Google will no longer show Canadian news sites, GA4 deadline is here, Gemini will eclipse ChatGPT: Episode 293, July 3, 2023

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The GA4 deadline has finally arrived! Are you ready?

Goodbye GA3In this episode, we’ll discuss Google’s response to a new Canadian law requiring payment for news, and significant SERP turbulence. We’ll also delve into what we know about Google’s Gemini model that will supposedly eclipse ChatGPT, a bunch of uses for ChatGPT for SEO, including grammar editing, and look at fascinating info from a quality rater about what type of info they are asked to look for.

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AI News

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Subscriber Content

  • Using ChatGPT to edit and critique grammar
  • Using ChatGPT to summarize Google Meet transcriptions
  • ChatGPT is actually a pretty good therapist
  • Interesting stuff in the QRG re experience

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GA3 is no more! How is your GA4 transition going?

The deadline has come. And it is not changing.

Here is an excellent thread from Google to help answer some of the common concerns:

Some helpful articles:

From UA to GA4: Managing your reporting expectations on SEL

GA4 readiness: 23% have fully adopted, 50% still learning, 16% yet to begin on SEL

GA4 Roadmap For Agencies: Last Minute Questions Unveiled with Brie E. Anderson and Paige Hobart. 

I highly recommend Brie’s GA4 course if you are struggling to make the switch.

Google is going to stop linking to Canadian news sites

Canada’s Bill C-18 has become law. The Online News Act requires digital news intermediaries like Google and Facebook to pay for linking to Canadian News sites. The act is designed “to bargain fairly with Canadian news businesses for their news content.”

Bill C-18 summary

News businesses eligible include being a qualified Canadian journalism organization, or being licensed as a campus, community, or native station under the Broadcasting Act. In addition, the business must produce news content of public interest that is primarily focused on matters of general interest and current events. This includes employing at least two journalists in Canada, operating in Canada with content edited and designed within the country, and not focusing primarily on specific topics like sports or entertainment. The business should also adhere to recognized journalism ethics standards. Finally, the law also recognizes Indigenous news outlets that produce content on matters of general interest, specifically including matters related to the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Businesses eligible as news under bill C-18

The law doesn’t specifically mention Google but talks about “digital news intermediaries”. Facebook is also affected and they are removing Canadian news as well.

I don’t understand how this can happen. While it would be nice for Google to pay for news, I can’t imagine the complexities of making and maintaining agreements with every Canadian news organization. It’s likely easier for Google to simply get rid of links to Canadian news than to do that. If this goes forward, what happens to Canadian journalism?

The CBC, one of Canada’s main news providers gets an estimated 15 million visitors a month from Google:

The entire news industry in Canada is in a state of extreme risk according to the CBC. This week there is discussion of mergers of some of Canada’s largest news entities although it’s unclear how this will actually help the news industry.

Here is what Google said, “Bill C-18 has become law and remains unworkable. The Government has not given us reason to believe that the regulatory process will be able to resolve structural issues with the legislation. As a result, we have informed the Government that we have made the difficult decision that when the law takes effect we will be removing links to Canadian news from our Search, News, and Discover products and will no longer be able to operate Google News Showcase in Canada.”

Perspectives are being seen in the SERPs now

We have been talking about the Perspectives filter:

Google Perspectives filter

Now, Glenn Gabe is seeing a Perspectives feature in the search results that searchers can see without tapping the filter.

This is not yet the update to the helpful content system that we’ve been anticipating. 

Here are more screenshots of Perspectives seen in the SERPs.

Shared by Nicholas McDonough, this filter view shows results from Youtube and Quora:

Shared by Nicholas McDonough, this filter view shows results from Youtube and Quora

Ethan Lazuk found one that showed my Youtube videos and also Twitter.

Ethan Lazuk found one that showed my Youtube videos and also Twitter.

Joroen Driehuis is able to see Perspectives from the Netherlands, but he needed to set his location to the US. This SERP shows results from Quora, Reddit and YouTube.

Joroen Driehuis is able to see Perspectives from the Netherlands, but he needed to set his location to the US.

And here is one more from Chris Meyer. He searched for “how to stop monstera growing sideways” (hope it works out for you Chris) and was shown user generated results from Reddit.

Perspectives from Chris Meyer

Significant SERP turbulence

The Semrush sensor and Mozcast were quite high this week.

Semrush-Sensor-Google-s-rank-and-algorithm-tracking-tool-Semrush (2)

It’s worth keeping in mind that this is a holiday weekend in the US which can impact search rankings and traffic. However, it really does look like something is happening. 

