Table of Contents
- In this week's episode
- 1) The April Reviews Update has finished rolling out
- 2) Google’s Plans for AI in Search (in their earnings call)
- 3) Topic filter bubbles appearing outside of the US now
- 4) Local SERPs are showing big changes & more Explore
- 5) Page experience systems retired but CWV still important: More clarity from Google
- More SEO news and tips
- AI News
- Some ways I used ChatGPT this week
- Local SEO
- SEO Jobs
- Subscriber content
📣Core web vitals still matter! Google's plans for AI in Search. ChatGPT web plugins seen Episode 283 | May 1, 2023
Important to know this week
- The April Reviews update has finished rolling out
- Google’s Plan’s for AI in Search (in their Earnings Call)
- Topic Filter Bubbles appearing outside of the US now
- Local SERPs are showing big changes, more Explore results
- Page experience systems retired, but Core Web Vitals are still important!
1) The April Reviews Update has finished rolling out
The April Reviews update is the first we’ve seen in a new Google system. What used to be Google’s product reviews system, now assesses all kinds of review content – not just products. It ran from April 12 at 9:08 PDT until April 25 at 11:24 PDT.
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) April 25, 2023
Here is a case where a site’s clicks dropped but CTR improved dramatically coinciding with the Reviews update.
Also, Lily Ray pointed out how sites like this one have improved in rankings over IMDB with subjective content about movies.
Below is a site that was heavily impacted by the reviews update. It compares service providers within a specific industry:
In the subscriber section we go into detail in looking at this site’s content. I share why it likely was impacted and what this site could do to improve.
What really matters is whether the searcher is satisfied with what they're getting.
Demonstrating experience is good and can contribute to better rankings. But it's the overall user satisfaction that matters.
And often the big sites do that better.
They can be beat, but it…
— Dr. Marie Haynes🌱 (@Marie_Haynes) April 24, 2023
2) Google’s Plans for AI in Search (in their earnings call)
I’ll leave the discussion about earnings to those more qualified. What I wanted to mention are some of the quotes on AI that I found interesting from the transcript of Sundar Pichai.
“More than six years ago, I first spoke about Google being an AI-first company.”
“We have been preparing for this moment since early last year, and you’re going to see a lot from us in the coming few months across three big areas of opportunity: first, large models. We published extensively about LaMDA and PaLM, the industry’s largest, most sophisticated model plus extensive work at DeepMind. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll make these language models available, starting with LaMDA so that people can engage directly with them.”
“These models are particularly amazing for composing, constructing, and summarizing. They will become even more useful for people as they provide up-to-date more factual information. And in Search, language models like BERT and MUM have improved searches for four years now, enabling significant ranking improvements and multimodal search like Google Nets.”
What are/is Google Nets? I don’t know, but I want to find out more.
“Very soon, people will be able to interact directly with our newest, most powerful language models as a companion to Search in experimental and innovative ways.”
“Second, we’ll provide new tools and APIs for developers, creators, and partners. This will empower them to innovate and build their own applications and discover new possibilities with AI on top of our language, multimodal, and other AI models. Third, our AI is a powerful enabler for businesses and organizations of all sizes, and we have much more to come here. ”
There’s much more in here on AI as well. I’ve added it to my reading for this week.
ChatGPT plugins are cool and will change how people search, but I believe the capabilities Google will give businesses in using AI will radically change how the world communicates.
I keep looking at this picture Sundar Pichai posted…it looks AI generated. Why is he holding a pen with nothing to use it on? Is that a pair of pants behind his head? And I’ve just realized that Sundar “Pich-AI” is the guy who “pitches AI”.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) April 25, 2023
3) Topic filter bubbles appearing outside of the US now
These filter bubbles can help searcher’s refine their search.Try doing a mobile search for some of your queries. Do you see options for users to refine their query?
I tapped on algorithm, and Google refined my search:
I started seeing more of these following the March core update. They are bound to impact traffic patterns…and mess up rank tracking I think too!
Now It is rolled out in India too.
