Bing went there and compared AI sizes with Google. After some snickering, Ross and Scott discuss the new changes to dot AI as a top level domain vs a country code domain, Google’s mobile first indexing, and how to use ChatGPT for schema markup creation.
Noteworthy links from this episode:
- SMX Advanced kicks off in two weeks
- Search Engine Land Chatbot
- Introducing Microsoft Fabric: Data analytics for the era of AI
- Bing CEO: Google Bard Uses A Much Smaller Model Than Bing Chat
- Google: Allow GoogleBot To Bypass Age Gate On Adult Content
- Local Landing Pages: A Strategy For Ranking Local Search Terms
Ross: Hello, and welcome to SEO 101 on WMR.FM Episode number 451. This is Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and my co-host is my company’s Senior SEO, Scott Van Achte. Oh, it’s hump day. How’s your day going?
Scott: My day is going well, I guess I don’t know. Busy. Good. I’ll just say it’s a good day. It’s a good day.
Ross: It’s my meetings day. So, it’s a bit exhausting. By the end of the day, I’m like, “Okay, done. Thank God!”
Scott: Well, that just means you’re a few hours away from cracking a nice bottle of wine and sitting out on the deck or whatever.
Ross: I wish. I’m going for a workout, but that’s okay. That will feel good, too.
Scott: That is the opposite of what I just recommended.
Ross: Yeah, but you know, after sitting this long, it does feel good. Okay, so let’s jump into some quick sort of SEO News. Mind you take it?
Scott: Yeah. So the first one, just a little reminder, if you’re interested in SMX Advanced, it kicks off in two weeks from today, which is actually when we record our next episode of the show.
Ross: What is it? Another one?
Scott: SMX Advanced, the SEO Conference.
Ross: Well, people don’t know what that is.
Scott: Oh, okay. Well, let’s get into more detail. It’s an online conference that will teach you all the advanced stuff of SEO. So, it used to be an in-person conference.
Now it’s all online videos, seminars, and lectures and all that stuff, talking about everything SEO. I haven’t actually looked at the schedule to know what they’re talking about, but it’s going to be the usual stuff, there’s going to be a lot of AI chat, I’m sure, there’s going to be a lot of talk about Google Analytics 4, most likely, but there’s probably going to be a lot of that, a lot of stuff about that.
But they also have sessions on pay per click, and organic SEO, and I think they do some social media, seminars, or sessions, sometimes just all things SEO.
No matter who you are, if you are a website owner, business owner, you will find some value there, especially now that it is free. This is the second year they had it for free. So, I guess thanks, COVID for that, because it was very expensive before.
Ross: It was custom meant to get in there but it was really the only one that I went to that I found worthwhile as an SEO because I actually was challenged with new ideas, which was I came back going crazy and bugging the hell out of Scotland. What! We’re going to do this! we’re going to do this!
Scott: Yeah, and I would just be like, “I’ve got other stuff to do. I’m a busy man, leave me alone!” Not exactly, but now it’s great because it’s free. You can go and just pick up a couple sessions that interest you, and you don’t feel guilty about missing other stuff, right?
Whereas when you’re paying a couple grand, you have to sit through every single one, whether you want to or not, because you got to get your money’s worth, and you’ll learn something from all of them, anyways.
Ross: It is advanced, though. They’re not going to be shy about that, they’re not going to go back to the basics on any of this stuff. It’s meant for people who are already in the industry.
So, I don’t think that means you shouldn’t try it. If you’re fairly new, just understand that you don’t, you’ll really want to be careful which program you pick. There’ll be some that aren’t extremely advanced but the idea here is to push the envelope and show off your skills as an SEO or, in this case, it’s search marketing.
So, it could be another thing: pay per click, all that stuff. It’s going to be really interesting and if you don’t go, if you’re fairly new to all this stuff, suggest it to your SEO or your tech person in house, maybe they can learn something from it.
There are other conferences as well throughout the year that are also online and free, or very inexpensive that will perfectly suit anyone who’s starting out. This just happens to be, I think really one of the only ones in the whole year that are really just targeted for advanced users.
That’s pretty cool!
