Table of Contents
Disruptive algorithm updates have been a common occurrence in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) over the years. Updates like Penguin, Panda, Caffeine, and May Day have significantly impacted the way websites are ranked on Google.
Google’s updates usually start as targeted solutions to specific problems and gradually expand to become part of the core ranking algorithms. Despite the ever-evolving nature of search, Google’s commitment to combating spam web content remains constant.
As artificial intelligence (AI) revolutionises search and our lives, it becomes crucial to understand Google’s search psyche. By examining the common threads between Google’s past and present updates, we can gain insights into the actions and content that Google values.
Google Search Generative Experience vs. Knowledge Panel
One significant comparison we can draw is between Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) and the Knowledge Panel. These two updates have elicited similar reactions from the search community.
Recently, Google introduced the Search Generative Experience preview, which sparked panic amongst SEOs. The preview hinted at limited space for organic search links, leading to concerns about the obsolescence of SEO and paid search.
However, it is unlikely that Google would completely eliminate organic link placements and direct citations, considering its revenue model relies heavily on pay-per-click advertising. While there may be changes in how advertising works, it will take time for such technologies to be globally implemented.
Similarly, when the Knowledge Panel was introduced in 2012, it raised concerns among SEOs about the future of search. The Knowledge Panel, powered by Google’s Knowledge Graph, displayed specific information directly in the search results, reducing the need to click on the hosting webpage.
Despite initial concerns, search still exists today, and Google continues to drive traffic to websites. The Knowledge Panel has evolved over the years, providing users with valuable information without the need for additional clicks.
Therefore, it is likely that Google’s SGE and Bard deployments, even if they bring changes to search, will not spell the end of SEO or organic traffic. The future of search may involve adapting to new technologies and finding alternative advertising methods, but AI is not a disastrous force that will end our careers.
Google’s Focus on Helpful Content vs. Panda
Another significant comparison can be made between Google’s focus on helpful content and its legacy Panda updates. In August 2022, Google introduced a “Helpful Content” system aimed at rewarding content that provides a satisfying experience to visitors.
This update aligns with Google’s long-standing advice to create content for people, not just for search engines. The emphasis on producing helpful, valuable content for end users is reminiscent of the goals of the Panda updates.
Google’s objective remains the same: to provide users with the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. If search results are dominated by content created solely for SEO purposes, it leads to spam and decreased user satisfaction, ultimately affecting ad revenue.
The rhetoric around the Helpful Content update mirrors that of the Panda updates. Google recognises the importance of a healthy web ecosystem and rewards high-quality sites that offer original content and valuable information. As Google deploys AI, it still relies on human-produced content to learn from the web and improve its search engine.
While AI has the power to revolutionise search, initial tests have shown that relying solely on AI-generated content leads to a degradation in the quality and integrity of the material produced. Human-produced content remains essential for the growth and relevance of online information.
Examining Common Threads between the Past and Present
When disruptive technologies like AI emerge, there is often a wave of panic and doomsaying, with claims that search and SEO are dead. However, by comparing the rhetoric around past and present Google updates, we can gain a more realistic understanding of the situation.
History has shown that widespread adoption of new technologies takes time. AI is simply another frontier to explore, and it is necessary in the current global economy. Rather than succumbing to panic, it is essential to align with Google’s long-term vision for our websites, content, and links.
Strategically planning and adapting our businesses amid years of disruption is key. SEO will continue to evolve, just as it has in the past. While there may be a decrease in clicks and the need to adjust our advertising methods, AI is not the end of search or SEO.
In conclusion, understanding Google’s past and present updates helps us navigate the ever-changing landscape of search. By focusing on creating helpful, valuable content for end users and adapting to new technologies, we can thrive in the world of web search algorithm updates.