Normally I research SEO industry trends each week and write my News Highlights at the end of the month, but things have been pretty torrential these past few months, so I'm likely going to make two posts in a month instead of one really long post. Here we go!
Vimeo Improved Video SEO for Their Customers
Google’s Search Central team brings you this case study into how Vimeo addressed one of their biggest challenges by applying Google’s best practices. Vimeo’s problem was that they relied on their customers to handle the work of basic SEO, applying structured data, and submitting sitemaps. Customers weren’t doing this on their own, so many top videos by the service weren’t showing up in search.
By adopting Google’s best practices and baking them into the way the product worked, they were able to get around these problems. For example, they made the ‘indexifembedded’ and ‘VideoObject’ markup part of their rules, and now customers don’t have to do anything for videos to be indexable.
This is really interesting and Carrot employees will be looking into this for potential to be integrated into our product!
AI Content Creation has been Adopted by Major Businesses
The investigation started with the CNET’s admission that they’ve published more than 75 AI-generated stories in recent history. The investigation found the same byline or tech used for AI content on CNET was also appearing on other websites owned by the parent company, including sites like bankrate.com and creditcard.com.
As Gael points out, though, publishers don’t have to report using A.I. to create stories. Using tools (still in testing), he and the team found that it was highly likely that AI was being used on Forbes and across the internet provider reviews niche.
He also provides some analysis into how well A.I. articles are performing at bringing in human readers. See the whole article to find out how A.I. measures up against some of the site’s top authors.
Google Search Ranking Volatility
The February 2023 product reviews update kicked off on February 21st and we saw some volatility the days following. Then we saw a spike in volatility around February 25th and now again, we are seeing big swings on February 28th and March 1st. Again, it is unclear if the latest spikes are product reviews related, you'd think by now most of the volatility would be done with this update (but who knows).
Users of the SEO forum WebmasterWorld are reporting massive movements in their rankings throughout the month of Feb and peak volatility on Mar 1st:
“I'm down another 30% after the Feb 24th update, YIKES. The weird thing is, my website isn't even a product review website, and absolutely no affiliate links can be found anywhere on my website.”
This is not a Core Update, but it appears to affect far more than just product reviews websites…
Google's Gary Illyes On Recovering From The Helpful Content Update
Gary Illyes from Google said in his Q&A session at PubCon that while recovering from a Google helpful content update is possible, you can't always get back to where you were…
Previously Google explained that the helpful content update system is automated and regularly evaluates content. So the algorithm constantly looks at your content and assigns scores to it. But that does not mean your site will recover tomorrow if you fix your content today.
Google said there is this validation period, a waiting period, for Google to trust that you really are committed to updating your content and not just updating it today; Google then ranks you better. Google needs you to prove, over several months - yes - several months - that your content is actually helpful in the long run.
Gary was asked about this and the tweets covering his response say it is possible to recover but it is unlikely you will fully recover:
“you can't always "get back" [rankings] from helpful content updates. It may be the case you were ranking based on something that Google has now decided is a thing they don't value/use anymore.”
While this might seem disheartening for us to hear, I believe there is more to the recent drop in site rankings than just the Helpful Content Update. If anything, this gives us a better understanding of the timeline it will take for us to get our rankings back!
After all, the glass is half-full, not half-empty.