To say April was a busy month for Google, is an understatement.

With the completion of their huge core update and the initiation of generative AI tests for the upcoming Google’s Search Generative Experience (if you’re already lost, don’t worry, we’ll break this down), they’ve been on overdrive.

Oh, and let’s not overlook their noteworthy partnership with Reddit earlier this year.

That’s not all—we’ll be diving into the latest developments across the SEO, Paid Search, and Social Media landscapes, unpacking everything from significant algorithm updates to ground-breaking partnerships.

Prepare for the ultimate April digital debrief, as we have quite the story to share with you…

SEO

March’s (never-ending) Core update

The March 2024 Google Core Update is all about enhancing search quality by cracking down on low-quality and unoriginal content. Its goal is to prioritise useful and relevant content in search results by refining core ranking systems. This update specifically targets clickbait content and spammy practices to ensure users get the best possible search experience.

This recently wrapped up on April 19th and has slashed low-quality content by a significant 45%.

What is the key takeaway for content creators? Continue prioritising valuable and reliable content that is user-friendly.

SGE is getting closer…

With new generative AI capabilities under their belt, Google are looking to simplify the search process even more.

For example, when searching for a product, you won’t just see relevant products—you’ll also receive a summary of important factors to consider. You’ll also be able to check out updated reviews, ratings, prices, and images to help you make informed decisions.

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) tests had some hiccups initially, struggling with understanding what users wanted and recognising authority signals. Now, they’re back at it, focusing on tackling complex informational queries in regular searches.

Here is the best way you can prepare for SGE—by prioritising E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) within your online presence.

Who’s the author?

Google has been pretty keen on connecting content to authors: a concept known as author entities.

All of your content—articles, press releases, media, everything—should be linked to an author, in order to let Google see your content as a) trustworthy, and b) better than your competitors.

The roots of Google Authorship trace back to 2007, when connecting authors to content became a proposed ranking signal. Basically, it’s advised that businesses and online creators make authorship a priority. Not only will it boost user trust but also carries additional search benefits (did somebody say rich snippets?). This is especially crucial now as authoritative content gains more importance in the era of generative AI…

Let’s stay local

When you’re looking for places near you, the Local Pack shows up at the top of search results. In this Local Pack, Google showcases the three most relevant results, separate from other organic search results. For those of us with brick-and-mortar stores, getting featured here is crucial.

Now, Google is adding direct website links to local search. Initially seen in hotel listings, this update allows users to click directly to a website from the local pack without having to go through the listing. This change could have a big impact by making it easier for users to access relevant websites right from the search results.

This shift is believed to be a response to the requirements outlined in the Digital Markets Act (a set of rules in the EU that aims to control the influence of “Very Large Online Platforms” (VLOPs), seen as gatekeepers of the digital market).

The all-seeing Google Lens

Google Lens has truly levelled up.

Impressively, it boasts enhanced intelligence, enabling users to identify items in photos or live camera feeds and ask more detailed questions about them. With a new multi-search functionality, users can further filter search results using text after identifying a physical object using Google Lens.

Additionally, generative AI offers additional text-based insights. For instance, if you snap a photo of a passerby wearing a funky pair of shoes, it might provide information about the brand and style of those shoes. You could then immediately order those shoes online, all before your morning meeting. Trust us—we’ve done it.

The ultimate collab: Reddit x Google

In a nutshell, Google and Reddit are teaming up to enhance search with Vertex AI, recognising the growing user interest in platforms like Reddit. On their blog, Google acknowledges Reddit’s role as a hub for authentic discussions and experiences, aiming to make this valuable information more accessible.

For brands, this partnership introduces intriguing possibilities.

Let’s say you’re launching a new product line and receiving positive feedback. Your first point of call would probably be to showcase for your potential customers to see, right? However, in this new landscape, Reddit discussions about your products might dominate search results. These candid conversations could shape customers’ perceptions before they even visit your site.

Positive Reddit discussions could boost brand awareness and sales. On the flip side, negative discussions would require prompt attention to avoid potential damage.

Image shows a desk with an iMac screen and a persons arms typing on a keyboard. There is an Apple Watch on the wrist of the person typing.

Paid Search

The cookie monster: Consent Mode V2

Consent Mode V2 has set a benchmark for privacy and data ethics in the digital space.

Improving on its predecessor, Google Consent Mode V2 ensures better alignment with data privacy rules and user preferences. This helps websites efficiently communicate users’ cookie consent preferences to Google tags. For businesses, this is a solid opportunity to enhance your approach to user privacy and consent management, solidifying your reputation as a privacy-conscious brand.

Microsoft means business

For those of us looking to level up our advertising game, Microsoft Ads has launched several new features and campaign options.

Performance Max ads streamline ad creation and delivery across different formats and places, just like Google’s version. Plus, you can run display ads on Microsoft Ads, giving you more ways to reach your audience.

Connected TV ads, however, is where it gets really cool. Now, these ads will also be shown on Netflix, opening brand new opportunities to connect with viewers. With millions of viewers streaming content on Netflix daily, your ads can now reach an even wider and highly engaged audience—right in their living rooms.

Social

“Tik tok notes” feature

Not so long ago, TikTok was the new kid on the block—and everybody despised it. Now look! Social media platforms across the globe are racing to keep up. Yet again, the tables have turned: TikTok has launched TikTok Notes, a new app aiming to rival Meta’s Instagram.

Should Instagram be concerned? Well, despite Instagram surpassing TikTok in app downloads, users still spend more time on TikTok than on Instagram. Plus, TikTok Notes has only been released in Canada and Australia for now, so its impact remains to be seen…

“Instagram blend” feature

Instagram is trying out a new feature called Blend, which lets you and a friend see a combined Reels feed based on what you share with each other. This builds on Instagram’s efforts to increase private sharing within the app, like with Inbox Notes and Close Friends. That said, Blend is still being tested—the promise making the app even more engaging by allowing group content discovery lies in the air…

Is airchat the future?

Airchat, combining elements of X and Clubhouse, has hit the scene with a bang.

This platform transcribes spoken words into text, instantly allowing users to listen to audio posts while scrolling through their feed. Despite this seemingly futuristic speech-to-text functionality, concerns have arisen regarding its approach to content moderation.

With plans to rely heavily on user moderation, there’s potential for Airchat to face challenges in ensuring a safe and inclusive environment. As users eagerly await its full rollout, only time will tell if Airchat truly has what it takes to become the next big thing in social networking.

Wrapping up

April was a whirlwind of tech and AI, with Google at the forefront, leading the charge.

From the never-ending core update to the rise of TikTok Notes, the digital landscape has been buzzing with excitement. With so many changes—big, small, oblong, questionable—it’s clear that the only constant in digital, is change.

We hope you enjoyed this monthly roundup of digital updates; we’ll back next month to give you the latest and greatest digital news, all from your friendly neighbourhood Verkeer team.

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