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When Revamping a Site Can Negatively Impact Rankings via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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In an After Hours Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller answered multiple questions about what kinds of changes may impact rankings and what kinds of changes will not.

Along the way Mueller explains different scenarios that are harmless and also the kinds of changes that may impact how Google sees the website, including seeing it as a brand new site.

Search Performance Impacted by a Site Revamp

The person asking the question said that the last three sites he had “revamped” had experienced extremely negative ranking changes in Google search.

He noted that had never before happened in previous “revamps” and was trying to find out if this was something on Google’s side as well as to understand what kinds of changes could impact search performance in general.

It must be said that John Mueller did not ask to clarify what the person asking the question meant by a “revamp” of a website.

A revamp could range from a simple redesign to a full SEO update to the content, meta data and profound changes to the site structure.

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Google’s John Mueller Discussing Revamping Websites

Google's John Mueller

Google's John Mueller

John Mueller Says it’s not Google…

Mueller:

“In general these kinds of things I would look at on a per website basis.

There is nothing on our side that is kind of saying that …if a website is revamped then we must change its ranking.

…If you’re seeing this with three websites that sounds like maybe you’re doing something unique with the revamp processes and not that there’s something on Google’s side that would be blocking revamps in general.

For revamps there’s sometimes a few things that come together and it’s sometimes tricky to figure out exactly what all is happening.

But the main thing that I would watch out for when you’re doing a revamp is to make sure:

That the URLs stay the same as much as possible so that you don’t change the URL structure.

That the internal linking stays the same as much as possible.

That the content and the layout on the pages stays the same as much as possible.

And if those technical elements are essentially aligned then from our side the only thing that we see is that maybe the website is a little bit faster now because you’re using a faster infrastructure.”

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What Causes Google to Treat an Old Site as Brand New

John Mueller listed the kinds of changes that may cause Google to treat a website as being completely new.

“If on the other hand those factors don’t align like:

  • If the URLs change
  • If the layout changes
  • If the content changes
  • If you don’t have redirects from the old URLs to the new ones

Then those are essentially aspects that say to use that we have to treat this as a new website because essentially we crawl from the start and there’s completely different content or it’s completely different in setup or it’s a completely different layout or the URLs are completely different.

So that’s… essentially from our side, we would say oh it’s a new website, we will start over and try to understand it again.

So that’s something that I would watch out for there.”

When Website Changes Coincide with Google Updates

Mueller next mentioned that Google is always updating and that changes in rankings might not be related to recent changes to the website.

Mueller observed:

“The other thing is also that we also make other kinds of ranking changes across the web as well.

And sometimes when you do a revamp you get the timing in such a perfect way that it aligns exactly with when we make a core update or when we make a bigger ranking change.

And then it’s really hard to recognize: Is this issue because of my kind of technical change that I made or is this issue because Google just generally would have understood my website differently anyway.

Trying to figure out like… is it something that you did with the revamp or is it something that Google changed?

I think that’s kind of a good first step and to do some of that it’s really useful to just double check all of the technical details and really kind of link get a map of all of the old URLs and then check them in archive.org and see what they looked like before and confirm what they look like now.

Use the different testing tools to make sure that it’s all crawlable and indexable… all of those things.”

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That last bit about crawling a site is excellent information. Always crawl a site before making any changes in order to have a record of what the site looked like before the change.

Once the site is updated the new site can be crawled and any changes between the two states can be compared.

Screaming Frog offers a visual representation style of overview showing the internal link structure with well connected nodes highly visible. Comparing the two views, for example, can give an instant idea of any unintended changes.

If a site URL structure has changed then the crawl of the old site can yield a list of internal pages which can then be fed into Screaming Frog as a list crawl which will show if any pages are orphaned or not redirected as they should be, etc.

Is Changing the Structure of Site Impactful?

The person asking the question thanked Mueller then added that he had changed the structure of the website in order to divide it into multiple sections.

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He hadn’t mentioned this before so now Mueller in effect is answering a different question.

Now he’s answering if changing the structure of a site will have an impact on how Google sees the pages in the site.