Scott: So check it out! The link for registration will be in the show notes or you can find it easily if you go to searchengineland.com. They’ve got links all over the place right now for it.
Ross: Yeah. And this next bit, you’ve got to take, I want to take it but you got to take it. It’s just too funny. You found the example here.
Scott: So it was on Search Engine Land, and just today, Search Engine Land launched their Beta Chatbot. It is being dubbed as the first AI chat bot for search marketers and I wasn’t necessarily going to talk about it until I did a test and then I thought “no”, I have to talk about it.
I’ll just preface this with anything you do, not only with this, all the AI chat bots, all of that stuff.
If you’re looking for any information, you’re trying to get code generated, you’re building content, check over it first before you do anything with it, before you take it as truth because I just did a really simple query, I said, “What happened during the last Google update?”
You know, fairly simple; I thought maybe they’d pick something from maybe the reviews update or something in the last few weeks and search by gave me a whole bunch of stuff. I won’t read what search bot says but it references Panda and Penguin and stuff that goes back a long time.
It says it’s not a normal update, like Panda related to Panda and then it talks about how it affected major news publications and all this kind of stuff, and I thought, “What? Was there a news update recently? I didn’t even know about this one.”
Okay, this is good. This chatbot is working for me. So, then I just asked to follow up. I said, “When was that update?” And search bot said, First of all, I’m glad that it connected my previous message to my request. That was good and it said, “The update in question was reported to have taken place Thursday, December 13th, 2012.” So yeah, there wasn’t a news update. Well, that was just 11 years ago.
So, if I hadn’t asked that, if I hadn’t followed that up. I mean, I guess in my case, I would have figured it out pretty quick but somebody might have been like, “Oh, there’s a big news update going on. We need to read. You might dive into it.”
But obviously I don’t need to do that. So, a great example! Everything’s a grain of salt with AI right now and Search Engine Land does say it is Beta, and you know, I’m not trying to come down on them as saying, “Your chatbot sucks!” I’m just saying, if you use chat bots, be cautious because they’re all going to be wrong from time to time, or maybe more often than not, really.
Ross: And it’s just kind of a fun thing to try and see how it works and see how it doesn’t work. Our jobs are secure, still, for the moment.
Scott: At least until next month. Yes.
Ross: Till GPT 4.5 or 5.
Scott: Yeah, it will probably launch July 1st, we’ll be able to work but we’ll get to enjoy our summer very thoroughly before we have to worry about it so thoroughly.
Ross: Alright, so introducing Microsoft Fabric. This is their competitor to Google Analytics, which I just love. I love the idea that, again, I’m not a fan of Google or Microsoft, implicitly, but I love that there’s more competition.
Anyway, this is their competitor to Google Analytics, and to quote it, “Fabric is an end-to-end analytics product that addresses every aspect of an organization’s analytics needs.”
So, we’ll see what that actually means. I don’t know whether or not will it be very well adopted but at this stage, I think a lot of people are just probably going to be excited about another player in town, especially if it’s free.
Scott: Yeah, the interesting part about this timing, and I’m sure it’s no coincidence is you know, GA4 is becoming mandatory, and a little over a month. Universal Analytics is ending. So, you know, for some people, now is the time to switch if you really want to consider switching, or have both set up and see which is better and maybe you stick with one over the other?
I don’t know. I haven’t used fabric edit only just launched. I only learned about it today and I don’t know a lot about it yet but I’m sure I would definitely want to see it set up on a few sites and compared to GA4.
Ross: It’s brilliant timing. Yeah, I mean, literally, because Google Analytics 4, what she said called GA4, when it is mandatory, you don’t get any of your history.
So as soon as you kick in, start it, it’s like you’re starting fresh. So, why not launch a competitor right now? Then you can run them in tandem or run one and just switch to Microsoft.
These are options, they are free. Again, I’m 100% assuming that because I didn’t read more about the article, but it is a competitor to Google Analytics.
Time will tell to see how well it works. Right now, Microsoft is definitely bigger in AI, purposeful use of term. So, they are probably going to be building out into it and that’s going to be pretty fascinating to see.
It is data analytics for the era of AI, which is a key point to make.
