AI content and its impact on search results – and while things are no doubt changing, there might be some positives to it, specifically search engine algorithms valuing high-quality content over AI-generated content. Watermarking original content will become part of the authentication process – which is something that several governments around the world are already doing with the requirement to label AI-generated content.
Google search volume prediction

Website Features vs Google Algorithm Update Results

Source: Search Engine Land

A new correlation study found that websites that established credibility by showing experience were more likely to be positively impacted by recent Google updates.
Website Features vs Google Algorithm Update Results

Why Does Everyone Want Me To Use AI To Do My Job?

Source: Medium

The author makes a valid point about how writing is not just about the outcome but the whole process, and using AI for it will not give the desired satisfaction, nor will it be the same job because, as implied, a writer writes things.
AI To Do Job

State of Marketing Report 2024

Source: Hub Spot

Hubspot is a CRM platform, but it also contains a ton of great free marketing resources. They just came out with a State of Marketing report for 2024 – a summary of possible marketing trends for 2024. It’s great to look through and see how their survey turned out, and what it might mean.
State of marketing Report

How Google’s Gemini Will Affect SEO

Source: Search Engine Journal

It’s difficult to say how SEO will change once Gemini becomes more widely used, but we can assume it will enhance changes already started by ChatGPT – multimodal search, the increased importance of having a responsive website, and a shift in the customer journey being just a few of those. In short, user experience will be what’s important.
How Google’s Gemini Will Affect SEO

February 2024

SEO Starter Guide

Source: Google

“Whenever Google publishes things like this, it’s always worth considering whether they match reality. Google benefits from good websites being at the top of their search engine, and across most industries, these statements appear to be true. In my own experience, these things appear to be true. The key to reliable and long-term success is to create real and lasting value for users.”
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide

Gemini 1.5

Source: Google

“Google’s AI model is developing rapidly, and the fact that they’re ready to introduce Gemini 1.5 just weeks after releasing Gemini 1.0 Ultra is great proof of that. What does it mean for SEO? We don’t know the specifics yet, but what we do know is that it will require SEO teams to readjust their strategy to be in line with the new trends. Because of its quick progression, constant reviews of the state of Google’s AI are crucial to understanding what changes to make to stay on top of the game.”
Introducing Gemini 1.5

Google’s Gemini Voice Assistant AI App

Source: The Verge

“Google’s new AI chatbot, now known as Gemini (previously Bard), could potentially rival ChatGPT in the future. While it’s not yet as advanced in conversation and picking up context as OpenAI’s model, Gemini has one advantage that might make more people more inclined to test it out – and that is its integration with Google’s products, like Gmail and Google Maps.”
Google’s Gemini Voice Assistant Ai App

Google Search’s guidance about AI-generated content

Source: Google

“Google has shared its stance on AI-generated content, and as expected – how the content was produced is of lesser importance as long as it’s of high quality, original, brings value to the user, demonstrates E-E-A-T qualities, and is not generated with the main purpose of manipulating the search results (AI spam).”
Google Search's guidance about AI-generated content

Google ‘cannot proceed with third-party cookie deprecation’

Source: Search Engine Land

“Brands that have yet to explore alternative solutions to third-party cookies might welcome the additional time to do so caused by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concerns in regard to Google’s Privacy Sandbox. At the moment, the issues remain unresolved, but Google is actively engaged in discussions with CMA to address them.”
Google ‘cannot proceed with third-party cookie deprecation’

What’s wrong with LLMs and What we Should be Building Instead

Source: valgrAI

“LLMs (Large Language Models), while useful as a pre-trained foundation for training AI systems, are not perfect – there are quite a few problems associated with them. This video proposes a solution for their improvement, mainly through the decomposition of the functions of existing LLMs and the addition of other components.”
What's wrong with LLMs

How SGE works and why it is our future

Source: Search Engine Land

“The organic traffic landscape is continuously evolving, and within the past year, it has undergone more significant changes than we’ve seen in a long while. If you want to stay on top of your game and capitalise on those changes, now it’s a better time than ever to incorporate RAG pipelines into your SEO. At the same time, it’s crucial to acknowledge that Google is also facing various problems, such as a shift in user perception of search quality, that might pose a threat to your organic traffic.”
How Search Generative Experience works

AI chatbots tend to choose violence and nuclear strikes in wargames

Source: News Scientist

“AI continues to be used in more and more environments, and because of the recent changes in OpenAI’s policy, which has enabled its testing for national security purposes. The US military has been testing AI chatbots by making them role-play as real-world countries and choosing the course of action in one of the three scenarios – “an invasion, a cyberattack and a neutral scenario without any starting conflicts”. What the testing revealed is that AI models had a tendency to choose more violent options – especially Open AI’s ChatGPT 4, stripped of safety guardrails. While, at the moment, AI does not have a say in making military decisions, it’s no secret that humans tend to trust recommendations made by technology – and it’s in everyone’s best interest to prevent that from happening.”
AI chatbots tend to choose violence and nuclear strikes in wargames

A month after Google started turning off third-party cookies in Chrome – and marketers are still apathetic

Source: Digiday

“Despite the fact that it’s been known for a while that third-party cookies in Google Chrome will be turned off, the response to it has been surprisingly subdued, to say the least. It might have to do with the fact that it’s still uncertain if Google’s Privacy Sandbox will become a permanent thing in the online world. Still, regardless of what is to come in this matter, it’s important to prepare yourself by exploring your options.”
A month after Google started turning off third-party cookies in Chrome