"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein's Key Insights to Win at SEO

Last updated: Jun 30, 2023

This video is about an interview with Morty Oberstein, the head of SEO branding at Wix, where he discusses the challenges that content creators and affiliate marketers face in convincing Google to rank their websites and provides insights into SEO strategies and the impact of artificial intelligence on search engine result pages.

This video by Niche Pursuits was published on Jun 7, 2023.
Video length: 01:05:25.

In this video, the host interviews Morty Oberstein, the head of SEO branding at Wix, about the current state of SEO and how it affects content creators and affiliate marketers.

They discuss the challenges of ranking on Google, the impact of updates, and the importance of showing expertise and experience in content. They also touch on the role of artificial intelligence in search engine result pages and how to convince Google that your content is written by a human.

Overall, the video provides insights and strategies for winning at SEO in today's competitive landscape.

  • Morty Oberstein is the head of SEO branding at Wix.
  • He has insight into the SEO community and what is working and what isn't.
  • Google is at war with affiliate marketers.
  • It's difficult to keep track of what works and what doesn't due to Google's updates.
  • Artificial intelligence is impacting search engine result pages (SERPs).
  • Morty provides insights into how to adapt to AI and stay ahead in the SEO game.
  • Morty shares his background as a baseball enthusiast and his passion for SEO.
  • The episode is sponsored by Search Intelligence, a company that specializes in link building and PR campaigns.
  • Mordy Oberstein started in SEO after being asked to write online content for a company.

"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein's Key Insights to Win at SEO - YouTube

"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 1: Introduction to Morty Oberstein

  • Morty Oberstein is the head of SEO branding at Wix.
  • He is the host of the Serps Up Podcast.
  • He previously worked at SEMrush and still consults for them.
  • Morty has a lot of insight into the SEO community and what is working and what isn't.
  • The conversation focuses on content creators and affiliate marketers.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 2: Ranking Factors and Updates

  • Morty discusses the challenges of convincing Google to rank websites.
  • Google is at war with affiliate marketers.
  • It's difficult to keep track of what works and what doesn't due to Google's updates.
  • They discuss the different factors that go into ranking, including page level and domain level quality.
  • Morty emphasizes the importance of paying attention to domain level quality.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 3: Impact of Artificial Intelligence

  • Morty talks about how artificial intelligence is impacting search engine result pages (SERPs).
  • He discusses when it makes sense to use AI in your business and when it doesn't.
  • They touch on how to convince Google that your content is written by a human with expertise and experience.
  • They discuss the future of AI in SEO and its potential impact on rankings.
  • Morty provides insights into how to adapt to AI and stay ahead in the SEO game.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein's Key Insights to Win at SEO - YouTube

Section 4: Conclusion and Sponsorship

  • Morty shares his background as a baseball enthusiast and his passion for SEO.
  • He talks about his career journey and how he got into SEO.
  • The conversation wraps up with a discussion about the Serps Up Podcast and the topics covered.
  • The episode is sponsored by Search Intelligence, a company that specializes in link building and PR campaigns.
  • They provide an example of a successful campaign and encourage listeners to check out their services.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Background and Experience in SEO

  • Mordy Oberstein started in SEO after being asked to write online content for a company.
  • He worked for a company called Rank Rangers as a content manager.
  • He worked at SEMrush as the head of communications.
  • He is currently at Wix, doing brand marketing for SEO.
  • He has a strong writing background and learned SEO on the job.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Access to Data and Insights

  • Working at SEO platforms like SEMrush and Wix provides access to a large amount of data.
  • These platforms track website rankings and provide insights into rank volatility.
  • Mordy has a special dashboard where he can track website traffic and analyze trends.
  • He consults for various websites and shares industry data with professionals like Barry Schwartz.
  • He has a deep understanding of what's happening across the web and in different verticals.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Importance of Volatility and Updates

  • Volatility in rankings can be a precursor to updates or algorithm tweaks by Google.
  • During updates, there are often large-scale shifts in rankings, known as tremors.
  • Content producers and affiliate marketers should pay attention to volatility, especially during updates.
  • Checking volatility every couple of days can provide a general understanding of the ecosystem.
  • Understanding the dynamics of the SERP and Google is crucial for success in SEO.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Understanding the Ecosystem and Interpreting Data

