25 days, 21 hours later - the November 2023 Core Update is finally over!
(But the Nov. 2023 Reviews Update, which kicked off on Nov. 8th, is still riding its wave.)
So, what's the play while we wait for these updates to settle? Simple: Keep paddling forward.
If you're consistently dishing out top-notch content, there's no real reason to stop. Good sites with quality content should weather the storm.
It’s often those who rely on “one-click” AI solutions who find themselves in choppy waters, frantically signaling the end of the Internet on your social media feed (or those looking for clicks to themselves).
But let's get something straight: before you start eyeing those tempting shortcuts, you need to know what ‘quality’ really means for your site, niche, industry, and audience.
It's like this dog paddling on a surfboard. Sure, with a surfboard, it's smoother sailing – faster, more efficient, and less tiring. The dog can glide over waves with just a couple of paddles, letting the board do most of the work.
But what if that surfboard stopped floating?
A dog that knows how to swim, even without a surfboard, will still reach the shore - just with more effort and time.
It’s about mastering the basics first – knowing how to swim – before relying on the surfboard for that extra push.
Similarly, once you’ve mastered the art of crafting quality content manually, those AI tools and shortcuts become valuable assets, not crutches.
If they ever fail, you’ll have the skills to keep your site afloat and push it even further and farther than you thought before.
And when the tides of the SEO world inevitably shift, you’ll know how to adapt to keep riding the waves of opportunity and innovation.
Also, I’m excited from the results of the Shared Topical Maps model because it's clear we're onto something here!
As we dive into this together, there's a bit of navigating to do. Next up is figuring out the nuts and bolts:
Stay tuned as we move forward together. Your input is what makes this ride worthwhile, so share your thoughts in the survey by clicking here:
Once I get a chance to set something up, I’ll be reaching out to the people who participated in the survey first for their interested topics to get things moving.
Some great insights this week below too. Take special note of Glen Allsopp’s Q2 report in the Case Study section. It’s long, but oh so worth it.
Throughout the month of December, Google will be sharing resources that we found interesting or were otherwise noteworthy to us in 2023. Each door is only open for a single day, so be sure to go and see what's behind the doors in December -
Natzir Turrado reveals intriguing insights from leaked documents about how Google's search algorithms work. The article explores various components like Navboost, RankBrain, DeepRank, and MUM, highlighting their roles in processing search queries and personalizing results:
Navboost: It analyzes user clicks on search results to improve ranking based on human-made quality ratings.
RankBrain: A machine learning system that enhances Google's understanding of language and search intentions, especially for complex queries.
DeepRank (BERT): It improves natural language processing, allowing Google to better understand the intention and context of search queries.
MUM: An advanced algorithm understanding 75 languages and multiple formats, offering comprehensive responses to complex queries.
Clicks and Human Evaluators: Both are crucial in refining Google’s search algorithms, with clicks indicating user preferences and human evaluators ensuring quality.
Ahrefs explores the controversial parasite SEO strategy, highlighting how it exploited Google's trust in reputable sites. However, it also reveals the recent Google algorithm changes that are challenging the viability of this approach, emphasizing the importance of sustainable, quality-driven SEO and affiliate marketing strategies.
My Take: Sam and Ahrefs videos break things down very simply. So if you’ve been having some trouble understanding parasite SEO, this would be a good one to check out. But take the demise of parasite SEO with a grain of salt because it still works for many 😅
Google November 2023 Core Update was completed on Nov. 28th.
Google announced enhanced support for organizational information in structured data. This update includes extracting additional details like name, address, contact info, and business identifiers. It integrates logo and URL data, aiding visibility in Google's search results and knowledge panels. Google encourages updating organization markup for better representation on Google, emphasizing the benefit for both physical and online businesses.
Google introduces new structured data support for profile pages and discussion forums in Google Search. This markup enhances Search's accuracy in showcasing first-person perspectives from social media, forums, and communities. It includes updates to the Q&A structured data documentation and the launch of rich result reports in Search Console for monitoring these markups.
James Brockbank stresses that a compelling 'About Us' page is crucial for sustainable SEO success. He provides 11 great examples, dissecting their effective strategies to inspire you to revamp your own pages to elevate E-E-A-T.
How good are your ‘About Us’ pages?
