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Publishers Concerned With AI Powered Search From Google & Bing

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Google Bing Publishers Chat Ai

It is somewhat satisfying to see non-SEOs dig deeper into how search is changing at Google and Bing and to hear the concerns they have about these changes. We covered your concerns as SEOs and publishers a week ago but now the big publishers are voicing their concerns around AI-search and what it means for publishers.

To catch you all up, Google announced Bard which showed screenshots of a ChatGPT like interface in search which had zero links or citations to publishers. The Microsoft Bing AI announcement was much more thought-out and had links to publishers, ads and so on.

But what the big publishers are concerned about is that there will be less of a need for searchers to click on those links than they had in the past. It is a similar concern we had with featured snippets and then the head of search at Google, Amit Signhal, said publishers are the corkscrew and Google is the swiss army knife after Danny Sullivan called Google the biggest scraper and shared the concern publishers have about searchers not needing the 10 blue links anymore. But AI chat takes this to a whole new level, a whole new level.

Wired wrote, “web users spend more time with bots and less time clicking links, publishers could be cut off from sales of subscriptions, ads, and referrals.” “When asked at Microsoft’s media event this week about the new Bing search potentially plagiarizing the work of human writers, the company’s consumer chief marketing officer Yusuf Mehdi said the company “cares a bunch about being able to drive traffic back to content creators.” The links the Bing chatbot includes at the end of each response, he said, are meant to “make it easy for people to go in and click through to those sites.” Roulston of Microsoft declined to share information about how many early testers were clicking through those citation links to visit the information’s source,” Wired added.

The Verge wrote up the concern after the video interview Nilay Patel had with Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella. You should read or watch the interview, I’ll embed it below, but Glenn Gabe highlighted some of this in his tweets:

And Marques Brownlee discussed it on his podcast as well, they even go through the concept of if publishers stop getting traffic from search and they cannot earn money on the content they produce – they will stop producing the content and the AI models will have nothing new to work with to train their models to give answers.

This just reminds me of all the featured snippet debate from almost a decade ago.

Looking back, SEOs would most rather prefer to have a featured snippet than not. Google even said they result in more traffic and not less but refuse to release data to publishers proving that. It is the whole zero click debate that Google disputes without any evidence.

None of this is new for most of the readers here, but to hear big publishers, big content creators be really concerned about this, is interesting and exciting.

Don’t get me wrong, I know both Microsoft and Google are thinking up ways to try to keep the overall ecosystem going with these new AI chat features baked into search. And I totally suspect there will be a lot of trial and error, a lot of change over the years. But I also believe that Google and Bing understand that they need content to be produced and won’t go too far to cause publishers to stop publishing.

But time will tell…

I also tweeted this morning about the irony of SEOs diving into generating content using AI (which Google is okay with) and them also complaining about the search engines using AI. Click through to see the responses to that tweet:

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 13, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google is testing description overlays on local photos in the Google local pack. Microsoft Bing is testing black review stars. Google said we should not let Googlebot crawl action URLs. Google is testing larger fonts for the snippet title link and smaller fonts for the site links. Google updated GA4 attribution models to associate conversions better to paid search campaigns. Reminder, I am offline today and this newsletter was pre-written and scheduled.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Fixes GA4 Attribution Models To Better Associate Conversions To Paid Search


    Google posted a notice that it fixed an issue where Google Analytics, GA4, would sometimes not credit the proper conversion attribution to the paid search campaign. Google said it will update the “attribution models in GA4 over the next two weeks to improve the accuracy of conversion credit for paid search campaigns.”

  • Google Tests Larger Fonts For Main Snippet Title Link & Smaller Font For Sitelinks


    Google is testing a larger font size for the main search result title link, followed by smaller fonts for that same snippet’s sitelinks. This was spotted a few days ago by both Umair Khan on X and Lily Ray on X.

  • Google: Disallow Crawling Of Action URLs (Buy Now, Sign Up, etc)


    Google posted a public service announcement saying you should disallow Googlebot from crawling your action URLs. Gary Illyes from Google posted on LinkedIn, “You should really disallow crawling of your action URLs. Crawlers will not buy that organic non-GMO scented candle, nor do they care for a wishlist.”

