In recent times, Google Search has come under intense scrutiny for the quality of its search results. Numerous experts and researchers have expressed concerns over an influx of low-quality content, spam, and dubious news articles plaguing the platform. The rise of generative AI has played a central role in the proliferation of such content, raising questions about the integrity of search engine optimization (SEO) and the future of internet search.
Eminent SEO expert Lily Ray, with a 14-year career in the field, voiced her dismay at the deteriorating quality of Google search results.
Ray described the current state of Google as “the worst quality results” she has encountered in her professional journey, suggesting that the platform appears to be inundated with spam and poorly sourced information. Instead of effectively filtering out scams, Google seemingly finds itself promoting them, a troubling development, according to Ray.
A year-long study by a German research team further corroborated suspicions about Google’s search results. Focusing on thousands of product-review-related search terms, the researchers found an unsettling pattern.
They discovered an “inverse relationship between affiliate marketing use and content complexity,” indicating that search engines struggle to effectively combat large-scale affiliate link spam campaigns. This suggests that search engines, including Google, are losing the battle against SEO spam.
Generative AI’s role in the problem
The researchers emphasized that generative AI is likely playing a central role in disseminating low-quality content. The blurring line between benign content and spam, coupled with the proliferation of generative AI, presents a grim outlook for the future of online content. The researchers cautioned that this situation may worsen as generative AI technology continues to evolve.
The democratization of AI-powered tools, such as ChatGPT, has led to an increase in the production of poorly researched and unedited content by content farms. Even reputable publications have been caught using generative AI tools with varying degrees of success, further contributing to the problem. The technology’s symbiotic relationship with SEO practices compounds Google’s challenges in maintaining high-quality search results.
Google’s AI-powered search efforts
Google has ventured into AI-powered search with its Search Generative Experience, which was released in beta form. However, this foray has not been without issues, as the platform struggles to answer even basic prompts accurately. Instances of wildly inaccurate information have raised questions about the reliability of AI-powered search, adding to user frustration.