The ever-cryptic John Mueller changed his Twitter background to a weird stapler with a Googlebot crawler on the front of it with two dates stamped into the metal of the stapler:



John Mueller's Twitter background showing a stapler and two dates?

Here is Barry’s article on the turbulence. He says, “I expected by now Google would have released a ‘confirmed’ search ranking update, but nope, not yet.”

Creating helpful content workbook

I’m thrilled to see so many copies of this workbook selling! This book is very similar to my quality raters’ guidelines handbook that I wrote years ago and have published several revisions of. Its focus is to help you understand the helpful content system. It will help you understand whether your site has been impacted and what it will take to recover.

It also walks you through understanding the examples in the QRG. This is important because Google’s machine learned systems are designed to reward content that is high quality as described in the QRG.

From Marie's book on creating helpful content - reviewing the examples in the QRG

The book is a combination of learning about how Google uses AI systems like the helpful content system. Then, it ends with several checklists and exercises you can work through to improve your content so that it best aligns with Google’s guidance on creating helpful, relevant content.

If this is all confusing, things should make more sense when I publish the article that goes along with this book. Very soon!

Click here to read more about the helpful content workbook.

Other interesting Search News and Tips

AMP is now supported in GA4.

Does semantic html help search engines evaluate content? First, here is Google’s documentation on semantic HMTL. Semantic HTML is when HTML elements are used to structure content based on each element’s meaning, not their appearance. The example given was using <section> and <table> tags for the nesting of elements. John’s answer was to say that semantic HTML is not a ranking factor, but can help Google’s systems understand your content better.

I have seen several people comment this week about how useful Semrush’s new keyword clustering tool is.


Google has released some new features in their Fact Check Explorer. Fact Explorer is a tool powered by claim review mark up which helps Google detect and display a fact check. The new feature makes it easier to fact check images. It allows fact checkers to see the context and timeline of an image, so you know when it was first indexed by Google and how it has been used since.

Fact Check Explorer is actually pretty cool:

Google fact check explorer

Cindy Krum spoke of Google’s Journeys at a recent conference. This is something incredibly interesting to me. I wrote a few weeks ago about how the colours in the SGE are created by a design language called Material You. They are meant to help users keep track of their different search journeys.

Some are noticing infinite scroll in desktop SERPS in countries outside of the US.

I don’t normally cover Google Ads news, but with the upcoming AI related changes, I’m wondering if I should. Here are two new features announced

  • Brand restrictions for broad match: Allows ads to be limited to searches that include specific brands. Available globally next week.
  • Brand exclusions for PMax: Enables blocking of ads from appearing on branded searches, including misspellings and foreign languages. Now rolling out to all advertisers.

YouTube is testing restricting ad blocker use to 3 videos.

Here’s a good thread from Tony Hill about getting traction on Pinterest.

Buy on Google is closing in the US in September. 

What I find most interesting about this is this part:

We will continue to introduce new ways to optimize the way users navigate to checkout on our platforms, and look forward to continued engagement with our retail partners on other products such as our new checkout pilot and all other areas of collaboration through our tools, insights and training.

We’re excited about the streamlined checkout experience we introduced last year, wherein consumers who are ready to buy will have the option to go directly from a listing on Google to the checkout flow on your website. Once there, they will see the chosen product already in their shopping cart and can checkout on your site with whatever payment method they select. *Merchants using the new Google checkout feature see an improvement in gross merchandise value (GMV) between 1-10%

There is a form you can use to participate in a pilot program of Google’s called “Checkout pilot.”

Google links to this PDF describing Checkout on Merchant.

checkout with google

From Glenn Gabe: People Also Search For, Or Do They Always? How Google Might Use A Trained Generative Model To Generate Query Variants For Search Features Like PASF, PAA and more [Patent]. This blog post discusses a Google patent on “Generating Query Variants Using A Trained Generative Model”, which describes how Google might use a trained model to generate query variants for features like “People Also Search For” and “People Also Ask”. The model can generate variants in real-time, even for new or long-tail queries, and can be trained on previous user queries or query pairs with shared document clicks. 



We are starting to hear more about Google’s Gemini model. I am not sure whether Gemini is the technology behind the new AI driven search engine, Magi that the NYT reported on. I think it is. This search engine is going to be radically different and essentially act as a personal assistant that not only answers questions but also anticipates users’ needs. 

Dr. Demis Hassabis, co-founder of Deep Mind, said that what Google will produce with Gemini will eclipse ChatGPT.  “At a high level you can think of Gemini as combining some of the strengths of the AlphaGo-type systems with the amazing language capabilities of the large models.” 

