AI, Attribution and Paywalls

March 2023: What's New In SEO?

AI, Attribution and Paywalls

For this month's issue I wrote a new article with my recommendations for the best SEO tools - many of them I use every day. I hope this helps you find your way through the many apps out there.

I haven't included everything, just the top picks that I think are the most valuable.

My Personal Top Picks: SEO Tools
I get asked a lot about which tool to use for keyword research, technical SEO, or monitoring. I totally get it, with so many tools and apps out there, it can be overwhelming. That’s why I’m sharing an overview of the apps I use regularly for my SEO work that

Just recently, I updated my content optimization guide. It now links to a new snippet preview tool. This is currently a better choice.

How to Optimize Content for SEO
This guide will give you a great starting point for optimizing your articles or product pages for SEO.

AI and Attribution

This month, I don't want to delve too deeply into AI topics. There have been many intriguing developments (such as Google Bard or ChatGPT Plugins), but you probably already know about them from other sources as well.

What is fascinating, however, is how Google Bard handles attribution. There's almost none. If you compare results from Bing and Bard, you'll notice a stark difference - Bard rarely links to any resources.

According to recent claims, "Bard is intended to generate original content and not replicate existing content at length."

It will be interesting to see how this evolves. I'm not the only one who currently prefers Bing Chat.

It's evident that Google is lagging in this area, and Bing Chat's positive reception will likely push Google to improve the quality of direct answers.

With Bing linking to references almost everywhere (including "what time is it" queries), Google is apt to be less generous in this regard.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a drop in traffic from some Featured Snippets where Google decides that their generated content is original enough that there's no need to link anywhere. The question is whether users will want that too.

Google explains why Bard rarely lists citations and links to content creators
Google said it will link to citations when Bard directly quote at length from a webpage.

AI and Paywalls

The rise of LLM in search also brings up new questions about paywalled content.

There are legitimate ways to feed your paywalled content to search engines to retain some SEO benefits while still keeping your content somewhat protected.

However, this also means that such content might start appearing in these generated answers. It might be a good thing if proper attribution is given, but less so if there is no attribution at all.

Bing Chat Access Content Behind Paywalls?
There is some concern and speculation on the internet that Microsoft Bing is feeding in content behind paywall and using such content to provide answers in Bing Chat. I asked Bing Chat if it can give

Google has announced a new feature called Perspectives, which will appear below Top Stories in Search. The feature aims to showcase insights from a diverse range of journalists, experts, and relevant voices on the topic being searched.

Five new ways to verify info with Google Search
Everyone should be empowered with the tools they need to find information they can trust.

If you enjoy experimenting with similar features, I highly recommend checking out Multi-perspective AI in Neeva. It allows you to view news coverage from sources across the political spectrum. (You need to be in the U.S. or use a VPN to access it.)

NeevaAI + Bias Buster: Get Multiple Perspectives Summarized in Seconds
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our latest upgrade to NeevaAI: multi-perspective AI that works hand-in-hand with Bias Buster!

Local Search Ranking Factors for 2023

Whitespark published their new analysis of ranking factors for local search. If local SEO is part of your strategy, give it a closer look. There are some nice trends to learn from - such as the descrease of importance of link signals in favor of on-page factors.


They were also able to spot some more subtle new trends:

Noteworthy new factors
Sustained Influx of Reviews Over Time (rather than bursts)

I can’t believe I didn’t have this as a factor in previous editions of the survey. It makes a lot of sense. The thinking here is that you don’t want to get a burst of 100+ reviews (eg: from an email blast) and then call it a day. A business that is continually getting reviews on a regular basis sends the right signals to Google that it is an alive and active business that the public still cares about.

Your takeaway is that you should never stop asking for reviews. Review acquisition needs to be an integrated and ongoing part of your marketing strategy.
2023 Local Search Ranking Factors Report from Whitespark – Increase local SEO rankings
Whitespark’s 2023 Local Search Ranking Factors survey results! Learn from the top experts in local search about what’s working to drive rankings and conversions in local SEO, and what’s not.

New Tool: Analyze URL Security and Technology

The Cloudflare Radar URL Scanner is a free tool that provides a report of technical details about a given URL.

This report includes phishing scans, SSL certificate data, HTTP request and response data, page performance data, DNS records, cookies, and more.

In addition to providing security information, the report displays the technologies and libraries used, hyperlinks, and performance data. The tool is powered by Cloudflare's Workers Browser Rendering API and is publicly accessible.