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What Does Google’s Panda Update in 2011 Teach Us About Today’s AI Content?

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What Does Google’s Panda Update in 2011 Teach Us About Today’s AI Content?

Twelve years ago, the SEO world was officially rocked by a … Panda.

No, not the cuddly black-and-white creature. On February 23, 2011, Google’s Panda algorithm update rolled out.

And everything changed like that. ::snapping fingers::

Back in 2011, Google was a different place. Seeing low-quality content positioning was common. Experienced SEO writers were competing against “content spinners,” who would write one article for a low monthly fee, swap out the keywords, and create nine more.

An article about “the best tennis shoes for women” turned into an article about “the best tennis shoes for men” and “the best tennis shoes for kids.”

Same article, different keywords.

Some businesses thought content spinning was the answer to their content prayers, and they’d never have to pay a “real” writer ever again.

(Sound familiar?)

Here’s how Google’s Panda update changed everything

As you can imagine, people hated searching through crap Google results to find answers to their search queries.

Google didn’t like this situation either. After all, who wants to use a search engine (and click on its money-making ads) if the results are crap?

So, Google changed the game with one algorithmic update. Suddenly, low-value content that used to position was nowhere to be found.

I know business owners who closed shop because of the Panda update. One day, their site had great positions and drove tons of traffic…

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The next day, their positions disappeared, and business dried up.

Ouch.

SEO writers post-Panda update felt vindicated. Google DID want quality content. Our skills DID matter. Companies were hiring content writers again.

Fast-forward to today and people’s (understandable) fear about AI content flooding Google’s index.

At least once a day, a writer asks me if their job is safe and if SEO is here to stay. Their question always flashes me back to those Panda days.

What I say is…

SEO (and SEO writing) isn’t dead yet.

Here are two reasons why:

First, Google has already shown that it doesn’t want a bunch of low-quality content positioning in the top ten results. Companies won’t be able to generate twenty articles a day via ChatGPT and see that content automatically position.

A flesh-and-blood writer (like you) would need to review the content for accuracy, add additional content AI didn’t include, and provide an emotional hook (because AI, like some of my exes, doesn’t do emotional well.)

Depending on the competitiveness of the search query, you’d probably have to spend significant time on an AI-produced article to make it “stand out” enough for Google.

It would be like editing an article created by an intern. The bones may be there, but the article wouldn’t be ready for prime time.

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The second reason is that Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines now mentions “experience” as part of the E-E-A-T guidelines (Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trust.)

Here’s more information about Google’s Rater Guidelines. High-quality content has good E-E-A-T.

Our ChatGPT overlords can’t experience a SaaS product and write a review. Nor can it provide a technical insider quote clarifying a confusing concept.

ChatGPT is good at parroting back other people’s previous writing. It’s not good at creating thought-leadership (or technical) content that requires a human touch.

Will writers need to know ChatGPT prompts? Sure. But they’ll also need to understand how to write copy and run competitive intelligence the old-fashioned way.

The SEO writing world has seen these types of shakeups and corrections before. AI may change our content writing process, but it won’t replace all writers.

Just the writers who let the robots take their jobs.

So, you can relax if you’re freaking out thinking Google’s search results page will get flooded by low-quality, AI-produced content.

Google has been here before. We’ve been here before.

And Google is pushing for content quality even more than it did back in the day.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

As I was about to send this to my editor, this article about SEO being alive and kicking in 2023 — and beyond — hit my feed. Yup, I’m not the only one who thinks SEO is safe.

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What do you think?

How has your content strategy changed now that AI content is more mainstream? Are you sharpening your skills? Or are you freaking out? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Google Enhances Bard’s Reasoning Skills

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Google Enhances Bard's Reasoning Skills

Google’s language model, Bard, is receiving a significant update today that aims to improve its logic and reasoning capabilities.

Jack Krawczyk, the Product Lead for Bard, and Amarnag Subramanya, the Vice President of Engineering for Bard, announced in a blog post.

A Leap Forward In Reasoning & Math

These updates aim to improve Bard’s ability to tackle mathematical tasks, answer coding questions, and handle string manipulation prompts.

To achieve this, the developers incorporate “implicit code execution.” This new method allows Bard to detect computational prompts and run code in the background, enabling it to respond more accurately to complex tasks.

“As a result, it can respond more accurately to mathematical tasks, coding questions and string manipulation prompts,” the Google team shared in the announcement.

System 1 and System 2 Thinking: A Blend of Intuition and Logic

The approach used in the update takes inspiration from the well-studied dichotomy in human intelligence, as covered in Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

The concept of “System 1” and “System 2” thinking is central to Bard’s improved capabilities.

System 1 is fast, intuitive, and effortless, akin to a jazz musician improvising on the spot.

System 2, however, is slow, deliberate, and effortful, comparable to carrying out long division or learning to play an instrument.

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Large Language Models (LLMs), such as Bard, have typically operated under System 1, generating text quickly but without deep thought.

Traditional computation aligns more with System 2, being formulaic and inflexible yet capable of producing impressive results when correctly executed.

“LLMs can be thought of as operating purely under System 1 — producing text quickly but without deep thought,” according to the blog post. However, “with this latest update, we’ve combined the capabilities of both LLMs (System 1) and traditional code (System 2) to help improve accuracy in Bard’s responses.”

A Step Closer To Improved AI Capabilities

The new updates represent a significant step forward in the AI language model field, enhancing Bard’s capabilities to provide more accurate responses.

However, the team acknowledges that there’s still room for improvement:

“Even with these improvements, Bard won’t always get it right… this improved ability to respond with structured, logic-driven capabilities is an important step toward making Bard even more helpful.”

While the improvements are noteworthy, they present potential limitations and challenges.

It’s plausible that Bard may not always generate the correct code or include the executed code in its response.

