Semrush, LLMs (or “AIs”), and Google: a three-headed misinformation hydra?

It turns out that Semrush is likely responsible for the misinformation regarding my name. When Shahid Jafar first encountered the fake topic of a new Google algorithm named for me—and apparently created by me—he mentioned he had seen 8,000 references to it. I couldn’t, but it turns out—thanks to another blog post that has incorporated some of my blogging on this issue—that this is all visible on Semrush.

It is getting more out of hand, as Jack Yan & Associates has now been dragged into it, according to Techzein, yet another LLM-authored piece likely fed through Semrush that is plaguing Google (in particular). Here’s what they say (and this POS is ranked third for Google SEO jackyan):
Techzein article

I’m not linking Techzein as they don’t deserve it, but it does beg the question of why Google is ranking crap so highly. I even saw one in the top 10 today for Google SEO jackyan with a revoked secure certificate. (I always suspected the ‘Google will rank you more highly if you are HTTPS’ claim to be rubbish, and my first-hand experience indicates that it is.)
Highly ranked on Google: a site with its certificate revoked

But the tide could be turning. Another bot-assisted piece—you can always tell with the irrelevant info and the length—has finally caught on, thanks in part to my own wading in with the facts. I’m grateful for this one. There must have been some human input as the Semrush reference hasn’t come up before, other than Shahid’s mention of 8,000 references in his apology last week:
Devsarmy article

The “Google SEO updates 2024 jackyan” keyword saw a volume of around 8.1k+ on SemRush. While this may look like a lot, jackyan has no relation to either Google or SEO updates. In fact, as you might have figured out by now, jackyan is not even a real word. It is the name of a businessman and publisher, Jack Yan.

In his words, this is nothing more than a display of deception and obfuscation. The spread of this keyword is like wildfire. It provides zero value to readers looking for Google’s new SEO updates. The blogs based on “Google SEO updates 2024 jackman” [sic] are a load of misinformation.

… Several so-called SEO experts picked it up who really thought they were onto something. With ChatGPT’s blessing, they managed to whip up useless blogs.

They did zero research. A simple Google search could have shown them the truth. But it does not seem far-fetched to believe they didn’t really care about the reality of that keyword. They were more focused on the garbage numbers it was generating. And somehow, their 100% AI-generated blogs got ranked on Google within hours.

So while all these bloggers are using Semrush to massage their writing to make it Google-friendly, it is apparently fuelling misinformation at an incredible rate. Google is, meanwhile, one step behind, allowing it to be gamed—and why not? It’s in Google’s interests to make things harder to find so we spend more time going through the search results, and be forced to pay to get on top of the results’ pages, just as it’s in Facebook’s interests to have a ton of bots, so we are forced to pay to boost posts in the ever-decreasing hope that they might actually reach humans. Enshittification at its finest—but a game that you would think would wind up with people jumping ship to other services.

The fact my name is allegedly part of a Semrush keyword or key phrase with over 8,100 hits in two months shows how bad the problem can get with just this one tiny example. Could it get libellous at some point? (Not that Google cares about libel.)

It’s certainly vindicating our presence in print once again, if the web basically is all bot—and it’s heading that way. Search engines index bot material for other bots to consume and generate even more junk, and ad infinitum.

I don’t think it’s important if you can demonstrate you have a high social media following if Big Social is half bot. I’d be more impressed if you could demonstrate presences beyond a single medium, with the web as the entry point. (Believe it or not, one modelling agency declined to work with Lucire because our social figures were too low, and had no clue how much investment is involved in doing print magazines.)

This is where things lead with all the money involved, with no incentive to deliver better services for people, and with no competition to speak of. It’s only in the last few years that the US Department of Justice began being empowered enough to pursue Big Tech on antitrust grounds. The failure to curb monopoly power has got us exactly where we would reasonably expect to be, with greater inefficiencies and time wasted while we wade through the bots and the bot-generated junk. And I have been warning about this for a decade, maybe more.

With Google’s milliards, it’s hard to believe that they couldn’t have stayed one step ahead of the sploggers. So either they are negligent on yet another count (which takes things down one very clear legal path), or they really have no idea how to innovate (which takes things down a murky financial path as Alphabet’s share price goes into freefall). More and more people are beginning to feel that Google is letting them down, even those who are rich enough to indulge in the search engines’ game of pay-to-play, since they, too, have to look for stuff.

Twitter is going the way of Myspace, since it’s really MySpaceX (recently I forgot to mention it as I went through the Big Tech players); and Google—well, it’s looking like AOL. Once ubiquitous, soon precarious. Remember, even Altavista is a thing of the past, and many moons ago, we could not have imagined that.

Every business should be contemplating a post-Google, post-search future right now. Google has no will to make things right, so this phenomenon is only going to continue. And I’m well placed to strategize what that looks like.
PS.: Confirmation that this rubbish can be traced to Semrush, from one user I queried:

P.PS.: Techzein has now posted a disclaimer at the top of their post now, saying Google offers no certification named for me or anyone, though they left the rest of their post intact.

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