More information continues to be revealed about Google’s Product Review Update. Ross and Scott review more about ChatGPT and SEO, plus a local SEO tip, and more thoughts from Google’s John Mueller.


Noteworthy links from this episode:


Ross: Hello, and welcome to SEO 101 on WMR.FM Episode number 446. This is Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and my co-host is my company’s Senior SEO, Scott Van Achte. 

Ross: All right! There has been a delay there. I apologize to our listeners. Pardon me. I started with getting COVID which took a lot out of me for about two weeks, and during that same time, we lost two family members and a tragedy. Not functional. Barely, but I cannot put it off any longer. 

We had to get a show today. Love you, guys! I want to make sure you keep listening and are still learning.

We are always trying to keep you on top of things—big thanks to Scott for putting together the list today for our show. Let us dive in!

Elementor WordPress Contact Form Plugin

Scott: We will start with the typical warning. If you have a WordPress website, keep everything updated regularly.

There is a vulnerability in Elementor, in a plugin for Elementor called MetForm Elementor Contact Form Builder. It affects about 200,000 websites and is an XSS vulnerability, which I looked up.

Usually, these vulnerabilities, and I do not know what this means, but it does not matter; update it. I guess it allows a hacker to come in and submit a script through the form, then run on the target Website and infect and cause problems for that Website’s visitors just by entering it through the contact form.

There will be more to it because I am not a hacker. I do not have to do it, but that does not sound good. It sounds nasty. 

Anyways, if you are on WordPress, you use Elementor, make sure everything is updated, the patches there, do the update, and you are good to go. All right. Simple. PSA.

February 2023 Product Reviews Update

Ross: Definitely, important stuff. More updates on the product reviews, update from Google. What has happened here?

Scott: We have the latest product review updated and wrapped up on March 7. That took about two weeks, and it is the same old product review updates we have been seeing.

They have mostly stayed the same other than their regular tweaking and all that stuff, but it is now impacting more languages – Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, or Polish, you are now affected by these updates. And, of course, English. 

So, as if I did not need to be said.

If you know your rankings have declined, Google notes that this does not mean you were penalized; they rewarded the other sites.

If your rankings dropped on a product review website, look at your competitors, and see what is happening and make sure you follow all the rules for making a high-quality product review site. There are a bunch of tips, and we have talked about them lots on the shows before. 

One line stands out and makes sense – Google says that they want to serve users with content that provides insightful analysis and original research.

That sums it all up, right? Original research; you need original research or good analysis to do well.

Ross: If you have a product review website, you need to be updated on this; I am amazed. I am sure you have dug into this deeply. If you have yet to make any strides, then keep searching. 

There is a lot of information out now because whenever there is a lot of money involved, product review websites make a lot of money for people.

There is much information online about some of its suppositions, but you will also find some good concrete findings.

So keep digging, and for any other interesting questions, as you have yet to find something, ask us.

We have connections, and we can always look into it. It is also interesting to us. It is always good to know that we might help a listener.

YouTube Updates Ad Policy To Allow More Profanity In Videos 

Scott: Oh, more profanity on YouTube. That made my day! It is loosely relevant, and I wanted to bring it up because I found an aspect of it that might be interesting. 

You are allowed more profanity in your YouTube videos now and still be able to have monetization set up for it.

Google is allowing you to swear more. They would go the other way, the way censorship seems to go sometimes. This is good. I do not know. 

They said they allow moderate profanity if your video contains mild profanity, such as anything lighter than an F-bomb.

I do not know. I do not have a list of classifications of profanity and which words are worse than others, and how you classify them.

I do not know if an F-bomb was considered the worst. It would not be, but I would not think so. But it sure seems like it. Who knows? They make it seem like they are. That could be anything worse than an F-bomb. 

Ross: Like, I do not know anyway specifies this.

Scott: That would be an exciting job, would it not? The profanity classified, maybe the censor people, and I do not know, who knows.

