The SEO update by Yoast – November 2023 Edition


Here we are live with the November edition of our webinar.

Thanks everyone for joining.

Let’s start with a few little household things, remarks, because there is a very lively chat happening on the side of your screen.

I always forget which side, so I’ll point to both sides, but it’s actually just one of them.

We’d love to know where you’re joining us from.

So please let us know where you’re joining us from.

It’s always fun to see.

If you have a question, we have a designated Q&A section that is marked by the speech bubble with the question mark on the side.

It’s just below your chat option, and there you can ask all your questions and upvote the questions of others.

Because at the end of this webinar we will do a Q&A, and as always we’ll look at the most upvoted questions first and then pick the ones that we like best.

And last but not least, there is a big green button at the bottom.

I’m very sure where the bottom is, that’s this side, and it will give you some controls during the webinar.

So for example, when you click it right now, it says, “Sign up to get more information about our Black Friday sale, but more on that later.

So I think it is time to get started, and that means that I have to drag my notes onto the screen because I still can’t do this by heart.

But please, welcome to the very first edition of the SEO Update by Yoast.

If you’re now like, “Wait a second, aren’t you doing this every month?

Yes, we are, but this is the first time it has a new name, so The SEO Update by Yoast it is from now on.

My name is Taco, and I’m your emcee 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 long-standing background in digital marketing and SEO, focusing on news publishing online.

And next to her, you’ll find Alex.

And Alex is a man with many talents.

For years, he owned a bar.

Currently, he’s building a pet brand, is the director of a UK-based agency named FireCask, and is a Principal SEO at Yoast.

And together, they formed the dream team that will bring you this month’s SEO news.

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

Hello, hello.

Thanks for having us again up on Mainstage.

It’s nice to have a little rename as well, because after all, that’s what we discuss, right?

Updates over the month instead of you necessarily just learning something.

So, yeah, we’ve already talked about who we are, so why not cover what we’re going to discuss?

So we’ll go through SEO news, maybe not as busy as it was or scary as it was last month.

A little bit of AI news, because not too much has happened, except some guy called Sam’s been moving around companies.

And lastly, a bit of WordPress news and not before a bit of Yoast updates as well.

Then lastly, we’ll do the Q&A.

And of course, if you’ve got any questions, go into the Q&A tab on the right.

I don’t know which way.

It’s one of those ways.

And there’ll be a Q&A section where people can upvote and then we’ll answer as many as possible.

So, yeah, that’s done.

In the right sidebar, you can see we’ve got a little slide thing exactly where it is.

It’s just a chat with a question mark bubble in the end.

And as well as that, if everything we discussed today is going to be listed, all the links of all the stories and all the citations can be listed very nicely in this page, which is


And as well as that, not only do we have this video series, but we also have a webinar on how to start with SEO as well, which may be more helpful for either the more beginner level users or you’re just getting into SEO and want to do a little bit more learning.

Whereas here we discuss anything from basic all the way to advanced stuff.

So, yeah.

And lastly, I think there’s something called Black Friday on this week, isn’t there, Carolyn?

I think this little small thing that not a lot of people talk about, but I don’t know.

Have you heard of it?

I have heard of it.

Black Friday means I will be done with turkey cooking duties.

So I am I’m very much looking forward to that.

And then as soon as that’s over, it’s Christmas time soon.

So, yeah.

So let’s get cracking, shall we?

We have got quite a bit of SEO news.

So the first thing is there was a November core update right at the beginning of the month, wasn’t there?

Yet another one.

Three and three months, isn’t it?

Or, yeah, the third core update.

That’s not including all the other updates that we’ve been going over in the last month.

So, yeah, Carolyn, can you tell us more about your insights from the core updates specifically?

Well, my understanding is that first of all, there’s going to be more core updates and they’re not going to necessarily be announced.

They’re going to be released on a pretty regular rolling basis.

So we should expect to hear about more changes more frequently and less, maybe less seismic of an impact for this particular update.

My understanding is that Google focused on three different areas.

So content quality, user experience and mobile friendliness and maybe a little bit on that effect, the effect of those things on local SEO.

So for user experience and mobile friendliness, they’re looking for anything related to the smartphone because the smartphone environment is the environment that even the Google raters are using to make terminations about your website.

So the takeaway that everyone here should have is make sure that your mobile experience is solid, that the tap targets aren’t too close together.

Places that you can easily navigate to on your desktop should also be easily to navigate to on your smartphone.

Mobile environments aren’t always the same as the desktop, and it’s the mobile that Google cares about.

So please make sure that you’ve got that buttoned up.

Websites that provide users with seamless, responsive experiences are going to benefit from this adjustment.

They’re also looking at quality content and EEAT, you know, to help you out with the helpful content update, making sure that your content is quality and not fluff.

Answer questions, make sure that you’re providing value to the user.

Do not just write things to write things for keywords.

That’s old, deprecated tactics that we’re not going to even entertain anymore.

And I think that’s probably the most important takeaways, I think, from this core update.

Which is interesting, right?

Because that’s the same message that they’ve been giving the entire time.

You know, don’t abuse the algorithm for the love of all that is holy, just write for the user.

Consider the search engine, but write for the user and everything else should naturally follow and be helpful, right?

But yeah, it is interesting that they’ve done that many, which means that there’s a lot of refinements that the search team have to do over time.