Ross: Alright, let’s jump into some SEO news and talk about how Bing and Google are. Well, measuring sizes, “Mine’s bigger than yours”, says Bing.
So essentially, someone said that Bard, that’s Google’s AI system, is faster, in fact, lightning speed is way faster. Well, Bing’s Mikhail Parakhin said it’s smaller and that’s why!
Poor Google, fast and small. Sad day!
Scott: I have so many comments I want to do. If it was just the two of us having a beer. Oh, we could go on for a while but you keep it family friendly for all the kids listening to us, right?
Ross: Oh, God, help him! Anyway, it’s very true. Currently, Bart has a smaller footprint versus Bings, which makes it a little slower to run which you’re going to get better results then that’s good.
I mean, speed. In this case. There’s so many. Anyway, I can’t go there. So, if it’s faster but the results aren’t good what matters, but if they’re both giving good results, but Bart is faster.
Who cares how big it is? I can’t go on anymore. All right, moving on.
Scott: I think you should go on. 10 seconds of inappropriate comments. Go. No. Okay, maybe not.
Ross: All right, let’s switch this up. So, go for it.
Scott: Yeah, so this is just a small little thing, it will probably affect none of you, but I’m going to mention it anyway.
Scott: So, Google is now treating *.AI as a generic top level domain so *.AI is Anguilla, I think that’s how you pronounce it, but like the country. *.AI is their CCTLD, which is our country code, top level domain. Simple. It’s similar to *.CN, *.RU, *.CA, specific for other countries.
But what we found is a lot of tech companies are using *.AI as a generic, top-level domain for you know, an AI company or whatever any kind of tech, we actually have a client currently who uses *.AI and, they used it because it made sense, even though it doesn’t make sense, at the same time, because it was country-specific.
So, now Google has decided that these are going to be considered and treated by Google as generic.
So, what this means is, if you already have *.AI domain, or you’re thinking about getting one, go for it, it will be generic and you can use it for whatever you want.
If you have a business that is specifically targeted to Angola, maybe or if you say it, then it might affect you, it might make it a little bit more difficult to rank for those local based searches.
However, I guarantee over Google has actually said that very few people are doing that anyways in that country. So it’s a very small subset of people that will be affected by this, I’m sure it’ll be fine. So just an interesting bit, if you are wondering about should I get .*AI Because of the CCTLD, well, now you don’t have to worry about that. If it suits your business needs. Go for it.
Ross: Oh, okay. Just out of curiosity, I went to see what *.AI costs. Okay. I obviously look, because I was suspicious to see whether or not someone was capitalizing on us because capital presume capitalizing *.AI is $108 Canadian a year? Or retail is $122 a year for that domain?
Scott: Which is what the *.COM go for these days, are we still under $20? Or has it come over? way under?
Ross: Well, I’ve got a while and candidate Name Cheap and I’ve got a lot of domain. So I get it quite cheap. I think it’s $8 or something, I think the most I’ve seen clients pay.
Well, that’s not true. If you go through Network Solutions here, you’ll sell your newborn for a *.COM. It’s ridiculous, but I think on average, they’re the most $20.
Yeah, okay. But if you’re paying more than that, Oh, my Lord, switch, go to something like Namecheap. I know, they don’t have the best customer service I’ve experienced but the price of domains and their systems are pretty simple.
You don’t really need to discuss anything with customer service. It’s dirt cheap, and it’s just amazing. It’s easy to use, it’s just great. I highly recommend it and I switched from GoDaddy over a decade ago and never looked back. So much easier to use and so much more affordable.
Anyway, my non-affiliate pitch for Namecheap, but wow, God! AIs. But the other company I’m co-owner of, first.dentist, so that’s the actual domain, *.dentist. That’s more than that. I think it’s close to a couple 100 a year. It’s a lot.
So, you know, anything that’s a little fancy, you’re going to pay more for.
Scott: It is a lot and when I think a couple 100, that does sound like a lot but if you really break it down as an annual business expense in the big picture. I mean, if you’re just a guy, person, if you’re just a person and you’ve got a hobby website that you don’t make any money off of, well, then it’s definitely a lot. But for a business, if a $200 domain a year breaks you, you’ve got other problems.