  • Bing Tests Black Review Stars In Search Results


    Microsoft is testing using black-colored review stars in its Bing Search results. This is instead of the yellow or orange review stars. I am not sure why they are testing it in black, but they are.

  • Google Local Pack Photos With Labels


    Google seems to be testing adding labels and descriptions on the photos within the local business profile listings. These are on both the carousel of images and on the detailed business profile page.

  • I’m Feeling Lucky Notebooks At Google


    Here are some colorful notebooks that say “I’m Feeling Lucky” that were spotted at the GooglePlex, the Google office in Mountain View.

  • Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot On Wednesday & Thursday


    This is a programming note that I will be completely offline for the holiday of Shavout/Shavous, from Tuesday night, June 11th, through late Thursday night, June 13th – I return Friday, June 14th. Any stories published here will be scheduled, written beforehand, and not written during the holiday hours.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.


Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Shavout.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 12, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Yesterday I interviewed Google’s Elizabeth Tucker about the core update, the old helpful content update, Reddit, AI Overviews and the Google Search leak. Google now supports return policy markup at the organization level. Google Maps is testing QR codes in Business Profile listings. Google Ads will ad a new optional verification method. Google is testing shaded site names and favicons in the search results. Google has drop the home activities cards from its search results. As a reminder, I am offline today, this newsletter was pre-written and scheduled.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • I Interviewed Elizabeth Tucker, Googler Responsible For The March Core Update


    Yesterday at SMX Advanced, I interviewed the Google executive who announced the March 2024 core update on the main Google blog. I asked Elizabeth Tucker a boatload of questions around SEO, the core update, the helpful content update, the search data leak and of course AI Overviews. Heck, I even made a comment about Reddit ruling the Google Search results.

  • Google Adds Return Policy Structured Data Support To Organization Level


    Google has expanded its support for return policy structured data to allow you to add the return policy to the organization level, and not have to specify that policy on each and every product detail level. Last year Google began supporting return policies in structured data but at the individual product level – now it is also supported at the organization level.

  • Google Home Activity Removed From Search


    Google Search no longer shows home activities after launching the feature just under four years ago. Google has pulled down the home activities structured data from its search developer documents last night and wrote, “The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

  • Google Maps Tests QR Codes On Business Profiles


    Google is testing QR codes on the Google Business Profile listings within Google Maps. The QR code shows on the right side of the action buttons (i.e. directions, save, share, etc).

  • Google Ads Adding New Optional Verification This Month


    Google Ads announced it will add a new optional verification to verify the affiliation of the advertiser/individual with the organization they are verifying. This starts sometime this month, June 2024, but it is not clear to me what the new verification is exactly.

  • Google Tests Shaded Site Name & Favicon For Search Results


    Google is testing shading the background color in gray behind the favicon and site name and URL for the mobile search results. It brings a little bit more of a design flair to the ten blue links, don’t you think?

  • Giant Spinning Rock At Google


    At the Google visitor center they have this giant spinning rock. This rock is mounted on this device that slowly spins it in circles.

  • Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot On Wednesday & Thursday


    This is a programming note that I will be completely offline for the holiday of Shavout/Shavous, from Tuesday night, June 11th, through late Thursday night, June 13th – I return Friday, June 14th. Any stories published here will be scheduled, written beforehand, and not written during the holiday hours.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.


Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Shavout.



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SEARCHENGINES

Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot 5784

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Synagogue Green Flowers

This is a programming note that I will be completely offline for the holiday of Shavout/Shavous, from Tuesday night, June 11th, through late Thursday night, June 13th – I return Friday, June 14th. Any stories published here will be scheduled, written beforehand, and not written during the holiday hours.

I will be completely offline, so any social media posts, tweets, or anything coming from this site, or my social channels are all scheduled beforehand.

I won’t be able to reply to comments, remove spam or break any stories on those days. I will catch up when I get back online. If a core update happens, I will also catch up on that when I get back. There also won’t be the It’s New daily podcast on those days.

Feel free to check out the archives or catch up with the weekly videos or just browse the search pics. Oh, and if you have nothing to do, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

For more on this holiday, check out Wikipedia.

For all those celebrating the holiday – have a good one and I’ll be back late Thursday night.

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