But I like that.

I don’t like that there was one a year or one every six months, and people generally waited for that to happen and maybe even strategize what to do in time for it.

But this is this is a good thing, especially because it’s a big core update.

I just hope they’re not going to do one that they usually do, which is about the 19th of December and just ruins it for a lot of SEOs out there, right?

But yeah, I mean, as well as that, Google have been very, very busy.

So not only have they got the core update, they’ve got shopping deals.

So if you’re in the US and I think also if you’re on search labs, you can now see this.

So if it’s quite small on the screen, we’ll share the link to the original Google blog post that discusses this.

But what you can see in here is a way that people can shop deals inside of e-commerce on your mobile.

And there’s quite important stuff, I think, in this, even though, again, it’s advice that you probably get before this blog post was come out.

But it’s even more important to be a merchant center.

It’s even more important to get user generated reviews on products as well as your brand.

It’s even more important to get better pictures, not only so you can browse easier, but Google Lens uses on the big time.

Like a lot of normal folk, they’re using it right just to identify products as well as things around them.

But I think for me as a consumer as well, the most interesting thing is the price insights.

And that’s because I’m cheap when I’m a consumer.

I’m very price conscious and I will wait strategically for a time where something is its cheapest.

And that’s not necessarily Black Friday, because we’ve all been victim to an Amazon third party reseller, haven’t we, who raise it.

So let’s say something’s twenty five dollars.

They’ll raise it thirty five dollars and then give you a ten dollar discount on the day of Black Friday.

If you are an Amazon shopper and you do like a good deal, there is a great tool called Camel Camel Camel.

It’s free.

It gives you email updates if things go below a certain price.

And you can see just like Google are doing price insights.

But here I think it’s interesting if you’re a brand or your shop owner, maybe you should be thinking about consistency in prices, because if it goes up and down all the time, people may get wary and therefore wait until it goes down to the bottom.

And it’s also interesting over year on year, people might see the straight line and then a little bit for Black Friday and then come up again, then a little bit for Christmas time and then go up again.

And therefore people might strategically still like to plan ahead when they’re discussing what they should buy, especially Christmas.

Because I know back in the day, people I don’t know what it was like in America, but I know in England, some people didn’t care about receiving a present on Christmas Day.

That’s the day that they bought stuff because they knew that that’s when the sale started.

So everyone had the Christmas dinner.

And then in that time, you know, when you’re digesting and not wanting to speak to any of your family for an hour and you have that break, that’s the break.

I’d hate to be an e-commerce data dev person on Christmas Day.

Bless them.

They’ve got a lot of work cut out.

But it’s interesting that this now informs the habits of how people shop in general, isn’t it?

I mean, have you had any experience with price insights?

Do you do that kind of stuff yourself?

You know, I should.

My husband is into tracking prices and making sure that he’s buying at the best time.

But I found that especially with stores that I am a regular shopper at, if I follow the prices too closely, I will invariably buy something and then have the price drop within weeks of me buying it.

And then I’ll feel bad.

You know, it causes some some hurty feelings, and I would rather rather avoid that.

But I know my husband is very much into analyzing the trends and making sure that we are saving the most, you know, buying it just the right time.

So he’s got it’s like it’s like horse betting for him.

He’s just he’s got the charts and the spreadsheets and he’s he’s monitoring everything.

So anything I would say an e-commerce shop can do to make it easier for people and not hurt their feelings by dropping the prices after they finally pull the trigger is an excellent thing to do for shopping purposes.

It’s not it’s sometimes it’s not a lot like I’ll think for days about that ten dollars that I didn’t save.

I don’t know why.

I mean, it probably cost me more than ten dollars in time to research into the product.

It like damages your relationship with the brand.

If the brand is pulling sneaky pricing schemes to trick people into spending more money, you lose respect for the brand.

And I think ultimately it’s damaging for your relationship with them.

Yeah, definitely.

It’s but it’s very interesting because now you can see historic stuff.

And at the moment, well, not the moment, but up until near enough this point, people have just been shopping with no knowledge of price history of any product.

And the only thing you can do, I guess, is when you go into a supermarket and you can compare two super markets if you really are price conscious, which I know this year, I don’t know what it’s like where you are in America and in England, the cost of living.

They call it the cost of living crisis.

People in England have been that specific where people will shop at the three big supermarkets in the same day in order to save a few pounds, which is a bit sad.

The state of affairs in England, at least with the with cost, the cost of living.

But that’s what people do.

And it will make them even more conscious in the future.

So, yeah, that’s that’s really interesting to think about.

But that’s just shop deals.

As well as that, we’ve got the three pillars of search, which you may know more about.


There was there was a court case with DOJ.

They released some documents with lots of information about Google.

But one interesting thing is that they had this three pillars of ranking and what they deemed were the three big variables.


You’ve got the body, which is obviously, you know, the contents of the main thing and context and user interactions with the third one being quite important nowadays, isn’t it?

The third one is very important, but it’s I think the most interesting thing for me was that it confirmed that a lot of the things that, you know, good SEOs have been telling everyone all along have been accurate and they haven’t really changed that much.

Wrigh good content, because that’s in the body for the anchor text, you have to use the words that describe what Google is going to find at the other end of that link, which I think we were talking about this earlier.

A lot of people are still not doing that.