AlphaGo is the model that became famous by using AI to learn how to beat the world’s champion Go player. Recently we talked about how the technology figured out a new algorithm for sorting which was a really big deal. It’s like ChatGPT but also incredibly good at learning and solving difficult problems.

Google announced Gemini at I/O, saying it is a large language model, created from the ground up to be multi-modal and highly efficient at  tool and API integrations. It sounds like Google will make it easy for businesses to use Gemini in a variety of ways. 

Apparently Youtube is a big part of Gemini:


Fascinating info on how quality raters train Bard

This interview with a Bard Quality Rater is so interesting. The main focus of the article is the rater complaining that there is not enough time to complete the tasks allotted. I think that’s not the main story though! What’s most interesting to me are the tasks they are asked to complete.

“They have to read an input prompt and Bard’s responses, search the internet for the relevant information, and write up notes commenting on the quality of the text.” “”You can be given just two minutes for something that would actually take 15 minutes to verify.”

The rater said that he’d have to check things like whether a business was started at a particular date, that it manufactured a particular product, and also verify who the CEO is.

My suspicion is that the raters’ answers are not being used directly to change Bard. Rather, Google is looking for examples of correct and incorrect info. Most likely, if an answer can’t be found in a couple of minutes, then the rater is best to move on to the next example. I’ll share more in my upcoming article (it’s almost ready!) about how Google uses examples of helpful and unhelpful results to help train machine learning systems such as the helpful content system.

A while back I had an interesting conversation with Bard in which it told me all about how quality raters are used to judge its responses. Bard told me that quality raters see every one of Bard’s responses and their feedback is used to help Google improve the model. 

Have you played with Bard lately? I have found it increasingly more useful. I do find I use ChatGPT for more things than Bard. However, I think it’s important for us to continually be trying to use it and test its capabilities as we will see more and more LLM integration (whether it’s Bard or something else) into Google’s products.


This was such a good discussion with some incredible people. I shared my thoughts on the SGE and upcoming AI related changes to search along with Aleyda Solis, Bernard Huang, Gaetano Nino Dinardi, Kevin Indig and Mike King.

I cannot get the SGE to pop up for me. (Oh yeah, as of Monday morning I have it back again!), I’m seeing some interesting icons in Google labs lately. Add to sheets will allow you to add the entire SERP to a Google sheet. 

sheets icons in SGE

Eli Scwhartz noticed that the SGE was quick in returning fresh news.

Here is an eCommerce search surfaced by Kenichi Suzuki:

SGE eCommerce SERP


ChatGPT on iOS now comes with Bing built in.

Here’s a good tip for summarizing long content:

Wil Reynolds has produced another great video showing how he uses the Link Reader and something called Noteable. He loaded data from Semrush into Noteable. It showed each keyword he ranked for, the position of the keyword, search volume and also the url. Then he asked ChatGPT, “For the keyword [keyword] in index 0, let’s visit that URL using the enabled link reader plugin and add a page synopsis please.” It then summarized the page. He did this for each of his keywords. 

He did a bunch more with this data including defining where in the purchase journey a user likely is, the reading level of content.

This is so good:

The Visla ChatGPT plugin is very cool. It will allow you to create a short video about anything on a single prompt. 

I said, create a video to describe the panic that will soon set in as Google sunsets GA3 and makes GA4 the only option.

The video it made was ok, but then I said, This is good but it needs to be funnier and demonstrate the mass panic the seo industry is about to see and it made me another one. It still wasn’t great. 

ok, the problem is that no one in SEO likes GA4 or knows how to use it. The video must indicate the mass panic from being forced to switch to a product no one knows or understands.

Bing Chat

Multimodal capabilities are soon available to all in Bing Chat. This is a big deal! We will soon be able to use Bing to analyze the content of images. 

Ethan Mollick, a technology professor at Wharton has shared some super interesting examples. I’d encourage you to read his article, On giving AI eyes and ears.

Ethan showed Bing a poker hand and asked what his next move should be. Bing was wrong…but in conversation it turns out that it thought a 4 in the image was a 9. With the correct information, it suggested that he would have 3 of a kind and a good chance of winning the hand.

Ethan Mollick asked Bing to analyze a poker hand

Then, He told Bing it was a fashion designer and it was to come up with a shoe design and critique it. 

Bing’s critique of itself made me laugh, 

“It looks like someone just glued some beads and sequins on a plain shoe.”

“It looks like a Christmas ornament rather than a shoe.”

Eventually it came up with a design it was proud of, created an image of it and wrote the description of it. 

Ethan Mollick shared this conversation where Bing chat created a shoe design.

