February 2023 in SEO

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Hi there, search marketers of the world! You’ve arrived at another monthly roundup from the team here at Supersede Media. We’re taking a look back at the top stories from February 2023 in SEO. Join us as we run through some of the headlines and advice we’ve loved over the last 28 days.

February 2023: the top stories

This month, news is making the news! We’re starting with a report that indicates that TikTok is 14 times more popular as a news source amongst Gen Z than with any other age group, and ask whether this represents a sign of things to come. We’ll also take a look at Google‘s trial of blocking news content for some users in Canada, before going on to the wild and wonderful world of Bing‘s new AI chatbot.

Is TikTok becoming Gen Z’s go-to source for news?

When a major news story breaks, outlets around the world rush to bring it to your attention. But which sources do you turn to in order to stay informed? The answer isn’t as clear-cut as it once was, with a diversity of online media to choose from, alongside traditional options such as TV and newspapers.

Of the various online platforms, Google Search is the choice of 46% of adults, and dominates amongst all age groups. According to data from Morning Consult, 48% of boomers, 47% of Gen-Xers, 46% of millennials and 39% of Gen Z adults start researching events here.

However, outside of the #1 spot, some interesting divergences occur at the generational level. Facebook is the next-most common option for millennials (14%), while Gen X turns to YouTube (11%) and boomers stick with news publishers’ own websites (14%).

Gen Z, meanwhile, increasingly prefers its news content in video form. They’re more likely than any other age group to state that they start researching major news events on YouTube (13%) or TikTok (14%). The rise of TikTok is particularly noteworthy, since the platform commands only a 1% share with the three other generations surveyed.

Google trials blocking news content for some Canadian users

Canadian flags hanging from a building
Image source: Tom Carnegie (via Unsplash)

We’re sticking with the theme of online news for our next item, as this month saw Google start a trial that blocks access to news content for around 4% of its visitors in Canada.

The reason behind the trial is the introduction of a new bill in the Parliament of Canada: Bill C-18, otherwise known as the Online News Act. If this bill passes, then Google—and other similar platforms, such as Meta—will have to pay for the rights to republish content from Canadian media companies.

Google claims that the trial will enable it to assess the impact on Canadian users, which, in turn, will inform how it responds to the bill. All kinds of news content are affected, with access limited to stories from both Canadian and international publishers.

Pablo Rodriguez, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, responded in a tweet that Canadians would not be ‘intimidated’ by the move:

This isn’t the first time that a tech giant has opposed attempts to force it to pay for content. Back in 2021, Facebook temporarily blocked Australian users from viewing any news content, with the country’s government eventually making concessions to the firm.

Bing’s new AI launches—with a few hitches

It’s been just three short months since the release of ChatGPT, and since then, AI has scarcely left the headlines—for good or ill.

This month, Microsoft announced that it was launching a new, AI-powered form of Bing, based on an upgraded form of ChatGPT. The idea is that users can chat to Bing in much the same way as they would speak to a chatbot, with the difference that Bing is able to search the web and provide sources for its answers.

However, all new releases come with kinks to work through, and the new Bing is no exception. One particularly startling example making the rounds on Twitter saw the AI repeatedly gaslighting a user into thinking the year was 2022:

Another example cited in The Verge saw Bing claim it “watched developers through their webcams”—though it’s likely that this scenario was generated by AI rather than an accurate retelling.

As stories such as these have gone viral, Microsoft has been forced to limit the number of ‘turns’ users can have on Bing per day. Nevertheless, it’s likely that the company will embrace even the negative PR as it fights to make its search engine competitive with Google.


For more top stories from giants such as Google and Twitter, check out the links below:

SEO advice we love

We always take time out in our month to read some valuable content from experts in the field. Here’s what’s been on our list this February:

Tip of the month

“Psychographics is the study and analysis of consumers according to their attitudes, goals and interests. By collecting this data, you can start to understand what motivates your customers’ buying behaviour. This will allow you to create detailed customer profiles that will inform your buyer personas and elevate your copy.”

If you’re only collecting demographic data on your users, you’re missing a big part of the picture. Aspects such as personality traits, interests and values can play an even more important role in an individual’s decision to make a purchase. As such, you need to take these factors into account when crafting your copy. For advice on how to do just that, read our article: Level Up Your Buyer Personas And Copy With Psychographics.

That’s all for February 2023! Join us in March for another helping of SEO news. Until then, see you on the internet!