Your internal linking structure is your best opportunity to tell people and tell the search engines what different pages are and what those pages are about.

So using vague anchor text like read more or learn more or click here doesn’t really tell them what’s at the other end of that.

Even things like linking back to your home page with the word home, unless you build and sell homes.

That’s not super descriptive.

So just it was nice to get that reinforcement and that reassurance that these practices that we’ve been doing all along haven’t changed.

And they’re still very important for the user actions.

You know, we always knew why would Google track time on site, if they didn’t use it, why would they track all sorts of engagement metrics, if they’re not using them and it turns out they are using them.

So paying attention to that and not just, oh, this is extra numbers that I can put in my report is also I think it was just it was a nice confirmation that we weren’t crazy all these years.

And the things that we’ve been doing actually have been for the best.

Yeah, and I’m seeing some chatter in the chat about different questions.

So firstly, I know it’s not Q&A yet.

But yes, it does include both internal and external links, as in backlinks from external sites.

But you have way more control about internal links, you can do that quickly and shape that quickly.

They expect you to be very, very blunt about your internal links so you can be very, very keyword optimized on your internal links.

And I think what people are maybe getting confused about is not over optimization of your backlink profile, because that makes them think that you’re buying links.

Naturally, people that are linking to you don’t naturally link to you.

Let’s say you sell cell phones, they’re not going to link to Joe’s Cell Phone Shop with buy cell phones here, unless you incentivize them to put that link on their site.

And that’s where you start getting into weird patterns.

Strictly speaking about internal linking and self referential linking, feel free to over optimize those internal links as much as you like because those are controlled by you.

Those are owned.

Those don’t contribute to your backlink profile.

And there was another one about contextualism, which we were talking about.

So here, you actually have to change the anchor text to it’s something other than read more and from a search engine point of view, the answer is yes, but I as a human, I was explained if I want to learn about internal linking right.

If the sentence is you can, you can learn more about internal linking by reading more or clicking here as a human, I know exactly the context of what the anchor text is right because I know the words just before it just describe what the link is going to be.

But the search engine might be clever enough to maybe understand that but you kind of just need to spoon feed that little bit more and help out the algorithm not have to interpret what you’re trying to do.

Consider them another audience member that you need to write for.

And if the sentences to learn more about internal linking click here, you could say for more about, and then start your anchor internal linking click here you can have the click here be in the in the link if you want, but the internal linking that targeted anchor phrase is the one that you have to make sure you got in the link.

So there’s different ways to do it and it’s, it’s an art, it’s not necessarily a hard science, but keeping in mind that the robots are one of your audience members, I think will help you go a long way.

Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, we’ll go to the next slide, which is the November reviews update.

This is well not important but this is the last time that Google are actually going to confirm that there’s a specific update to the review system that kind of gives a message that they’re close to mastering all the updates related to it.

And the mainly it’s about getting rid of spam, increasing content that’s by actual people that isn’t abusive, and then therefore goes into your Google profile like being a local guide, the more that you contribute the more that you seem real with your profile in general not just Google reviews is going to be better.

And therefore over time there’ll be less abuse in the system.

So we’re starting out now.

So it started on the eighth.

And usually it takes two weeks and it should maybe have completed now but if not it’s going to be done this week.

But yeah, that being the last review rollout, it will now be part of larger updates and it will be included, say in a core update or something like that.

So when it comes to, impact on your own site.

Nothing necessarily directly SEO related but definitely marketing related right to get more reviews of your brand.

But yeah, so that was quite interesting that they said this is now the last one.

I’m perfectly happy for them to get all of this done, as far as reviews go, so that we can stop dealing with review spam and review scams and all of the other unpleasantries that come with the reviews.

I understand their value and I’m glad Google feels like they’re getting getting that dialed in.


Okay, so as well as that, even though the title is the same I’ve just realized it says November reviews update released.

This isn’t the title for the slide.

It should have said FAQ schema is on a comeback.

Not dead after all.

It wasn’t, it never was in the beginning.

I mean, if you want to get for anyone who doesn’t know much about the FAQ schema, it was taken away.

A few months ago from the SERPs.

Some people had a bit of a panic and thought that they would remove a load of FAQ snippets from their code.

We’ve both advised: don’t do that.

Keep it as it is all Google have done is take it away from the search result.

That’s it.

And funnily enough, Aleyda tweeted that she noticed that some sites have been going up.

And this is actual data from search console as well.

And on the right, I even tested it for yoast.


If anyone was to search XML sitemap right now, you’d see us in the organic, but you’d also see us in an FAQ snippet.

It seems to be pulled from the page so is it a mistake?

Is it a bug?

Google haven’t really commented on anything specifically.

But they’re still there.

And that was a test from only a few hours ago just before this.

I just wanted to make sure that it was still there.

I find it interesting that they took it away now they’re bringing it back.

Do you think it’s going to come back properly, or do you think this was an oopsie by Google.

No, I think it’ll come back properly.

I think there are a couple theories about why it got taken away in the first place.

Theory one that is always a solid standby, is we were abusing it so they took it away, because people were using abusing the FAQs and how-to schemas like nobody’s business.

So it’s possible they took it away to get us to calm down, put us all in a little collective timeout.

It’s also possible though that they were testing their SGE experience at the same time and they needed the real estate that the FAQs tend to take up on the SERPs.

