Search News You Can Use Episode 267 - The latest on the Helpful content and link spam updates, info on my new tool and more - light version - December 30

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Remember when I said there may not be a newsletter this week because of the holiday? Haha…just kidding.

This week I have been enjoying a quiet Christmas with my family. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to take the week off. On Tuesday I thought I’d sit down to play with using ChatGPT as an assistant to help me try once again to create a tool to help people assess traffic drops. I’ve been trying to do this for 10 years, but have never come close to the dream that is in my head. 

Well, it’s working! I’ll share more on my progress in this issue. 

The latest on the helpful content and link spam updates

Both of these updates are still rolling out. 

John Mueller said we likely will not see an update for a “bit longer” because Google tries to reduce the amount of change in their systems for safety reasons.

I have heard many people speculating that the link spam update has caused them significant losses in rankings and traffic. I have not yet investigated myself yet. I want to wait until the updates are finished rolling out.

As I analyze sites that were hit, I’ll be running them through my new tool. If your traffic is down and you can’t figure out why, you can submit your site here. If I use it in my study, I’ll send you a copy of your report or a link to use my tool when it is ready.

I’ll update more in future episodes. Analyzing these updates is going to be very interesting!

Here are some recent community tweets:

It’s worth keeping in mind that if your traffic and rankings are down this week, that could just be normal seasonal change!

I updated my article on the December Helpful Content Update with everything we know so far and more of my thoughts. It’s worth a re-read even if you were not hit.


Become a paid member:

My new traffic drop assessment tool is coming!

I’ve got a new tool coming to help you assess traffic drops!

I have been trying for ten years now to build a tool to automate my process in assessing traffic drops. It turns out it’s not that easy to do! Or perhaps I just haven’t talked to the right people. 

I’ve hired and had conversations with so many developers and SEO’s to discuss this, but it’s always been an expensive side project that never got near to completion or close to being as accurate as I wanted. Every couple of years I pick up the project again and give it another go.

This week I spent a day using ChatGPT as my assistant to help me once again try and build the tool. And um…I got it to work! ChatGPT wrote some scripts for me. Some did not work, some took some tweaking, but ultimately my tool started to do what I wanted it to do. After an entire day of tweaking formulas and trying different scripts and calculations I was near tears when I realized that the tool was accurately picking up traffic drops that I would have diagnosed as Google update hits and was generating my recommended list of resources for recovery.

I’m currently testing it on sites that have been submitted to me that have seen declines with recent updates.

I am not sure how long it will take me to complete this tool. There is more to be done and I’m so excited to do it! When it is ready for the public, I will likely open it up to paid newsletter subscribers to beta test it. And then eventually I plan to make it free for everyone to use.

And wait till you see what phase two of the tool will be!!! It is very exciting!

Podcast / YouTube

Normally this would be a podcast week. I’ve been so busy with the holiday and building my tool that it did not happen this week. If you missed it, here is last week’s episode to help you assess December traffic drops. Even if you didn’t have a traffic drop, there’s a lot to be learned in this episode.

I also had fun doing two livestreams this week where I opened up the QRG and reviewed the new changes. There are a lot!

In this one I shared a bit about how I use ChatGPT as an assistant, while dissecting the new QRG changes.

Helpful for local businesses

Sterling Sky did a test where they got a bunch of people to click on reviews to see if they could possibly move those reviews up in the order they are displayed.

And…”the review did not move!”

Cancel your plans to create click farms!

If you run a WordPress site and use the stop spammers security WordPress plugin, be aware:


Are you noticing that your local packs are appearing lower down in the SERPS now?

A good tip from Colan!

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’m really looking forward to seeing how the link spam and helpful content updates pan out. As I assess sites hit, I’ll be developing my tool alongside. I am SO excited!

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday! (if it is one for you.)

See you next year!


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