Everyone has industry relevant email newsletter subscriptions, but how many times do you read in full? Often, I’m time poor and don’t have time to read in full, which is exactly why I’ve cut you some slack and provide a band aid solution.
Each week I’ll publish a brief weekly SEO news roundup here on my website blog. Hopefully I’ll have 15 minutes a couple of times a week to spotlight the news updates that I feel are important or of interest to my readers – from Google algorithm changes to new AI LLM developments and more.
OCR Google Detection 2023 Latest AI and Tech News
OCR detection in Google Search illustrates the company’s ongoing efforts to enhance the search experience by integrating advanced technologies to access and interpret a wide range of information formats.
Here’s how OCR detection is relevant in Google Search:
Image Search Enhancement: When you search for images on Google, the search engine can analyse text within the images to provide more accurate results. For example, if an image contains printed or handwritten text, Google can recognise and interpret this text to improve the relevance of the search results.
Indexing and Searchable PDFs: Google can use OCR to convert the text within PDF files into searchable text. This means that when you search for specific terms, Google can find and highlight these terms within PDF documents.
Accessibility: OCR technology enhances the accessibility of visual content for users who rely on screen readers or other assistive technologies. By converting text within images into searchable, machine-readable text, these users can access information that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Language Translation: Google can use OCR to detect text in various languages within images and translate it, making information accessible to users across different linguistic backgrounds.
Enhanced Search Accuracy: By integrating OCR, Google improves the accuracy and comprehensiveness of its search results, allowing users to find specific information contained within images and documents that would otherwise not be text-searchable.
What does this stuff mean? SEO community whispers revealed that some website owners have been exploiting this. I strongly recommend not following this hint, as grey hat or worse on-page SEO has always been demoted in my experience. It’s just a matter of time.
Stuffing keywords in all background images for OCR detection? Not for the white hats.
Staying on top of the latest in Google organic search can feel overwhelming for busy freelancers like myself trying to manage client work. But regularly digesting SEO news is crucial for excelling in this fast-moving industry.
Approaching two decades of on-page SEO optimisation, I understand the importance of continually learning. But I also recognise how hard it is finding time as a freelancer. This series is my way of providing easily digestible SEO updates to keep your knowledge relevant each month.
Each post update will recap bite-sized snippets of the most essential news items and trends. I will parse the noise and highlight what truly merits your time poor routine. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to understand more about any subject.
New YouTube Features Rolled Out (October 18th 2023)
YouTube has unveiled a major update announced on 18th October 2023 that includes dozens of new features, giving users more control over their viewing experience. The new features are rolling out now to all users.
Some of the new features include:
Volume stabilisation: This feature will automatically adjust the volume of videos to a consistent level, so you don’t have to keep turning it up and down.
Variable playback speeds: You can now watch videos at different speeds, from 0.5x to 2x. This is great for people who want to watch videos faster or slower, or who need to transcribe or translate videos.
Larger previews: When you hover over a video in search results, you’ll now see a larger preview of the video. This will help you to quickly see what the video is about and decide if you want to watch it.
A new “You” tab: This tab consolidates all of your account information, including watch history, subscriptions, and playlists. It also makes it easy to discover new videos that you might be interested in.
In addition to these new features, YouTube is also making a number of other improvements to the platform, such as:
Improved search: YouTube is improving its search algorithm to make it easier to find the videos you’re looking for.
Better recommendations: YouTube is also improving its recommendation system to suggest videos that you’re more likely to be interested in.
A more modern design: YouTube is getting a more modern design that is easier to use and navigate.
Bard gets and update and Bing Depreciates Webmaster Tools
Bard now connects to emails, Google Drive, and other Google products through the Google Workspace platform. This allows Bard to access and process information from these products in order to provide you with more helpful and informative responses.
Email – One of the most productive benefits of Bard’s integration with Gmail is the ability to search and summarize your emails quickly and easily. This can save you a lot of time, especially if you have a large inbox.
For example, you could ask Bard to “summarise all emails from my boss this week” or “find all emails about my upcoming flight.” Bard would then search your Gmail inbox and provide you with a summary of the relevant emails.
Another time-saving feature is the ability to draft emails in Bard. This can be especially helpful if you’re writing a long or complex email. Simply tell Bard what you want to say, and it will draft an email for you. You can then review and edit the email before sending it.
Google Drive – Bard can also access and process information from Google Drive. This means that you can ask Bard questions about your files and documents, and it will be able to answer them.
For example, you could ask Bard to “summarise the key points of my presentation” or “find all documents related to my [keyword] project.” Bard would then search your Google Drive and provide you with a summary of the relevant documents.
Another time-saving feature is the ability to export Bard’s responses to Google Drive. This can be useful if you want to save a response for later or share it with someone else.
Bard, there’s more!
Bard can also connect to other Google products, such as Google Calendar, Google Maps, and Google Translate. This means that you can ask Bard questions about these products, and it will be able to answer them.
For example, you could ask Bard to “find all of my meetings this week” or “translate this email into Spanish.” Bard would then search your Google Calendar or translate the email for you.
Big Bing News
From 1st November 2023 Microsoft have just confirmed this will no longer be available. The Bing Webmaster Tools disavow link tool will be going away. The disavow link tool is a tool that allows website owners to request that Bing disregard certain links that point to their website, similar to Google’s disavow tool.
If you have already submitted a disavow file to Bing, you do not need to do anything. Microsoft says that all existing disavow files will be respected.
If you are considering submitting a disavow file to Bing, you are advised to wait until the disavow link tool has been removed. Microsoft says that submitting a disavow file after the tool has been removed will have no effect.