Mueller answered:

“It’s something where changing the structure of a website will affect how search looks at it and it can be a positive effect too.

So that might be that the previous revamps that you did if you went from a one page website to a multi-page website, it might be that that was a good change for those websites.

But it might be that the same change for the current website that you’re working on does not make so much sense.”

Does Changing Order of Paragraphs Affect How Google Sees Page?

The person asking the question next asked if changing the orders of paragraphs on the web page could affect how Google views those pages.

Mueller answered:

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“Not usually but it can affect a little bit because we do try to understand the context of the text that you have on the pages and if you move one paragraph from something that is very prominent to an area where it’s like oh this is a side note.

Then that could affect how we see that information.”

Example of a Change Google Would Notice

In response to one more follow up question John offered an example of a change that could get Google to look at the page differently.

“It would be more if you change something from it’s like a heading of a page and you moved it way to the footer or something like that, that’s something where I could imagine our system saying oh it’s not important anymore.”

Will Changing All Images Impact Rankings?

The person asking the question asked one more follow up question, this one asking if Google would change the rankings if the website updated their site with brand new images.

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Mueller answered:

“For normal web search it wouldn’t matter.

For image search, if you want those images in image search and if you’re getting traffic from image search, then of course changing the images would matter.”

Negative Search Changes Should be Investigated

If the changes in search rankings cannot be easily identified then the first step should be a site crawl to identify negative changes that might become apparent from the crawl data.

When there are no apparent causes then it could be a change related to a Google update, which then means a different kind of audit that involves checking the search result to see what has changed in the kinds of web pages Google is ranking.

Changes to a website should be done carefully.

Backups are essential. In the event that something goes horribly wrong the site can quickly be restored to the original state and ranking declines reversed.

Citation

Watch John Mueller answer multiple questions about website revamps and drops in ranking, from the 40 second mark of the video.

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GOOGLE

This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

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This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

Here’s what happened in the world of Google and search engines this week:

1. Google’s June 2024 Spam Update

Google finished rolling out its June 2024 spam update over a period of seven days. This update aims to reduce spammy content in search results.

2. Changes to Google Search Interface

Google has removed the continuous scroll feature for search results. Instead, it’s back to the old system of pages.

3. New Features and Tests

  • Link Cards: Google is testing link cards at the top of AI-generated overviews.
  • Health Overviews: There are more AI-generated health overviews showing up in search results.
  • Local Panels: Google is testing AI overviews in local information panels.

4. Search Rankings and Quality

  • Improving Rankings: Google said it can improve its search ranking system but will only do so on a large scale.
  • Measuring Quality: Google’s Elizabeth Tucker shared how they measure search quality.

5. Advice for Content Creators

  • Brand Names in Reviews: Google advises not to avoid mentioning brand names in review content.
  • Fixing 404 Pages: Google explained when it’s important to fix 404 error pages.

6. New Search Features in Google Chrome

Google Chrome for mobile devices has added several new search features to enhance user experience.

7. New Tests and Features in Google Search

  • Credit Card Widget: Google is testing a new widget for credit card information in search results.
  • Sliding Search Results: When making a new search query, the results might slide to the right.

8. Bing’s New Feature

Bing is now using AI to write “People Also Ask” questions in search results.

9. Local Search Ranking Factors

Menu items and popular times might be factors that influence local search rankings on Google.

10. Google Ads Updates

  • Query Matching and Brand Controls: Google Ads updated its query matching and brand controls, and advertisers are happy with these changes.
  • Lead Credits: Google will automate lead credits for Local Service Ads. Google says this is a good change, but some advertisers are worried.
  • tROAS Insights Box: Google Ads is testing a new insights box for tROAS (Target Return on Ad Spend) in Performance Max and Standard Shopping campaigns.
  • WordPress Tag Code: There is a new conversion code for Google Ads on WordPress sites.

These updates highlight how Google and other search engines are continuously evolving to improve user experience and provide better advertising tools.

