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SEO News Round-Up: May 2024

What happened in the SEO industry this month? Read all the SEO news website pros need to know in May 2024, hand-selected by the tech SEO experts at Lumar.

Each month, Lumar’s in-house technical SEO experts scour the web for the best industry news items website pros need to read this month.

Here’s the latest round-up of SEO news from May 2024:


Introducing Google AI overviews

Google’s AI Overviews have officially launched in the US, with a broader rollout to other markets expected soon. The reception so far within the SEO industry has been lukewarm, with some pointing to instances where the generative AI model is surfacing misleading, incorrect and sometimes potentially dangerous information at the top of SERPs.

Of course, it’s still very early days and we can expect Google to tweak and refine this feature over the coming weeks and months. Alongside the launch of AI Overviews at Google’s I/O 2024 event, the company shared more about its vision for the future of generative AI in search. It includes things like video search, which uses Gemini to understand and answer questions submitted in video format. A full write-up of these upcoming features was later published by Google’s Liz Reid.

(Source: Google Search Central)


Google’s “web” search filter officially launches

Google Search’s ”web” filter also started rolling out to real users this month. In stark contrast to AI overviews, the filter is designed to mimic the ‘ten-blue-links’ of yesteryear. AI-powered features, rich results, images and even ads are removed from the page, leaving just the top 10 organic web results for the given query.

X (Twitter) Post Cap from Google Search Central announcing new WEB Filter in Google SERP Pages
Screenshot showing what the new 'Web' filter looks like in Google Search

(Source: Google Search Liaison on X/Twitter)


Sites get hit by manual actions relating to Google’s site reputation abuse crackdown

The crackdown against website reputation abuse started on May 5th, with some sites seeing manual actions appear in GSC. These penalties largely seemed to target news and publishing sites — with content that aggregates discount and voucher codes as the most common examples. Sites that had taken appropriate action to resolve these issues reported the penalties being lifted as quickly as a week later.

But one important caveat came in a more recent post on X from the Google Search Liaison account. The post states that as of May 23rd, no algorithmic updates had yet been launched in relation to site reputation abuse. This would mean that any ranking fluctuations seen over this period therefore could not have been caused by algorithmic work to tackle website reputation abuse (but could be caused by manual actions taken against the sites). So far, there’s been no confirmation of when we can expect an algorithmic phase of the reputation abuse rollout to start.

(Source: Search Engine Journal)


Two new Googlebot crawlers have been added to the existing pool

GoogleOther-Image and GoogleOther-Video have been added to the growing list of Google crawlers. Both are versions of GoogleOther, which launched as its own crawler in 2023. The idea is for these crawlers to be used internally by Google teams. In turn, this frees up resources for the main Googlebot crawlers and reduces Google’s reliance on them for internal research and development.

(Source: Search Engine Land) 


Podcast: Let’s talk content decay

In this episode of Search Off the Record, Lizzi Sassman and John Mueller discuss the best way to handle outdated content, and whether the concept of ‘content decay’ is helpful to SEO discussions. The overall outcome is that people can put too much emphasis on content freshness as a direct SEO factor when in fact it’s more of a strategic thing. It’s not the case that everything on a website has to be kept up-to-date, as there’s sometimes value in older content. Examples include archival content, or news articles that can be looked back on and used for historical reference. 

However, content freshness might be high on your list of priorities from a strategic point of view. It all depends on the nature of the content itself, what you want your site to be known for and whether your pages align with user intent.

(Source: Search Off the Record Podcast)


Google offers advice for sites hit by last year’s helpful content update

Almost 9 months on from September’s helpful content update (HCU), it remains a big topic of conversation for sites that still haven’t seen any sign of recovery. Google’s John Mueller has been responding to a few questions on the topic recently. In one post on X, Mueller hints that sites may start to see a bigger impact from any fixes when the next round of core updates rolls out. 

John went on to confirm that there’s no such thing as Google ‘holding a grudge’ against sites that have been penalized in the past. Sites can always expect to see some recovery as long as the relevant fixes have been made. However, it’s unrealistic for site owners to expect things to return to how they were before the update since there are so many external factors that impact how a site performs.

(Source: Search Engine Roundtable)


OpenAI becomes the latest tech giant to join forces with Reddit

OpenAI has announced a new partnership with Reddit, bringing enhanced Reddit content to ChatGPT and other products. OpenAI describes the partnership as crucial to bringing ”uniquely timely and relevant information” to the platform in a way that hasn’t previously been possible. In return, the two companies are said to be exploring ways of enriching the Reddit experience with AI-powered features.

(Source: OpenAI)


Rumors of an OpenAI search engine have been shut down

Rumors of an OpenAI search engine have been around for a long time, but seemed to start picking up pace a couple of weeks ago. Almost as soon as this happened, however, their CEO and co-founder Sam Altman shot down the claims. Instead, the company launched some more subtle updates to GPT-4.

(Source: VentureBeat)

Avatar image for Natalie Stubbs
Natalie Stubbs

Senior Technical SEO at Lumar

Natalie is an Senior Technical SEO at Lumar and forms part of our Professional Services team. A fan of all things content-related, she has a passion for helping clients improve their technical SEO by making complex concepts more accessible. Outside of work, you'll usually find her spending quality time with her cat.


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