There could also be scenarios where Bard might not generate code at all. Further, the effectiveness of the “implicit code execution” could depend on the complexity of the task.

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In Summary

As Bard integrates more advanced reasoning capabilities, users can look forward to more accurate, helpful, and intuitive AI assistance.

However, all AI technology has limitations and drawbacks.

As with any tool, consider approaching it with a balanced perspective, understanding the capabilities and challenges.


Featured Image: Amir Sajjad/Shutterstock



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Microsoft Advertising Boosts Analytics & Global Reach In June Update

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Microsoft Advertising Boosts Analytics & Global Reach In June Update

Microsoft Advertising details several important updates and expansions in its June product roundup.

The new tools and features aim to enhance website performance analytics, improve cross-device conversion tracking, expand into new global markets, and integrate more seamlessly with other platforms.

Introducing Universal Event Tracking Insights

This month’s standout news is the introduction of Universal Event Tracking (UET) insights, a feature that gives advertisers a deeper understanding of their website’s performance.

The new feature requires no additional coding and will enhance the capabilities of existing UET tags.

“We’re introducing UET insights, a valuable new feature that we’ll add to your existing UET tags with no additional coding required from you. You’ll get a deeper understanding of your website’s performance and also enable Microsoft Advertising to optimize your ad performance more effectively via improved targeting, fraud detection, and reduced conversion loss.”

The new insights tool will roll out automatically starting July 3.

Cross-Device Conversion Attribution Update

Microsoft Advertising is introducing a cross-device attribution model later this month.

This update will enable advertisers to track and connect customers’ conversion journeys across multiple devices and sessions.

Microsoft explains the new feature in a blog article: “For example, if a user clicks on an ad using their laptop but converts on their phone, we’ll now credit that conversion to the initial ad click on the laptop.”

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While the update doesn’t introduce new features or settings, advertisers may notice a slight increase in the number of conversions due to improved accuracy.

Expanding to New Markets

In line with its expansion push throughout 2022, Microsoft Advertising announces it’s expanding its advertising reach to 23 new markets.

The new additions include diverse locations ranging from Antigua and Barbuda to Wallis and Futuna.

This expansion allows advertisers to reach their audiences in more parts of the world.

Seamless Integration With Pinterest & Dynamic Remarketing

Microsoft Advertising is releasing Pinterest Import in all markets via the Microsoft Audience Network (MSAN), allowing advertisers to import campaigns from Pinterest Ads.

Further, Dynamic remarketing on MSAN for Autos, Events & Travel is now available in the US, Canada, and the UK.

The remarketing tool enables advertisers to use their feeds to create rich ad experiences on the Microsoft Audience Network and match their target audience with items in their feed where they’ve shown interest.

In Summary

Key takeaways from the June product roundup include the automatic rollout of UET Insights starting July 3, introducing a new cross-device attribution model, expanding into 23 new global markets, and enhanced integration with Pinterest via the Microsoft Audience Network.

These developments collectively offer advertisers increased insight into campaign performance, improved accuracy in conversion tracking, and more opportunities to reach audiences worldwide.

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Source: Microsoft
Featured Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock



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Apple Safari 17’s Hidden Gems: JPEG XL & Font-Size-Adjust

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Apple Safari 17's Hidden Gems: JPEG XL & Font-Size-Adjust

Apple’s recently announced Safari 17 brings several key updates that promise to enhance user experience and web page loading times.

Unveiled at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC23), two new features of Safari 17 worth paying attention to are JPEG XL support and expanded capabilities of font-size-adjust.

As Safari continues to evolve, these updates highlight the ever-changing landscape of web development and the importance of adaptability.

JPEG XL: A Game Changer For Page Speed Optimization

One of the most noteworthy features of Safari 17 is its support for JPEG XL, a new image format that balances image quality and file size.

JPEG XL allows for the recompression of existing JPEG files without any data loss while significantly reducing their size—by up to 60%.

Page loading speed is a crucial factor that search engines consider when ranking websites. With JPEG XL, publishers can drastically reduce the file size of images on their sites, potentially leading to faster page loads.

Additionally, the support for progressive loading in JPEG XL means users can start viewing images before the entire file is downloaded, improving the user experience on slower connections.

This benefits websites targeting regions with slower internet speeds, enhancing user experience and potentially reducing bounce rates.

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Font Size Adjust: Improving User Experience & Consistency

Safari 17 expands the capabilities of font-size-adjust, a CSS property that ensures the visual size of different fonts remains consistent across all possible combinations of fallback fonts.

By allowing developers to pull the sizing metric from the main font and apply it to all fonts, the from-font value can help websites maintain a consistent visual aesthetic, which is critical for user experience.

Conversely, the two-value syntax provides more flexibility in adjusting different font metrics, supporting a broader range of languages and design choices.

Websites with consistent and clear text display, irrespective of the font in use, will likely provide a better user experience. A better experience could lead to longer visits and higher engagement.

Reimagining SEO Strategies With Safari 17

Given these developments, SEO professionals may need to adjust their strategies to leverage the capabilities of Safari 17 fully.

This could involve:

  • Image Optimization: With support for JPEG XL, SEO professionals might need to consider reformatting their website images to this new format.
  • Website Design: The expanded capabilities of font-size-adjust could require rethinking design strategies. Consistent font sizes across different languages and devices can improve CLS, one of Google’s core web vitals.
  • Performance Tracking: SEO professionals will need to closely monitor the impact of these changes on website performance metrics once the new version of Safari rolls out.
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In Summary

Apple’s Safari 17 brings new features that provide opportunities to improve several website performance factors crucial for SEO.

Detailed documentation on these Safari 17 updates is available on the official WebKit blog for those interested in delving deeper into these features.


Featured Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock



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