8 March 2023
Google Algorithm Updates in 2022
Hello, March! We’re storming through the calendar days at an alarming rate, and yes, we know it sounds predictable to say: “This year is flying by” – but let’s be honest, it is!
Let’s slow things down a bit and take a (LITTLE) trip back in time. That’s right, it’s time to talk about February. The month of love and romance, and a whole bunch of updates in the world of marketing. So, let’s get straight into it…
Though February saw many updates in search, with Google updating their guidance for best linking practices, alongside another (yes, you heard that right, another) product reviews update, we’re going to be talking about the topic that’s dominating SEO at the minute – ChatGPT and Ai generally.
ChatGPT – an artificial intelligence chatbot – is taking the marketing world by storm, generating automated content left, right and centre.
But what impact does artificially-generated content have on your search rankings?
Well, Google once appeared to take the stance that AI-generated content was inherently bad, and something you shouldn’t touch with a barge pole.
More recently however, Google has backpedalled slightly, clarifying that it’s the content that’s purposely created to manipulate search rankings is the one to blame here. Speaking on automatically-generated content, Google SearchLiason stated that “If content is helpful and created for people first, that’s not an issue”, which (sort of) gives ChatGPT Google’s stamp of approval.
As said before when asked about AI, content created primarily for search engine rankings, however it is done, is against our guidance. If content is helpful & created for people first, that’s not an issue.https://t.co/3rs3Yrrrk1https://t.co/TlFEbdXGAphttps://t.co/Yl9XWr5CAN pic.twitter.com/gFTE2C2wq1
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 12, 2023
ChatGPT for content creation should be used with great care. On one hand, it can create brilliant results at unrivalled speed, but this can often be at the expense of E-E-A-T and good quality material. But with some quality control and edits, AI can be harnessed to to boost productivity, particularly with SEO processes. Relying solely on Ai for your content output is not going to end well, as it will probably always need human intervention (let’s hope so, I’m looking at you, Sarah Connor).
But Ai does offer a unique opportunity to cut down time spent on those laborious tasks like briefing in content, or keyword expansion.
Following on from the ChatGPT takeover, Google is now experimenting with their own artificial intelligence software. Meet Bard.
Powered by LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), part of Google’s Natural Language Processing model, Bard is still in its infancy, but it looks incredibly promising and very similar to ChatGPT.
Bard will soon be rolled out further for testing, and with the weight and power of Google behind it, this really should be one to watch – so keep an eye out for yet another AI tool to add to your kit.
As we know, artificial intelligence acquires its knowledge from other content, constantly learning from human language and other websites – including your own!
Concerns from website owners have been raised here, due to the difficulty it takes to opt out of having one’s content used to train AI-generators like ChatGPT. Luckily, there is a way to do it, it’s just not the easiest (and it doesn’t always work).
ChatGPT was ‘trained’ using something called a Large Language Model (or LLM). The LLM used for ChatGPT is GPT-3.5 aka ‘InstructGPT’, created by OpenAi (owners of ChatGPT), along with the previous LLMs that came before GPT-3.5.
Of the five datasets used to train GPT-3.5 (Common Crawl, WebText2, Books1, Books2 and Wikipedia) only two relate to crawling websites for data – WebText2 and Common Crawl. These are curated, open access datasets that offer LLMs ‘quality’ content, along with human feedback within the dataset.
That human feedback is what sets GPT3.5 apart from its predecessors, known as reinforcement learning from human feedback, or RLHF), giving the language model contextual understanding of the idiosyncrasies and quirks that is ‘to be human’.
Keeping your site and content out of AI’s clutches is tricky. Common Crawl can be blocked in your robots.txt file, as it gathers data in the form of a bot that crawls the entire web. WebText2 is less achievable, as this is a private dataset owned by OpenAi, there isn’t even a useragent you can block. You can however check if you’re within their dataset using the open source version. For the full ins and outs of blocking ChatGPT, click here.
Design trends come and go in the blink of an eye, so it’s important to keep up! Check out what went down in graphic design in February:
When it comes to design, it’s a case of constantly chasing and keeping up with the latest trends. And while it’s great to stay in-the-know, modern and trendy, how do you stand out amongst the noise?
