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Google new Core Web Vitals and updates + OpenAI pricing model change

Hi all,

It's been a busy last few days and  weeks in the SEO and AI world so here is a quick run-down of the latest events. Read-on, several of them may directly affect you:

Google algorithm updates and manual penalties

On March 5, Google had not one but two published algorithm updates: 

  • the March 2024 core update
  • the March 2024 spam update

These changes in Google algorithms are meant to improve Google search results quality and will be rolled out over the next few weeks.

They are designed both to reduce the predominance of low quality, made-for-SEO websites in search results. In additions to these 2 updates (it's very unusual to have several on the same day), Google started applying manual penalties to a larger number of websites.

A manual penalty is when Google employees actually look at a site and decide it should not appear in search results. So they click a button (I imagine!) and that site is completely out of Google results instantly.

Expect to see changes in search results in the next weeks, your site may well go up and down until things settle.

A good read: Search Engine Land article on the Mars updates.

Note that you can keep up with all these Google official updates through 4SEO dashboard, as we show them all there.

New Core Web Vital metrics

As announced a long time ago, Google has now promoted the Interaction to Next Paint (INP)  metric to an official Core Web Vitals one. This comes into effect today, March 12.

INP is meant to replace the previous First Input Delay (FID) value, which proved not useful in measuring how user can sometimes wait for a page to react to clicks and actions.

INP measurement was integrated into 4SEO Core Web Vitals measurements in early December last year. We currently still show both INP and FID, but FID will be removed in the near future.

You should probably review your performance here, as INP is a bit harder to be successful at compared to FID.

And for an overview of what Core Web Vitals are and how important they are for SEO, here my old but still appropriate blog on the topic.

OpenAI pricing model change

A bit out of the blue, effective March 8, OpenAI announced they were switching their pricing to a prepaid credits model.

Previously you would use OpenAI API to power, for instance our Joomla assistant 4AI and OpenAI would bill you at the end of the month for what you had use.

From now on, you have to purchase credits ahead of time and if you exhaust all your credits, they will cut off access to the API.

Note that the prices themselves have not changed, only the way you pay for them is different.

This does not affect either the way 4AI operates.

What else?

  • 4AI,  4SEO and 4SEF are also having maintenance updates, with a few fixes and some improvements in various areas

Notably, 4AI now marks all generated images as created by an AI, in accordance with new requirements from Google Merchant for instance

Until next time, be sure to keep all your websites and extensions up to date!