The SEO update by Yoast – March 2024 Edition


Update transcript

All right, there we are for this month’s SEO Update by Yoast.

Welcome everyone.

I can see that you already found the chat over on the side.

Make sure to say hi because we love to know who’s joining us today.

I think it’s time as we see people coming in to do a quick introduction.

So again, welcome to the March 2024 SEO Update by Yoast.

My name is Taco and I’m your MC today.

But before we dive into this month’s news, let me introduce our two experts for today.

First, please meet Carolyn, principal SEO at Yoast.

She has a longstanding background in digital marketing and SEO and is focusing on news publishing online.

And next to Carolyn, you’ll find Alex.

And Alex is a man with many talents.

For years, he owned a bar.

And currently, he’s building a pet brand, is the director of an agency named FireCask, and most importantly, is a principal SEO at Yoast.

Together, they form the dream team that will bring you this month’s SEO Updates.

So please put your virtual hands together for Alex and Carolyn.

And while I’m bringing them to the stage, if you don’t know Crowdcast, there is a button on the side that says Q&A.

If you click it, you can add your questions there.

And at the end of the webinar, we will have a Q&A for you.

So make sure to add your question and upvote others.

At the bottom of your screen, there’s also a green button.

And that says a lot of different things throughout the webinar.

So make sure you keep an eye on it, because that call to action will be updated as we go through today’s webinar.

And again, on the side, we have the chat.

So make sure to interact, because that obviously is the most fun.

And with that, Alex, Carolyn, you made it.

We made it.

I mean, I really enjoyed the tech checks are always the best, right?

But it’s all it’s all worked out, hasn’t it, for the best?

It was an adventure this morning, more so than usual.


And how are you doing today, Carolyn?

I sound a little raspy, but I assure you I’m at that point in my cold where I sound much worse than I feel.

So we’re OK.

Well, hopefully I won’t make you chat too much.

Maybe I can take over some if you’re really doing it.

I am under strict orders not to die on camera.

So I will endeavor to do that.

Let’s avoid that, shall we?

But OK, fine.

Well, let’s let’s get through it.

It’s been not the most amount, not the biggest quantity of news items, but I’d say the quality of the news items is one to talk about this week.

I know this is what we usually do.

SEO news and we’ll go out through any AI news that’s been happening, which has been quite a bit as well.

Then we’ll see if there’s anything happening in the world of WordPress.

And lastly, do any announcements about Yoast as a products in a company.

And lastly, we’ll go through Q&A.

As Taco mentioned before, you can feel free to chat using all the icons on the right.

But if you look at this one over here with the question mark in there, if you want to ask any questions, Carolyn and I may be happy to help you.

So, yeah, what next?

What’s where can we get the updates after this?

You can get that from our short URL, can’t we?

And I never know how to pronounce this.

It’s it’s Yoast,

The recording will be available later.

You can also go to and you’ll find all of our current and upcoming webinars, plus links to the videos from the old webinars.

So if you have any questions or you want to just revisit some of your favorite memories, that’s where you would go.


And also, we’ve got if you don’t not just listening to us, right, you can get how to start with SEO, which is great for beginners.

Just starting out and wanting to learn a bit more.

Whereas this one’s you know, what’s happening each and every month in the world of SEO, WordPress and AI.

And I’m fairly certain.

So we did have a bit of an argument about this this morning.

Originally, it said biweekly.

I think they’re semi-monthly.

And if you’re confused about the about the difference there, biweekly is every other week and semi-monthly is twice a month on specific days.

I believe these are the first and last Wednesday of the month, but it’s entirely possible that I’m wrong.

The way to find out is to follow that QR code, go to the page and check the next date.

So please, by all means, if I have planted my flag on the wrong hill, please let me know.

But I do think it’s semi-monthly.

Yeah, to a month to a month.

There’s two a month for you to choose from.

And you can go to as many as you like.

And if you if you’re on mobile or anything, you can scan that QR code right there.

I’m going to remove it now because we’ve got to go through the SEO news.

Oh, what’s happened?

What’s happened this month?

Well, tell me more about core updates and spam updates, Carolyn, because there’s both.

So happened at the same time.


So Google has gotten into this this.

These where they’re rolling out tons of updates, either at once or stacked on top of each other, the latest core update, they said, could take up to a month.

I think we’re like three weeks into it at this point.

They’re urging patience, which I know no one has and no one wants to exercise before deciding how they’re going to react to the update.

I heard some chatter and some examples on X and around the community, especially over the weekend.

People are saying, I don’t know if I got hit by the update.

And the response that came back was, I assure you, if you got hit, you would not be asking that question.

So I think the consensus is if you saw a catastrophic drop in traffic, congratulations, you’ve been hit by the update.

If you’re asking yourself, I wonder if I’ve been hit by the update.

You haven’t, because you would know.

The three new spam policies that Google is implementing, one is expired domain abuse.

This one confuses me a little because I’m pretty sure this has always been a thing.

Maybe they’re just making it more clear.

Expired domain abuse is where you go out and you register an expired domain for because it ranked well and because it was doing well when it was active.

And it’s still got a lot of valuable backlinks to it.

So what you’re doing is you’re trying to capture all of those those old backlinks and redirect that authority to your new site.

In my experience, this has never worked well unless the expired domain that you captured was directly relevant to your current website.

And you could set up direct 301 to 301 redirects from the valuable backlink that was coming in from, say, Wikipedia to directly relevant analogous content on your new site.

And if you can’t do that, you kind of wasted your money and the boost that you’re going to get from that expired domain, unless it’s a type in, is going to be diminishing over time.