  • It's important to understand the ups and downs in rankings and fluctuations in the site's performance.
  • Comparing monthly rankings can be misleading, as it may just be a temporary downswing.
  • Knowing how rankings behave and what Google is looking for can help predict updates and changes.
  • Patterns of major losses and gains in rankings may indicate a bigger update coming soon.
  • Give updates time to settle and track the changes, but don't overreact to every data point.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Updates and Their Impact on Websites

  • There have been various types of updates, including core updates, review updates, spam updates, and helpful content updates.
  • Review updates no longer only impact review URLs, but have expanded to other areas.
  • Understanding the different updates and their effects on websites is crucial.
  • The Helpful Content update is an example of an update that works in real time and constantly evaluates websites.
  • Passing certain thresholds in quality or lack thereof can impact a website.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Staying on Track with Updates and Website Changes

  • Understanding the ecosystem and how updates work can help stay on track.
  • Updates like the Helpful Content update are always present and require ongoing attention.
  • Knowing the power and impact of core updates over time can provide insights into their significance.
  • Stay focused on publishing schedules, topical silos, backlinks, and media mentions while keeping an eye on updates.
  • Use data and reporting to make informed changes and adjustments to the website.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Understanding the Volatility of Google's Algorithm

  • The March 2023 core update was larger than recent updates.
  • Core updates may not be as impactful as real-time algorithm changes.
  • Constant volatility can be seen in keyword rankings and website URLs.
  • Determining when a ranking trajectory is locked in can take months.
  • Patterns can be determined by analyzing what Google replaces and what is different.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Identifying Changes in Ranking Factors

  • Understanding why competitors are now outranking your website.
  • Examining the content on the pages that have replaced yours.
  • Looking for shifts in user intent or changes in content type.
  • Keeping track of competitors and their ranking changes.
  • Reading and analyzing the actual content on the ranking pages.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Google's Ability to Assess User Experience

  • Google is better at recognizing actual user experience.
  • Language profiles and first-person language can indicate genuine use of a product.
  • Content that ranks higher may reflect a higher quality user experience.
  • Google's core updates are primarily focused on content and quality.
  • Assessing the quality of content using a brand marketer's perspective.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 1: Importance of Providing Value

  • Google interprets affiliate pages that lack actual value as low-quality.
  • Content creators need to focus on offering valuable information and not just driving affiliate sales.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 2: Improving Rankings with SEO Strategies

  • Interlinking and creating semantic understanding are important SEO strategies.
  • Creating clusters of topically relevant content is crucial.
  • Page experience and usability are major ranking factors.
  • Google considers how easy it is to access the main content of a page.
  • Improving readability and formatting of content is essential.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 3: Hiring Content Marketing Experts

  • Terrible writing can hinder the communication of expertise.
  • Content marketing agencies can help translate expertise into digestible and communicable content.
  • Content writers can assist in improving the readability and usability of content.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 4: Balancing Experience and SEO

  • Experience is becoming increasingly important to Google's ranking algorithm.
  • However, having experience alone may not guarantee success in SEO.
  • Branding, SEO optimization, and readability are also crucial for ranking well.
  • Usability and page experience are key factors in SEO.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Usability as a Ranking Factor

  • Google considers usability as part of the ranking equation.
  • Having great content and user experience is not enough if the website is not usable.
  • Google wants to provide users with quality results and a quality experience.
  • Google wants users to have a good experience so they will continue using Google and potentially click on ads.
  • Google needs to be concerned about the website at the domain level when it comes to quality.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Website Quality Score

  • There is an argument that Google looks at an entire site, not just individual pages.
  • Google evaluates a page based on its worth and compares it to competitors.
  • Google wants users to have a quality experience throughout the entire website.
  • Improving a page is important, but improving the overall quality of the website is also necessary.
  • Google has stated that quality is analyzed at the domain level.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Google's Focus on Quality

  • Google's main goal is to provide users with quality results and a quality experience.
  • Google wants users to have a good experience so they will continue using Google and potentially click on ads.
  • Google is concerned about the website at the domain level when it comes to quality.
  • Google has repeatedly stated that quality is analyzed at the domain level.
  • SEOs should believe Google's statements about quality analysis.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Case Study: Search Intelligence

  • Search Intelligence is sponsoring the video.
  • The video includes a case study of Search Intelligence's digital PR link building campaign.
  • The campaign successfully landed 20 links in big publications.
  • The campaign used a clever hook to attract journalists and generate interest.
  • The case study highlights the importance of a clever hook in making a campaign successful.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 1: Recovering from a poor quality content classifier

