YMYL Examples in the SGE | Perspectives live | Bard Improvements | AI & Search News Episode 290 - Jun 12, 2023

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I’ve put together everything I can on what those who are testing the SGE are seeing so far. This week we’ll look at some YMYL examples. I’ll share my thoughts on how an affiliate site is likely to be impacted by upcoming AI related changes and also what opportunities they might have.

There is significant SERP turbulence, Bard got better, and there was a whole bunch of new and interesting news in the world of AI. 

In the subscriber section we look at several specific examples of content that understand audience intent and do well at meeting it including a detailed look at pages impacted following the March core update.

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In this episode

Important this week:

SEO Tips & News:

  • Which type of SEO do you do? Thoughts on the SGE’s impact.
  • Schema for the SGE? Best practices for Paywalls. Should you consolidate pages when you get indented results?
  • Fewer video thumbnails in the SERPS and how to troubleshoot

AI News:

  • Bard got better
  • Practical use of ChatGPT for SEO – Improve internal linking
  • ChatGPT 3.5 API got a turbo boost
  • Way too many embedded tweets of cool stuff I found this week

Subscriber Content

  • Examples of content demonstrating experience
  • An example of a travel site I think is ranking amongst much more authoritative giants because they are demonstrating experience
  • Thoughts on a thread from Tony Hill on how he drove traffic with Discover – a good lesson in understanding and serving intent
  • Discussion on catastrophic March core update hits with examples of content and why it’s more helpful

See all subscriber PDFs.

The latest on the SGE

Google’s Search Generative Experience which provides AI generated answers to some queries continues to be beta tested by a number of SEO’s, including me. It does not appear all the time which makes getting screenshots difficult. Here’s all I learned from Google and the community on the SGE this week.

The SGE  is now faster. It also has had some quality updates, but Google did not share what those are.

YMYL Queries

Glenn Gabe shared these SGE results for “symptoms of strep throat”.

SGE search for symptoms of a sore throat

If you click on the icon on the top right of the SGE, you’ll get this view:

The SGE is changing almost every day. A day later, Glenn posted this image for the query, strep throat:

Khushal Bherwani tweeted this image of the SGE providing legal information.

The websites shown in the SGE are not necessarily the ones ranking organically.

(Also from Glenn)

Personal injury lawyer queries in the SGE

Andy Simpson shared these screenshots from both the SGE and Bard. 

As we saw in previous examples, Google is drawing on customer reviews. It is interesting to see how the answer says, “some say the firm has expertise…others say the staff are courteous.”

Recent recipes

Khushal Bherwani noted that when you do a recipe search it will show you recent recipe pages you have previously visited.

Search operators like, “site:” do not appear to work in the SGE.

Why did the SGE suddenly give me an entry?

Last week when I searched for my name, I could not get an SGE response to trigger. This week, it does.

This text is fascinating me…not because it’s about me, but because it’s stitched together from multiple sources including my website and others that talk about me. 

I expect that as more people and companies trigger SGE responses, we’re going to be playing with what it takes to change this text. 

Here’s what’s most interesting to me…I started triggering an SGE response for searches for my name one day following me making some changes to my homepage. I added a blurb about newsletter and changed up some words about podcast…It’s interesting to see that the SGE suggested followup questions are about my newsletter and podcast.

Here’s my thought on what may have happened:

  • Is it possible that simply updating my website triggered this? If you don’t have a listing, try making some changes on your home page. I found that most people I searched for did not trigger an SGE response. Then I went to twitter and searched for “updated my website”. Sure enough, when I searched for those names, some of those people did have an SGE response for their name. 
  • The reason I added info about my newsletter and podcast is because I realized that that’s what most people are looking for if they search my name. I wonder if by doing so, I provided enough information for the algorithms to essentially say, “Well, people are looking for information on this and now we’ve got corroborating info on the website itself plus from other sources. Perhaps me adding the info to my homepage was the last little bit of information that gave Google enough confidence to produce an SGE response?

Update: On Friday when I wrote this, I did have an SGE response, but today I cannot trigger it. I’m not sure whether it’s gone or whether I’m in one of those periods where the SGE just doesn’t work. I’m not sure what any of this proves, other than to say that it is really interesting. I may play around with changing up the text on my site to see if I can trigger it to appear again.

Ongoing SERP turbulence June 6-10, 2023

We’re back again to having a lot of shifting in Google’s rankings. Here is an article from Search Engine Roundtable describing the volatility around June 6 with a number of comments. The Semrush sensor and MozCast have both been quite high.

