In a world where AI and the tools around it gets more and more powerful every single day, we’re seeing how AI and Google evolve the search landscape every single day as well. This article breaks down how it impacts SEO and the latest news from February 2024.

AI for Local Search

AI is fundamentally reshaping how search engines understand user intent and deliver results for local searches. Google continues to innovate on AI and how it can power what people really want from a search. These new AI tools specifically for local search allow you to search for something like “best Italian food near me” and get personalized recommendations based on your past preferences, browsing history, social media activity, reviews you’ve left, and real-time factors like wait times or special offers. 

So what would that mean for you? Google is using AI to know if you favor trendy new spots or established family-friendly joints. Do you prioritize price, ambiance, or a specific type of Italian cuisine? With this knowledge, AI can finesse your search results, showcasing restaurants that best align with your unique tastes.

AI can also incorporate real-time data to further refine results. Factors like current wait times, ongoing promotions, or even live social media buzz about a restaurant can be factored in. This allows AI to present you with the most up-to-date and dynamic picture of local businesses, ensuring you make the most informed decision possible.

This is huge for both marketers and small local businesses that can start to take advantage of these features and opportunities through their Google Business Profiles. The combined impact of AI on local search and advertising paints a picture of a more dynamic and user-focused search landscape. Search engines are becoming more adept at anticipating user needs and delivering highly relevant results, while advertisers gain access to AI-powered tools that can streamline campaign creation and personalization. 

Generative AI for Advertisers

Google has been making significant strides in expanding generative AI for advertisers as well. Search marketers can now use a new suite of tools that streamline campaign creation and personalize ad experiences. These tools include:

  • Automatic Asset Generation: One of the biggest advancements is the ability to generate ad components automatically. Google Ads now allow advertisers to provide basic information about their brand and target audience. The AI then analyzes this data and creates headlines, descriptions, and even visuals (like product images) for the ad campaign. This saves advertisers a tremendous amount of time and resources while allowing them to explore a wider range of creative possibilities.
  • Performance Max Campaigns: Google’s Performance Max campaign type leverages AI to automatically place ads across its entire network, including Search, Display, YouTube, and Gmail. The AI analyzes user data and campaign goals to determine the optimal placements and formats for each ad, maximizing reach and conversions.
  • Customizable Creatives: Google offers tools that allow advertisers to create variations of headlines, descriptions, and visuals based on pre-defined parameters. This enables a level of personalization that caters to different audience segments or user search queries.
  • Background Removal and Generation: For image-based ads, Google’s AI can remove backgrounds from existing photos or even generate entirely new backgrounds that complement the product or service being advertised. This eliminates the need for expensive photo editing software and allows for faster ad creation.
  • Localized Ad Experiences:  AI can be used to personalize ad experiences based on user location. Imagine a travel agency creating a single ad campaign, but with the AI automatically generating location-specific headlines that mention nearby landmarks or highlight special offers relevant to the user’s region.

These are just a few examples of how Google is expanding generative AI for advertisers. As the technology continues to develop, we can expect even more sophisticated tools that allow for even greater levels of personalization, automation, and campaign optimization.

Google Introduces Gemini 1.5

Announced on February 15th, Google introduced a new form of AI called Gemini 1.5, a rebrand of Bard announced last March with more capabilities.

At its core, Gemini understands and processes information across different formats. This includes text (articles, code, emails), images, audio (speech, music), and even video. This allows you to interact with Gemini in a natural way, using a combination of these elements for tasks or questions.

Gemini also can help developers with code. It can understand, explain, and even generate code in various programming languages like Python, Java, and C++. Developers can leverage this for tasks like:

  • Translating code between languages
  • Generating different code solutions for a single problem
  • Completing or fixing incomplete code

We can also expect to see Gemini’s capabilities woven into existing Google products like Search or Docs. This could involve enhanced search results, smarter document suggestions, or even real-time grammar checks powered by AI.

While powerful, it’s important to remember that Gemini is still under development. It may not always perfectly understand complex questions or generate flawless creative text formats. However, Google is continuously working on improvements.

Helpful Content Update Recovery

In February 2024, there was some confusion around recovery timelines for websites impacted by Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update. In February, Google’s Search Liason Danny Sullivan offered some clarification. Some believed Sullivan stated a two-week recovery timeframe for websites negatively affected by the update. He actually said that he never provided a specific timeframe like two weeks. He emphasized that Google doesn’t typically offer such estimates as recovery can vary significantly.

The Helpful Content Update focuses on identifying and potentially down ranking content deemed unhelpful or lacking expertise. Google’s classifier system that identifies unhelpful content is constantly running. This means if you’ve made significant improvements to your content, the system could detect those changes over time and potentially improve your ranking. There’s no guaranteed timeframe for recovery. It could take weeks to months or even longer for Google to recognize your efforts and adjust your ranking accordingly.

So what to take from this? You still need to create high-quality, helpful content that actually helps your audience and website users. Take away unhelpful content as well, and always monitor your website’s performance overtime. 

Local Branded Service Ads

Lastly, Google announced local branded service ads with an opt-out option are a recent development in Google advertising specifically designed for local businesses. These ads are meant to be displayed in Google search results when someone searches for your business name or brand directly. Then ONLY your business ad appears and nothing from competitors. In this, Google does offer an opt-out option for those who don’t want to participate for cost concerns or worries about limited control. 


While we have all these AI tools, remember that it’s no replacement for the human expertise. As a digital marketer, you can leverage AI to automate tasks, gain valuable insights, and develop data-driven strategies. Think of it as a powerful tool in your arsenal, not a replacement for your strategic thinking and creativity.

Starting off March, we’ve got our first big Core Algorithm Update of the year. It’s rolling out throughout the month of March and we’ll break down it’s impacts in next month’s update! If you’re interested in SEO for your business, give us a call today, 800-261-1537. 



Kristine is the Director of Marketing at Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. Kristine has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communications from Gonzaga University and graduated from BYU with her undergrad in Broadcast Journalism. She's worked in television news, public relations, communications strategy, and marketing for over 10 years. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.