Welcome to episode #66 of the SEO Newsletter by #SEOSLY!

Are you ready for some holiday cheer and the latest SEO news and tips? Well, you’re in luck because this is the special holiday edition of my weekly SEO newsletter!

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Watch last week’s live SEO news with David Kaufmann

Watch the replay of last Monday’s live SEO news discussion with David Kaufmann from SEOcrawl. Starting in February 2023, I will be hosting a live SEO news discussion every Monday. Stay tuned!

Top SEO News

Here is the most important news from the world of SEO from last week. A lot has been happening!

Google Helpful Content Update & Link Spam Update Still Making SERP Turbulence

The December 2022 helpful content update and link spam update are currently being implemented by Google. It appears that the helpful content update may require more time to fully take effect, as there has been some instability in the Google search results in recent weeks. Read more.

Google December 2022 Link Spam Update’s Impact

On Wednesday, December 14th, Google started implementing the December 2022 link spam update, which has reportedly had a significant impact on some sites according to various tracking tools and reports. It appears that this update has allowed Google to more effectively target links that it was previously unable to identify with other link algorithms. Read more.

Year in review 2022

John, Gary, and Lizzi wrap up 2022 by reflecting on projects, events, and past episodes of Search Off the Record. They discuss the most surprising aspect of 2022, updating Search documentation, and much more!

No upcoming Google Core Updates this year

John Mueller from the Google Search team has confirmed that there will be no more core updates for the remainder of the year, despite speculation and concerns from SEOs following the ongoing rollout of the Google December 2022 link spam update and helpful content update.

Interesting Google Experiments & Tests

Google Is Testing Displaying Local Business Profiles In Google Discover

Google is experimenting with incorporating local business profiles in its Discover feature. There is a new section called “mentioned in this article” which allows Google to display the local business listing of companies that are mentioned in the article.

Google Search testing search in video

Google is testing a “Search in video” feature that allows users to search for spoken words within a video, initially as a pilot in India but also potentially being tested in the United States. Read more.

New content for you from me

I’ve been busy producing new content for you. Here is what I have for you today.

#15: YouTube SEO Secrets & Tips With Paul Andre de Vera From SEO Video Show

Episode #15 of the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY features a special guest – Paul Andre de Vera who is best known for his awesome SEO Video Show. Paul was so kind as to share tons of YouTube SEO tips & tricks with me. He dropped thousands of SEO knowledge bombs.

#16: Entity SEO, Schema, & Knowledge Panels With Erin Sparks From Edge Of The Web Radio

Episode #16 of the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY features a special guest – Erin Sparks from the Edge of the Web Radio. Erin shares tons of tips on entity SEO and Schema.

#17: Enterprise SEO & Edge SEO With Nick Wilsdon (For Real Geeks Only)

Episode #17 of the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY features a special guest – Nick Wilsdon from Torque. Not only has Nick shared a ton of tips on enterprise SEO but he also geeked out a lot about edge SEO. You don’t want to miss that episode!

Other News

ChatGPT Caused ‘Code Red’ at Google, Report Says

According to a report by the New York Times, the development of ChatGPT, an AI chatbot created by OpenAI that can provide direct answers to a wide range of queries, has caused concern at Google. The chatbot gained widespread attention after going viral. Read more.

Google Retires Web Light Service for Faster-Loading Web Pages

Google has ended its use of Web Light, a service that provided faster-loading, lighter-weight versions of web pages to devices with lower speed or capabilities. The service had been in operation since 2015. Read more.

Microsoft to go fully live with new Bingbot user-agent change in January 2023

Microsoft has announced that it will fully transition to using its new BingBot user agent in January 2023, after testing it for several years. Fabrice Canel from Microsoft stated that the new BingBot will be responsible for all of Bing’s crawling activity from early January, and currently handles about 50% of crawls. Read more.

Top SEO Tips 

And here are the SEO tips for you.

