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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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Microsoft Bing’s New BingBot Now Fully Live Today

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Bingbot

As a reminder, since April, Bing has been slowly testing a new BingBot user agent, slowly rolling it out to more percentages of crawls over the year. It should have rolled out to 100% of all crawls last month. But now Fabrice Canel said this week that it is near 100%, and an announcement is coming sometime today from Microsoft.

Fabrice Canel from Microsoft Bing wrote on Twitter, “We are near 100% and are proactively monitoring and rolling back any website having issues. Stay tuned for more communication Friday.”

Initially, Bing said it would be rolled out by Fall 2022, then January 2023. Maybe today is the day?

Here has been the rollout so far:

  • April 2022: Less than 5% of crawls
  • July 2022: 5% of all crawls
  • September 2022: 20% of all crawls
  • October 2022: 50% of all crawls
  • February 2023: New 100% of all crawls

Let’s see what Fabrice announces today.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Update: Confirmed, it is fully live according to Fabrice on LinkedIn.



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Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai Confirms New Chat Based Search Feature

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Google mobile phone texting

Last night I reported on Search Engine Land, based on the Google earnings report and earnings call, that Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has confirmed the search company will release a chat based search feature based on its own AI, LaMDA, in the coming weeks and months. Plus, there is a big new search event this Wednesday – so maybe we will hear about it there?

Yes, the other day we reported about Apprentice Bard, the reports of Google’s ChatGPT answer to OpenAI and Microsoft Bing.

Here is what Sundar said on the call:

Sundar Pichai said, “In the coming weeks and months, we’ll make these language models available, starting with LaMDA, so that people can engage directly with them. This will help us continue to get feedback, test, and safely improve them. These models are particularly amazing for composing, constructing, and summarizing. They will become even more useful for people as they provide up-to-date more factual information.”

Sundar Pichai said that he “first spoke about Google being an AI-first company” more than “six years ago.” “We have been preparing for this moment since early last year, and you’re going to see a lot from us in the coming few months across three big areas of opportunity; first, large models. We published extensively about LaMDA and PoN, the industry’s largest, most sophisticated model plus extensive work at DeepMind,” he continued to say.

During the question and answer period, Sundar added “We’ll be launching — we’ll — more as labs products in certain cases, beta features in certain cases and just slowly scaling up from there. Obviously, we need to make sure we’re iterating in public, these models will keep getting better, so the field is fast changing. The serving costs will need to be improved.”

“So I view it as very, very early days, but we are committed to putting our experiences, both in terms of new products and experiences, actually bringing direct LLM experiences in Search, making APIs available for developers and enterprises and learn from there and iterate like we’ve always done. So I’m looking forward to it,” he added.

Sundar goes on to add, “In terms of Search too, now that we can integrate more direct LLM type experiences in Search, I think it will help us expand and serve new types of use cases, generative use cases. And so I think I see this as a chance to rethink and re-imagine and drive Search to solve more use cases for our users as well. So again, early days, you will see us be bold, put things out, get feedback and iterate and make things better.”

Here is the event live stream on Wednesday:

Everyone is so ChatGPT crazed!

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Google Algorithm Update, Yandex Search Factors Leaked, ChatGPT Craze (Bing/Google), Bing Lastmod & More Yahoo Search

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Google Algorithm Update, Yandex Search Factors Leaked, ChatGPT Craze (Bing/Google), Bing Lastmod & More Yahoo Search

In this week’s recap, I covered the unconfirmed Google update that seemed to impact product review sites but maybe more on January 26th. Yandex had a huge leak, and SEOs and marketers dug through the search engine’s source code. Google’s answer to ChatGPT might be Apprentice Bard using LAMDA Sundar Pichai of Google basically confirmed this. Google’s John Mueller blasted some links sellers. Google Search Console updated the video indexing report. Google said to try to nofollow site credit links in your footer. Google said spammy links from porn sites should not be a priority. Google said if you redesign your site, the rankings make go “nuts.” Google Search Console verification does not impact your rankings. Google said firewalls and CDNs are the biggest reason for why your site is blocking crawling. Google updated its canonicalization docs in a big way. Google said don’t use relative paths in your canonicals. I posted the big Google webmaster report for Friday. Microsoft Bing said the lastmod field in your sitemap file is critical. The new BingBot might go 100% today. Google Ads announcements and news seemed to have slowed since late last year. Google reported earnings that showed their ad revenue was down 3.6% year over year. Yahoo Search is really going to be making a comeback, I have more evidence. And if you want to help sponsor those vlogs, go to patreon.com/barryschwartz. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Sponsored by BruceClay, who has been doing search marketing optimization since 1996 and also has an amazing SEO training platform.

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