So they might have taken it away temporarily so that they could move around their, their AI enhanced results and test them a little bit better without having so much competing on the page for for attention.

So, there’s a couple different things and both of them result in.

There’s nothing there that says they’re not going to give it back to us.

Yeah, and I also found it interesting that they’re maybe choosing the keyword sets to do it and that maybe it’s only really short tail or very specific.

Like this is about XML sitemaps, it’s not specific but it’s also specific.

So, I would want to have a few FAQs on that SERP as a user.

So maybe that’s what people want more, but just not for everything.

So people were putting FAQs and how-tos on things that they had absolutely no business, putting them on just to get those extra results.

I think if Google’s found a way to be a little bit more selective about when and where it shows that.

It’s going to improve the legitimate FAQs and how tos for everyone else and weed out the ones that were there just to take advantage of the, of the algorithm.

Yeah, and I mean, they took away events as well around the same time for the exact same thing, which because you’re being abused like crazy.

It was ridiculous, I saw sites where people were putting in events for every single thing that they wrote about.

Yes, I know you’re writing about an event but, honestly, Google doesn’t need to know that you’re covering a baseball game when there’s 500 games a day.

Yeah, exactly.

Well, they have to take it away because we’re not allowed nice things.

No, this is why we can’t have nice things.

Yeah, and it’s not helpful content, either, if you think about it.

I guess, segues on to Google, adding structured data support for schema on learning videos and courses.

So, if you’re in the educational sector in any way this is going to be great news for you.

But yeah, I did find it interesting that they took away events and FAQs because of abuse, and now they’ve added this.

I believe it does fall in line with what is helpful content because my opinion is educational content one of the best forms of content, and it’s not just thinking about video It’s not just thinking about text, is thinking about video as well.

And one would assume that it may not be abused as much as the other two were in the past, one can do an event.

Yeah, well, who can experiment with what, I guess.

I would worry that you’re going to get random social media influencers who are now suddenly instructors and the stuff that they put out is educational.

But, my hope is that there is a way that they can weed out what organization is genuinely putting out beneficial educational material, and which organizations are putting out self serving material that they’re labeling as educational.

Yeah, yeah, because I do think of facts versus opinion, and the phrase educate yourself.

So if you want to educate yourself, that’s not necessarily education, it’s more further reading I’d like to call it.

So it’s going to be interesting if and when Google start policing this and see how it’s abused again if it’s abused by other SEOs.

There’s a question: will recipe videos fall under the learning video structured data?

I don’t know that off the top of my head but the way you find out as you go to schema.

org, and you find the section that covers this particular type of item, and it will tell you what it’s a subset of and what’s the subset of it.

So if your recipes are in there, it will declare them to be either a subset of it or not.

I’m not sure if that’s the answer to the question and it was actually a question that was just put into international foodie who I’m assuming that is extremely relevant for you right.

But yeah, I know he’s thanking you which is cool.

But, there’s further reading international foodie if that’s your real name.

Afterwards, there’ll be a page with a list of everything for you as well.

The other weird one is Yahoo is making a comeback.

I mean it exited search.

It’s now entering.

I found this tweet from, when is it the 20th of January, this year,.

We’re just popping into remind everyone that we did search before it was cool, be right back making it cool again.

So, the fact that they’ve taken 11 months to even announce that something’s happening means it’s been planned well, but I’d be really interested to see if they’re going to be a disruptor of any kind.

Bing attempted it with AI and ChatGPT, and they didn’t quite take the monopoly they wanted.

I’m wondering what Yahoo is going to do.

There’s a lot of different theories it could just be that they’re positioning themselves to take advantage if Google gets in big trouble with the federal regulators.

I know there’s some pending lawsuits and there are big judgments coming down against them.

But if they get broken up for being a monopoly, you would need to have other entities already set up waiting to pounce for when that hammer falls.

Have they just been waiting all this time?

And maybe that’s the timing.

Yes, right?

I don’t even know if it’s waiting all this time.

I know, I don’t know how much I’m supposed to say.

I have sources that say that in the last year or so they have been just aggressively building out really rock star search talent within their organization, hoovering them up from all these other organizations.

So they have a significant investment in search that they’ve been building up over the past year.

I think they’re really serious about it.

Are they going to be successful?

I don’t know.

But they’re going to take a run at it and they’re really dedicated.

Good, good.

I was always a fan of Yahoo back in the day.

What was it called when you could review all the backlinks?

There was actually a name for it.

It wasn’t Site Explorer, was it?

It was Site Explorer.

I thought that was a Moz thing back in the day, but that was when they were both.

No, I think Moz stole it from Yahoo.

I’m not getting involved.

That’s political, isn’t it?

That was the best, that report.

And it just updated.

You got alerts as well, which was great.

But yeah, I’m really interested to see what Yahoo do.

Which probably around the same day, now Google is saying we’re prioritizing first hand knowledge, which I think is quite.

This is quite an evolution.

It was just a blog post, but I think this is quite big, right?

They kind of imply two different things, which we can discuss.

So the first one is you can follow topics or interests that you like.

This example is, if you like marathon running, you can follow marathon running and then you’re going to be served more personalized results right on the SERP and in discovery about marathon running, which makes sense.

The second one is Notes, where you can write notes right within the search result about that result, which can be more problematic.

But again, may go into the review system and EEAT of a Google profile.