Ads are limited if you have strong profanity. So, if you have the F word in the first seven seconds of the video, that could be better, or if they repeat it throughout the Website, you may get some ads. However, you cannot monetize your videos with profanity in your titles or thumbnails. 

The main reason I brought it up is I have never really thought about profanity from an organic SEO perspective. It is because we have never worked with a single site with bad language on it.

After all, in most cases, it does not make sense, but then, it got me thinking it was Sitebulb, but I might be wrong. They are one of the tools in their change log.

Whenever they did a software update, they would swear like crazy, and they are like, “Oh, yeah, this effing thing was not working, so we need to update it!”. Was it Sitebulb? The crawler? Yeah, I think it was that it might have been even somebody. Oh, shut up! I need to read.

Ross: The risk far outweighs the benefits.

Scott: I believe it does.

Ross: Another way around. It was far more than we all loved reading them, and it was good for their whole look. Anyway, so I cut you off. Keep Going.

Scott: Oh, no, that is good. Maybe it helped them because it was almost linked, not, not linked. 

Maybe a little bit, but it drew people in and almost went viral, and who reads, reads a change log for a software update? So, sometimes, I will skim through it.

Those I read are because they were fun to read, but other than that, this is the first time we have had a client with language issues. 

If you publish YouTube videos on your site, and there is profanity in them, that might have negative SEO repercussions. For example, if you embed a video with lots of swearing on your homepage, Will it affect your ranking? Maybe? I do not know. 

I just put it out here because they care a little about this. So I would not be surprised if that can have an impact there.

Ross: A blog post is likelier to have that kind of profanity. That is probably page by page. That page may not rank as well.

So this is really written, and it is from a person who has a genuine attitude, that people like to read, and kind of similar to this eyeball thing, but it is honestly, like, it is going to create its cult following, so they will not even care.

Scott: Yeah, I was thinking of a good example. It might be the influencers out there.

There are a lot of them, and they say whatever they feel like saying. They are good or bad, and if they have a blogger website, which some probably do, I try not to follow them because it feels like a ridiculous industry to me.

It might affect them a little bit. I do not know, but I wanted to bring it out. Would you happen to know?


How to use ChatGPT for Keyword Research

Ross: Whoa, okay, so this is interesting. It is certainly up my alley.

How to use ChatGPT for keyword research? Now, again, thanks to Scott for getting all this together. I have not had a chance to look at any of this. I am still catching up on work. I will add some thoughts after, but I can fill in domain. What is this all about?

Scott: So this is it! That is a long article on Search Engine Land; if you have got to Search Engine Land, you will see it. It is there, and he, Tom DeMars, I might be pronouncing that wrong. I feel like I am, but it is, maybe DeMars. 

Anyway, sorry, Tom, if that is wrong. I do not know how we both could be wrong. They are easy names to say wrongly. 

Anyways, he has ideas and prompts to put into ChatGPT to try to do keyword research, and it is long. But unfortunately, I have yet to read a few good ideas of things you can do are good for building keyword clusters and generating seed keywords. 

So, for example, he used a pickleball. He said to generate a shortlist of broad pickleball keywords, giving him some keyword ideas; you do not just use those, but it gives you seed ideas that you can then dump into whether it is Semrush or whatever your keyword.

It is up into whatever your favorite keyword tool is, and get you started are using it for content ideas, trying to get good content ideas or article ideas, or one of the prompts he put in was “I am writing a book about pickleball, and I need chapter titles from my book.”, and then it spat out a whole bunch of potential chapter ideas. You could spin those into other headings or blog posts or whatever. He generated geo modifiers married with a target term. 

He had said something like create a list of the 25 most populated US cities and pickleball courts, and it said New York City pickleball courts, Chicago pickleball court, all that stuff sorted for him.

So, he knows that these are the top 25 cities sorted by population. 

You did not have to research that, and he goes on.

