The Impact Of AI And Google's Algorithm Updates On SEO Pushes Us To Adopt New Strategies

Over the last 2 years, Google has made radical changes to its search algorithm that resulted in many business losing organic traffic. Google's zero-click strategy and recent AI based search are pushing everyone to adapt their SEO strategies. Let's explore promising solutions for your customer acquisition process!

New Google's Algorithm Update

About Zero-Click Search And How Generative AI Changes Everything

Google zero-click is a search result feature that provides users with direct answers to their queries without requiring them to click on any of the search results. This means that the information users are seeking is displayed at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), often in the form of a featured snippet, direct answer box, or knowledge panel. This can include information such as a person's age, a date, or a quick answer to a simple question.

One of the first zero-click strategies that Google rolled out was the so-called "featured snippets". Google answers a question directly in the SERP by trying to take a relevant extract from a website:

Google's Featured Snippet

The goal of zero-click search results is to provide users with immediate answers to their queries, reducing the need for them to navigate to a website to find the information they're looking for. This can be beneficial for users who are looking for quick information, but it can also impact the amount of traffic that websites receive from search engines.

According to a study by Semrush, in 2022, 25.6% of desktop searches and 17.3% of mobile searches resulted in zero clicks.

In 2024, Google is gradually rolling out an "AI overview" feature. Google now leverages generative AI in order to answer questions in the SERP. Google's featured snippets discourage users to click on your website but still show your website below the answer. Generative AI is different: your website might have been used by Google to train their own AI model, but they do not mention your website below their answer. Here is an example:

Google's AI Overview

About Google's Algorithm Changes These Last 2 Years

Over the last two years, Google has implemented several significant changes to its search algorithm and policies to improve the quality of search results and combat spammy, low-quality content. These updates have included changes to the core ranking systems, new spam policies, and updates to how Google assesses content overall.

One of the most notable updates was the March 2024 Core Update, which aimed to reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40%. This update involved changes to multiple core systems and marked a shift in Google's approach to finding "helpful" results and ranking them. The March 2024 update also introduced improved quality ranking and new and improved spam policies to keep the lowest-quality content out of search results.

Winners And Losers Of Google's Algo Change Source: Semrush

In addition to the March 2024 update, Google launched 4,725 changes to search in 2022 alone, averaging 13 changes per day. These changes included updates to its ranking systems, user interface, and more. This demonstrates Google's ongoing efforts to refine its search algorithms and policies to try to better serve users.

As a result of these updates, Google's search results have undergone a dramatic upheaval. Some website owners and search experts have reported a general shift in Google results towards websites with big established brands and away from small and independent sites. This has led to concerns about the impact of these changes on smaller businesses and content creators.

According to Semrush, several websites recently experienced significant drops in Google Search traffic. New York Magazine's website lost 32%, decreased by 26%, Urban Dictionary lost more than half its Search traffic with an 18 million page view decrease, and saw a decline of nearly 58%.

You'll notice a significant increase in the use of a single platform: Reddit. Semrush reports that Reddit experienced a 126% increase in traffic from Google Search.


What Are Some Promising Customer Acquisition Strategies?

Organic traffic is more and more limited, especially for small businesses, but other solutions exist! Social media and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising are excellent alternatives in a customer acquisition strategy.

As users tend to be disappointed with Google results, they are gradually switching to social media in order to get more genuine opinions. Social media platforms like Reddit, X, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram have billions of active users, providing a large potential audience for businesses to reach. On these platforms the marketing efforts can be easily directed towards the most relevant audience, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion. Moreover, social media facilitates organic growth and interaction with customers, encouraging brand loyalty and advocacy.

Creating engagement on social media works even better if you leverage social listening techniques. Monitoring specific keywords when they are mentioned on social media allows you to quickly jump into the right conversations and find new leads, monitor your brand reputation, watch your competitors, stay up to date on specific business related topics, and much more. You can perform efficient real-time social listening on our KWatch platform: try it now!

Social Listening

PPC advertising, on the other hand, allows businesses to place ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) and other websites, paying only when a user clicks on the ad. This model ensures that advertisers pay for actual results, not just impressions. PPC platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising provide comprehensive analytics, enabling businesses to track the performance of their campaigns and optimize them for better results. Additionally, PPC allows for immediate visibility, as ads can start showing up in search results as soon as the campaign is funded, making it an effective tool for businesses looking to quickly expand their reach. Social media platforms also propose interesting PPC solutions. These platforms offer advanced targeting options, allowing companies to tailor their ads based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and location.

Are SEO And Organic Traffic Going To Die?

For the moment nothing shows that SEO and organic traffic are going to die, but they are clearly evolving. Despite the emergence of new technologies like generative AI and Google's recent algo changes, SEO remains a critical component of digital marketing strategies.

Is SEO Dead?

While AI might change how search engines operate and the way users interact with search results, it also provides opportunities for SEO professionals to adapt and improve their strategies. AI can help in scaling content creation, analyzing user behavior, and optimizing content for better visibility and engagement.

The emphasis on high-quality, original content remains paramount. Search engines, including Google, are focusing on delivering the most helpful and relevant content to users. This means that businesses need to focus on creating content that is not only optimized for search engines but also provides value to the users. Most of the online content does not provide real value to the users today unfortunately, so there is still some room for improvement.

The growing popularity of video content means that SEO strategies need to incorporate video optimization. This includes using schema markup to highlight videos in search results and understanding the various video hosting options and their impacts on traffic generation.

Last of all, the rise of zero-click searches, where users find the information they need directly on the search engine results page, highlights the importance of AEO. AEO refers to Answer Engine Optimization. This is a specialized form of digital marketing where the objective is to optimize content so that AI systems, such as search engines or AI assistants, will pick it up in response to user queries. Businesses need to focus on providing concise, accurate, and helpful information to capture these zero-click opportunities.


Google has made dramatic changes to its search engine technology over these last years, pushing for zero-click search. This has a strong impact on many businesses. In order to stay alive, organizations need to adapt their customer acquisition strategies.

If organic search does not work well for you anymore, social media engagement can be a good alternative. In that case I recommend that you come up with a social listening strtategy!

On KWatch you can perform social listening on Linkedin, X, Reddit, Quora, Hacker News, and more. Try social listening on now.

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