Si Quan Ong offers practical strategies for enhancing content marketing and gaining more visitors, leads, and sales. Key tips include focusing on SEO, understanding your audience, leveraging competitors' topics, emphasizing business value, and optimizing for search intent. The piece also advises on content calendars, designing shareable images, content promotion, repurposing content, and not obsessing over word count. Ong underscores the importance of keeping content fresh, being opinionated, diversifying content types, building content hubs, utilizing AI tools, publishing original research, and expanding reach through videos.
Joshua Hardwick outlines a guide for grouping keywords into topics and assigning them to relevant pages, enhancing SEO strategies. He provides a step-by-step process, including finding keywords, clustering them, mapping to pages, and choosing secondary keywords, all complemented by a free template.
The article emphasizes the significance of keyword mapping in creating new pages, optimizing existing ones, and understanding search intent.
Microsoft Copilot, previously called Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise, now out of preview and widely available, enhances productivity and creativity with features like AI-powered chat, image generation with DALL-E 3, and up-to-date information citing. With commercial data protection, it's safe for organizational use, offering a more accessible and user-friendly experience at copilot.microsoft.com.
Charles Duhigg covers the tense relationship between Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, and the company's board of directors in his New Yorker article. This tension culminated in a crisis for the Microsoft-OpenAI partnership when Altman was unexpectedly fired, an event that sent shockwaves through both organizations. Lots of interesting stories:
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, learns of Sam Altman's Sudden Dismissal
Microsoft's Strategic Response
Boardroom Tensions at OpenAI
Development of Office Copilots
Safety Protocols for AI Assistants
The Responsible AI Division at Microsoft
Red Teaming GPT-4
Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF)
Public Experimentation and Feedback
Lessons from Clippy and Tay
Roger Montti discusses Microsoft's research on advanced prompting techniques for GPT-4, surpassing specialized AIs like Google’s Med-PaLM 2 in performance. Montti highlights "Chain of Thought" (CoT) reasoning, a method enabling AI to break down tasks into logical steps for better results.
Devin Coldewey shares that the planned launch of OpenAI's GPT Store is postponed to early 2024. Initially set for release this month, the delay stems from recent leadership chaos.
Perplexity Team introduces two PPLX Online LLM models: pplx-7b-online and pplx-70b-online. These models are unique for leveraging real-time internet data, overcoming typical LLM limitations in freshness and accuracy.
In an interview with Sam Altman, he reveals his emotional journey of being fired and then rehired as CEO of OpenAI. Altman shares his initial defiance and hurt but ultimately his commitment to the company's mission.
The "Retool State of AI Report 2023" covers the current landscape of AI in the tech world from a survey of over 1,500 tech professionals. It reveals a nuanced sentiment towards AI: somewhat overrated, yet crucial for the future. Key findings include a shift in developers' reliance on resources like StackOverflow due to AI tools, and varying perceptions of AI's impact on different job roles and industries. The report also highlights the growing use of AI in internal and external business applications, the popularity of tools like GitHub Copilot, and the critical need for AI governance and ethics.
Google Bard can now understand and respond to spoken words in YouTube videos. This expansion enables richer conversations about video content. For instance, after asking Bard for videos on making olive oil cake, you can ask about specific details, like the number of eggs needed in a recipe shown in a video.
Angela Ash explores innovative SEO techniques for creating high-quality links. She introduces unique approaches like Expert Quote Outreach and Networking, emphasizing the importance of evolving traditional strategies for better results. She also covers tactics such as leveraging unlinked brand mentions and contributing to roundups by using your personal brand.
Steve Toth reveals a unique SEO strategy involving GPT bots in his latest piece. He explains how leveraging these bots can result in a DR 92 backlink from openai.com, which not only gets indexed but can also drive substantial traffic. His article includes detailed instructions, tips for optimizing your GPT bot's title tag, and the potential of these links in boosting Google rankings.
Kaitie Frank discusses why backlinks still remain key for SEO. The article emphasizes their role in establishing website authority, enhancing user experience, and adapting to algorithm changes. It advocates focusing on quality, not quantity, of backlinks for better search rankings.
Andy Chadwick from Keyword Insights provides an in-depth guide on internal links in SEO. He explains their importance for site navigation, enhancing user experience, and boosting SEO performance. He covers best practices for internal linking, the significance of anchor text, and practical strategies for effective implementation. It emphasizes how well-planned internal links can improve website structure, user engagement, and overall online visibility.