There are so many examples you could get lost in it, and it is one of those things that if you are struggling for ideas, go in there and type some stuff out. It is like brainstorming with a human.

You are going to get some bad ideas; you are going to get some good ideas, and you can use those queries to structure data and sort data, and we are just in the early days. It makes me wonder where we are going to be in. Ten years, but let’s be honest, a year. It is evolving so quickly.

Ross: It is. It is incredible and funny. I see some very vocal opponents to AI, and they are just like, people would do this for your SEO.

You are fools. You are going to fail. It is going to bite you in the butt. I will laugh at you at the end, like, “Whoa, dude, just chill,” but I am serious. People like that are crazy. It will have an effect. It will be near to impossible for Google to detect in no time. 

Comparing two people, we are discussing something other than thought leadership, as previously mentioned. That is not going to happen from an AI, and still waiting.

Anyway, when that happens, we are in real trouble. But, at this point, it is doing a phenomenal job of regurgitating what is already indexed and well-understood. 

But there are articles out there that are just amazing, ones from elitist Solis. It is on my reading list, but I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it, and how to use AI in SEO and how she’s using it all the time now, and a lot of really, like people I respect mentally are saying, I am all over this, and it is working like hot damp.

So, please don’t worry about being careful. We’re all about being careful about new tech and not throwing all your eggs in one basket, but by all means, have fun with it, try it out, test it on a few blog posts, and see how they perform. 

It is stunning what kind of content could come out of it, and there are some real leaders out there that are putting out new software, and it is a little hard to find out about them.

They are quiet, and I do not think they are being kept secrets. There is a lot of noise, but the good ones are out there.

So, give it a try. I am becoming less cautious about giving it a real go, and if I am, you should take a while to be; I am so careful. You never know what this stuff is.

Scott: Absolutely. You know, the other day, it was ChatGPT that I tried. It was one of the many ways to create an article for a client, get a potential piece, and see what it would look like. It did not go on their site, but I was playing around, and it spiraled into this article.

I do not know, 400 words or so, and I read it, and I thought if somebody gave this to me if Ross gave this to me and said, “Hey, I just wrote this article for so and so. Can you proofread it for me,” I would have no idea? AI has generated it. It was flawless.

I took it and ran it through one of the AI detection tools. I just did a Google search and found one at random. I do not have a preference at this point, and it said it was like 85% probability that AI has generated it, and it blew me away because it was like, it looked good to me, like excellent, and the detector, like instantly, like Yeah, no, that’s not by human and so.

I added a sentence in the middle, saying pickles are good at hamburgers. Then, in 1989, the US made it go on hamburgers law or something foolish and irrelevant, that’s an unrelated sentence, and suddenly it said it was like 95% probability written by a human.

Ross: Nothing to know, and tools out there have built-in that process of ensuring it can’t be detected. Suitable. I love it! It is fun! I am sorry for the content writers out there. This is going to be hurting.

Scott: or helping if they use it right.

Ross: Yeah, exactly.

Scott, They can do ten times as many articles if they utilize AI. Well, enough.

Ross: True. Very true. Okay, let’s take a quick break. We will discuss local SEO when we return and jump into some Mueller files.

Ross: Welcome back to SEO 101 on WMR.FM hosted by myself, Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and my company’s Senior SEOScott Van Achte.

Yes, I’ve seen this before. Darren Shaw pushed out a quick tip; Darren and Darren are great. He’s always got excellent advice on local SEO and suggests that you encourage your clients to add photos to reviews. He says pictures and reviews build customer trust, stay in the top 10 spots one to five, 1.5 to six times longer than those without photos, and get extra points for local guides.

It is an incentive for anyone to do it themselves. After that, you can only get anywhere.

Oh, my God, how many? You and I’ve been level seven for about a decade now.

Scott: Yeah, because I got to that point, I got to 5000 points, whatever level that is, and then the next stage is 15,000 points, I’ll get a triple of what I’ve done, and all these years, like, I’ll never get there. It is taking forever.