So I’ve not seen any of this because, I’m in Europe.

Have you seen perspectives at least?

I’ve seen perspectives and I’ve noticed that there’s a lot more forum posts that are getting boosted.

So I was doing a search the other day comparing different super automatic espresso makers because I had no idea they were so expensive, but they are.

I was expecting to get a lot of made for written for Google, clearly articles, you know, 10 best coffee makers, blah, blah, blah.

But the majority of the page was articles.

I’m sorry, forum posts that where people in coffee groups specifically were comparing this exact model that I was looking at versus this other model I was looking at and giving tons of firsthand.

You know, this is what I use.

This is what I liked about it.

This is what I didn’t like about it.

I had to send it back to the factory to get the scale.

All of those things.

So I think this is going to be a boon for the forums.

This is great for Reddit.

This is great for Quora.

Yeah, I did find that more useful than reading some journalist regurgitating corporate, you know, documentation that came with that came with each free coffee maker they were given to test.

Yeah, it’s like if I want to, I find it annoying when I go on sites where I want to find out when a new TV series is airing.

Like, just give me the answer in the first paragraph, why do I have to scroll down to the bottom and the answer we know is obvious.

They want me to see the display ads, they want me to see all these affiliate.

Give me it’s not very helpful that but the content in it tells me everything I need to know about the show or whatever and the cast and producers.

Just give me the answer, because I’m asking a very specific question and this is where that may help.

So, a lot of the publications are looking at the questions people ask, and writing articles specifically to answer those questions.

The problem is they’re not actually answering the question.

They’re just using that in the headline and then they’re repeating the question but they never actually answered because they probably don’t know the answer.

So, I was trying to find out what time.

I like to watch Gilded Age, which is, a period drama and I’m into that.

I didn’t know what time it was released on the streaming service though so I was trying to you know what time does Gilded Age start, and then today’s day.

I got big companies, big publications the answers with what time does you know does it start perfectly marrying what my question was.

I read the whole article, not once did they say what time it aired, not once.

Everything else I could possibly want to know still doesn’t tell me what time it airs.

It’s as though the search engine right.

I don’t know if that’s a search engines fault directly, but it’s certainly.

It’s certainly not helpful.

Some of the rules.

So I, there are questions that we just want answers to and we don’t want to have to wade through a bunch of unnecessary fluff.

And if we can get it from, you know these firsthand accounts or specifically like you know people on Reddit that are that are reviewing things.

I just want the information, I just want to know a coffee maker to buy.

I actually shared in the chat there was a tweet by another SEO consultant called Will O’Hara.

He, he gave some interesting insight over the visibility increases using Sistrix of forums within domains and they were all going up since all of these updates which I find very interesting and it was probably a preamble, Reddit was the preamble right to that.

And I read it, but they are the forum, the internet essentially.

So it’s interesting and it is all firsthand knowledge from Reddit as well.

So, I now get how helpful is it, but it’s helpful probably to the masses but not to others, but still.

Yeah, I would say Quora’s got some sort of incentive program where they pay people to generate content and a lot of the generated content is not actually helpful.

Oh, I didn’t even know that they did that.

That’s not very natural is it?

No, it’s not natural at all.

And you can tell by the way things are phrased and the answers that they give like they’ll say something really salacious and they’ll say see my comment for the answer.

And then the first comment is a link to an article that also doesn’t have the answer and none of it has the answers.

It’s a time suck.

That is annoying, but the notes part might be problematic as well for some brands, won’t they so if you sell trainers or shoes, a competitor can easily add a note going, these shoes are terrible.

You know, it’d be interesting to see how that’s abused because it’s not if, it will get abused by people.

That’s going to be the new cottage industry on Fiverr.

Well yeah, exactly.

But then, does that mean that it’s going to get harder to actually produce notes that have actual value, if you’re only doing it strategically and you’re not a normal user just talking about an experience.

And whilst I know that there are people who only go on to do bad reviews, because when you have a good time what not always you have to have a really really good time to write about.

Stop it.

I feel like I do that.


No, I do that.

If I have, well actually I don’t write anything anymore because I know, because I used to own a bar as Taco said, so I also know as a small business owner, how damaging it can be.

I remember getting a one star rating on TripAdvisor, because someone was too close to a dog in a dog friendly bar.

But the funny thing was in the actual review was like great drinks good prices good ambience, dog was 20 meters away one star.

That wasn’t helpful.

But weirdly enough as a small business.

We told some regulars about this one star going, why is this person doing this, and they actually started giving us five stars, because they were regulars and they enjoyed going there and that was their experience.

The one star got removed because it was abusive and wasn’t relevant.

Then we actually ended up with better rating than we did before the bad review.

I found it interesting though because it did get removed, even though it was a legitimate review, but didn’t constitute, maybe being a one star.

So that’s the problem with people’s opinions on things like notes and UGC.

It’s going to be an interesting one to police.

We also found that these notes will get indexed as well, which is really interesting maybe that was something they didn’t consider, or maybe it ‘s something they want to consider.

But connecting that to knowledge graphs you’re going to be really good.

So if I’m actually a real person I’ve had a Google account for, I don’t even know how long now.

I don’t even know that I’m legit compared to someone who created a account last week but somehow has more reviews than I’ve been able to populate in that amount of time of 15 years.

