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The exciting world of search engine optimization is always shifting. In your February 2023 SEO News Recap, uncover the recent developments in AI for organic search, cautions to take when redesigning your website, and news about a search engine that may be making a comeback.

Bing Roundup: Revolutionizing Search – Bing’s AI Chat Feature Draws Over One Million Users in 48 Hours

Bing Search had a busy month in February with its latest wave of changes and features meant to increase its market share in search.

On February 7, 2023, Bing announced the addition of a ChatGPT-like, AI-powered search engine that would be available for its users. Bing had a waitlist to manage the surge in demand of users eager to try it out. In 48 hours, they had over one million users who wanted to test this new AI chat feature.

Bing updated its webmaster guidelines around the AI changes in a section titled Conversation Mode and Bing Image Creator. The answers section also highlights:

“For some queries, Bing looks at search results across the web, returns a summarized answer, and links to its sources.”

This is good news for those who want to be credited for the information provided in any AI-powered search results.

Bing Search has also been slowly rolling out other features and tests to help improve the search results, but none have been confirmed live just yet.

Google Roundup: AI-Powered Chat Coming Soon to Google

Not to be left behind, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced during an earnings call on February 2nd that the company will soon introduce its own version of AI-powered chat to answer queries in Search.

According to Google’s blog post on the subject, Bard, the new chat experience, is currently being tested by trusted users and will roll out to the public over the coming weeks and months. Bard is based on Google’s Language Model for Dialog Applications (LaMDA), which was introduced about two years ago. LaMDA was in the news last year when a Google engineer publicly claimed it had developed sentience – a claim denied by Google.

Like Bing’s use of ChatGPT to power its new Search feature, Google expects Bard to revolutionize the way people find answers to their questions online. What remains to be seen is whether the new feature will answer questions accurately and cite its sources within those answers.

During the formal introduction of Bard in Google’s blog post, its advertisements, and on its livestream from Paris on February 8th, Google showed Bard’s answers to the prompt, “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) can I tell my 9-year-old about?”

One of the discoveries included the false claim that the JWST was the first to take pictures of a planet outside of Earth’s solar system. Those images were taken in 2004 – long before the JWST was launched.

Can AI-Detection Software Detect the Use of ChatGPT?

In early February, Search Engine Journal published an article by staff writer Vahan Petrosyan with his results from testing five different AI-detection applications.

He used three different prompts in ChatGPT to generate three pages of copy, then submitted that copy along with human-written copy to the applications. While there were varying degrees of accuracy, all five were able to detect the use of AI to create the content he submitted. They also accurately assessed the 100% human-written pieces. If those applications can do it, chances are high that Google can, too!

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The Flip Side of Using AI: SEO Content Cautions

While popular search engines are racing toward widespread use of AI to answer searcher questions, Google is once again reminding creators and publishers to be cautious about using AI to create content.

On February 8th, Google announced updated guidance about AI-generated content.

With a reminder that Google has been battling automatically generated content produced to manipulate rankings with tools like SpamBrain, the post advises creators to keep in mind who created the content, how it was created, and why it was created.

The best answer to those questions for publishers? Write for humans to answer their questions in the most comprehensive way possible. In a world of increasingly AI-generated content, we at ROI Revolution remind you that adding unique information to your content will help your site stand out!

Is Yahoo Search Coming Back?

Could Google and Bing have more competition soon? It sure seems that way due to a tweet posted by Yahoo Search on January 20, 2023. In the tweet, the former search engine said, “Just popping in to remind everyone that we did search before it was cool. BRB making it cool again.”

Additionally, a job listing was posted looking for a “Principal Product Manager, Yahoo Search.” The listing description says it’s looking for someone who “will help develop our search strategy and roadmap and lead its execution.” Look out, Google and Bing! In a year or two, we may have another competitor to keep our eyes on.

Planning to Redesign? Read This First.

If your business is thinking about a website redesign, this is a reminder that your rankings may change drastically afterward. In some cases, that may be a good thing. In others, it could have catastrophic effects on a company’s bottom line.

While it’s often a good idea to modernize and refresh a website, it’s crucial to do it correctly.

Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, suggests using semantically similar HTML when you can and not adding tags where you don’t need them. If your redesign includes a site restructure, it’s imperative you use 301 redirects for any pages that change locations. 301s will preserve SEO equity and make it easier for Googlebot to find your content.

Lessons to Learn From a Recent Search Engine Algorithm Leak

The popular Russian search engine Yandex recently fell victim to a leak of its company’s source code. This source code contains at least 17,284 ranking factors that Yandex uses in its search algorithm.

It is worth noting that Yandex is not a blueprint of Google’s search engine algorithm; however, many of its developers previously worked for Google. Early analysis of the Yandex ranking factors shows some similarities to Google, including PageRank and many content algorithm factors.

Yandex is far behind Google in terms of complexity, but this leak shows that there is a staggering number of ranking signals measured on each individual site’s pages, and these systems are constantly evolving.

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Vimeo Updates Video SEO Capabilities for Google’s New Guidelines

Search engine result pages (SERPs) are becoming more dynamic each day. With video content gaining traction in SERPs through new opportunities like Featured Clips and Key Moments, content creators and SEOs are looking for ways to optimize video to rank better.

Google recently shared a case study on video hosting platform Vimeo highlighting their efforts to make video SEO easier for its users and to better align with Google’s new guidelines.

To make Vimeo videos using iframe embeds on their clients’ pages eligible for indexing, Vimeo paired the new indexifembedded rule with noindex (in addition to VideoObject markup), eliminating some time-consuming manual updates to structured data markup and making the implementation of video SEO best practices much more scalable.

Vimeo also added Clip markup to all video host pages to allow Vimeo Chapters to appear as Key Moments on Google Search. For those videos without Vimeo Chapters, they also added Seek markup, which allows Google to identify Key Moments on its own. These markups will help automatically optimize video for feature opportunities within SERPs.

Tying It All Together

There’s a lot to keep up with in the organic search landscape, but we publish these news recaps each month based on our team’s efforts to stay up-to-date with all the changes. We’re passionate about helping large brands make their internal teams sharper by empowering their SEO strategy with intentional, proactive plans. To explore the SEO wins we could uncover for you, send a message to our team.

If you missed it, you can check out our January 2023 SEO News Recap here.