Google just updated its algorithm. The Internet will never be the same

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Google just updated its algorithm. The Internet will never be the same

In the past two years, a series of updates to Google Search have dramatically reshaped the Internet’s most powerful tool, introducing unprecedented AI features. Will these changes save the web or destroy it?

The Impact on Independent Publishers

Consider, a site dedicated to air purifier reviews. Founded in 2020 by Gisele Navarro and her husband, it quickly rose to prominence thanks to its rigorous, science-based reviews. The site exemplified the type of original content Google claimed to prioritize, and initially, it thrived.

However, major updates to Google’s search algorithm in September 2023 and March 2024 had a devastating impact. “It decimated us,” Navarro said. The search terms that once directed traffic to HouseFresh now favored big lifestyle magazines with less reliable content. The site saw a drastic drop in visitors, forcing layoffs and threatening its future.

Google’s Vision and Its Critics

Google maintains that its updates, rigorously tested, aim to improve user experience. The company offers resources and feedback opportunities for website owners affected by these changes. Last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled a significant new feature: AI Overviews, providing AI-generated answers to user queries. This move, part of Google’s broader strategy to transition from a search engine to a search-and-answer engine, is already available to users in the United States.

The Broader Impact on the Web

Google’s updates aim to address the problem of SEO-driven content that prioritizes search algorithms over user needs. Despite Google’s efforts, critics argue these changes might harm the very businesses that create valuable content. While Google’s “Helpful Content Update” and subsequent algorithm tweaks reportedly reduced low-quality content by 45%, they also had unintended consequences. Data from SEMrush indicates that major sites like New York Magazine,, and Urban Dictionary experienced significant drops in traffic.

Conversely, platforms like Reddit saw massive increases in traffic, benefiting from user-generated content perceived as more authentic. Reddit’s traffic from Google Search grew by 126%, and the company reported a 48% revenue increase in its first quarterly earnings since going public.

The Future of Search and Content

Google’s ongoing battle against spammy search results continues to shape the web. As user behavior shifts towards platforms perceived as more trustworthy, Google’s algorithms are adapting. This evolution might usher in a new era of online content, driven by genuine user engagement rather than SEO tactics.

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