Yeah, it’s crazy, but right, we’re done with SEO news, time for AI news.

There’s not too much happened this month in terms of technology anyway right so on the ninth of November, Sam Altman’s announced that there was Custom GPT is out there.

And now you can make your own GPTs based on OpenAIs foundation, which I have not done too much experimentation I don’t know if you have.

There’s one out there that I’ve seen GA for SQL which is very specific to if you’re doing SQL commands with BigQuery and GA for which may be a handful of you at least in here my, my, find this helpful.

But again, there’ll be a link in the main thing but that was quite interesting that people, want to create their own anyway and this is going to be really easy.

Do you think that’s going to change the way in which people use ChatGPT instead of just going to the default one there’s going to be hundreds, like, there’s going to be a movie GPT, where they know everything just about that like movie industry for example and gives you better, better context than what the regular out of the box ChatGPT would do.

I think it’s a great idea I think there’s got to be a way to monetize that, or it’s not going to.

I don’t know that people are going to spend the time to create these custom GPT is because it takes a long time to teach them, and to feed them all the documentation that they need to to be really good at what they’re doing.

Why would you, why would you spend all that time building something and then give it away free.

So it’s.

I don’t know what the quality of the free ones is going to be, I guess that’s what I’m saying.

I have not yet played with these.

I did find an article that I don’t know that we have listed anywhere but I can drop it in the chat that just explains what what the custom GPT builders are so that if you don’t know what you’re doing.

You can see, you can read about that.

Because I plan on reading about that later.

I’m going to yeah it’s gonna be interesting because I’m sure there’ll be lots of abuse on that as well.

I also wonder what OpenAIs long term strategy is.

Now they’re losing half of their employees everybody’s getting scooped up by other companies.

It’s crazy I, there was so much happening that I’ve now stopped.

It became too much, and now got to a point where I wonder whether this is one big AI script and Sam’s just connected it to something and says, just do doomsday tweets and make everyone but it’s actually real, it’s actually happening and I can’t wait for Aaron Sorkin’s dramatization in a few years of what just happened.

Which will be interesting.

It’s got to be Aaron Sorkin right he loves this kind of stuff.

But yeah, that was pretty much the only AI stuff that’s kind of happened in terms of how we use it anyway.

But other than that, the only other AI news is Bing have kind of announced that they are experimenting with using AI to replace snippets.

And that can be both either your title or your meta description, which I think is quite I know Google’s been doing it for a while with title tags, they’re they’re changing it to what they deem more relevant for the user, even though I disagree with the output of those changes, but it’d be interesting to see how much they do it, how often it happens.

I know it’s just an experiment in the US probably just for Barry right now to have a look and talk about.

But it’d be interesting to see how much things have changed and how good the AI is and how if it’s going to increase CTR, because my assumption is if you’re Bing, and you’ve got one major one made by human one made by Bing’s AI, you should be a be testing that internally which one’s more successful and if the AI one is on CTR, then maybe adopt that and inform the webmaster maybe even to change it, you know, to make it better, based on their own tests, but I’m curious to see how much that will get embedded into Bing itself, because I’m assuming it might I imagine once it rolls out more broadly there will be people that are setting up ways to track.

You know, like you said how often it happens what the what the result is if the keywords that the article ranks for different or if it generates new snippets based on the keywords that are searched for to kind of better fit the initial question.

But I just, I haven’t heard about anyone having tests yet I assume that will be that will follow quickly, once it’s a little bit more widely deployed.

Yeah, I mean I’m personally I’m not a fan, I would rather use AI, like our own Yoast AI stuff and title and metas and I’m still, I’m still fact checking or being the human approval system, and not just giving into whatever Bing tells me should be there, based on what what its own its own opinion.

So, but I don’t think it’s supposed to use its own opinion I think it’s supposed to, it probably functions like some of the other tools to where it actually reads the content and just generates something that it thinks is more interesting based on the content.

I would hope it’s not making stuff up, but you never know these things.

That’s all the AI news.

There’s only one bit of WordPress news which is 6.4 has been released well technically 6.4.1 is now out.

But yeah, there’s been lots of updates on it, including a new theme 2024, even though it’s not 2024 yet but we’ll plan ahead.

Yeah, we’re nearly there, we’re nearly there.

It’s got 35 templates and patterns which is good to mess around with.

90 enhancements, you know there’s lots of that stuff I think they’re over 50 or 100 or something like that, but all these mini enhancements that get done that’s not worth speaking about now, but on our page there’ll be a link to the actual announcement that lists everything in detail goes to the core track issues as well.

Yeah, it’s got lots of stuff not just performance but the way in which create content, there’s a little bit more of a easier workflow and easier for a novice user, which will be a bit more convenient also for an advanced user.

It’s got stuff to go through to create and filter patterns better and categorize them, which is good.

6.4.1 was released just two days after and fixed a few bugs in 6.4 but definitely there were improvements.

Because of how many sites WordPress is running it actually makes a big difference on say, on the environment.

Right, you can even remove three lines of code doesn’t sound big but remove three lines of code from 10s of millions of websites and you have a bit of a good dense in there.

It’s interesting to see those small but impactful changes.

But yeah, it’s quite cool.

I’ve not had a mess with 2024 yet but I will be next week.

And lastly, we’ve got your product news which you can tell us more about Carolyn.

