“In February 2024, we published an article warning readers not to trust product recommendations from well-known newspapers and magazines ranking at the top of Google search results.”
“I’ll take you through the tactics big media publishers use to outrank independent sites online. I’ll also cover what Google has done since we published our exposé and what they’ve announced they’re going to do. Lastly, I’ll share what happened to HouseFresh over the last two months. SPOILER:It’s not looking good for us.”
“Within a few days of publishing the David VS Digital Goliaths exposé, I received an anonymous tip from a former Dotdash Meredith employee, who informed me of an SEO content strategy they implement called ‘keyword swarming.’
Through this strategy, Dotdash Meredith allegedly identifies small sites that have cemented themselves in Google results for a specific (and valuable) term or in a specific topic, with the goal of pushing them down the rankings by publishing vast amounts of content of their own.
“Swarming is about drowning out a competitor,” said the person who reached out. The objective is to “swarm a smaller site’s foothold on one or two articles by essentially publishing 10 articles [on the topic] and beefing up [Dotdash Meredith sites’] authority.”
By the way, if “keyword swarming” is indeed a strategy, then it’s clear that it’s not just something you will find in the air purifier space. Dotdash Meredith could be doing this across many other products and topics, utilizing its wide range of publications.”
“The reality is that, whether they have a name for it or not, every other digital goliath is monetizing their websites by using the same tactics.”


You probably felt it, but now it’s official—Google Search results are tanking. And it’s not just a hiccup; we’re at the start of an “enshittification” epidemic with no quick fix in sight.
Don’t believe me, ask the folks from Leipzig University, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and ScaDS.AI, all three from Germany. (*)

They had a good look at Google search quality and what they saw wasn’t beautiful. Seems that finding useful information on the Internet is turning into a murky mess and Google doesn’t seem to care.

During  a year, these brainy folks kept tabs on Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, diving into several thousand product review searches like “best this” and “best that”. And guess what? The top product reviews in search results are often swamped with affiliate marketing and SEO spam. Shocking, right?

There’s this trend toward dumbed-down, repetitive, and maybe even AI-generated content. Not only does this mess with the quality of search results, but it also shows a weird inverse relationship between a page’s SEO tricks and its actual expertise.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on generative AI content farms. They’re like SEO spam factories, automating the junk and giving website owners and content creators major headaches. To make matters worse, Google’s policy of not penalizing AI-generated content in search results adds fuel to the fire.

The takeaway? Search results can’t be trusted anymore. Useful content has been hijacked by money-making schemes. This brings up a crucial question: Is striving for an online presence even worth it now?

Honestly, it doesn’t look great. But maybe this is our wake-up call to hit reset and do things right this time.