Scaled abuse, scaled content abuse, which is churning out AI contents, really, AI copy at mass scale.

I like this one because Google can tell that the rate at which you’re putting out new copy is just inhumanly fast.

And if it’s inhumanly fast, chances are it wasn’t done by a human.

And then they’re going to take an extra look at it and they’re going to ding you.

So if you if for some reason you are in that category where you’re putting out more content than Google believes that you’re capable of putting out, the solution there is to slow your role, make it.

I don’t want to phrase it like this.

I don’t want to phrase it like make it look human because it should be human.

But slow your role.

Don’t do something insanely fast, inhumanly fast, because it will be interpreted as inhumanly fast.

And then the reputation of use.

I’m a big fan of this one because it’s always bothered me that people with a lot of money could rent or borrow subdomains from high authority sites like newspaper sites.

Not to name names, but the Tribune used to do this all the time where they would like

They would sell or rent out to a coupon site or a directory site.

I hated those directory sites to probably shouldn’t say that.

But it was it was low value sites and they were ranking almost instantly because they were directly attached to those big authority sites.

Google’s really coming down on that now and saying that if you have if you have these low value sites that you’re putting on your subdomain, it’s going to adversely affect the primary domain and no one’s going to be willing to to murder their golden goose for whatever profit they’re making from those subdomains.

So I’m happy about that one.

According to this, it completed on the 20th.

So we’re six days post.

I think if you had something to worry about, you would already be aware that you have something to worry about.

And if you don’t have if you’re not yet concerned and you’re not yet running around like a chicken with your head cut off, then you’re probably you probably survive this round, which is which is at least good to know, like the bandages or bandaid has been taken off.



You don’t have to.

You don’t have to know anymore.

Although from a core update, you don’t know anything yet because it’s not it’s not complete yet.

So it’s been three weeks today, I believe.

Yeah, three weeks today.

And it’s not completed rolling out.

I would suspect it would be done within the next month.

But there has been volatility.

I think Barry Schwartz noticed there was volatility overnight, which may signify signal in the beginning of the end of the rollout, maybe.

Or is it the beginning of a new rollout because they’ve been rolling them out so close.

It’s almost like we’re in a continuous rollout cycle.

Yeah, which is annoying because they do say that they try to avoid rolling more than one update out at a time.

But this one literally happened on the same day and one still happening.

Who knows?

Who knows what they tell us anymore?

Yeah, I really have to dissect what they say.

Well, at least on the other side of things, Bing are actually telling us more now as a site owner, which is great.

Bing Webmaster Tools, they’re adding features to what’s there already.

I’ve always found them kind of useful.

And even though they are the underdog, the amount of random posts and updates I’ve seen about people who diagnose something in Google.

And then they’ll also, of course, look in Bing Webmaster Tools and they’ll see different issues or issues that are more important to, you know, Bing’s platform that, again, enhance what’s happening on Google.

So it is definitely good to have a look at everything.

And IndexNow is even better.

And if you haven’t read enough on IndexNow, I will I will paste the link to the blog article that Fabrice, Fabrice, I forgot his last name, Canel, who’s basically Bing Webmaster Tools face has explained more.

So the updates happened on the 5th.

But this this one over here, the output now tells you much more about it.

And that was written on the 21st.

But, yeah, no, it’s really interesting to see that they’re adding more insightful stuff and actionable things in there.

So it is more of a workable dashboard in that one thing I also did notice, although they didn’t announce it anywhere, is that they may provide up to 24 months of data because believe it’s only six or something at the moment.

So it isn’t the best subset of data that you can look back on historically.

But none of that is confirmed.

That was in some mastodon or X post.

It would be interesting if they can offer up to 24 months because GSC only offers 16 months.

So that would be, you know.

I can’t do math a lot more.

Yeah, but it’s easier to do those reports.

I find 16 months is a bit of a random number.

It’s neither here nor there.

I don’t know.

There must be a logic behind it.

I thought maybe it was, you know, turning the volume up to 11 months.

I thought that was there.

But no.

Well, you know, two year reports could be directionally interesting.

So I would be I would be a fan of that.

Or maybe they’re just doing 24 because it’s slightly higher than 16.

You know, either way, I’m always a fan of more data, but I understand that it’s expensive to to house all of it.

Yeah, yeah.

But but yeah, there’ll be more stuff coming from Bing.

I am assuming quite soon, which is quite cool.

So the next interesting one is Google actually delivered manual penalties, which they kind of haven’t done in this way for quite some time.

If at all, kind of in my memory, maybe it was two or three times that they may have done it.

I’ve never seen it go out in such big batches like this before.

But the people that are nobody in my circles has been hit by these these manual penalties.

And it’s probably because I don’t really hang out with spammers.

But it seems like they’re getting serious about making examples of people and putting the fear of God into the spamming community.


And I mean, we’ve both been in SEO long enough to remember the BMWs and the interfloorers of the world where, you know, the context coordinates who weren’t around there.

This was this was I would say the Wild West of SEO where you could do anything.

This was pre-Panda/Penguin update.

BMW made essentially the door pages.


Doorway pages.

They did.

They did that.

And still stomping down on it now.

And into Florida, I forgot exactly what they did.

But all I remember is that Google knocked them off a lot of their organic rankings on the 10th of February, noting that before Mother’s Day.


It was so it was before Mother’s Day, did you say?

Yeah, I think it was before British Mother’s Day.

British Mother’s Day.

And you’ve got Valentine’s Day.