— Vivekanand Selvaraj (@vivek_critics) April 27, 2023
4) Local SERPs are showing big changes & more Explore
Some are seeing significant changes in how local results are displayed.
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) April 25, 2023
— Andy Simpson 🇬🇧 (@ndyjsimpson) April 22, 2023
Can anyone confirm is these tiled mobile results are something new? Looks like Google is showing blue links for 1st 3 organic results, then the rest are arranged in tiles, similar to the Explore feature. @rustybrick? pic.twitter.com/BR2GBRHKJy
— Brandon (@Beymour) April 25, 2023
I am seeing Explore results for more and more queries, often within a couple of scrolls.
Query: Garden center
— Brandon (@Beymour) April 27, 2023
5) Page experience systems retired but CWV still important: More clarity from Google
Last week I briefly covered this topic as it was emerging as I was about to publish. I have had a lot of questions on it, so here is, hopefully, some more clarity!
Google made some changes to their documentation describing their ranking systems. They removed the documentation on the individual systems used by their algorithms called page experience system, product reviews system, mobile friendly ranking system, and page speed system. They did not make changes to their algorithms at this time other than to add the new review system (in place of the product reviews one). It’s just the documentation that changed.
Does this mean that page speed and core web vitals don’t matter? On the contrary! These are all a part of the whole package of things that Google can assess to predict whether a page is likely to be helpful to users. The helpful content system was introduced in August of 2022. It generates a site-wide signal for Google to use that helps them weed out the sites that users tend to find unhelpful. Everything we can do that aligns with Google’s guidance on helpful content can potentially help us.
Google’s helpful content documentation used to say:
Both of these questions were related to core web vitals.
Now, the documentation says this:
It links to this new document on understanding page experience in Google Search Results, which gives us a new list of questions to consider. These include several of the same questions as before such as:
- Do pages have good Core Web Vitals?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them
- Does the content lack an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
Having a page experience that doesn’t bombard users with ads and having a site that reads well on mobile are all things that users tend to like. Google wants to show users pages that are not only helpful, but also are the type of page users like to see.
Google says, “We highly recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. However, great page experience involves more than Core Web Vitals.”
This part that ends Google’s article is so good. If everyone’s content is helpful, the sites with the best page experience are more likely to be shown.
Google tweeted more information on this:
Our guidance on page experience is here, as we shared last week along with our blog post:https://t.co/My7bdcBhwS
It does *not* say page experience is somehow "retired" or that people should ignore things like Core Web Vitals or being mobile-friendly. The opposite. It says if… pic.twitter.com/KkjRklCmnH
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) April 28, 2023
More SEO news and tips
Google showing return information in the search results
Last week, Google announced that it will now display shipping & returns info in Google Search results.
Like product pricing, this info is based on structured data or feed data provided in the Merchant Center.
Today was the first time I saw this new info in US search results 👇 pic.twitter.com/9Q5eGs2ehF
— Alexander Außermayr (@aussermayr) April 24, 2023
Incorrect Sitenames issue fixed
Some sites had incorrect site names appearing in the search results. For example, Salesforce was being shown as Sales Force. This has apparently been corrected.
More good information
Google may have gotten more aggressive when it comes to re-writing titles.
John Mueller’s advice on best practices for linking from your website to social channels. Use rel=me on a link to your profile landing page.
Connect Shopify to Youtube and you can now do a Product Drop from within a live YouTube video.
5 case studies showing the benefits of server-side rendering by Kevin Indig.
Why BuzzFeed Is Closing Its News Division https://nyti.ms/3H3MEON
Turn off chat history in ChatGPT. Browser plugins appearing for more.
New from OpenAI: New ways to manage your data in ChatGPT. You can now turn off chat history by going to settings. Those conversations won’t be used to train their models and won’t appear in your sidebar. Which makes me wonder just how much of what I’ve discussed with ChatGPT is used!
“When chat history is disabled, we will retain new conversations for 30 days and review them only when needed to monitor for abuse, before permanently deleting.”
They’re also working on a business subscription for more control over your data and also so that end users’ data won’t be used to train their models by default.