Ross: Yeah, anyways, it is still cool, and it is a benefit. I’ve heard an interesting tip, if you have people going to the office, you’ve got staff, they are coming to the office, have them take pictures of the front of the office every day. Not every one of them, but have them all rotate, and one of the A’s take a picture and add it to Google Photos. Seems ridiculous. It will be the same picture every time, different weather, whatever. 

Scott: Across the street, maybe you know from a different angle. Yeah, totally.

Can a Site with a Long History of Spamming Rank Again?

Ross: It is what Google likes to see activity, and it is going to take little time, and it is not going to make a world of difference, but it does make a difference that shows activity.

You can go for it. All right. This is a Mueller file, can a site with a long history of spamming rank again? This is a good one, and you wrote it down? You can go for it.

Scott: So on Twitter, John Willett asked John, and I want to know if that’s

Ross: That’s Willett.

Scott: You take all my fun out of it. Sorry. Let’s go on generally. I’ll learn how to read one of these days.

Ross: No, you are literate.

Scott: I need to be more literate. I’ll just be one out.

Ross: This is two Ls.

Scott: There are two Ls. John asked John. If you said we believe our domain, then he says the domain has a domain legacy penalty.

We bought this domain last year through an auction, and this is what he says and started some niche websites, but almost five months have passed. I need ranking on Google. Not a single keyword is ranking or anything. I’ve got a couple of comments on that. 

I looked at the Website, and I would have much to say if I were doing an audit.

There are other reasons you are not ranking, but let’s assume that it is because of the history of spamming, and John replied by looking at that domain has a long and complicated history.

It will be hard to convince search engines that it is very different and unrelated to what they did in the past decades.

I wanted to bring this up to do your research. 

If you are buying a domain, especially if you are buying one at auction, I do not know what John paid for his domain, but I am guessing if it was at an auction, it wasn’t, you know, $1.99 for the first year, 999 each additional year, right.

Do you buy a domain? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Whoever sold them that domain, you know, if you buy a domain like this, he might be stuck. He might be at the point where he has to give up and get another domain and start from scratch, and if the domain isn’t, It is okay.

It is not so good that I would spend weeks, months, and years trying to recover from past penalties.

Ross: And it is probably one of many he has anyway. He’s just whining about this particular one. Because if he buys and buys domains from auctions, he’s not an amateur. Typically. That’s true.

It is probably one of 600 ICS or something, knowing that kind of person often not; no offense, John, but that’s generally the market you are in.

Scott: It is interesting because many people could innocently buy a domain. It may be through something other than an auction. It is just through the register because somebody let it lapse because it was spam so bad and crashed and burned, and they start fresh, they think they are great, and then they find out this domain has years, long history of breaking the rules and being bad.

I feel like Google needs to look at these on a case-by-case basis. There should be an appeal process where you can submit and prove that that’s in the past. I have nothing to do with that. You know, give me a chance with this domain, and I do not think such a process exists. Otherwise, John would have a link to that.

Ross: Yeah. John probably felt more interested in something other than helping. It is not exactly a high-quality website, the one that’s there right now. If it was like a ton of effort that we put in, and it looks excellent and blows your mind, this is way better than anything there before, but I am with you.

It would be best if you did your homework before buying a domain. 

The internet’s been around a long time, and in internet years, even longer. So a lot has happened, and there have been a lot of silly things that’s gone on.

Sadly, these search engines have a long memory. They do. It is always good to do it because it is excellent. If you have a long-term, positive footprint, losing it is typically much harder, which is also good for everyone. 

Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us today. On behalf of myself, Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and my company’s Senior SEO, Scott Van Achte. We hope you have a wonderful week, and remember to tune in to future episodes, which air twice a month now. Then, we’re going to get back into it on WMR.FM.

Scott: But hey, thanks for listening, everybody.