And this is a flower brand.

You know, they’ll they’ll get hit hard.

That’s like that’s like penalizing a Christmas shop in December.

That was back when they were hand picking people to hold up as being the cautionary tale.

Now it seems like it’s just more we’re just going to hit everybody and then you can all go cry to each other about it.


But I think it may get the confusion of or not confusion, the heated discussions that have been on X all this month on how people interpret everything that Danny Sullivan said.

Like, I do not envy his role right now, because as soon as one thing is answered, he not his own fault, you know, the community will ask five more questions, which he then has to elaborate on, which then creates five more questions and the web just opens and everything’s.

Maybe this is the way of being this is into floor and BMW, but you can’t just do it with one site.

You maybe have to do quite a few sites, give out manual penalties to quite a few that have different scenarios.

And therefore, there’s no there’s no pattern or maybe there is a pattern of what exactly each one does.

And people are trying to find that pattern.

Also, it will show that there’s many variables that go into why you may get a penalty nowadays and much more sophisticated ways of being able to identify that abuse.

I would say this is a lot more data points, though, so with all of these additional data points, it should be easier for the community to kind of triangulate what exactly the problems are and and mitigate those.

At least that’s why I would be a fan of the broad based issuance of the penalties so that we have.

Hundreds of data points instead of just this one company, what are they doing wrong?

Yeah, and it is it is annoying because you do see some people who are genuinely believe that they are producing helpful content, whether or not that’s subjective or not.

But there are so many examples of if you look at why they’re penalized, you will go, yeah, right.

Yeah, fine.

They should have been penalized like it.

But then you do get this minority or maybe it’s not a minority of webmasters who’ve been pumping out content for years and years and years.

But it’s not publishers game as much as it used to be.

Maybe that was this and I I come across lots of sites that don’t know they’ve been hacked and don’t know that they’ve got a problem.

And hundreds of pages that you don’t know about with bad content on them would be enough to color your entire site.

So I wonder how many of these are especially when we’re a reputable company, we’re we’re a nonprofit, we help people.

But it turns out that frequently it’s these small, these small, helpful sites that don’t have the best.

They don’t have world class security teams working for them 24 hours a day and it’s easy for them to get hacked and they don’t know that they’ve got a problem.

So it’s.

Well, it’ll be a wake up call either way.

Yeah, yeah, definitely.

And not only have been Google been dishing out manual penalties, AI content websites have been deindexed and by the way, this for the audience, this isn’t something that Google has just gone out and been blatant.

They’ve not announced anything.

This is observations from other experts in the industry who look specifically at sites.

They’re seeing that sites that happen to have a lot of AI generated content got deindexed.

And, you know, I like to sit there thinking, well, who?

Oh, well, that’s Captain Obvious, right?

That eventually if you do too much AI scale content and you were probably showing off about it in December, weren’t you?

And all the HCU updates were hitting unhelpful content, but not AI produced content is now maybe they may be deleting those tweets as much or they’d be in ratio now, aren’t they?

I know at least from past history, if you found a tactic or a trick that you were using to manipulate Google, and then you talk about it, you announce it and brag to the community, don’t think they don’t pay attention to that.

Don’t think they don’t go, oh, oh, I see what you’re doing here.

I’m going to go.

I’m going to dig a little bit more into what you’re doing.


I wonder if that’s a violation of this.

Oh, look, it is a violation.

Now we’re going to clamp down on it because you made a lot of noise.

So it’s it’s almost not in your interest to to brag to everyone that you found an exploit that’s going to make everyone a million dollars because it will shorten the amount of time that it’s making people money and it will increase the amount of scrutiny that is going to get paid to that particular trick.

I would go as far as to say I would then create a stopwatch from the moment that you make about tweets or updates or whatever you do and see, make bets with your friends on how long it will take for your domain to to get penalized or deindexed, because that’s what will happen if you keep trying to abuse stuff.


Matt Cutts used to have a little a little black book that he kept, like a little notebook.

And every now and then he’d pull it out and he’d just start writing things down.

And I’m positive he was writing down websites to go look at later to see if they were doing anything naughty.


And people are even now in some of the paranoia of all these updates.

Like, I swear that there’s people inside Google who are going back years on what’s been doing well in the industry and what should be done here.

That enclosing all of those loopholes that have been all those that those processes of SEO that have been happening a few years ago, that even Google told the audience to actually do are now being changed, which obviously causes a bit of mistrust or distrust in in Google.

But we’ll see.

We’ll see where the AI driven content is going to go soon.

The next thing I know is FID has gone and INP, which is Interaction to Next Paint, has now been not only introduced because it was introduced about a year ago and Google did the whole, hey, look at this for a few months.

And then it was look at this more seriously.

And then they said this is going to be part of Core Web Vitals.

And now you can see it in Search Console.

Well, yes, for the people who don’t know, INP is like when you explain INP to the audience, Carolyn.

So the difference between INP and FID is that INP indicates how quickly a web page is going to respond to a user’s action where FID is more of a early input metric.

So it’s looking at that was looking at the timing from when the user is first able to successfully interact with the web site, which is a slight difference.

INP is more of a gauge of how much lag the user is experiencing when the site loads.

FID was waiting until the user was able to actually do something.

So I think what you’ll see is that most of your scores are probably going to get better because I think they’re the FID is just generally slower.

INP is the way they’re measuring it.

I think more of you will find that you’re doing better than you were when it was looking at FID.

But if you are having problems, it’s already showing in Core Web Vitals in the Google Search Console reports, it’s already providing feedback.