New guidance for branding:
- Use Meowlytics powered by GPT-4, not MeowlyticsGPT-4
- Pawtopia is building with OpenAI vs Pawtopia collaborated with OpenAI
- Written with ChatGPT not Written by ChatGPT.
Also a new export function is there!
This course looks good. I am going to try and make time to do it:
1/ Thrilled to announce: Our new course ChatGPT Prompt Engineering for Developers, created together with @OpenAI, is available now for free! Access it here: https://t.co/OaIpa6L2jn pic.twitter.com/g7pk04Oi3h
— Andrew Ng (@AndrewYNg) April 27, 2023
Web browsing plugin appearing in people’s ChatGPT
…but not mine, yet!
More people are seeing the web browser plugin available. Here is a thread that shows how this means that ChatGPT can now reference web data if needed and not be limited by the 2021 cutoff. The user asks, “what’s happening in the world of AI today” and the plugin activates, browses the web searching “latest news in AI”, clicked on results, read the content and then formulated an answer.
Other interesting AI News
Bing has better grounding now for recent news stories with plans for further improvements here.
Here is an interesting discussion on whether ChatGPT’s web browsing plugin is crawling sites vs pulling on Bing’s index for results.
Good thread with formatting tips for data:
- sort the following items into a table with columns titled “website”, “description”, “category”
- add a column called “whatever” and fill it with…
- remove rows, duplicate entries
- turn it into a csv
- find and replace words
Snapchat’s new AI chatbot is already raising alarms among teens and parents. For example, it has given advice to kids on how to lie to their parents. It has lied about knowing the user’s location and then shown it does have it (which of course SnapChat does as many teens use the map function to locate their friends.)
A good demonstration of how GPT-4 is better than GPT-3 using the “Apple Test”. GPT-4 was good at listing sentences that end with “apple.”
You can change the temperature of ChatGPT prompts, “use a temperature of 10 [or 0.1]” It seems to me that 10 is much more creative and verbose, while 0.1 is more conservative. Apparently 0.8 is what’s normally recommended. It would be interesting to see if choosing a lower temperature increases the chances of an accurate answer for those times where you really are not sure if ChatGPT is making things up.
Use ChatGPT to create a workout plan for you. You could prompt it with something like, I am a beginner to weight lifting. I have 5 and 10 pound dumbbells and (list your other equipment). Suggest a workout plan for me.)
Another suggestion based on a prompt I used this week. I want to do yoga, but can’t get down on the floor easily. It suggested “chair yoga” and gave me really good exercises explaining how to do each one.
ChatGPT is once again available in Italy.
Google released a security large language model to rival Microsoft’s GPT-4 based copilot. It includes VirusTotal Code Insight, a tool that allows a user to import a script and analyze it for malicious behavior.
Use Bard to create TypeScript code to call the Shopify API.
Hugging Face launched its own ChatGPT-like tool. I gave it a go and egotistically asked it what it knew about Marie Haynes. Its answer was not bad – it’s cool that it knows me. But just like other tools, it’s not accurate. I started SEO in 2008, not 2013 and I don’t ever recall writing a guide called, “Beginner’s guide to backlinks”.
I think this is normal for new AI tools…they seem to all start out with hallucination issues and then improve over time. I expect that Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF) will help these tools improve over time. I need to learn more about this.
Here’s an article from Hugging Face to explain how RLHF works. (If you’re a paid subscriber, I’ve added this to my list of things I’m reading more on this week.)
You can use Bing AI in Microsoft Edge to read and analyze documents that are on your computer and not the web.
Although, apparently Edge has privacy concerns as it is erroneously sending Bing the full URL of every page you visit, which is not supposed to happen. This is part of a feature which allows you to follow creators and send Bing a notification when you visit certain pages like YouTube. I find that very interesting.
One of the things Bing measures to determine success is “disengagement rate.”
Here is a good explanation for why language models (Bing in this case) can make up things like claiming to be able to take over your computer: They are estimating and imitating the most probable thing a human would say in a situation like this.