Ross: Actually, *.dentist has gone down to and this is Canadian $69 a year.
Scott: They got $140 to play with, by candy.
Ross: Yeah, so I need to go on to the dentist. That’s perfect. Yeah, exactly.
So Google, next up here is another one from the Search Engine Roundtable. Google is asking or suggesting to adult websites that they allow the Googlebot to bypass their age gate.
It’s a lot to unpack there and really not important to anyone here, but it’s essentially an update to its safe search adult content filter, and it’s their documentation on how to work with it.
They’re telling adult content owners who have to make people confirm that they are over a certain age before they can see the content. Well, we need to let Google through and there’s a new path and experience for doing that.
Scott: I originally thought this, I wasn’t going to put this in because my first thought was when talking about adult content, you immediately go to porn, you think about porn, but then I was thinking, I went to a website not long ago, researching a certain whiskey or something and they had an age gate on this website for alcohol.
If you have, especially now that cannabis is legal in all kinds of places, a lot of those cannabis websites are going to have H gates to get through to.
So there are other adult contents that aren’t sexual of nature, that this may apply to and when I thought about that, I thought, “Well, this might apply to some listeners, because there might be somebody out there in the cannabis space or alcohol or gambling. I mean, gambling is again, a bit important..
Ross: This is not normal but I was just in the gutter thanks to Bing and Google’s size-bite.
Scott : It just fit right in.
Ross: Oh, dear. Go in there either. Okay, so the Mueller files. Might you take this one, too? You put that on there?
Scott: Yeah. So about six years ago, Google started mobile indexing, or mobile first indexing. I can’t wait, oh, six years ago, I feel like it was just a couple of years ago, that it mattered, but six years ago, and they did it in batches.
It just kept going on and on and late last year, they said, “Oh, yeah, the last batch is going to be in July and then no, it’s going to be in August. Now it’s going to be in November.”
While it’s finally happened, the final batch is done and according to John Mueller, last batch, tiny handful of sites that really don’t work on mobile or left, they’ll just be crawled with desktop Googlebot going forward.
So if you do not see in Google Search Console, that Google bot smartphone is your crawler, you potentially have big problems because that means Google thing.
The only sites that aren’t being crawled by Google bots, mobile now or that aren’t mobile first, are those that simply don’t work on mobile and that doesn’t mean you have a site structured for desktop that looks bad on mobile, it means it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work at all.
So if your site is still being crawled by desktop, you’ve got big problems and check your mobile status for your site because something bad is happening and if it works great on mobile, and for whatever reason, Google is saying that you are still on desktop. I don’t know what you would do.
This got to be a way to file a report, contact John Mueller directly on Twitter. I don’t know how to get the conversation going because if you actually don’t have a problem, and this happens. I mean, I’m sure we’ll hear about it from somebody. But I don’t know what that means right now. That could be bad. So that’s kind of cool. It only took six years for them to roll that out.
Ross: And you have a helpful little tip here.
Scott: I do have a tip. Where’s my tip? How to check? Oh, yeah, right, of course, if you want to make sure that your site is mobile first, here’s how you check, it is pretty straightforward. Log into Google Search Console, you should have that set up already.
If you don’t do that, once you’re in Search Console, at the bottom left hand, on the bottom of the left hand navigation, you’ll find settings, click on Settings, and then scroll down to the About heading and you will see it’ll say indexing crawler and it should say Googlebot smartphone, along with the date that the switch was actually made.
If you don’t see Googlebot desktop, like I said, now you’ve got issues you’ve got to research that and see what’s going on, but you should see the smartphone, Googlebot smartphone.
Ross: All right, awesome! And now for the first time in quite a while, Local SEO, but before we jump into that, let’s take a quick break. I’m so evil I know. We were back here
Ross: Welcome back to SEO 101 on WMR.FM hosted by myself Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing and my company’s Senior SEO, Scott Van Achte.
Alright, and I do want to note that, remember all that we do have a shownotes newsletter you can sign up for at SEO 101 radio.com. It’s where we put all our notes, all our links, and it’s a great way to find something that you just can’t quite remember from the show, and you want to go and check out. Very helpful.