Well, Burberry has managed to do just that – by going back to the old school. Logo design today tends to lean heavily on minimalistic, flat designs with clean lines and sans serif fonts. However, the iconic luxury fashion powerhouse has gone against the grain by reverting back to traditionalism, with a new “archive-inspired” logo, following the hire of their new creative chief officer Daniel Lee.
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Their new logo features grand, equestrian iconography, featuring the word “Prorsum”, taken from the Latin term for “Forwards”, which is an interesting word choice given the new logo takes a step backwards to the company’s traditional roots.
It’s not just the main logo either, the Burberry wordmark has got everyone talking. Word in the fashion industry is that everyone’s logos are starting to look the same – block, bland, sans serif font. However, Burberry’s subtle serif font has been feeling the love through February. This could mark a significant shift in logo design, and we’re ready for it.
Sometimes words just can’t describe how we’re feeling, but emojis on the other hand…
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The design team made use of colour palettes, illustrations and animation effects that reference popular Netflix shows, building upon (rather than completely overhauling) Netflix’s current branding. All in all, the aim here is to give Netflix its own unique library of content, ready to inspire and propel future projects and designs for the platform’s marketing activities.
Keep your eyes peeled for these icons appearing on your TV soon…
Social media platforms such as Instagram were once a place to share pretty pictures, candid posts and promote creativity. Nowadays however, these platforms are often swarmed with ads and sponsorships, leaving little room for creatives to express themselves properly.
Therefore, new kinds of social media platforms are emerging, such as Grainery. Made for analog photographers and the film community, Grainery is a place to share, learn and collaborate. Using Grainery should feel similar to the content-sharing platforms we’re used to – like Instagram – but it’s purely for this specific group of creatives in the film photography group.
Another similar example is Explore, which is a completely ad-free social media platform for creative individuals to gain inspiration, connect and share their art.
Such niche, creative platforms are an exciting new way to do social media, and we can’t wait to see some of the art that emerges from them.
Social media can be a whirlwind at times, with new updates or features to keep on top of at all times. Let’s break down February’s news for you:
Good news for TikTok advertisers, as TikTok have introduced their ‘Top Products’ section within the Creative Centre. To put things simply, this is a hub of information and insight to highlight how popular specific products are within the app.
From impressions, view-through rate, comments and likes to the amount of ads posted that feature the item, this is a goldmine of information. Any data you might need to judge the performance of each product, trust us, it’s probably in there. With so much data to delve into, it’s a good idea to check it out quickly so you can start optimising your TikTok ads approach and driving those all-important sales.
Very recently, Meta launched their new subscription bundle on both Instagram and Facebook – meet, Meta Verified.
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Meta Verified (which is very similar to Twitter Blue), allows creators to receive a verified badge to authenticate your identity with a government ID, and essentially confirm that you’re the real you. Further, this offers more protection from impersonators with proactive account monitoring.
But what does this actually mean for content creation?
Well, Meta Verified promises creators increased visibility and reach, alongside exclusive features that allow creators to “express” themselves in unique ways, but we’re still unsure on what that means exactly. At the moment, this is only being rolled out in Australia and New Zealand, but it should soon be seen across the rest of the world before long.
While this new update sounds all well and good, criticism has sparked in the comments section. Commenters are suggesting that this only benefits creators who already have money behind them to purchase the subscription (and presumably already have reach), leaving smaller creators and businesses behind.
Constantly evolving and updating, Instagram is back with another platform update, this time, it’s Broadcast Channels. Broadcast Channels are essentially a public messaging tool that allows creators to engage with their followers at a large scale and keep them up-to-date. Only creators can send messages, which can be done in the form of text, photos, videos, voice notes and polls. But what makes these channels any different from standard Instagram Stories and feed posts?
Well, these channels are intended to be a place for updates and information on a specific topic that followers can opt into and refer back to. Any updates will appear in their Instagram inbox alongside other message threads. Instagram has big plans in place to accelerate this feature, with updates in the horizon that allow creators to collaborate within these channels and collaborate and more.
And that concludes our recap of the month that was February 2023 – it’s now time to see what March has in store! Spring days and lighter nights are just around the corner, and we for one can’t wait. So, if your marketing strategy is due a little spring clean, don’t wait up.
8 March 2023
Google Algorithm Updates in 2022
Still the same great data driven services, but now with a different name