The first roundup of the year is filled with everything you need to stay on top of the competition.
First, the guides will help you understand why SEO pros need to master ChatGPT prompts, how to measure SEO properly, and the risks of trying to mimic your biggest rival’s strategies.
The case studies will give you insights from the hottest SEO research. You’ll get a full breakdown of the year’s changes, the top recorded Google searches from among ~20 billion keywords, and proof that removing a product carousel affects organic traffic.
The latest headlines are waiting for you at the end. You’ll want to know what we’ve learned about the latest link spam update, why several updates have been delayed, and what’s waiting for you on the Google Analytics 4 landing page report.
Why SEO Pros Need to Master Prompts: The ChatGPT Revolution
Vincent Terrasi brings you this look at why prompts may be a greater part of SEO in the coming years. Prompts are the phrases that you use to provoke a response from an AI (such as ChatGPT).
In this guide, Vincent claims you must prepare by starting to master prompts now. He defines “Promptology” as crafting your prompt to receive the most effective response in the shortest amount of time. He gives you some tips to get started.
He begins by identifying some of the problems
- The returned text is too short
- The text may not be unique
- The returned text includes made-up concepts or confuses terms and definitions
He provides you with sets of solutions for each problem and even follows up by helping you fix problems with AI image prompts.
He gives you some solutions to repair prompts that deliver images with the wrong resolution or dimension.
He closes with some interesting tips on how you can use AI to write the prompts for you. Check out the full guide for a variety of helpful tips.
Next, you’ll learn how to measure the value of SEO campaigns.
The ROI of SEO: How to Measure SEO ROI (With Formulas)
Carlos Silva has some advice on how to measure Return On Investment (ROI) when it comes to implementing SEO for yourself or a client.
He teaches you the formula SEO ROI = (value of conversions – the cost of investment) / cost of investment. The rest of the guide helps you understand each of these variables so that you can easily plug in the figures from your own project.
Carlos’ information is thorough. The first step, calculating your SEO investment, covers all the bases so you won’t forget any costs. You’ll be reminded to track in-house services, freelancers, and the tools you pay for to track your results.
He provides several different recommendations for how you can measure the value of the conversions based on how you collect them, such as customer lifetime value (LTV).
At the end of the guide, he even gives you some advice for how you can forecast your SEO ROI ahead of time. Several tools are recommended, and you’ll learn how to find the data you need for forecasting in each of them.
While you’re thinking about long-term strategy, the final guide of the month may also help. It covers the risks of basing your SEO on what you see others doing.
What Is the Risk of Focusing on a Competitor’s SEO Strategies?
Adam Riemer thinks you should be careful when using your biggest competitors as a guide for your SEO strategy. It seems natural to assume that the top players in the niche must know what it takes to win, but there are risks you have to consider.
Over the course of the guide, Adam Reimer covers some of the most significant risks involved with copying a competitor’s strategy.
For example, he points out that the most visible leader will also be the most copied by everyone else in the niche. You’re competing with all of them when you choose to follow the leader. Everyone is publishing the same content, and some might be a lot more aged than yours.
Doing something innovative in your niche can offer a faster road to growth because you won’t be catching up with the effort of others.
He also warns you against assuming that the changes you can track are the key to your competitor’s success. Just because you can see changes and growth does not mean the changes are responsible for the growth. What you copy may be your competitor’s mistake.
The full guide contains more advice on responding to competitor strategies without taking on the risks of copying them.
With the guides complete, let’s jump into the case studies. This first one is more of a breakdown, but you’ll get a detailed summary of the biggest changes in SEO.
SEO 2022 in Review: E-E-A-T, ChatGPT, Search Essentials, and More
Danny Goodwin brings you this detailed look at the SEO 2022 year in review, emphasizing the changes that had the biggest impact on SEO practices. It summarizes the big algorithm updates, tools, company acquisitions, and more.
The piece works like a glossary of everything that happened in SEO last year rather than a guide. It covers a wide range of topics, and for each topic, it gives you a bullet point of an important event with a link so that you can read it directly from the source.
You’ll learn about:
It’s not an exaggeration to say just reading this list will catch you up on SEO. You could have just come out of a coma that lasted all of 2022 and be ready to jump back into SEO by the time you’re done reading it.