Also, someone actually noticed today that they were happy we mentioned in the last aren’t actually in Episode 449. We do have that Facebook group, just go to Facebook, type in “SEO 101 Podcast”, and you’ll be able to find it and apply to access it. It’s very simple and we let just about anyone. But we just want to make sure that you know that’s there and you can ask questions as you wish.
Scott: Just about anyone. When do I get in? mean? No?
Ross: Yeah. Okay. So for local SEO, there’s a really good article written by Andrew Shotland at Search Engine Journal articles, but local landing pages, a strategy for ranking local search terms. It’s a long article, it’s a really good little comprehensive guide, I guess you’d call it.
Just a few takeaways. First of all, we should talk about what we’re going to be talking about here. So, if you are in a specific area, there are different types of businesses, there’s service area business, and there are businesses who have brick and mortar locations.
Those are handled slightly differently and they do discuss that but essentially, you want to be found in your area, and perhaps you have, either you’re doing business in another area, or even location there, and you want to be found there.
Well, if all of these places are pointing to one website, it’s best to have specific pages that are dedicated to those areas you want to be found in, and these are what we call local landing pages and how you build them is very important.
There’s a lot of garbage out there, very thin pages that just pretty much say the same thing. Like you say, you want to be found in numerous cities in your area. If you were a service area business, and you just copied and pasted the same content, while it just doesn’t look good, and it’s so obvious to Google this pretty much garbage pages, they’re just not going to work for you.
You need to have unique content, you need to have a reason for them to exist, not just to get people’s attention, got to hang out, heck, if there was just to get people’s attention, they went to that page, and it was that thing, they probably wouldn’t do anything with it anyway.
You need to have a call to action, a whole bunch of different things. You need to make sure there’s some value to it and that’s the key here. That’s a big portion of this article, add value to the page, don’t just use the same copy, add booking options, note relevant nearby landmarks, such as airports, museums, aquariums, whatever it is people say might say, of your hotel, hotel near airport, or hotel near museum or rental car, rental near aquarium, whatever, link to your nearby locations.
So if you have multi-location businesses, and you’ve got one nearby, as well, link to that, say, “Hey, or if you’re closer, here’s our other location.” Anyway, all of these have merit and they’re all discussed.
Again, it’s a significant portion of the article. Now a couple other takeaways I thought were really good points. One is that you don’t need a local landing page for a query with low local intent.
Let’s unpack that quickly. It’s very simple. The thing is, when you’re considering which pages to create, for let’s say, if you’re a service area business, you want to be found in different areas, and under different terms, first, make sure that those terms or those queries actually have a local pack showing up.
If Google doesn’t determine it as a local search, why create a local landing page for it? There’s no point because those are really dedicated to Google business profiles.
They’re meant to support that or they’re meant to drag in business from those areas and if Google doesn’t consider local, that’s just likely not to work.
There are probably instances where I won’t get into the weeds here, but there’s probably instances where service business pages could still have merit in those situations, but in general, if the query has low local intent, no local results in it, don’t create a landing page for it.
You can save yourself some time and money. Next is that thin content location pages as once we mentioned in the beginning just don’t offer any value, they can result in a Google manual action.
What does that mean? Well, in Google Search Console, you might find a penalty of sorts from Google saying, “Hey, this is not cool. Deal with this and request a review once you’ve fixed it.”
That can have a very significant impact, negative impact on your rankings. You get a lot of other tips. One of them, of course, is that when you have a Google business profile, this is something we’ve been doing for years and a lot of this that we have, but in the Google business profile, if it’s for X city, make sure that it is linking the page that it links to from there, on your website is the landing page for X city, that relevance, that connection will help you when you you may want to test, if that page doesn’t have as much clout as your homepage for that particular search, you may want to switch it and see which one will actually improve your rankings.
There’s always testing involved. But that was a good tip and there’s a lot more. It was a really good read. So thank you, Andrew for that, and highly recommend it to anyone with a local business.
Okay, sweet! Have tip on using chat GPT for cogeneration.
Scott: Yeah, so I’ve seen a lot of articles lately, where they’re talking about advanced keyword research and advanced this and advanced that using AI and ChatGPT.