You can get Lighthouse reports on how to improve it.

The improvements are similar to the recommendations are pretty similar to what the recommendations for FID were.

The standard things, you know, limit the JS limit the the main thread blocking JavaScript, all that good stuff.

The interesting the other interesting thing, though, is that the day after they made the switch, Google then confirmed that the Core Web Vitals scores are used in the ranking system, which we all kind of knew.

But it was nice to get that confirmation because the naysayers were then silenced.

The nice thing about this all is we have a lovely blog post that explains all of this that Edwin wrote, and you can go get it.

It was just published at

Yeah, and that explains everything.

And it also shows bits of what it looks like on and the improvements that were made there.

But more importantly, it’s this to me is a more natural metric to look at a more sensible one anyway.

It looks at human interaction and the way that someone would actually work with the site and have a journey through it rather than just.

We just had a question asking how Google is judging this and if they’re using a bot or they’re adjusting it as if it was a real human interaction.

Core Web Vitals is actually sampled from real human interaction that Google is collecting over a 28 day rolling period.

So the Core Web Vitals scores that you’re getting, you can only get those if there is actual user feedback that’s coming back to Google.

So pages that don’t get any traffic probably aren’t going to really be they’re not going to be able to apply definite measurements to them.

They have to have a certain amount of traffic in order to generate a score.

So I would say, please don’t worry about the is it a bot?

Is it a person?

They are supposed to be using human feedback that they’re using to calculate those scores.


And also, lastly, don’t obsess about getting 100 percent.

Do not do that.

Just make sure things aren’t bad.

If it’s green, it’s good.

You don’t have to be 100 percent.

No, no, you don’t.

So next up is Liz Reed has been announced as the new head of search of Google.

This might be interesting because me and Carolyn were talking before and said she’s not really been in the SEO realm of someone to read up about.

And that’s seemingly because she’s not been in the general part search team.

And actually, she’s been in the product team for some time.

And that’s where her background is from, which also says a lot about her new role and what the next year might bring.


The consensus seems to be that they’re going they and she, by extension, are going to be all in on AI.

So I would I would interpret this to mean that we can expect a lot more integration into the general search experience.

Which is something we can chat about in the news.

But before that, I went to SMX Munich.

It was quite good.

I thought I’d share very quickly some stuff that might that might be good for people to think about.

And Paddy Moogan, who I’ve known for years, been speaking all the shows.

He’s great.

He had a cheat sheet on the best way to do e-commerce product pages, which I’m sure you can search for.

He said true strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices.

And the objective is not to is not to eliminate risk, but to increase the odds of success.

So I just found that interesting when everyone’s going through a strategy is you shouldn’t always be there for, you know, absolute figures right from the outset and that something is just placing a bet that something will succeed and that you don’t actually know it’s going to succeed until you actually partake in it.

I just always found that was good.

And it does go into SEO every day and with content production.

The other thing I found interesting was what Rand Fishkin said.

He said we only spend 11 minutes a day searching and we spend so much time on our devices doing things that I was.

I actually thought even as an SEO, maybe it’s because I am an SEO, that I search more than the average person.

But when you actually do come down to it and you think about it, how often do you actually spend on a Google on doing Google searches?

Do you want to do that as a verb in the day?

And the answer isn’t that much.

And it just made me think that there’s more to search in general because it isn’t just about answering keywords.

It’s about just experiencing the whole thing.

And now to me, search can be any form of discovery, whether you think you’re searching for it or not.

What do you think about the 11 minutes a day searching stat?

It shocked me, to be honest.

But then I thought about it and maybe I don’t use search as much as I think I do.

I’d love to know where that figure came from, because it logically it doesn’t seem right.

But then I have a hard time coming up with hard facts to disprove it.

So, well, any kids, though, the kids today, if I can sound like an old person getting off on their own, they don’t use search the way adults use search.

They tend to ask questions in forums.

They ask questions on.

They’ll search inside of other things.

They’re not using traditional search the way us oldies do.

Yeah, which I also found interesting, because even though it’s not listed here, Jono Alderson, our previous SEO here at Yoast, he did a talk on contentless marketing and elaborated on conversational based searches that are happening, which is exactly what you’re saying.

It’s more conversational where we’re old school.

We just I just type in the bare minimum short tail keyword for what I need at that moment.

And then I go from there.

And actually, it’s the younger folk and therefore the future users who are going to use it in a much more conversational way.

They seem to depend more on other people telling them things.

And it’s annoying to me because my tendency is to say, let me go Google that for you, which you could do yourself.

And they’re like, no, just tell me.

And I don’t know if that’s saying they don’t want to do their own homework.

I’m just jaded.

Probably I’m just jaded.


Well, they want to know more, right?

I don’t know.

I was very inquisitive as a kid, but let’s not look.

Look, SEO is for the children, right?

Everything’s for the children, which is next lesson is Will Reynolds, who quoted Lily Ray, which I love.

This is: don’t confuse a loophole with a strategy.

And that’s exactly some of the previous stuff we’ve been saying with AI content.

It’s not a strategy.

It was a loophole and they closed it pretty quick.

And that is just a prime example of don’t try and abuse the algorithm, especially if you know that that’s what you’re trying to do, because it’s cleverer than you and your loophole strategy loophole.

Anything anything that cheats the system is going to get closed, that loophole is going to get closed and that trick is going to get squashed at some point.

So the only question is how long can you can you make money off of it before it stops working?


And Cindy Krum actually, well, she kind of compared EEAT with soup and you have lots of ingredients and there can be different methods and different ways of looking the same thing.