While reflecting on what happened last year, you may appreciate learning what terms have risen to the most popular in the world. The next data piece covers the top contenders out of nearly 20,000,000,000 keywords.
Top Google Searches(From Our Database of 19.2 Billion Keywords)
Si Quan Ong brings you these detailed lists that will help you understand what’s trending online. He and the Ahrefs team have organized all of the top terms in the world and separated them into categories.
You can quickly browse to see all the top terms for:
- Top 100 Google searches in the U.S.
- Top 100 Google searches globally
- Top 100 most searched questions in the U.S.
- Top 100 most searched questions globally
Each term in the list is paired with its rounded search volume so that you can easily see how many searches they’re really generating.
The lists are an interesting resource on their own, but if you are an Ahrefs user, you’ll find some extra helpful information at the end. Si teaches you how to use Ahrefs search tools to locate the top search in any given country or any given niche.
You’ve picked up a lot of big-picture details so far. The final case study of the month will dive deep into a specific issue. Is a product carousel on your site causing traffic problems?
Does Removing a Product Carousel Improve Organic Traffic?
Jandira Neto breaks down the value of removing a product carousel. Jandira used a real eCommerce customer’s site to test the theory that removing the feature would have an affect on organic traffic.
Like most Search Pilot studies, this one started with a poll of the readers to predict the results.
Most respondents thought the results would be inconclusive, while the next largest group thought the impact would be negative. Fewer than 28% expected a positive result.
Jandira provides you with more context for the experiment. The customer had already tested removing this feature on other pages, and experienced significant traffic improvements. This experiment was intended to confirm that it would work the same way with other pages.
Traffic began to increase immediately after the feature was removed. It increased by 4000+ sessions in the first day alone. By the end of the 11-day testing window, the page was looking at a 29% traffic improvement.
Jandira has some ideas for why this might have happened. First, she proposed that the changes may have improved load times for visitors. She also suggests that the removal improved the page’s freshness signals.
That covers the case studies for the month. Now, you’re ready to look over the latest SEO news. First, the announcement of the December 2022 Link Spam Update.
December 2022 Link Spam Update Releasing for Google Search
Google announced a new link spam update on December 14th. The stated goal of the update was to leverage SpamBrain. This AI targets unnatural links on search results pages with the goal of preventing them from reaching searchers.
The team claims that SpamBrain is now empowered to detect additional behaviors, such as sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links. Google did not recommend that users make any changes to their site to prepare for the update.
The timeline for this update was originally announced as about two weeks from the time of the announcement. However, the next news item will explain why that did not happen.
Google Helpful Content Update & Link Spam Update Delayed Rollout Due to Holidays
Barry Schwartz brings you this look at Google’s set of delayed updates. The first one is the Link Spam Update that you learned about, and the other one is the Helpful Content Update.
The Helpful Content Update is a sitewide algorithm adjustment that Google claims will “meaningfully” impact results. While Google is tight-lipped about what it affects, it will likely follow the other helpful content updates in targeting low-quality content.
John Mueller confirmed that both updates were delayed by December 20th. He claimed that holiday delays may have played a role but did not provide a specific timeline for completion. Google has promised to post an update “when it’s done.”
Several SEO tools recorded that while the process was slowed down, it did not appear to have stopped. A significant amount of SEO turbulence was recorded in the days leading up to Christmas.
Google provided another update in a Twitter post on January 9th. At this time, neither update is live, and Google estimates the rollout will last another 2 weeks.
The final piece of news doesn’t require any anticipation on your part. Google has already delivered this new GA landing page report for you to enjoy.
New Google Analytics 4 Landing Page Report
Nicole Farley introduces you to one of the latest tools in your Google Analytics toolbox. You can now see a landing page report that helps you analyze your landing pages in one location.
From the new report, you can review:
The guide includes some helpful links to catch you up if you still need to install Google Analytics 4.
As Nicole points out, this is just one of several new reports that have launched since the arrival of GA4, including Views per Session/Average Session Duration and the Traffic Acquisition Report.
Nicole closes by directing you to Google’s own guidance on using the new report. Check out the full guide to find out everything you need to get started.
That’s all the SEO news you’ll need to get a head start on the year. Come back for the next roundup to learn the fate of the two updates and more!
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