Marie Haynes' Newsletter - November 4, 2022 - Episode 259 - Light Version

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This was another really interesting week in SEO. I spent a few days digging in to analyze sites hit by the October spam update and realized that this update actually was a big deal! Premium readers will read a lot of my thoughts on this update and why it’s important for all SEO’s and business owners to pay attention to.

If you’re a paid subscriber to this newsletter, you can join me for a Zoom call Wednesday, November 9 at noon EST to discuss the October spam update as a group. There are more more details in the full version of newsletter.

This week in SEO: What you need to know

Top Stories bug affecting traffic October 18-28

This possibly could be the cause of some of the traffic drops happening at this time?

Links are becoming less of a ranking factor

This was interesting! At Brighton SEO, John Mueller said that over time he believes that links will become (and already are becoming) less of a ranking factor.

The exact quote from John:

Well, it’s something where I imagine, over time, the weight on the links. At some point, will drop off a little bit as we can’t figure out a little bit better how the content fits in within the context of the whole web. And to some extent, links will always be something that we care about because we have to find pages somehow. It’s like how do you find a page on the web without some reference to it?

But my guess is over time, it won’t be such a big factor as sometimes it is today. I think already, that’s something that’s been changing quite a bit.

Some would say this is not new news…Google has been hinting for years that they would like to put less emphasis on links. I think this is new news. Google is changing.

Got a question for Google?

Local SEO

Several keywords are no longer longer showing maps listings

GBP Photo insights going away

A workaround to get to the old GBP dashboard

How to update your holiday hours

Does the text of a Google review affect map pack rankings?

The first interesting thing about this article is that Google removed the Sterling Sky team’s fake reviews they created for this test. Joy does not feel that adding keywords to reviews will help with rankings.


The October spam update was big and important

I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to spam updates. Why spend time trying to help spammy sites, right? This update was different. Many of the sites that were crushed were niche sites – not the worst on the web, but not the best of their kind.

I believe that Google’s AI powered SpamBrain got much better at identifying spam, especially link spam. Not all of the sites that were hit had unnatural links – but most did – especially guest posts and in-article links.

This week’s podcast is audio only, but you can still find it on Youtube. Even if you were not impacted by the spam update, this is probably an important listen.

Marie's upcoming speaking and articles

Upcoming SMX talk

SMX Next is happening on November 15 – my last public talk for a while as I’m going to take time to focus on creating my own content.

This is a really important talk. I share my thoughts on how machine learning is likely determining how much to weigh ranking factors for most queries. No SEO can decode Google’s algorithms. The more Google uses machine learning the better they will get at ranking content that is simply the most helpful. Thankfully Google has given us so many resources to draw on to understand how to create helpful content.

ICYMI – My guide to using Google’s new Search Essentials to help form your SEO strategy

I was thrilled to see that my SEL article on using the information in Google’s Search Essentials (formerly the Webmaster Guidelines) was one of Search Engine Land’s most popular this month.

SEO Jobs

Looking for a new SEO job? is a job board curated by real SEOs for SEOs. Take a look at five of the hottest SEO job listing this week (below) and sign up for the weekly job listing email only available at


I hope you’ve enjoyed the light version of this newsletter! In the paid version I give my thoughts and tips on a bunch of things this week. I go into great deal on my findings and recommendations for recovery for the October Spam update and some important information to help you understand the concept of semantic search and why it is so important to know right now.

I got lost in a Bill Slawski article about a patent describing trust rank and labeling authors, so there’s discussion on that. There are loads of SEO tips including one that talks about how to find and optimize for keywords that rank sporadically. I shared some screenshots of exactly how I did that for my site.

I also summarized and gave thoughts on an interesting E-A-T study as well.

If you’ve been debating signing up for the paid version, I promise you you won’t regret it. I’ve made it my full time job to find and share as much as I can about improving our websites in Google’s eyes.

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