And what more of one ingredient can change the way that the soup tastes in general?

But when you order soup, you don’t get the soup, you get the mix and that’s what you get.

And you have to have different variations of each one.

She’s just I think she’s actually going to be uploading her talk to X at some point in the next few weeks.

So someone everyone do hound her for this video.

I’m sure she’ll share it if enough people do.

Cindy’s got a lot of great content.

So and she’ll upload content from almost all the talks she gives.

So I if you’re not following Mobile Moxie on X, I would I would recommend it.

She’s great.

And lastly, Marcus Tober from Semrush, he said something interesting about SGE and the way it’s taking over the normal the normal organic serps, right?

And the normal organic results, there’ll be less real estate.

And he said if there’ll be less real estate as time passes, this means that SEO will actually become more valuable because there’s less real estate to fight for and therefore more competition.

When you do get those two places instead of 10, that is more of a win than being on position four of the old set.

I just found that really interesting.

And in other news, because there were other things, I’m going to whip through these very quickly.

Google are releasing massive search quality enhancements.

They said in March, it’s near the end of March.

So I’m going to assume hopefully in the next week, which might delve a little bit more into content and general search quality in the way in which we should go about things.

They also explain doubling down on AI content may be a bad idea.

This was put in a couple of days before the actual the deindexation of the AI generated content.

That was a good warning shot.

Google replacing a perspective filter with forums filter because weirdly they probably just said, should we say perspective?

So it’s not just forums and realize that you can’t hide.

So we’re just going to call it forums because it is kind of the same thing.

We’ve got Google mitigating and migrating safe search.

So I think this all may not even apply to anyone, anyone who’s running an adult based store of any kind, anything to do with safe searches now inside Search Console for you.

And lastly, Uber were unable to remove an Uber Eats button from Google business profiles, which kind of suck for people who didn’t want it there.

I don’t know.

I’ve never read if that was even resolved.

I haven’t seen if it is resolved.

I think it’s still happening right now.

I think that was about a week ago, wasn’t it, that that happened?

Weird, weird.

Hopefully not.

This Google business profiles have been notoriously difficult to deal with and they’ve got a lot of problems.

I think I feel like that’s a kind of a problem child product for them because there’s so much competition and people are constantly trying to find ways to game it.

I think they.

I don’t think I don’t think the amount of trouble it’s worth is worth the money that Google’s making off of it.

So they they’re just kind of like, whatever.


Well, that’s all the SEO news.

Let’s crack on with AI news.

Let’s both chat about the AI Act.

It doesn’t affect you at all.

It’s only in Europe at the moment.

So it affects me amongst others.

Interestingly, it’s the first legal or sorry, not legal.

Is it legal?

It’s a set of regulations around AI technology, how it can be produced, add requirements and limits and other things that makes people stop doing what they want in AI systems and making something evil potentially.

And this is actually expected to take effect by the end of the year.

I feel like there’s been movies made about limiting AI so that the robots can’t kill us, but then the robots find a way to kill us anyway.

Yeah, well, knowing that singularity may happen in what, five years, that anything.

Probably next year at this point.

Well, they’ll probably take that loophole is not a strategy and not adopt that and find every loophole possible that humans come up with and say, we can’t do that.

You know, they’re going to be clever in those anyway, so hopefully they’ll be able to control themselves instead of realizing we’re only good for battery and power.

And that’s where AI has been established and Skynet’s response was, “Meh.”

Yeah, but at least something’s happening, right?

And even the even the leaders.

At least we’re trying.

That’s true.

Yeah, yeah.

Or it makes it seem as though we’re trying.

That goes into kind of a very long interview.

If anyone has heard of, I don’t know if it’s Lex Friedman or Fridman.

I learned today that it was Fridman.

I don’t know how you pronounce it, but very, very long interview and very in depth with Sam Altman going through lots of different stuff from OpenAI to, you know, this beef with Musk and all of that kind of stuff.

In that he he was talking a lot about the future of OpenAI, where AI in general was going, AGI, which is artificial general intelligence, which, for anyone who doesn’t know too much about AI, the one that we should be scared of.

That’s if I actually define it, there is difference.

In contrast, an AGI system can solve problems in various domains like a human being without manual intervention.

So right now, AI is information gathering, it just knows facts and things, and then it tries its very best to be right.

That’s the current AI system.

AGI goes beyond that into, well, it knows whether it’s doing something right or wrong and then adapts to that immediately.

Combating that is going to be a big thing for OpenAI, I think, like he said, mitigating bias as much as possible, making sure that these systems aren’t negative on on human evolution in general and that AGI and AI in general should just be helping humans.

But one thing I did take away from it, which I did like, is its impact on jobs shouldn’t be looked at so negatively.

So we hear and we’ve been speaking about in previous ones, is AI going to take our jobs?

And maybe if we should cast our eyes back to the early 90s and the birth of the Internet and mass adoption of the Internet and people thought that their jobs were going now.

Look at like the US Office and you look at a paper company going into a digital world, maybe a bad example.

But actually, it’s about adapting to that new technology and taking advantage of those things and being a bit of an innovative with it.



And one thing that since you gave the newspaper example, one thing that we learned from adapting to new technologies is you can’t use old traditional business models on these new technologies because they function so differently that if you try to apply the old onto the new without adapting for the new.

It just it doesn’t work well.

So there is a lot of retooling that needs to happen to some of these legacy businesses to make sure that they can continue to grow and survive with all of the changes that are happening.

Yeah, you look back 50 years and where the Internet didn’t this couldn’t happen right now.

