Google search might be getting worse – and AI threatens to ruin it entirely

Key Takeaways:

– A study by German researchers confirms that Google search has gotten worse.
– The study also analyzed results from Bing and DuckDuckGo search engines.
– Product review search terms were specifically examined, showing signs of lower text quality in higher-ranked pages.
– SEO (search engine optimization) spam is a common issue in search engine results.
– SEO has become a cottage industry, with companies promising to improve search rankings.
– Google performs better than Bing and DuckDuckGo in several key areas.
– Generative AI tools like ChatGPT have led to an increase in low-quality content targeted at search engines.
– Bing and Google are introducing AI-produced search results.
– AI-generated content has flooded the internet, using machine learning tools to target popular search terms.
– AI programs have the capacity to manipulate search engine algorithms for SEO purposes.
– The researchers warn that low-quality content is drowning out useful information in search results.
– Google is actively working to combat AI spam in search results.
– There is a need for changes to ensure that content is written by humans, for humans.

TechRadar:

A study by German researchers has confirmed what many of us have long suspected: Google search really is getting worse.

A team of researchers led by Leipzig University, Bauhaus-University Weimar, and the Center for Scalable Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, have conducted a year-long research experiment to answer the question “Is Google Getting Worse?”, and the answer was essentially a resounding ‘yes’. The study wasn’t specifically confined to Google, also analyzing results from the Bing and DuckDuckGo search engines.

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AI Eclipse TLDR:

A year-long study conducted by German researchers from Leipzig University, Bauhaus-University Weimar, and the Center for Scalable Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence has found that Google search results are getting worse. The study, which also analyzed results from Bing and DuckDuckGo, focused on product review search terms and found that “higher-ranked pages” often displayed signs of lower text quality, specifically SEO spam. While searches for short questions with factual answers still returned accurate results, the study highlighted the prevalence of low-quality content being rewarded by search engines due to the demands of search engine optimization (SEO). The researchers also observed a trend towards simplified, repetitive, and potentially AI-generated content. There has been a significant increase in AI-generated content since the advent of tools like ChatGPT, with AI programs attempting to manipulate search engine algorithms for better rankings. The researchers warned that this flood of low-quality content is drowning out useful information in search results. Google, however, claims to have launched improvements to address these issues and cites third-party studies that have found Google consistently surfaces higher quality results. Despite this, the researchers believe that AI-generated content could pose a significant challenge in the future, and combating AI spam is a priority for Google.