The removal of the Bing Webmaster Tools disavow link tool is a positive development, demonstrating that Microsoft is confident in Bing’s ability to automatically identify and disregard bad links. Microsoft says that the reason for removing the disavow link tool is that it is no longer necessary. The company says that Bing is now able to automatically identify and disregard bad links, without the need for website owners to submit disavow files.
Connect Bard with your Google Accounts for extra features
Google’s Bard AI chatbot has expanded its capabilities beyond web-based answers, now integrating with Gmail, Docs and Drive to assist users in finding information. This new feature allows users to ask Bard to summarise emails or highlight key points in documents stored in Drive, potentially saving time spent sifting through extensive information.
The integrations, referred to as extensions by Google, are currently available only in English and require users to opt-in, with the option to disable at any time. Google assures that privacy and data usage concerns are addressed, as the information accessed by Bard will not be used to train its public model or be viewed by human reviewers.
Beyond Gmail, Docs and Drive, Bard also integrates with Maps, YouTube and Google Flights, enabling users to pull real-time flight information, find nearby attractions and access YouTube videos on specific topics. These extensions are enabled by default. Google plans to expand Bard’s integrations to more products and external partners. Additionally, Bard has seen other improvements, including a “Google It” button allowing users to verify Bard’s answers through Google Search and the ability to continue a conversation with Bard based on a shared link.
Popular Uses: Email Summarisation: Users can ask Bard to find and summarise the contents of an email, saving time on going through lengthy conversations.
Document Highlighting: Bard can highlight the most important points of a document stored in Drive, making it easier to review key information quickly.
Real-time Information Retrieval: Users can ask Bard to pull real-time flight information, find nearby attractions or surface YouTube videos on a certain topic, providing instant access to relevant information.
Verification of Information: The “Google It” button allows users to double-check Bard’s responses, highlighting verified information in green and unvalidated answers in orange.
Code Generation and Debugging: Bard has the ability to generate and debug code, and create functions for Google Sheets, aiding in more technical tasks.
Brainstorming and Information Retrieval with Google Lens: Users can use Bard with Google Lens to brainstorm caption ideas for a photo or find more information about it.
Bard 2023 Insights and Usage Feedback
Privacy Concerns: How effectively can Google assure users about the privacy of their data, especially when Bard is accessing personal emails and documents?
User Adoption: Given the privacy concerns and the opt-in nature of these integrations, how quickly will users adopt these new features, and how will it impact their experience with Google’s services?
2023 Features Beyond Basics
Bard will be able to access and use information from a wider range of sources, which will allow it to provide more personalised and contextual responses to users’ queries. For example, if you ask Bard to help you plan a trip, it will be able to consider your personal preferences and travel history, as well as information from Google Maps, Search, and other products.
Bard will be able to perform more complex and nuanced tasks, such as generating creative content, translating languages, and writing different kinds of code. This will make Bard more useful for a wider range of users, including businesses, students, and researchers.
Bard’s integrations with other products will open up new ways for users to interact with AI chatbots. For example, you could ask Bard to send you a reminder to follow up on an email, or to book a meeting with someone on your calendar.
Customer service: AI chatbots could be used to provide more personalized and efficient customer service. For example, an AI chatbot could access a customer’s purchase history and account information to help them resolve an issue quickly and easily.
Education: AI chatbots could be used to provide personalized tutoring and support to students. For example, an AI chatbot could help a student with their homework, or provide feedback on a paper.
September 2023 - Google Core Update, ChatGPT, Open AI
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has discussed the ethical implications of AI and the global scale of changes that AI is bringing about. He has warned that AI could have a negative impact on society if it is not developed and used responsibly.
OpenAI is a non-profit research laboratory that has made significant contributions to the field of artificial intelligence. It has developed a number of powerful AI models, including GPT-3, Dactyl, and Codex. OpenAI has also published research on a variety of AI topics, such as safety, fairness, and alignment.
Altman has said that he is “very worried” about the potential for AI to be used for malicious purposes, such as developing autonomous weapons or creating surveillance systems that could be used to oppress people. He has also expressed concern about the potential for AI to lead to mass unemployment, as machines become capable of performing many tasks that are currently done by humans.
However, Altman is also optimistic about the potential benefits of AI. He believes that AI could be used to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, such as climate change and poverty. He also believes that AI could create new jobs and opportunities for people.
Altman has called for the development of international regulations to govern the development and use of AI. He has also said that it is important to invest in AI education and research, so that we can better understand and control this powerful technology.
Google completed the global rollout of its August 2023 core update from August 8th to 18th, after announcing it on August 4th.
Google does not release specific information about what changes are made in core updates, but it does provide general guidance on how to improve the quality of your website.
Google recommends that you focus on creating high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience. You should also make sure that your website is technically sound and easy to navigate.
How Long Should A Domain Migration take with SEO in mind? A 2023 study on 171 websites.
The SEJ original article is too lengthy to post here, so I’ll explain myself.
When migrating domains, there’s a certain timeline to follow. My first domain migration was back in 2008 for Funky Pigeon, a week-old domain. By the time I’d devoured forum advice, discussed with our in-house devs and completed the Google Change of Address tool, I was ready to slap the table.
I remember it took less than two weeks, Funky Pigeon on a newly-bought virgin domain had powerhoused up Google SERPs. The website elbowed Moonpig out of the queue to claim first place on page 1 was celebrated with high fives from the Director Richard Pepper, to a clap of back pats for all devs and team members.
Search Engine Journal documented their study together with Ahrefs with timescales ranging between 16 and 33 days. However, some SEO’s weren’t fully aware of the correct methodology, reporting that a rough 40% of domains never regained their original levels of traffic.
Please do not start a domain transfer without consulting an SEO with a domain migration success story.