  • Google has stated that it is difficult for a website to recover when a poor quality content classifier is placed on them.
  • According to Gary Illyes from Google, some websites may never fully recover from this.
  • Improving domain-level quality scores is important for recovering from an update.
  • Crystal Carter, head of SEO Communications at Wix, defines helpful content as not just the content itself, but also the technical health of the website.
  • Technical issues such as 500 errors and broken links can negatively impact the quality of a website.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 2: Factors that contribute to domain-level quality scores

  • Domain-level quality scores are influenced by technical factors such as website speed, core web vitals, and broken links.
  • All text on images, site structure, and logical connections between pages also contribute to domain-level quality scores.
  • External links are viewed as citations and can enhance the quality of a website's content.
  • Google considers the usability of a website, including the number of ads and ease of accessing the main content.
  • Quality content is targeted to the audience and speaks to their specific needs.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 3: Defining quality content

  • Quality content is targeted to the audience and speaks to their specific needs.
  • It should be nuanced and offer something substantial to the user.
  • The right amount of nuance depends on the target audience and their level of understanding.
  • Predicting the needs of the user is important in creating quality content.
  • For example, a 12-year-old trying to understand rocket science may need visual aids and simplified explanations.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Google's Multi-Task Unified Model (MUM)

  • Google's MUM combines text input with image input to provide more accurate search results.
  • For example, a user can take a picture of a broken bicycle part and search for how to fix it, and Google can provide relevant results.
  • MUM also breaks down topics, allowing Google to understand and parse out the needs and queries related to a specific topic.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Predicting User Needs for Content Strategy

  • As MUM becomes more integrated into the algorithm, content creators and SEOs can predict and address the needs of users more effectively.
  • For example, if someone searches for "go to Yankees game," the content should address various needs such as getting tickets, transportation, etiquette, safety, and food options.
  • Understanding the different intents and needs of users is crucial for creating relevant and valuable content.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Micro Intent and Depth of Content

  • There are different levels of intent, including commercial, navigational, and informational intent.
  • However, there are also micro-intents within informational content that need to be considered.
  • Content creators should focus on addressing the specific micro-intents of users to provide the most relevant information.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

The Impact of AI on Content and Affiliate Marketers

  • AI is here to stay, and content and affiliate marketers need to embrace it.
  • AI can help automate certain tasks and provide valuable insights for content creation and SEO strategies.
  • However, it's important to strike a balance and not solely rely on AI, as human creativity and understanding are still essential in creating high-quality content.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Google's Changing Expectations

  • Google is changing user expectations for web content.
  • Users are expecting something different from content.
  • Affiliate marketers need to realize this change.
  • Google is looking to sift out AI-ish content.
  • The language structures in AI content are rudimentary.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

The Importance of Unique Insights

  • Language structures in AI content and human-written content are fundamentally different.
  • AI cannot offer the level of experience and unique insights that humans can.
  • Experience for the sake of experience is not valuable; it's the unique insights that matter.
  • AI can help with headers and basic product descriptions, but it can't provide unique experience.
  • Unique experience and insights differentiate websites from others.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Leveraging AI in SEO

  • AI can be used to generate ideas and help with writing.
  • AI can be useful for certain tasks like writing headers and product descriptions.
  • However, unique experience and insights are still crucial for differentiation.
  • AI cannot replicate the value of actual unique experience.
  • AI is limited in its ability to provide unique insights.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Story of a Semi-Professional Speaker

  • Mordy shares a story of being a semi-professional speaker and doing the same talk in 50 cities.
  • It became repetitive and lacked the unique insights that come from different experiences.
  • AI content can become repetitive and lack unique insights.
  • Unique experiences and insights are valuable in content creation.
  • AI cannot replicate the value of unique experiences.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 1: Avoiding Robotic Language

  • Repetition can make content sound robotic and lacking passion.
  • Injecting authenticity and personal experiences can make content more engaging.
  • Using natural language and avoiding AI language can help content sound more human.
  • Adding personal anecdotes and unique perspectives can make content more interesting.
  • Being creative and using unconventional language can make content stand out.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 2: The Role of Links in SEO

  • Links are considered a secondary signal by Google.
  • While links are still important in certain cases, they are not as crucial as they used to be.
  • If Google could perfectly understand content, links would not be necessary.
  • As Google improves its understanding of content, the importance of links may decrease.
  • Google may focus more on domain authority and overall site quality instead of relying heavily on links.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Section 3: Content Similarity and Ranking