This webinar, none of this stuff could happen.

And yet we’ve all kind of got jobs despite the technology that’s been put in front of us that we thought would have ruined those jobs.

And yeah, if the Internet wasn’t around, maybe I’d be a lawyer, but I wouldn’t have been as happy.


This is much more interesting to me.

And it keeps us going because there’s new stuff to learn all the time.

And there are things that have that have kind of phased out like the yellow pages.

One of the last time you got a phone book, a printed phone book.

They don’t they don’t even do those anymore.

So I got a phone book two weeks ago.

We don’t know why it was posted to us.

We’re never going to open it.

Went straight in the bin.

It was wasted.

Maybe that’s just a contract.

Someone’s legacy contract is trying to stay alive as long as possible.

I haven’t seen a phone book in so long.

You should save it for posterity.

Should start selling them in Antiques Roadshow or something.

But a lot of the phone books is SGE.

So this is interesting.

SGE is now being tested in a subset of a U.S. audience with a subset of search queries.

And I haven’t been able to experience it because I’m in the UK, but you have, Carolyn.

I have.

So I will say that I use it for things that I as an SEO, I probably should not.

Like I will ask it for answers to questions and then not go look at the website that it’s referencing.

If I do go look at the website, it’s just to make sure that I got the entire answer or that the answer wasn’t excerpted in a weird way.

But I do believe that it’s going to result in loss of traffic for websites, especially when it’s just information gathering and it’s not transactional.

The other thing I noticed, and this is someone asked a question about this, I saw the when when you search for, let’s say a brand and it pops a carousel of recommended pages, the pages that came up and the primary page that was recommended for this brand name were not the brand’s website.

And that confused me.

And what I saw that a common thread amongst all of the pages that were in the carousel was the brand name was first in the meta title and it was first in the H1.

It mentioned in the first sentence in the body copy once the body copy started, which is kind of a newsy thing to do.

But when you look at how big businesses, especially treat their home pages, the first word in your home page title is often not the name of your company.

It’s the word home or it’s your slogan.

And then you then you put your your business name at the end.

Whereas if someone’s writing a review of your website, they’ll have your business name first and they’ll have it first and prominent.

And that’s what happened.

We ended up with a lot of reviews of that business rather than pages from that business.

And it was.

I was able to manipulate that a little by going to the products website and saying, OK, I’m going to take this page because I know that the SGE’s already aware of it and I’m going to move words around it.

Oh, look, I was able to get more of the pages into that carousel, but not quite overtake the first the first results that it seems to me, especially in conjunction in consideration of Lily Ray posted some things, some screenshots of spam sites showing up in the SGE carousel.

The SGE carousel seems to be less picky about authority and Less able to detect spam.

I don’t know if there’s a more elegant way to say that.

Not that everything that it chooses is going to be spam, but it seems like its parameters are slightly less sensitive than the normal the normal search algorithm is.

So I think you might find in the SGE things that would have that are otherwise filtered out or not promoted in the regular search rankings, which is it’s going to be a tactic for a little while.

But I assure you that that tactic is going to get squished.

Yeah, it’s interesting because some of Lily’s examples are actually quite bad.

I think I remember seeing one that she went went to an adult site for a brand term.

I don’t know who it was, but she actually tagged the brand in the tweet.

I just found that was I mean, I guess there’s, you know, the search team are reading every single Lily Ray update and taking it right back to the office anyway.

So thanks for reporting it, Lily.

I bet they are best friends for yeah, yeah, but it’s good, though, because it is a good form of data and hopefully by the time it goes out for mass adoption.

So so yeah, and let’s see what’s happening.

It is interesting that they’re doing the updates now.

Google I.O. one of the big conferences is in.

I think you’re onto something there.

I think they’re going to have a big announcement about it at that.

Yeah, and they did start publicizing that only a few days before they started this testing as well.

So it’s all part press plan, right?

All part of the press plan.

That’s a I knew.

So WordPress news, not much news this month, except that WordPress six point five was about to be released today.

But it’s been pushed back a week probably to close some gaps and stuff like that.

But scheduled to be released on the second of April.

But there are lots of lots of features, not just one or two.

There’s a couple of things here.

And it’s actually a screenshot.

You can upload your own font soon, which is great, which has been a pet peeve of mine as a developer over the years.

And also, which is great for editorial style revisions, not content revisions, which we’ve already kind of got already, but specific style revisions.

So if the style of a page does change through time, you can see exactly who did it and when, which is great to see.

They also have been doing a faster method of sorting out translations.

So that’s just a performance update.

And of course, the interactive API, which is more of an advanced feature.

I wouldn’t think that the audience needs to go through.

But if you do want to know more, of course, we’ve written everything about it in a nice blog post at

Lastly, we’ve got Yoast news.

So some products and company updates.

The first one I’ll do very quickly.

Very two quick updates in 22.2.

A lot more improved keyphrase detection and a lot of improved inclusive language stuff.

So don’t be not inclusive.

Is it exclusive?


I’m not the content person.

I don’t know what the word is, but don’t be not inclusive.

That’s another Office thing.

Don’t not bother someone.

Don’t be exclusive.

Don’t be exclusive.

Don’t exclude people.

Marina has told us it’s non-inclusive.

Thank you, Marina.

It’s non-inclusive.

So don’t be non-inclusive in your language.

Don’t be.

OK, we’ll take your word for it.

We’re getting told big time in chat.

And the last one is in 22.3, we’ve finally introduced the AI features into taxonomies.