#1: Ignore Spammy Links Even When A Whole Penalized Site Is Redirected To You

Google’s stance on link disavowal has been that it is not necessary since the release of Penguin 4.0, as links are neutralized and do not have a positive or negative impact on rankings. This applies even if someone redirects a site that has been penalized for spammy links to your site, according to Google’s John Mueller. In response to a question on Twitter, Mueller confirmed that the advice to ignore bad links also applies in this situation, simply stating “Yes.”

#2: Google: Our Search Algorithm Doesn’t Look At Words Per Section

Google’s John Mueller has clarified that the search ranking algorithm does not take into account the word count in different sections of a page, or the number of words per section. Mueller stated on Mastodon that this is not an SEO factor and added that while it may help with readability for users, it is not something that Google’s algorithms focus on. Read more.

#3: You Can Use A Single Robots.txt For All Your International Sites

Gary Illyes from Google mentioned on LinkedIn that it is technically possible to use a single robots.txt file for all international sites, although he did not recommend doing so. He stated that this could be implemented by hosting the robots.txt file on a CDN, such as “cdn.example/robots.txt”. Read more.

Don’t Miss These Resources

Here are the resources that will help you stay updated with the world of SEO.

Google Search News (Dec ‘22) – Search Essentials, ranking systems, and more!

SEO news recap by Barry Schwartz

Figuring out finicky 404s

In this episode of SEO Fairytales, Martin Splitt and Michael King, Founder of IPullRank, talk about a problem where Michael was uncovering why his client was experiencing a spike in soft 404s. Discover how a geo-specific inventory issue led to the soft 404s and how to avoid this in the future. Learn about leveraging log files, helpful tools, and ruling out potential causes like algorithm updates.

Curing crawling chaos

In this episode of SEO Fairytales, Martin Splitt and Crystal Carter, Head of SEO Communications at Wix, chat in-depth about technical SEO, specifically about an indexing challenge where no crawling tools could crawl the entirety of the site. Learn how Crystal solved her clients’ crawling issue with a complete overview of the steps she took, the various tools used, and how she plans to use proactive monitoring to prevent this crawling chaos in the future. Find out how she could identify where redirects were coming from, what issues that can arise from incomplete crawling, and more in this episode!

Don’t Miss These Articles

Here are the best articles about SEO I’ve selected for you this week.

The Best of Whiteboard Friday 2022

In 2021, Whiteboard Friday featured a variety of engaging episodes on topics such as link building, content engines, and even basketball. If you missed any of them, check out the top 10 episodes of the year. Read more.

How to analyze the impact of continuous scroll in Google’s desktop search results using Analytics Edge and the GSC API

In this tutorial, Glenn Gabe provides a step-by-step guide on how to use Analytics Edge in Excel to analyze the impact of Google’s continuous scroll feature on desktop search results. Continuous scroll was rolled out in desktop search results in December 2022, and allows users to easily access subsequent pages of search results without having to click through to the next page. The tutorial explains how to use Analytics Edge to export data from Google Search Console, compare it to a previous time period, filter it by position in the search results, and create separate worksheets for each page of search results. This allows site owners and SEOs to see the effect of continuous scroll on clicks, impressions, and click-through rate. Read more.

Should You Raise Your Rates and Only Take Paid Speaking Gigs? Not So Fast…

It is not necessarily a good idea to only take paid speaking gigs and raise your rates, according to an article on SparkToro. The article suggests that while paid gigs can be valuable, it is important to also consider the potential benefits of taking on unpaid speaking opportunities, such as the opportunity to build relationships and establish yourself as an expert in your field. The article advises considering the potential long-term value of an opportunity, rather than just its immediate financial return. Read the article.

December Link Spam Update: Generally Quiet, Clear Candidates

A link spam update was rolled-out in July 2021 and now the second has been announced. The update overlaps with the current helpful content update which makes it difficult to attribute to domains that are falling. However, there are already some candidates that can be seen. Read the article.

The ultimate 2022 Google updates round up

Summarizing the rumored and confirmed updates Google launched this year, their impact on page rankings and SEO strategy. Read the article.

