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Are We Seeing Any Movement From The Google Helpful Content Update?

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Are We Seeing Any Movement From The Google Helpful Content Update?

There seems to be a lot of confusion around the Google helpful content update and if it is “big” or not big. That all depends on if you were hit by it, if you were, oh boy is it really big for you. But in terms of how widespread it is, so far, it is not affecting many many sites.

Yes, I am seeing sites hit hard, really hard by this update. Some are seeing traffic drops close to 50% or more from Google Search after being hit. Truth is, most of those hits, are not surprised and kind of expected it based on their content. There are some outliers, like with all Google updates, but again, this is not as widespread as when Google released a Panda or Penguin update, or even the core updates and even the product review updates. It seems way more limited and did not spread too far beyond the most unhelpful content on the web.

Like we reported yesterday, Danny Sullivan even said himself it was not a huge shakeup but it was big in terms of the direction Google is going with ranking content. Of course, we’d (well, I would, not sure you all would) like to see the “direction” or the message Google is trying to set and see Google act on it in a more substainal way.

As a reminder, only 20% of SEOs said they noticed any ranking changes related to the helpful content update and I believe a good percentage of that 20% are confused and misattributing the changes they see to the wrong thing – i.e. it is not the helpful content update. The Google helpful content update so far seems pretty minor in terms of what SEOs and tools are picking up, despite what we all thought would happen. Keep in mind, that the update is not done and we do expect more from it but I don’t know how much more we will see with this update being that it should be done rolling out any minute/day now.

So what sites are being hit most? Well, it seems sites that literally use AI or computers to write their content in an automated fashion. It seems like the lyrics space got hit pretty hard. And it seems like content that was not written by humans were most impacted. Don’t get me wrong, there are some examples of sites written by humans and not machines that were hit but it is hard to know if those humans write like machines or if that hit was related to this update. I mean, if you write with a template, then maybe it looks like a machine wrote it?

Again, I thought, and I am to blame, that SEO-written content would be hit hard by this. Not just machine-written content but SEO-written content. I was wrong, at least for now.

So what am I seeing? Well, let’s start with what Lily Ray and Glenn Gabe picked up on in the lyrics space:

Some unhelpful content:

I received emails from some folks, who told me that heavy database-driven content that is light on full sentence content was hit hard. And there folks in the WebmasterWorld forums are posting but honestly, the chatter there is less than I would see even for an unconfirmed update that I would report on.

There are some folks who are seeing more widespread shifts as of this morning, maybe Google dialed it up in the past few hours? I doubt it, but I will keep an eye on it. I am seeing an increase in the chatter in the comments area here overnight of a pick up in ranking fluctuations. So I will keep an eye on this over the next 24-hours and let you know how things are tomorrow, if things change much.

Semrush has a spike this morning as well:

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Advanced Web Rankings is currently the only other tool that is showing a spike of some sorts:

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RankRanger also showing some levels of change this morning:

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The other tools are currently calm, but I will keep an eye on them.

It is now 14 days since the rollout began and I expect the update to be completed any moment now. So maybe this is it? Maybe this update was super targeted, not widespread, but future updates may be larger.

I know the update is not done yet and it is too early to analyze anything but I wanted to share some early thoughts on the impact of this update, from what I see from the SEO community.

What are all you seeing this morning?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.



Source: www.seroundtable.com

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Google Hanukkah Decorations Are Live For 2023

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Google Hanukkah 2023

Hanukkah (aka Chanukah) starts this coming Thursday night, December 7th. Google has added its Hanukkah decorations to the Google Search results interface to celebrate. Google does this every year and I expect to see the same rollout in the coming weeks for Christmas and Kawanzaa but for now, since Chanukah is in the coming days, we have the Hanukkah decorations live at Google Search.

Here is a screenshot of the Chanukah decorations as they look like on the mobile search results.

Google Hanukkah Decorations 2023

You can see it yourself by searching on Google for [chanukah], [hanukkah], but not yet [חֲנוּכָּה‎] or other spelling variations yet but it should soon. It looks better on mobile than it does on desktop results.

To see the past, the 2023 decorations, 2021 decorations, 2020 Chanukah decorations, 2019 Google holiday decorations, the 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and so on.

Happy Chanukah, everyone!

Forum discussion at X.

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Google Pay Accepted Icons In Google Search Results

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Woman Checking Out Store Google Logo

Google seems to be testing a Google Pay Accepted label or icon in the Google search results. This label has the super G logo followed by the words “Pay accepted” words next to search result snippets that support Google Pay and notate such in their structured data.

This was first spotted by Khushal Bherwani who shared some screenshots of this on X – here is one:

G Pay Accepted Google Search

Here are some more screenshots:

Brodie Clark also posted some screenshots after on X:

Google Pay Accepted Google Search

I tried to replicate this but I came up short.

This is not the first time Google had similar icons like this in its search results.

Forum discussion at X.



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Google Discover Showing Older Content Since Follow Feature Arrived

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Dog Astronut Google Logo

Typically, Google Discover shows content that is less than a day old, but it can show content that is weeks, months, or even years old. However, typically, Google will show more recent content in the Discover feed. Well, that may have changed with the new Google follow feature.

Glenn Gabe, who is a very active Google Discover user, noticed that since the Follow feature rolled out, he has been seeing content that is weeks and months old way more often than before the follow feature rolled out. Glenn wrote on X that “this could also be playing a role. i.e. Google isn’t providing as much recent content, but instead, focusing on providing targeted content based on the topics you are following.”

It makes sense that if you follow a specific topic and if Google Discover only shows the most authoritative types of content, it might be hard for Google to find new content on that topic. So it does make sense that Google may show older content more often for that specific topic you follow.

Here are screenshots Glenn shared:

Google Discover Old Stories Follow

Google Discover Old Stories Follow2

Have you noticed this in your Discover feed?

Forum discussion at X.



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