What I’m understanding is that I am authorized to discuss this.

We have are going to advance it one more.

There we go.

So, the AI functionality that all of our Premium users have been enjoying is going to stay it’s permanent it’s here for everyone.

We’ve also added it to the WooCommerce SEO plugin so if you have Yoast SEO Premium, and you have the WooCommerce SEO add on for, for Yoast you will also have the AI enhancement that will let you AI rewrite your titles and your descriptions for your products.

So instead of having to go through all of your products and think of interesting titles and interesting descriptions for each one of them.

You can ask the AI to give you a hand which should make your load a little bit easier this holiday season.

Oh, that’s good.

Always a bit of time saving right, which I guess is a great little thing of Yoast.

We start to go a little crazy when you have a ton of a ton of items that are kind of similar, because you feel like you’re writing the same thing over and over again and sometimes you write it so often that just the words stop making sense so having that, that little AI boost to help you come up with variations to make things interesting and spice it up, if not for the user for your own sanity.

Yeah, I like it.

I like it is good.

Yeah, when you do, if you’re selling if you say if your clothes brand right you can only write about t shirts so many times can’t you.

But yeah, it’s really helpful.

That’s pretty much all the news.

So yeah, wrap that up quite well.

Don’t forget there’s a Black Friday sale, which is yoast.

com/black-friday, which you can take advantage of.

And, and yeah, and lastly, the next SEO update by yours truly and hers truly.

We’ll try not to give you a hey, there was a core update 24 hours ago kind of kind of update but we’ll be doing you can have a nice Christmas or any other holiday that you sell rating kind of great, can’t you.

So yeah, definitely register now.

There’s a nice little green button at the bottom over there.

And yeah, now we’ve got Q&A’s.

There’s a lot of them on the tackle.

Yes, that’s correct.

There, there definitely are a lot of questions.

And the most important one is actually a really good question by Larry Hilton.

And Larry asks you say right for the user, but minimize fluff, but the Yoast SEO tool places emphasis on word count.

What to do?

Have more to say that’s interesting about the topic.

I wouldn’t fixate too much on word count, but you do want to make sure that you have enough to say to fill up a page.

If you don’t have enough to say to fill up a page, maybe consider making that particular answer or that thing that you’re writing a subsection of a bigger page that talks that covers the topic a little bit more in depth.

Because you have to tell the user something you have to answer a question.

If you have literally nothing to say just writing, you know, the fat cat sat on a mat 12 different ways is not, it’s filling up the word count, but it’s not adding anything to the user’s life.

Write words that are going to add meaning to the user’s life.

Yeah, from me, I weirdly if I can’t, well I’m terrible at writing personally, but what I do is, I’m good at talking, as you can see right so what I do is I dictate stuff to myself, I use Mac’s own, you know, text to speech to text, and I talk about it.

And then I wait a little while at half an hour and then I go back and I read what I said.

When you speak, you’re saying more words because of the natural language and the way that you talk, and that might actually not pad out the way in which talking about it, but when you talk about something it’s different how you talk to yourself and then put that in fingers to a keyboard kind of thing so that that ‘s one thing I like to help myself with.


Thank you very much.

The next most upvoted question was by Miriam.

And she asked, Can we expect our search results to drop for general informative content with Google prioritizing firsthand knowledge.

I wouldn’t say so.

The fact that they’re even already calling it an experiment means they can just pull it any moment if it doesn’t work.

And they’re definitely going to tread extremely lightly.

If those notes have an impact on organic search results.

My belief is what they’ll do is they won’t harm it.

But it may harm CTR, if what’s in those notes, puts people off.

So, I’d worry more about CTR than your ranking of that keyword for that position.

You could also, just as a preemptive move, make sure that your general information is maybe contains quotes from people that have firsthand knowledge.

So if you don’t have the firsthand knowledge yourself, find someone to add, add a comment to your article and quote them.

Say, you know, so and so who’s been a user of the the Phillips 5400 super espresso maker for 10 years says, and then add that in.

So just that would be useful to the user, even if it’s just a general information article, and it would be helpful to help Google see that you are providing some firsthand knowledge to.

So maybe just as a hedge against something else happening.



Thank you.

And immediately I thank you in the chat as well.

Ken Roy, who fortunately managed to fix the issues by switching browser today.

Also asked a question that we haven’t seen in a while.

How do you go about getting quality backlinks.

Well, the answer is probably going to be the same right, get it from a relevant and helpful source.

If you’re talking about this espresso maker, you don’t really want a link saying kitchen appliance from a dentist forum right, it’s not, it’s not relevant.

It’s not helpful.

It’s not going to help anyone it won’t help your domain because Google knows that that’s a dentist forum it has relevancy on that.

So you want to go to espresso publishers of any kind or local shops that talk about electronics or kitchen appliances anything that’s like that and in context.

Join some forums, and I know we usually say forum spam is bad it’s not spam if you’re like, if it’s a forum that’s relevant and applicable to your topic, and you’re actively positively you know, contributing that was the word I was looking for oh my gosh, contributing to that to that forum so if you’re a regular contributor, and you say oh hey, by the way, I wrote this thing.

Here’s my link that link is going to help you it’s going to count and it’s probably going to make other people’s lives better because you’re providing useful information.

So that’s one way to do it.

The other things that you can do are things that we’ve all done all along.