Flori Needle offers a comparison of these two marketing strategies: their usage, impact on marketing goals, and ROI, concluding that the best approach is omnichannel, tailored to specific objectives. Whether it's increasing brand awareness or personalizing customer relationships, Needle’s insights guide marketers in choosing the right focus for their campaigns.
Andy Crestodina shares ways to use AI for enhancing LinkedIn profiles. He focuses on three key areas: improving language in headlines and 'About' sections, generating better profile pictures, and analyzing LinkedIn post performance for strategic content enhancement.
CASE STUDY / EDUCATION
Glen Allsopp's latest "Detailed Q2" report dives deep into the SEO strategies of top digital players. He shares 41 insights from successful companies and their unique, creative approaches to boosting rankings. Specific examples include:
Digital Brands' Growth: Allsopp discusses how Digital Brands, with sites like DatingAdvice.com and HostingAdvice.com, openly discuss their link-building efforts and have grown their traffic and revenue significantly, by over 50% in 2023.
Wag! and Pet Food Affiliate Commissions: He highlights Wag Group's success in generating significant revenue (around $560,000/month) through affiliate commissions from pet food and treats, following their acquisition of Dog Food Advisor.
CarParts.com's Diversification Strategy: The report covers CarParts.com's initiative to reduce reliance on Google Search by launching an app, which generated $2 million in revenue.
Nextdoor's Use of Generative AI: Allsopp notes Nextdoor's creation of 300,000 pages of content using Generative AI to boost SEO.
Hearst's Puzzle Site Puzzmo: He discusses Hearst's launch of a new puzzle site, Puzzmo, aiming to compete with The New York Times in the online games space.
Closure of Futhead: The report mentions the shutdown of the popular FIFA site Futhead, despite its high traffic, as part of strategic decisions by its parent company, Fandom.
Outside's Partnership with Denver University: He talks about Outside's collaboration with CU Denver for gear testing, raising the bar for product reviews in search results.
Revival of Chowhound: Allsopp reveals the comeback of the food-focused site Chowhound under new ownership, Static Media.
Blocking of Google-Extended by Major Publishers: He notes how major publishers like GQ, Vogue, and The Verge are blocking Google-Extended in their robots.txt files.
337 of the 522 Content Sites he tracks in Similarweb saw traffic declines in the last 4 months.
My Take: These reports are great recaps of what others are doing to generate revenue. Study and use what you learn to generate more revenue for you.
The Semrush Team outlines a guide for maintaining SEO rankings while changing domain names. They emphasize the significance of meticulously planning and executing each step, from selecting a new domain to updating internal links and monitoring results.
The article highlights the risks involved, such as losing backlinks and brand recognition, and provides practical solutions like setting up 301 redirects and verifying the new site with Google Search Console.
Maggie Harrison reveals that Sports Illustrated published articles by non-existent AI-generated writers. The investigation uncovered AI-created author profiles with fake bios and AI-generated headshots, raising serious questions about journalistic ethics.
The articles, often with poor quality and bizarre language, were attributed to these fake personas. This led to a swift removal of all AI-generated content from Sports Illustrated's website after the exposé.
OriginalityAI used their tools to analyze and show just how much AI is (was) there - their study.
Haines presents an intriguing analysis of SEO professionals' earnings based on a survey conducted at Brighton SEO. He gets into the details of annual salaries, learning methods, experience levels, specializations, and work environments of 111 SEO practitioners primarily from the UK and EU. Key takeaways include:
Median Annual Salary: The survey found that the median annual salary for SEOs is $49,211, with the top earners reaching $229,652.
Learning SEO: A significant 52.3% of respondents learned SEO on the job, while 42.3% were self-taught. Only 5.4% learned through formal courses.
Specialization: Technical SEO emerged as a crucial skill, especially among higher-earning roles like Heads of SEO and SEO Directors. However, content specialization was also prominent, with 36.9% of respondents identifying as content specialists.
Experience and Role: The average experience level among respondents was 6.9 years. Notably, self-employed SEOs had the highest average earnings ($60,232), with substantial variations in salaries across different roles.
Surprising Findings: Despite the importance of link-building in SEO, only a small fraction (6.3%) specialized in this area. Additionally, the salary and experience levels between SEO Directors and Heads of SEO were similar, yet their salaries differed significantly (~$11,552).
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