So it’s not just in singular posts and post types and pages.

So that’s Yoast product updates.

You could tell us more about Bluehost Cloud.

Bluehost Cloud is a big initiative that was just announced at WordCamp Asia.

It’s a hosting option that Bluehost is offering.

They developed it in conjunction with Automatic.

So it utilizes, you know, sometimes people talk about managed WordPress hosting.

This is WordPress hosting that only does WordPress.

It’s optimized for WordPress.

The entire breadth and height of the of the tech stack.

It’s only for WordPress.

So and I believe it could be wrong.

I believe it ships with Yoast kind of automatically.

But the nice thing about it is that it is it’s targeted for heavier users.

So if you’re a casual user or you have a small blog, this might not be for you.

The prices are a little bit higher than what people are accustomed to with traditional shared hosting, which is very inexpensive.

This, I believe, starts at like thirty dollars a month, which for managed WordPress hosting isn’t off the charts bad.

I don’t even that’s actually pretty reasonable now that I think about it.

OK, point is optimized for WordPress entirely great for speed, great for security availability.

The SLA, which is the service level agreement, includes 100 percent availability, which means you’re up all the time.

You get a dedicated special customer service and support branch.

So they’re just WordPress experts, they’re just experts in the cloud.

You don’t have to go through three layers of regular support to get to the specialists.

They shoot you straight into that.

It sounds like a really, you know, it’s a really great product.

There was there’s a lot of work done.

There was a lot of a lot of preparation.

They’re really proud of this.

And it was it was exciting to see the rollout.

So if anyone is curious, you can go over to and check out the cloud hosting because it’s it’s the jewel in the crown now.

Yeah, it looks really good.

It actually looks impressive.

I’m going to be trying it out a bit more.

I’ve done a little bit of tests, but it’s it’s been quite cool.

So there’s a lot.

They’re really targeting agencies and they’ve got a lot of agency offering.

So if you’ve got more than one website, like I think that the base offering can host up to five different websites.

So even at the base offering, you’ve got the opportunity to do multiple sites and still reap all the benefits of this really enterprise level service.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to delving in more.

But yeah, that’s all the news we have for this month.

Next month, if you’re in Brighton in the UK, I’ll be there attending with a few other Yoasties.

Giorgia, I think, is speaking as well, will be at your WordCamp Europe with bells on, I’m sure, which is in mid-June.

And also before all of that, in a few weeks, there’s a Yoast contributor day.

So if you want to contribute whatsoever towards WordPress Core, you can go in to contributor day itself.

And that’s on the 18th of April, which you’ll be able to find.

And lastly, the next SEO update with us will be on the 30th of April, because this is once monthly, this one, once monthly at the end last Tuesday, generally, isn’t it?

Last Tuesday.

So yeah, next month will be on the 30th of April, same time.

And we have 10 minutes for Q&A, as usual.

We still spare, there weren’t a lot of news items, but there was still enough to chat about.


So as you’ve seen, we have a very active chat, but we also have a very active Q&A.

So we have more questions lined up than we can possibly answer, but we’ll try our best and start with the most popular one, which is a question by Sarah Scott, asking, there’s a lot of talk about sites experiencing adverse effects from the rollout.

Are there sites that are benefiting from the rollout?

I’ve not seen any personally.

There’s not been a lot of win kind of posts around.

There have been, and it depends, well, I guess it depends.

I’ve seen any wins of people who’ve survived where everyone else has lost.

So you’ve kind of stayed even, but as a result of someone else’s decline visibility, you get increased visibility, but I kind of, it’s kind of half skewed data.

Have you seen anything around Carolyn?

I haven’t seen anyone report any wins that are comparable and opposite to the depths of the losses.

So I would say, I would say if you didn’t get hit, that’s about as happy as you can generally hope for.



If you’re staying the same, that’s a win.

If you’re keeping your head above water, you’re still swimming.

I hope that answers your question, Sarah.

So the next one, as a news SEO specialist, how important are ranked popular keywords or keyphrases to a news article, especially to a niche regional B2B website, Louisa asks.

I can answer this one.


So the thing with news SEO, oh, I’m making my monitor jiggle.

The thing with news SEO is you have about 48 to 72 hours for an article to rank and do well.

So it’s not really, that algorithm isn’t looking at particular topics and keyphrases that have been ranking traditionally very high for a long time.

It’s looking at what are people searching for right now.

So I would be more worried about what news is breaking right now, what news is trending right now, and make sure that you’re matching the phrases that are that Google’s favoring.

So let’s say there was a train wreck, which I know is horrible, but that’s one mind one.

Let’s say there was a train wreck.

You want to look and see what other articles, if any Google has, it’s ranking for that event.

And if you’re writing about it, if Google is favoring train crash over train wreck, that’s the phrase you want to use.

So you’re looking more at Google news and maybe Google trends for emerging breakout trends, then you are looking at anything that’s showing historical volume because the historical volume for breaking news is not really relevant.


That’s a very clear answer.

Thank you.

Kelsey asks, do the Google updates affect Google ads in any way?

We noticed a drop in paid traffic, but not organic.

I mean, they never say it, but I mean, you always hear these stories about how your ad spend on the site and magically organic rankings seem to also increase and vice versa.

But generally, no, they don’t affect ads.

It may be more because I’m not a PPC specialist.

It might be more of a quality rating in terms of the paid quality score that they give as well.

If you know more about that, Carolyn.

I don’t know more about it, unfortunately, but I was thinking what if with more people dropping off the organic page because they’ve been hit by the update, the price of getting the premium positions in paid has gone up and your bid isn’t as high as other people’s.

