Welcome to our latest SEO news roundup for January 2024! While we may not have witnessed any earth-shattering algorithm changes, we've come across some intriguing reads and important updates. What trends do you anticipate for 2024? Could we see further integration of AI and automation in the SEO landscape? Will voice search continue growing? Dive in to learn more.
Google revealed new ways to search - Google launched new search features, including Circle to Search and an AI-powered multisearch experience to help users search more naturally. Users can now select a specific area of interest within an image using a simple gesture. With the AI-multisearch experience, users can either take a photo or upload it to ask about it in the search box and promptly receive an answer. Google appears to launch another test called the Refine This Search filter, an overlay that offers additional options to narrow down search results and simplify the process of finding what the user is looking for.
Image source: Google blog
Google Business Profile websites will be switched off in March 2024 - Webmasters using Google Business Profile should check their online presence to ensure a smooth transition and online visibility. The redirection to the Business Profile will remain active until June 10th, 2024. After this date, the redirection functionality will cease to work.
Google confirmed a search ranking bug where sites disappeared from search results - This bug resulted in temporary fluctuations in search results around January 20th for a limited number of websites. According to Google, "We're aware of a very narrow issue that caused temporary fluctuations in search results for a small number of websites. The issue has since been resolved, and the sites should no longer be experiencing its effects."
Google has started phasing out third-party cookies - The search giant is going forward with sweeping changes to how companies track users online and this change is critical to the digital ad industry. To facilitate testing, Google Chrome has already restricted third-party cookies by default for 1% of users to limit cross-site tracking on the web. Google will ramp up third-party cookie restrictions to 100% of users from Q3 2024.
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Google now features TikTok videos in featured snippets
TikTok videos aren't new to Google SERPs. They have consistently appeared in search results, although they were never granted prominent placement. Many people have noticed that TikTok videos are now showing in Search Generative Experience and featured snippets too. Users can either see a TikTok video being displayed directly in an SGE result or TikTok video's caption presented directly in featured snippets.
Image source: Carrie Rose
Google is changing how search results appear for EU citizens
Google is adjusting its search results for EU citizens ahead of the forthcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules scheduled to come into play in March. Google will also introduce choice screens for Android users to select their preferred default search engine. European users can expect to see additional consent banners related to data sharing. Opting out of linking services might lead to limited functionality.
Marketing Miner updates
Last month, we added 260,000 new keywords from the clickstream data for six different countries (US, UK, PL, CZ, HU, SK). It's mostly data for new keywords or long-tail keywords. You can try Marketing Miner in action here.
TOP SEO reads
This article by Anna Crowe delves into the art of creating effective 404 pages, offering insights from more than 50 brands, illustrated through real-life examples and best practices. Additionally, you will find answers to frequently asked questions about 404 error pages.
Quality raters evaluate current SERPs against potential updates, providing input for Google's machine learning algorithms, which influence your site. In this episode of The Authority Hacker podcast with Cyrus Shepard, you can explore the significance of EEAT, whether Google provides an unfair advantage to larger websites, and upcoming changes in Google's Quality Rater Guidelines.
Alt text for images is crucial for accessibility and can improve SEO. However, when dealing with a large number of images on your website, manually crafting alt text can be quite s time-consuming task. This article by James Allen is a great step-by-step guide for using AI to generate alt text automatically at scale.
Google updated its search snippets documentation to clarify what influences the algorithm for choosing what to display as the snippet in search results. Read this article by Roger Monttii to understand how you can improve meta descriptions and optimize content to better control your snippets in search results.
This Moz article by Chima Mmeje equips you with upcoming changes, offering insights from 27 SEO and content specialists, along with tactics to navigate the swiftly changing digital terrain.