Understanding Google's Search Algorithms

Hi. I’m Marie Haynes. I used to be a veterinarian. In 2008 I created my first website and learned how to get it to rank on Google search.

In 2012 an obsession over understanding Google’s Penguin Algorithm, lead me to pursue SEO as a full time career. Since then I’ve had such a cool career. I’ve travelled around the world to speak at conferences and help site owners improve in ways that Google’s algorithms will reward. I ran a wonderful agency. I’m back to doing solo work now. Through my podcast and newsletter I have been able to help thousands improve their site quality and win more search presence.

Lately I’ve been doing loads of brainstorming with site owners as we navigate the changes, challenges and opportunities that AI are presenting in Search.

I’ll be resuming podcast soon, now that my helpful content guide is finally complete. Stay tuned for info about upcoming talks as I’ll be teaching a MasterClass on helpful content at Pubcon Pro Austin and speaking at a LocalU event near Toronto in the fall as well.

Work with Marie

New: Creating Helpful Content Workbook

by Dr. Marie Haynes. June 2023.

Learn how to create content Google’s systems are likely to consider helpful.

For over a decade, I’ve studied websites with falling traffic, particularly since Google’s 2022 introduction of its helpful content system. Many businesses may have seen unexplained drops in traffic due to this system.

Google’s AI driven helpful content system rewards websites that consistently provide users with a satisfying experience and demote content that is less likely to do so. This site-wide demotion affects not only your low or medium quality content, but also makes it harder for your good content to rank.

If your traffic is dropping without apparent cause, you may have an unhelpful content classification. You can reverse this by aligning with Google’s criteria for helpfulness, detailed here, and also the Quality Rater Guidelines. Unfortunately, not all sites can bounce back, and those that can may need extensive work. It is possible though as you will see in this guide.

For more on the helpful content system:

Google’s Helpful Content & Other AI Systems May Be Impacting Your Site’s Visibility

Learn more about the helpful content workbook

Search News You can Use

My newsletter: Search News You Can Use

Join over 9K digital marketing professionals who stay ahead of the curve when it comes to Google Search and AI

Read Episode 301 – SEO and AI News – Early thoughts on the August 2023 core update and more

Paid Subscribers get a PDF early preview of newsletter on Friday, including anything interesting I can share from reviewing and strategizing with business owners. Public version is emailed out to all and on the web Monday. Thank you to those who support me. This newsletter is a beast to produce!

Past Episodes

The most important happenings each week in:

  • Search News
  • AI News relevant to digital marketing (or just plain interesting!)
  • Local Search

I’m sharing everything I can on Google’s Search Generative Experience (the SGE) and all of the important changes related to AI that I can find. Subscribers get a bunch extra from my client work, my thoughts on Google and how their algos work, ChatGPT prompts I’m using in my work and more.

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Who is Marie Haynes?

Dr. Marie Haynes is recognized as a leader in the SEO industry and has 15 years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their site quality. She has helped train many of today’s brightest minds in the SEO industry. Marie is known for understanding Google’s rapidly changing search algorithms. She was among the first to teach on E-A-T (now E-E-A-T), using the Quality Raters’ Guidelines to improve site quality, and understanding AI driven systems like the Helpful Content System and SpamBrain. Marie has been featured on Search Engine Land, Search Engine Round Table and mentioned in many publications including The Atlantic, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc.

Today, she spends her time obsessively learning and sharing all she can on how AI is rapidly changing the digital marketing landscape:

  • How LLMs (Large Language Models) work. Recommended reading: What is ChatGPT doing?
  • How we can use tools like ChatGPT and Bard.
  • Google’s SGE (Search Generative Experience). Marie is a beta tester alongside many other SEO’s. She shares on Twitter and of course, in newsletter.
  • ChatGPT and Microsoft Plugins. Businesses are starting to create plugins that connect with all of Microsoft’s Copilot offerings including Windows.
  • How businesses are using AI to their advantage. AI is changing Google ads dramatically. It sounds like Google will give us the ability to train models on our data and then allow users to interact with it. Exciting things are happening!

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