They’re all pretty advanced. They’re really intense, and probably beyond the scope of this show. But then I had an example. This week, I think it was on Monday or Tuesday that I thought this actually kind of fits, and it’s easy, and anybody can do it.
So I had a client page, they put up a new FAQ page, and it had a dozen or so questions and answers and I needed to add the FAQ page markup to that page. Originally, what I would do is I would go into this a while back now, a text document where I had a shell for an FAQ page markup and then copy and paste everything.
Ross: FAQ means Frequently Asked Questions page, just Yes, in there for poor listeners sometimes.
Scott: Sorry, I try to skip over that stuff sometimes. Yeah, so you’ve got your questions page, I would go in and I would have a text document with a shell with all the code that you need for the JSON-LD markup and I would paste everything in and do it and that would work fine.
Along came all these automated tools where you can go in you just paste it into a form. It spits out the code easy. Well, this is even easier, but I thought, “Well, why don’t I try GPT?” And so I did. I tried the first one, I said, “Please create any Yes” I did actually say “Please”.
So, I must be Canadian for saying “Please” to a bot. I said, “Please create FAQ page markup for the questions on the following URL” And I listed the URL, and the first one was a fail.
Instead of giving me the code that I needed, it generated proper JSON-LD markup. Structured Markup FAQ page code, but didn’t use the questions and answers from the page. It made up its own questions and answers. So I was like, Oh, this is going great.
Okay, it worked really quick. It was good and I looked like these were the same questions. Most of them were relevant and good but they weren’t the questions on the page. So I was like, “Okay, well, not quite what I want. Okay, so let’s try again.” So then I tried, I said, “Please create an FAQ page markup for the following questions.” And I just pasted all the questions and answers right into the prompt. This was great!
This got me a lot closer but instead of using the JSON-LD code, it wrapped everything up in micro data markup, which is a form of markup, but it’s different. It’s not what I wanted.
So, I thought, “Okay, well, I guess I need to be more specific, even though the time I tried before it used the right type of markup.” So I don’t know. I asked, finally, “Please create a FAQ page, JSON-LD markup for the following questions, and paste them in.” And yeah, crashed, and then it crashed again, and then it crashed again. It just kept crashing, it wouldn’t work.
Like this is stupid. I was about to give up and I tried one more time, maybe the fourth try, I don’t even know the third or fourth, maybe even the fifth try and it worked! It battled all the code, the big block of code and it was perfect.
It was like only one issue it didn’t. So, structured markup like this for JSON-LD starts with a script. It’s within a script tag and a closing script at the bottom.
I didn’t include that. So I had to add that manually but it gave me the code I needed. It pasted on the site, everything validated perfectly and next time, it’ll be faster this time, I had a few errors.
But even still, it was quicker than doing a manual copy and paste of one Q&A over and over again.
So, you know, that’s just one quick example. If you are a website owner and you put up an FAQ page, you can get the code without knowing the code. Just make sure you run it through a validator, do just a search for Structured Markup validator, you’ll see the schema.org validator or Google’s search result tests.
Those will both work with lots of others as well. Just make sure it works before you post it onto your website. And you can use this with all kinds of other code markup as well but this is just one easy example.
Ross: Yeah, as long as you don’t mind things crashing all the time.
Scott: Yeah, well, it was generating content and it would just stop, it would just stop and like, “Okay, is it gonna keep going?” And “No, it didn’t go?” Where are you using our paid account? No, I was just using a regular ChatGPT and OpenAI.
Ross: Okay, because we have a chat, a paid OpenAI account, you can try that and see whether it doesn’t break. Access to GPT for as well.
Scott: Okay, I need to do that. Let’s see what happens. Apparently I’ve been sleepy. Yeah.
Ross: I’m always adding things and forgetting to tell everyone on behalf of myself, Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing and my company’s Senior SEO Scott Van Achte.
Thank you for joining us today. Do you have any questions? Remember to share them on our Facebook Group, easily found by searching SEO 101 Podcast on Facebook.
Have a great week and remember to tune in to future episodes, which aired twice a month on WMR.FM.
Scott: Great. Thanks for listening, everybody!