Google used machine learning to better understand lung diseases like COPD, leading to new insights and better predictions with imperfect data.
People are using AI chatbots to write Amazon reviews.
Runway AI is new technology that allows you to transform a video based on a text, image or video input.
This AI generated pizza commercial is terrifying and hilarious. pic.twitter.com/M9e73lkUBN
— QENNY fingers crossed for weekend #2 (@AKBrews) April 25, 2023
This woman fed NORAD data into ChatGPT and is now using it to visualize satellites.
Tell it about your family’s meal preferences and have it suggest a restaurant.
More interesting things:
I described some of the most beautiful and famous mathematical theorems to Midjourney.
Here is how it imagined them:
1. "The set of real numbers is uncountably infinite." pic.twitter.com/l7lOH8f0xc
— Tivadar Danka (@TivadarDanka) April 22, 2023
HOSNeRF: Dynamic Human-Object-Scene Neural Radiance Fields from a Single Video
— AK (@_akhaliq) April 25, 2023
This clip of CNBC anchor Brian Sullivan interviewing an AI version of himself live feels like a milestone.
— Martin • Design (@martinmco) April 22, 2023
Some ways I used ChatGPT this week
Explain an article in one sentence
Write the html/CSS to display a ChatGPT font
(I’ve edited this discussion as it took me a while to get here.)
For recipes, GPT-4 is really good. Every meal I have had this week has been from a ChatGPT recipe. I discovered you can ask it to give you the directions one at a time. This is a game changer. Try this prompt:
Prompt: give me a recipe for x. List the directions one at a time. I will type n for the next direction. pic.twitter.com/xOOr0uPj4T
— Dr. Marie Haynes🌱 (@Marie_Haynes) April 25, 2023
GPT-4 is really good at recipes. Haven't had a bad one yet.
Try this: Give me a recipe for x and in the directions include the amounts of each ingredient.
WHY DO RECIPE SITES NOT DO THIS? pic.twitter.com/7wr05M2rob
— Dr. Marie Haynes🌱 (@Marie_Haynes) April 21, 2023
In the subscriber content section I have shared more of my ChatGPT prompts I used this week, including how I am starting to use ChatGPT to analyze data from within GSC to determine which queries and pages were influenced the most following a core update hit.
Other things I found interesting this week
The GA4 deadline is coming in 68 days.
This is hilarious:
This is genius #GA4.
— carl hendy (@carlhendy) April 26, 2023
BuzzFeed News is shutting down. BuzzFeed is reducing its workforce by 15%
Here is an interview with Jill Whalen by Shelly Walsh. Jill had a big influence on my career. She was a champion for doing SEO in ways that complied with Google’s guidelines rather than trying to find tricks and shortcuts. When I wrote my first book, Jill offered to sell it, but only if I set up an affiliate program for it. That launched a whole new audience and set of skills for me. I’d encourage you to watch this video!
ChatGPT+Boston Robotics. Wow:
ChatGPT + Boston Robotics 😲https://t.co/IqUuoKaofq
— Dr. Marie Haynes🌱 (@Marie_Haynes) April 28, 2023
I mentioned how local SERPS are now showing significant changes. I expect that quite a bit will change soon in terms of how people find businesses online using AI.
Yelp announced new features. Yelp Guarantee for home service businesses, users can add video to reviews, AI enhanced stuff like review snippets and recommendations for dinner.
Google may be using texting to verify Google Business Profiles. (Not confirmed)
Looking for a new SEO job? SEOjobs.com 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 SEOjobs.com.
SEO Manager – MARCA USA ~ $80K ~ Miami FL (Hybrid)
SEO Strategist ~ Loganix ~ $25-28/hr ~ Remote (Washington, US)
Senior Software Engineer, SEO ~ Going ~ $148k+ ~ Remote (US)
SEO Specialist ~ Krow.x ~ £30k – £37k ~ Hybrid (UK)
SEO Content Specialist ~ GOAT Group ~ $64k-$80k ~ Remote (US)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Once again, there is so much to stay on top of!