It’s possible this turbulence is related to the Perspectives filter rolling out.

Perspectives being seen in the US now

This weekend, many people in the US started seeing the new filter, the Perspectives filter that you can see in Barry’s tweet:

Users can tap on that and see the perspectives of others. Google first told us about this filter in this blog post. The article mentions the Perspectives filter and also an update to the helpful content system. I haven’t heard anything about this system updating just yet.

I’ll share more on this next week. It will be interesting to look at which content Google is featuring in the Perspectives filter.

SEO Tips and News

Which type of SEO do you do? Should you be concerned about AI?

Here’s why I asked this question. I believe that the changes AI will bring to the search results will make SEO terribly exciting for those who work to get real world businesses found online. We have a whole new rulebook to learn. How does something get featured in the SGE? How does the SGE answer get crafted? Can we change what it says by making changes on our site or creating new content? How can we optimize to be recommended by ChatGPT using Bing web browsing? 

As we see more AI advancements the online landscape is going to change. Businesses will still need to be found, and they will be clamoring for people who understand what is happening. 

My concerns are for those who answered B in my poll. If this poll is representative of the people I know, half of you work on either creating content or finding ways to drive more traffic to content. I am concerned that AI generated answers will take much of this traffic. I’m also concerned that as people start experimenting with using LLM’s alongside search engines, the way we consume information will change. It’s possible that navigating to a website to read an article becomes less common as people start getting answers from an AI chat dialogue along with a bit of web supplementation when needed.

If this is you, I have a few thoughts. If you have content, especially content with valuable data, it really sounds like Google will allow us to do things with that content alongside their AI technology. I would recommend checking out Google’s Vertex AI. Next, even if you don’t know much about ads…it’s worth looking at what Google is doing with AI and ads. I can picture content sites doing incredible things in these areas. 

For example…let’s look at an affiliate site 

Let’s say you’ve spent years blogging about baby products. A searcher types something like, “What’s the best car seat?” and clicks on your article. Perhaps they’ll click on an affiliate link and make a purchase and you get a commission. You also make some money from ads that they see or click on.

If the SGE goes live, here’s what people will see when they do that query.

The searcher sees a list of products and some websites. That doesn’t seem that much different than what we have today, right? But here’s the difference. It looks like Google has used AI to summarize the things to know about each car seat. These are pretty helpful descriptions of what matters about each of the seats.

From what I can see, this text does not appear to be taken from any website. It is likely crafted from the information in Google’s shopping graph, which will allow Google to give an answer to any question you have about a product. The shopping graph and the connections within it allow us to know which products are the most popular, are the most value for money, or something completely unique like, 

what’s the best car seat for a family with an SUV that only has a really small back seat

The SGE doesn’t currently produce an answer for me on this. But Bard does. As I mentioned last week, I have a theory that when we see the SGE go live, or perhaps some time following, the answers will be Bard generated rather than stitched together from website content. 

Bard found me examples of car seats that are smaller than usual. This is one of the ways in which AI improves search. We are currently used to searching with combinations of keywords. AI gives us the capability to ask questions in natural language and get relevant results. 

If you run a website that reviews products, I believe the key to succeeding will be to create content that engages those who want to go deeper and click on the websites shown to the right of the SGE. I expect that when we see the SGE go live, there will be websites featured there that demonstrate real world experience. There may be significant opportunity open up here as we learn what it is that Google rewards here.

More SEO discussion

Jeannie Hill wrote an article with thoughts on how adding how-to schema to articles may help you rank in the SGE.

Barry Adams has published new thoughts on best practices for Paywalls and SEO

John Mueller said there is no such thing as “index bloat”. He said, “Just make sure that the pages which you are providing for indexing are actually useful pages.”

Noah Learner shares how to do a blend in Looker Studio. This looks really interesting if you are trying to do things with large amounts of GBP data.

Good tip from Ross Tavendale: Create a wiki for each of your clients and each time they have a question answer it in the wiki. Now they’ve got a playbook to refer to.

If you are using Semrush to estimate traffic data, know that they made some changes to better track more SERP features. This looks super useful…but there’s one thing to know. This change was rolled out April 11, one day before Google’s April 12 reviews update. As such, some of the traffic graphs look different following the reviews update when they may not actually be. Glenn Gabe has written more on this.

GA4 audience builder is getting stronger

Speaking of GA4…GA3, or “regular analytics” that many sites use WILL STOP PROCESSING DATA AS OF JULY 1, 2023. I can’t imagine how much panic and confusion there will be when this happens. 

I found this discussion about Golden, a knowledge base that is, according to Bill Hartzer, interesting. Bill says, “Golden is a part of the Knowledge Graph, so it can help your organization or company get a Knowledge Panel entry.”

Olaf Kopp has added to his guide on E-E-A-T, which is a must-read for SEOs in my opinion. He added:

  • Quality of the website content in total (Helpful Content) 
  • Extent of the created content sitewide 
  • Citations and external link references to authoritative sources

Here are some tips for using Screaming Frog with Sitemaps.

Some are seeing an odd experiment in Google search where you can drag and drop sections of the search results.

iOS 17 automatically removes tracking parameters from links you click on.

What’s the minimum number of words needed for a blog post?

Some interesting research from BuzzSumo on what type of press coverage is likely to move the needle.

Fewer video thumbnails in the SERPS – here’s more on what it might take to get one

Recently Google made a change that made it so that video thumbnails are not shown in the search results as often. Gary Illyes recently said that the video should be “in their face right away” in order for Google to want to show a thumbnail in search for it.

With that said, Lily Ray reported she has cases where the video is very much at the top of the page and thumbnails are gone.

This morning, Google tweeted about a new blog post to help troubleshoot video indexing issues:

Should you consolidate pages when you get indented results?

Here’s an interesting conversation on Search Engine Roundtable about situations where you get indented results in the search results. Gary Illyes said, “It’s a telltale that you have more than one page that can rank well for a certain query,” and, “You might want to consolidate those two pages perhaps, if it’s possible at all.” 

This sparked an interesting discussion on Twitter. Why would you want less SERP real estate?

Dawn Anderson offered a different point of view:

Carrie Hill shared a case study where they found that consolidating the pages increased the overall ranking. 


Some tips from Google on taking advantage of Search Console big data exports

AI Tips and News


Bard is now better at mathematical tasks, coding questions and string manipulation through a new technique called implicit code execution.  Implicit code execution means that Bard can figure out if you’re trying to get it to compute something…and then run code to do that. They gave an example where they asked to “reverse the word lollipop” and Bard ran code to produce the output.

I enjoyed reading the explanation of Bard’s improved logic and reasoning skills. It takes the approach of Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” which separates our thinking ability into two systems. System 1 is fast, intuitive and effortless – like typing. System 2 is slow, deliberate and effortful like learning long division. 

LLMs operate purely under System 1 – producing text quickly but with no deep thought. When Bard calls on code for an output as I showed above, this is an example of it using System 2 – a much more deliberate thought process.

Google says this has improved Bard’s response to computation-based word and math problems by 30%. 

We can now export from Bard to Google Sheets. If Bard generates a table, you should see an option to export to Sheets. I can’t get this to appear for me just yet.


This is an excellent and practical use of ChatGPT for SEO – one of the most useful I’ve seen so far. Wil Reynolds uses a ChatGPT plugin called Link Reader to improve internal linking for his blog posts. He also experiments with using it to improve the blog posts themselves. This is so good:

If you are having trouble keeping ChatGPT within a character limit, try specifying how many tokens it can use rather than characters.

The GPT 3.5 Turbo API just got a speed boost.

Here is a thread where the founder of Clearbit paid for ChatGPT for the full company, and then had someone from OpenAI visit to demonstrate and brainstorm on use cases. 

OpenAI hit with first defamation suit over ChatGPT hallucination


Anthropic’s Claude

From Kristi Hines: Claude Instant With 100k Tokens Outperforms Leading Generative AI Chatbots. Her conclusion was, “In just a few initial experiments with everyday tasks, it’s clear that the latest version of Claude from Anthropic can outperform its competitors.”

Claude is a AI dialogue competitor to ChatGPT. It is good at performing tasks like searching across documents, summarizing, writing and coding. It is the product of Anthropic. Claude is apparently better at writing and more steerable. 

You can request early access to Claude here. It is worthwhile doing so. A few months ago, Google’s Cloud Division invested $300 million in Anthropic. 

More interesting AI information

DeepMind’s AlphaDev discovered a new sorting algorithm. AlphaDev is an AI system that uses reinforcement learning to discover new algorithms. It does this by starting from scratch, rather than refining existing algorithms. They repeatedly run the algorithm and each time its output is better, they reward it. The result is, they discovered a new, more efficient way to sort through information. This discovery is a big deal as sorting algorithms underpin so much of the technology we use today.

On top of this they discovered new sequences of instructions that all have the potential to save time for many applications. DeepMind says they plan to optimize the world’s code, one algorithm at a time.

Here’s an interesting twitter thread. Dimitris Papailiopoulos fed the original sorting algorithm into ChatGPT and asked if it can be improved. Here are his prompts. If I understand things correctly, ChatGPT came up with the same solution as DeepMind.

I think this is amazing. I don’t think it cheapens DeepMind’s discovery as the fact that AlphaDev learned completely from scratch is incredible. What blows my mind is that DeepMind’s post says it has been over a decade since an improvement has been made to the general sorting library. And Dimitris was able to find an improvement with just a few prompts. 

OpenAI has a new article on GPT best practices:

  • write clear instructions
  • provide reference text – this makes it less likely for GPT to invent a fake answer
  • split complex tasks into simpler subtasks
  • give GPT time to think
  • use external tools to compensate for GPT’s weaknesses
  • test changes systematically

If you want to get better at prompting, there are loads of recommended tactics with specific examples in that blog post.

Joe Hall recommended this course on deep learning. He says it helped him be a better prompter.

If you are a paid ChatGPT user and you’re still waiting for plugins and browsing to appear, make sure you turn on beta features in settings. It’s not on by default!

Microsoft is bringing its language models to Azure Government, which offers cloud solutions to US government agencies. 

Video-ChatGPT: Towards Detailed Video Understanding via Large Vision and Language models. This Hugging Face paper describes a model that is capable of understanding and generating human-like conversations about videos.

Google’s StyleDrop: Text-to-Image Generation in Any Style: a method that enables the synthesis of images that faithfully follow a specific style using a text-to-image model. This article says, StyleDrop represents a significant advancement in the field of neural networks, enabling the faithful transfer of visual styles to new images.

Neuralink received regulatory approval to conduct human clinical trials

OpenAI is not yet training GPT-5.

Bloomberg is reporting AI is to become a $1.3 Trillion Market by 2032.

New tools from Google’s cloud division give Priceline access to generative AI

OpenAI is hiring for the ChatGPT team

Why AI will save the world By Marc Andreessen – This is worth a read. It’s a deep look at why AI will likely do much more good for the world than bad. 


Local Search

Mike Blumenthal put together this guide to recovering lost Google reviews.

Now that we are seeing videos from GBP appear in the search results, here is a great tip from Andy Simpson on how to quickly use Google Photos to make a cinematic clip of a still photo

SEO Jobs

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.

Subscriber Content

This week’s Subscriber Content.

I send out a PDF draft of newsletter to subscribers on Friday, before the web version goes live. The PDF includes a section with a bunch more to help you improve your website, your content and its chances of being found by searchers.

Here’s what I wrote about this week:

  • Examples of content demonstrating experience
  • An example of a travel site ranking by demonstrating experience
  • Thoughts on a thread from Tony Hill on how he drove traffic with Discover – a good lesson in understanding and serving intent
  • Discussion on catastrophic March core update hits with examples of content and why it’s likely seen as more helpful by Google’s algorithms

See all subscriber PDFs.

Or, sign up to get an email each time I publish the web version (the one you’re reading now.)

From Marie

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode! I am working this week on an article putting together my full thoughts on how machine learning systems like the helpful content system have changed how Google’s ranking systems work.

You may see a little less of me on Twitter as I’m shifting into a new season. I heard Lily Ray talk about how she does a season of auditing, conferences, and so on, and it made so much sense! I have been in a season of intense learning – trying to learn as much as I can about how AI works, especially in regards to Search, and how to best help communicate this to my newsletter readers and followers, and most importantly to the businesses who reach out to me looking for help. I’m still learning, and newsletter will continue. It’s the best way for me to stay up to date!

I’ll be shifting some of my focus to spend more time working with site owners in this next season. I have thoroughly revised my site review process and the recommendations that I give. I’ll share more on this soon.

And lastly, I have been working on creating a membership group with Mighty Networks. At first I used Mighty Networks to build a course on creating helpful content as per Google’s guidelines. Then I realized that as soon as I publish a course it will be outdated. The Search landscape is changing so quickly. Mighty Networks has a whole process I’m walking through that is designed to help me determine what our industry really needs as I build this community. It’s really good and I’m excited for what I really hope unfolds!

I’ll share my plan with you, but who knows if AI throws a twist at us to change things. I plan to spend this season working with business owners. If you’re interested in being one of those, stay tuned…I will share more soon on how to work with me. When the time is right, I’ll shift again to return to working on the community. By then, I’ll have a better handle on the challenges we are facing and how to best use my time to help.

Thanks for reading this beast. I wish you the best of luck with your rankings! (Hint…new podcast episode coming soon!)

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