2023 predictions for SEO, Growth and Tech

In this article, Kevin Indig makes several predictions for the year 2023 in the tech industry. He predicts that Google will launch a Chat GPT competitor, trained on search data, in order to demonstrate their AI capabilities and potentially become a platform for trained machine learning models. He also predicts that most SEOs will use at least one AI tool in their workflows by the end of 2023 and that AI content tools will speed up content creation and optimization work. In addition, Kevin predics that there will be more creator millionaires in the creator economy, which is estimated to be larger than the film industry, and that there will be fewer crypto millionaires after the crypto market downturn in 2022. Finally, the author predicts that Google will continue to prioritize privacy and that there will be a rise in “dark social” activity, with more people using encrypted messaging apps for communication. Read the article.

How to Do a Reverse Image Search (Desktop and Mobile)

This article discusses the process of conducting a reverse image search, which involves using an image as the basis for a search instead of keywords. It can provide information about the original size and other appearances of the image on the internet, as well as similar images. The article covers how to do a reverse image search on both desktop and mobile devices. Read the article.

How Google Autocomplete works

Google Autocomplete is a feature that generates predictions in the search box based on what users commonly search for. It helps users find information more quickly by providing suggestions before they finish typing their search query. The predictions are generated based on common searches and the context of the search being made. Google Autocomplete has evolved from providing “suggestions” to now generating “predictions” based on data and algorithms. Read the article.

Why SEO Pros Need To Master Prompts: The ChatGPT Revolution

Mastering the use of prompts and AI is important for SEO professionals to create personalized content and stay competitive in their field. Prompts are words, phrases, or questions entered into AI tools to generate results, and mastering the art of creating effective prompts, known as promptology, allows SEO experts to generate high-quality content that adheres to SEO recommendations and is relevant to their target audience. AIs, such as ChatGPT, can generate customized content using Large Language Models based on a user’s writing style, tone, and preferences. Read the article.

SEO Recap: PageRank

Moz has released exclusive internal webinar footage featuring Tom Capper discussing the topic of PageRank. The company values knowledge sharing and transparency, and the webinars were started as a way for employees to come together and learn while working remotely. Read the article.

The Year in Local Search 2022

In 2022, there were increases in fraudulent Google Business Profile and review activity, which led to chaos in the form of profile suspensions and disappearing Google reviews. Despite this, there were also positive developments in local search, such as Google Maps helping to fight crime and the addition of new attributes to Google Business Profile to make it more helpful for users. The article looks back at the year in local search and mentions the top trending recipe in New York. Read the article.

What is ChatGPT And How Can You Use It?

OpenAI has developed a long-form question-answering AI chatbot called ChatGPT, which is based on its GPT-3.5 model and is able to understand and respond to complex questions in a conversational manner. ChatGPT was trained on a large amount of data from the internet, including Reddit discussions, and also received human feedback through a technique called Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF) in order to understand what humans expect when asking a question. ChatGPT has received significant attention due to its ability to provide human-like responses and its potential to disrupt how humans interact with computers and access information. OpenAI is a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence company, with Microsoft as a partner and investor. Read the article on SEJ.

SEO Twitter nuggets

And before we end, here are a few Twitter nuggets for you. We don’t know if Twitter is going to be here in the future, so let’s use it while it still is here.


Thank you for reading my newsletter! I hope you found the information useful and informative. If you enjoyed this issue, be sure to check out the next one next week.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and I’m looking forward to bringing you more SEO insights and strategies in the new year.

I can help you with SEO.

Olga Zarr is an SEO consultant with 10+ years of experience. She has been doing SEO for both the biggest brands in the world and small businesses. She has done 200+ SEO audits so far. Olga has completed SEO courses and degrees at universities, such as UC Davis, University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University. She also completed Moz Academy! And, of course, has Google certifications. She keeps learning SEO and loves it. Olga is also a Google Product Expert specializing in areas, such as Google Search and Google Webmasters.