This tweet from Ethan was funny. He showed Bing an image of the computer HAL from 2001:A Space Odyssey. Bing said, “If the computer is a HAL 9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, then you may have a problem. HAL is an artificial intelligence that became paranoid and tried to kill the crew of the spaceship….”

Shared by Ethan Mollick - Bing analyzing an image and recognizing it as HAL

Bing also tweeted this week about inferring the market’s probability of future stock prices from option prices:

Bing’s inner monologue

Mikhail Parakhin also tweeted that they had improved Bing chat’s “inner monologue”. I had no idea what that was, so I asked Bing. This is fascinating:

Conversation about Bing's inner monologue Conversation about Bing's inner monologue


It turns out Bard has an inner monologue as well.

Bard's inner monologue

ChatGPT told me it did not have an inner monologue. Then I told it about Mikhail Parakhin’s tweet. It browsed the web and still couldn’t find information about AI chat using an inner monologue. 

ChatGPT's inner monologue

Then it got super interesting!

ChatGPT's inner monologue

Other interesting AI news

Windows Copilot is now available to Microsoft testers. This feature, which is docked as a sidebar on the right side of Windows 11, enables users to engage with it whenever they have queries, in the same manner they would use Bing Chat. Additionally, it can be employed to execute system commands like “Change to dark mode” or “Take a screenshot”.

Leaders from 150 companies, including Siemens and Heineken, have expressed apprehension over the proposed drafts of AI legislation in Europe. They argue that these proposed rules threaten to undermine competitiveness while inadequately addressing potential shifts in the AI landscape. The draft legislation would strictly regulate foundational AI models and likely lead to businesses that develop and utilize these systems bearing excessive costs associated with compliance and liability risks.

MidJourney has a new mode: weird. To use it add –weird 1000 (you can use a number from 0 to 3000.)

Also, you can zoom out on images.

Here’s an interesting article talking about the problem with the vast number of websites with AI generated content and programmatic ads. They quote a study that says that 21% of ad impressions in their sample went to made-for-advertising sites. Some sites are producing 1200 articles a day or more.

How do you make a language model “unlearn” something? Google, in collaboration with academic and industrial researchers, has announced the first Machine Unlearning Challenge. The competition aims to advance the field of machine unlearning, which focuses on removing specific training examples from a trained model to protect user privacy and mitigate potential risks. The competition will be hosted on Kaggle and will run from mid-July to mid-September 2023. The challenge involves balancing the objectives of forgetting requested data, maintaining model utility, and ensuring efficiency.

Google is developing an AI that can generate endless selfies.  Most A.I. selfie tools are far from photorealistic and look more like animated avatars than real people. DreamBooth produces more realistic images that may pass for actual pictures. 

Baidu’s ERNIE 3.5 knowledge enhanced foundation model takes a giant step forward. ERNIE 3.5 marks great improvements in efficacy, functionality and performance. You can now use Baidu Search with ERNIE Bot.

Google has introduced MediaPipe diffusion plugins to help create images from text on devices. These plugins are easy to use, lightweight, and fast. They can be used with existing models to generate images based on specific conditions. This new tool makes it easier to use AI to create images on mobile devices.

DeepMind has just unveiled a robot that can teach itself new tasks without human supervision. RoboCat AI learns much faster than other state of the art models and can pick up a new task with as few as 100 demonstrations.

Local SEO

Here are 12 Local Search Developments You Need to Know About from Q2 2023 by Miriam Ellis. It includes information on the SGE, new information about reviews and also video.

When is the right time to ask for customer reviews? by Mike Blumenthal and Greg Sterling

GBP Videos 3, SAB Ranking Hijinks, Political Spam Reviews by Mike Blumenthal

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

SEO Engineer ~ iPullRank ~ $100k-$120k ~ Remote (US)
Director of SEO ~ Seeking Alpha ~ $120k-$180k ~ Remote (US)
Senior SEO Strategist ~ Amsive Digital ~ Remote (US)
Technical SEO Specialist (Contract) ~ ImageX ~ Remote (CAN)
SEO Strategist ~ VERB ~ Halifax, Nova Scotia (CAN)

Congrats to Nick and SEO Jobs! I’ve known Nick for a long time now and it’s exciting to see SEOJobs take off. 

Subscriber content

This week’s subscriber content has a bunch of practical ChatGPT uses including using it to transcribe client meetings, grammar check your pages and more. There’s also some more insight into what we can learn from the Quality Raters’ Guidelines about demonstrating experience.

If you’re new to newsletter (as there are a lot of new subscribers lately!), the subscriber version is different every week. I include practical tips and insight as I do my work in advising website owners on traffic drops.

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