If you have a local business, join the Chamber of Commerce make sure the Chamber of Commerce has your URL and that they put it on their website.

If you’re a local business and you sponsor a baseball team or a soccer team, make sure that they’ve got your URL and that they put you on their website as a sponsor.

There’s there’s lots of things you can do.

Press releases still work.

I hold outreach I don’t know maybe not so much, but you know syndication still works.

There are a lot of things that have worked all along that continue to work just make sure that you’re seeking out contextually relevant back links.

Yeah, and make them varied as well if you’re getting backlinks from external sites.

If you’re a hairdresser in New York, you don’t just want your only anchor text to be hairdresser in New York, it has to be your name.

Yeah, has to be your name.

Your name or your URL.

Yeah, and that’s the best way to get the most relevant ones and the more of a chance that you don’t try and gain what that anchor text is the more of a chance that you’ll probably get the link, and it will seem more natural as well.

This is why you want your target keyword phrase to be in your name or in your URL because then they have to link to it with the good anchor text and it’s legal.

Someone changed the name to something that they were so that they could.

There’s a restaurant Thai restaurant near me.

Yes, amazing I love it.

I love it.

It’s brilliant.

Yeah, there was something with Reddit in its name as well.

I think it was in news earlier this week.

They kind of did the same.

I did to the business name that was it.

You need to do, but don’t do that.

Ken, don’t do that.

Be natural.

And don’t go to websites that offer you, God knows how many backlinks for a couple bucks, because none of them are quality backlinks.

All right.

I just had to say it because you know, you have to.

It’s bad.

I’m going to skip down a few questions: Is it good to use 410 HTTP status code for intentional deleted content.

I believe that is the standard practice.


This is something that maybe should be there but isn’t maybe something went wrong for 410 is definitely not coming back ever.

That’s it.

Yeah, it’s like, I deleted this guy specifically squish.


And when would you use it 410 instead of a redirect to something other relevant on your site.

When you don’t have something relevant.


It’s been it’s been used a lot more since the helpful content updates, instead of just creating 404 or 301 and people also don’t just want a load of 301 is just all of sudden appearing or going to this one page because that’s clearly content pruning and it’s not necessarily the best thing you want to do.

Unless of course Analytics or Search Console says otherwise, and that it’s actually a really good page and it seems to be ranking, maybe not for the most relevant thing.

That’s when maybe a redirect could happen.

But other than that, if it’s just bad content that you don’t that you’re deprecating 410 is, is the best way of doing that.

All right.

That’s clear.

Thank you very much.

We have a few minutes left so I’ll pick a few questions and also has a nice question.

Does chat bots on our website also have to do with SEO, or is it not necessary to prioritize.

Because content is not indexed so no it really won’t, it shouldn’t affect your SEO either way.

No, at most it might hinder performance if you’ve got a terrible chat bot but other than that, I mean it’s just one script.

And it’s great depending on your business it’s great for that initial engagement and getting a few things through like a funnel.

So when that person still needs a human that there can still be someone there, but 80% of the time if they actually get the answer that they need from the chat bot.

That’s great.

And now we’re coming to a point where people don’t get annoyed that they’re talking to a robot, because they know how advanced they are now, like, sometimes people want, oh good I’m not dealing with a human they’re actually going to answer me immediately because there’s a machine, and they’ll get the answer and carry on so I would say it’s helpful but not to don’t think about SEO at all when it comes to chat bots That’s more of a customer service acquisition kind of thing for you.

And then, in the last minute we have a final question.

That is a question by Anna, who asks, does a person have to visit a place in order to give a valued Google review.

I think, morally, yes, but in reality I don’t think they can really tell.

I think it’s more, it’s more what is your history as a Google reviewer or what does Google know about you and does Google trust you as a person.

So if Google knows that you leave reviews on places all over the world in very quick succession.

And you don’t have much of a history they’re going to go, I don’t know how much I trust this guy this doesn’t sound legitimate.

But if you’ve had an account for 15 years, and you don’t leave many reviews at all.

That’s more likely to be considered probably valid I don’t think this person would all of a sudden start leaving scam reviews out of the blue because this is a, you know, 40 year old lady who likes to travel.

But then there’s another side of the argument right we can people can review Yoast, but I don’t think many customers have visited Yoast HQ.

Right, so you’ve got that, you’ve got that thing of there are many bit like I’ve got in my agency I’ve got clients who never met some of them.

But I could technically, I could technically write a review on any supplier or anything like that I could write about IKEA, even though I’ve only ordered online and never physically visited.

But on the other hand, they’ll get Google will probably suss that out over the years because it has a location history all of that kind of stuff so.

I know not right now but we might be saying something else in November 2024.

Alright, so with that, I think the only thing that we have to add to this is if you’re in Wijchen and you love bringing us chocolate you’re always welcome.

With that we’ve reached the end of the first SEO update by Yoast.

We will continue doing this every month from now on, so we’ll see you again in December.

The green button at the bottom allows you to sign up for the next one immediately.

And we hope to welcome you on our website somewhere in the next few days because there’s something Black Friday going on.

So there’s an interesting discount happening on

So see you on the website this weekend and see you again in the webinar next month.

Cool, see you soon.


Topics & sources

SEO news

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Presented by

Carolyn Shelby, Principal SEO at Yoast

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, Principal SEO at Yoast

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.