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Unconfirmed Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update July 23rd & 24th



Unconfirmed Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update July 23rd & 24th

We may have had one of those smaller unconfirmed Google Search algorithm and ranking updates over the weekend. It may have started on Friday, July 23rd and spiked more on Saturday July 24th.

I am also wondering if the fluctuations may be related to the soft 404 bug fix, but I do not know. Or maybe folks are noticing less Google traffic from the review stars bug?

Update: Google has announced today a link spam update is being released over the next two weeks. I was going to say the chatter felt like it was more visible in the more black hat areas but maybe this is unrelated since this update reported below was Friday and Saturday and Google said there is a new update today, Monday.

SEO Chatter

There is some chatter, as well as the tracking tools showing signs of an update. Again, this is not a massive core update, but those typical smaller unconfirmed updates that I have not reported on in some time (at least some time for me).

Here is the chatter from WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World:

BushyTop: “More drops this morning for me. A term we ranked top 2 for for over 4 years, we’ve now dropped to 4, to 6, to now 9.”

ichtyous: “Today my home page traffic starts down 70% at 10am. Google definitely has a beef with my sites home page now, it won’t allow the page to ranks for any of the terms it’s was ranking well on for a decade.”

“Huge drop in traffic in the first half of the day yesterday…USA, UK and Canada. 2nd half of the day returned to normal. Today a big recovery of top three ranking terms and normal USA, CA, AU traffic, but UK is down by 68%. I am noticing updates almost every Friday, with UK traffic vanishing on weekends and a big dip in “direct” traffic. Also traffic to my home page mysteriously vanishes for half a day on a regular basis. These are all types of traffic throttling, but also there are way more videos and other types of feeds now, so if you aren’t top three you basically get pushed to the end of the page or page two.

In general my traffic is as low now as when I started my website in 2003. The volume is less than half of what it was in 2019. Most of that is Google, but also I think that this summer people are not spending on material goods but on getting out, traveling, eating out etc.”

lee_sufc: “UK market here, too. Some of the results for a few keywords now bring up low-quality sites from the US. I really hope this is a mistake somewhere that gets rolled back!”

saladtosser: “UK traffic is abysmal! Google seems to be hitting technically perfect sites that’s have ranked well for years for ones with *tons* of issues to put it mildly. Maybe G is thinking these great site owners must the money required for ads or have figured they have spent to many years at the top so a sudden drop will force them into ads? I find it hard to believe Google has thought these sites were amazing for years then just said, nope we got it wrong all these years/updates and pulled the plug on them on a single month/update.”

MaikoSophie: “Seems like there’s a massive Google update again. I’m noticing many keyword ranking fluctuations. Some of my long time competitors even got wiped out completely.”

Ranga: “Seeing some movements, I think now google is becoming more walled garden, so need to be a big authority to get in.”

TerryCody: “30% shake, I don’t care.”

Dreams411: “My main site is getting roasted. Traffic is down by over 50%. The weird thing is that Semrush shows that the site is gaining more traffic, while in reality I’m loosing a shit ton of traffic. Don’t know what’s happening.”

Here are some tweets:

Tracking Tools:


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The other tools are more calm…

Did you notice big ranking changes or traffic changes since this past Friday?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and BlackHatWorld.



Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say



Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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