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FACEBOOK

Facebook Faces Yet Another Outage: Platform Encounters Technical Issues Again

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Facebook Problem Again

Uppdated: It seems that today’s issues with Facebook haven’t affected as many users as the last time. A smaller group of people appears to be impacted this time around, which is a relief compared to the larger incident before. Nevertheless, it’s still frustrating for those affected, and hopefully, the issues will be resolved soon by the Facebook team.

Facebook had another problem today (March 20, 2024). According to Downdetector, a website that shows when other websites are not working, many people had trouble using Facebook.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has had issues. Just a little while ago, there was another problem that stopped people from using the site. Today, when people tried to use Facebook, it didn’t work like it should. People couldn’t see their friends’ posts, and sometimes the website wouldn’t even load.

Downdetector, which watches out for problems on websites, showed that lots of people were having trouble with Facebook. People from all over the world said they couldn’t use the site, and they were not happy about it.

When websites like Facebook have problems, it affects a lot of people. It’s not just about not being able to see posts or chat with friends. It can also impact businesses that use Facebook to reach customers.

Since Facebook owns Messenger and Instagram, the problems with Facebook also meant that people had trouble using these apps. It made the situation even more frustrating for many users, who rely on these apps to stay connected with others.

During this recent problem, one thing is obvious: the internet is always changing, and even big websites like Facebook can have problems. While people wait for Facebook to fix the issue, it shows us how easily things online can go wrong. It’s a good reminder that we should have backup plans for staying connected online, just in case something like this happens again.

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NEWS

We asked ChatGPT what will be Google (GOOG) stock price for 2030

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We asked ChatGPT what will be Google (GOOG) stock price for 2030

Investors who have invested in Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) stock have reaped significant benefits from the company’s robust financial performance over the last five years. Google’s dominance in the online advertising market has been a key driver of the company’s consistent revenue growth and impressive profit margins.

In addition, Google has expanded its operations into related fields such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence. These areas show great promise as future growth drivers, making them increasingly attractive to investors. Notably, Alphabet’s stock price has been rising due to investor interest in the company’s recent initiatives in the fast-developing field of artificial intelligence (AI), adding generative AI features to Gmail and Google Docs.

However, when it comes to predicting the future pricing of a corporation like Google, there are many factors to consider. With this in mind, Finbold turned to the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT to suggest a likely pricing range for GOOG stock by 2030. Although the tool was unable to give a definitive price range, it did note the following:

“Over the long term, Google has a track record of strong financial performance and has shown an ability to adapt to changing market conditions. As such, it’s reasonable to expect that Google’s stock price may continue to appreciate over time.”

GOOG stock price prediction

While attempting to estimate the price range of future transactions, it is essential to consider a variety of measures in addition to the AI chat tool, which includes deep learning algorithms and stock market experts.

Finbold collected forecasts provided by CoinPriceForecast, a finance prediction tool that utilizes machine self-learning technology, to anticipate Google stock price by the end of 2030 to compare with ChatGPT’s projection.

According to the most recent long-term estimate, which Finbold obtained on March 20, the price of Google will rise beyond $200 in 2030 and touch $247 by the end of the year, which would indicate a 141% gain from today to the end of the year.

2030 GOOG price prediction: Source: CoinPriceForecast

Google has been assigned a recommendation of ‘strong buy’ by the majority of analysts working on Wall Street for a more near-term time frame. Significantly, 36 analysts of the 48 have recommended a “strong buy,” while seven people have advocated a “buy.” The remaining five analysts had given a ‘hold’ rating.

1679313229 737 We asked ChatGPT what will be Google GOOG stock price
Wall Street GOOG 12-month price prediction: Source: TradingView

The average price projection for Alphabet stock over the last three months has been $125.32; this objective represents a 22.31% upside from its current price. It’s interesting to note that the maximum price forecast for the next year is $160, representing a gain of 56.16% from the stock’s current price of $102.46.

While the outlook for Google stock may be positive, it’s important to keep in mind that some potential challenges and risks could impact its performance, including competition from ChatGPT itself, which could affect Google’s price.


Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk.

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