I mean, I feel like that could be possibly related.

I don’t know.

We’re not PPC specialists.

Yeah, I’ve learned last week there’s a whole different world that does nothing but PPC.

Yeah, and it’s very different.

No, SEO is for everyone, not PPC.

PPC is for everyone with big deep pockets.

Okay, so Mike asked moving towards less SEO real estate on the SERP.

What should we be focusing on?

Are the core of SEO strategies still important, like keyword research, technical optimization, producing quality EEAT content?

Yes, to all of those things.

Still crack on and do those things because if you are the most helpful result, you should deserve to be there.

Like I was saying before with Marcus Tober’s quote about there’s less real estate, which means it’s even more valuable.

It’s probably from my opinion, even more important to ensure that you’re doing those things, again, without going over the top and showing things for Google, which again, I think John Mueller has specifically said this week, don’t do stuff just to show us that you’re doing stuff because we’re going to figure out that you’re doing stuff for us, not for your user.

Just try not to think about the search engine, and then you might find yourself being more naturally helpful.

And make sure that you’re handling all of your technical SEO because making sure that the search engines can easily crawl and see all of your content is the biggest hurdle right there.

What kind of analogy do I want to use?

So cakes.

If you could have the most beautiful frosting on your cake, it could be a masterpiece, but if the inside tastes like styrofoam, it’s still a bad cake.

That’s right.


I’ve heard better analogies, but I think I get it.

Getting very hungry.

So Adi asked, could you share suggestions to overcome the hits to impressions due to the core updates?

It’s knocked off over 50% of impressions and there must be a way to offset.

My answer is, I’m sorry, I can’t answer that question today, maybe next month.

That sounds bad because you have taken a 50% hit, but as people from within Google are saying, wait until the core updates rolled out completely, which should be in the next week, and then decide what to do next because that means that all that data can then be talked about a bit more.

There’s a lot of people, including Lily, who we keep mentioning, but she’s even said, I’m not saying too much because it has not completed rolling out.

And then once all of that’s there and it can be evaluated in full, that’s maybe where you get a better stance.

But hopefully Adi, if you’re here next month, we’ll have a better answer for you.

And you can’t just look at your overall site traffic.

You have to isolate it to, you lost it from specific keywords, I would imagine.

So you need to identify that, identify the pages those were attached to, look at who benefited from the roll out and what they’re doing differently than you are.

There’s a lot of factors that go into it.

So it’s really difficult for us to offer a solution on such little information.


So would it be worth already reaching out to an SEO specialist for help or wait until the rollout is complete?

You might be able to get started just to start identifying where you think the pain points are.

But it’s not going to be a quick answer.


And if you want an SEO’s help, maybe you can look into looking for someone now, because by the time you’ve made your decision and picked someone, like the rollout should be complete and therefore in a better position.

But yeah, I would say don’t just go for anyone who go, oh yeah, I can sort it.

Anyone who claims that they can sort it now, never contact them again.

All right.

I think this is a related question by Carly.

What changes to site traffic would you deem as a result from the update?

A drop, a big drop.

A drop that doesn’t make sense for seasonal troughs as well.

And it puts the weekend or something like it’s something that you can sell after a week, maybe even less depending on your kind of site.

And you’re looking for the kind of drop, not like a gradual drop, it’ll be a cliff.

So if you see a cliff, I would say that’s an update related drop.

If you’ve been suffering from a gradual decline, that is probably not update related.

All right.

That’s a clear answer.

I think we have one more minute.

And I really like this question.

It is very much unrelated to most of what we’ve talked about today.

But it is interesting.

It’s a question by Timothy who says, is there a simple way for a neophyte to check if your site has been hacked and this is happening?

I would go to Google and do site colon and then your domain name.

So if your domain is, it would be site colon, no spaces.

See what comes up.

Go through all of the listings.

If there are more pages than you were anticipating, that could be a problem.

If there are pages you don’t recognize, that is 100% a problem.

If you’re selling Viagra and you didn’t know it, that’s a problem.

But that is a really quick way to see if Google’s indexing things on your site that you didn’t know about.


And there are security-based plugins out there.

Some which check the things.

Some which limit future occurrences.

And then there’s also CloudFlare as well which have their own layer away from the WordPress installation to handle some of these things like hacks or phishing.

Also, neophyte, great word.

I’ve learned a word today.

Scrabble player over there.

I was going to say.

I’m not playing with him.

I have to be fair.

As a non-native speaker, I had to Google it because I only know it as an artist.

But yeah, I did.

Anyway, that brings us to the full hour.

So I want to thank you again very, very much for sharing all your knowledge with us today.

We’ve had a very lively audience.

So thanks to everyone who joined us today, who participated in the chat, asked questions.

We couldn’t do this without you.

So see you again next month or maybe in one of the Intro to SEO webinars that happen bi-weekly, semi-monthly, every other week.

Hear something out.

But tomorrow for sure.

Thanks for having us.

And yeah, we’ll see you next month.


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Presented by

Carolyn Shelby

Carolyn is our Principal SEO. She leverages more than two decades of hands-on experience optimizing websites for maximum visibility and engagement. She specializes in enterprise and news SEO, and is passionate about demystifying the intricacies of search engine optimization for businesses of all sizes.

Alex Moss

Alex is our Principal SEO. With a background in technical SEO, he has been working in Search since its infancy and also has years of knowledge of WordPress, developing several plugins over the years. He is involved within many aspects of Yoast from product roadmap to content strategy.