  • With the rise of AI-generated content, there may be an increase in content similarity.
  • Google may prioritize domain relevance and overall site quality when ranking similar content.
  • Hyperbolic scenarios, such as comparing a tire-focused website to a magnet-focused website, highlight the importance of topical relevance.
  • Google aims to provide users with the most relevant and high-quality content.
  • Content that is unique, informative, and relevant to the user's query is more likely to rank well.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Role of Content in SEO

  • Helpful content is a way of combating AI-generated content.
  • Content plays a significant role in ranking websites.
  • Links are not as important as content.
  • Google is at war with affiliate marketers and content creators.
  • Writing authoritative and in-depth articles can help with SEO.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Using Natural Language Processing (NLP)

  • Using NLP can help understand the weight that Google puts on different phrases, entities, and words.
  • Moving sentence structure and word choice can change the weight and relevance of content.
  • Tools can profile and differentiate between AI-generated and human-written content.
  • Google may not always understand the connections and relevance in structured articles.
  • Experimenting with headers and optimizing content can improve indexing and search engine understanding.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Opportunities for AI in Content Creation

  • AI can be creatively used in various ways for SEO.
  • There are slam dunk opportunities to use AI in content creation.
  • AI can be used to generate content ideas, improve writing efficiency, and enhance content quality.
  • AI can help with keyword research, content optimization, and content distribution.
  • AI can be used to analyze data, track performance, and make data-driven decisions.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Challenges faced by content creators and affiliate marketers in ranking their websites on Google

  • Google is at war with affiliate marketers and web content as a whole.
  • Google's technology determines its effectiveness in ranking content.
  • Web creators have been writing content that aligns with what Google wants.
  • Users have become accustomed to mediocre web content.
  • People have become fed up with fake content, data privacy issues, and targeted ads.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Insights into SEO strategies

  • Using entities related to a topic for keyword research and understanding topical connections.
  • Asking chat GPT specific questions to get relevant information.
  • Using AI tools like the SEO writing assistant to rewrite content and create headers.
  • Leveraging AI to automate tasks like writing product descriptions and optimizing them.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Impact of artificial intelligence on search engine result pages

  • Google's technology determines the quality of search results.
  • AI can automate certain tasks for web creators.
  • AI can help generate new ideas and rewrite content.
  • AI tools can create headers and title tags automatically.
  • AI can assist in writing and optimizing product descriptions.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Google's war with affiliate marketers and how to respond

  • Google's war is not just against affiliate marketers, but against web content as a whole.
  • Web creators have been writing content that meets Google's minimum requirements.
  • Users have become dissatisfied with mediocre web content.
  • Issues like data privacy and fake content have contributed to this dissatisfaction.
  • Affiliate marketers and web creators need to focus on creating high-quality, valuable content that meets user needs.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Google's Impact on User Trust

  • Users are becoming more skeptical of web content, including Google, TikTok, and Facebook.
  • The level of quality expected by users has increased.
  • Even if a website ranks on Google, users may still be skeptical of its content.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Challenges for Affiliate Marketers

  • Affiliate marketers need to focus on making money, not just ranking.
  • Users are more skeptical than before, so the quality of content needs to be higher.
  • Search engines are better at understanding content, and the bar for acceptable content has risen.
  • Web content creators are slow to adapt to these changes.
  • Google is slowly turning up the heat on low-quality content.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Confusion in SEO

  • Google updates have increased in frequency and volume since 2018.
  • The updates have confused SEOs on what to do.
  • The Medic update was the last update with clarity on Google's intentions.
  • Data and experience from SEO experts like Mordy Oberstein are valuable in navigating these changes.
  • There are resources available on the Wix SEO Hub, including a podcast, newsletter, articles, and webinars.
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein

Conclusion and Shoutout

  • Mordy Oberstein appreciates the opportunity to share his insights.
  • He suggests checking out the Wix SEO Hub for more information.
  • Mordy appreciates the support on Twitter and encourages more posting.
  • The episode was sponsored by Search Intelligence, showcasing their successful digital PR campaign.
  • Mordy looks forward to returning for another episode.

Watch the video on YouTube:
"Google is at War with Affiliate Marketers": Mordy Oberstein's Key Insights to Win at SEO - YouTube

Related summaries of videos: