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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:

click for full size

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

click for full size

RankRanger also showing some levels of change this morning:

click for full size

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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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 21, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google unleashed a new spam update – the June 2024 spam update – here is what we know. Google had a big indexing issue last night, that lasted several hours. Google spoke more about the images not showing up in search and that it is more likely a quality issue with your site. Google Local Service Ads will soon show on Google Maps. Google Discover is testing a floating search bar. Google Safe Search has a new set of FAQs. Plus I posted the SEO video recap – it was a busy week!

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google June 2024 Spam Update Takes Target


    Google has released a new algorithm update the search company is naming the Google June 2024 Spam Update. This update does not have anything new specific changes that we are aware of, like some previous updates. Google just wrote, “Today we released the June 2024 spam update. It may take up to 1 week to complete, and we’ll post on the Google Search Status Dashboard when the rollout is done.”

  • Google Search Bug: Not Indexing or Serving New Content


    Google Search may be having a new indexing or serving (or both) bug where it is now showing new content from sites that are creating new content. Sites like the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, CNN, Forbes, and others are showing very few new pages being indexed in the past hour by Google Search.

  • Local Service Ads Coming To Google Maps On iOS


    Google is notifying some advertisers that use Google’s Local Service Ads program that soon their ads will be shown on Google Maps. It will start with the iOS version of the Google Maps app and then expand to other platforms and surfaces from there.

  • Google Search Images Go Missing? Might Be A Quality Issue.


    For the past several months, generally around the helpful content update in September and the various core updates we had over the past several months, there have been complaints with image thumbnails for some sites not appearing in the Google Search result listings. Google responded again to the issue, saying it is not a technical thing for most sites but rather a quality issue.

  • Search News Buzz Video Recap: Google Spam Update, Volatility & Indexing Bug, AI Overviews Tracking & FAQs, Google Maps Exploit, Google Ads, AppleBot & More


    We had a new Google spam update, the June 2024 spam update and what would be an SEO video recap within Google Search ranking volatility, at least this time it was on Father’s Day weekend. Google Search seemed to have an indexing bug last night. If your image snippets disappeared from Google months ago, it is likely a quality…

  • Google Posts Safe Search FAQs


    Ashwarya, the Community Manager for Google Search, posted a bunch of resources around Google Safe Search. He wrote, “We are going to help you out in every way possible. Here are a few articles to get you started on Safe Search.”



  • Google Tests Floating Search Bar In Google Discover


    Google is testing a floating search bar in the Google Discover results. So when you load up the Google home page on your mobile device and scroll through some Discover stories, the search bar sticks to the stop and floats over the stories.


  • Google Dublin Whiteboard Signage


    Here is a Google sign that is at the Google Dublin office which also is a whiteboard. You can write messages on the Google logo. I think this is old but I found it on Instagram recently.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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Google Search Not Indexing & Serving New Content?

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Google Logo Burning Ashes

Google Search may be having a new indexing or serving (or both) bug where it is now showing new content from sites that are creating new content. Sites like the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, CNN, Forbes, and others are showing very few new pages being indexed in the past hour by Google Search.

While all of these sites have produced dozens of stories in the past hour, most are showing 0 to 10 new content (URLs) in the Google Search index in the past hour.

Google has not posted any issue yet in its Search Status Dashboard and I do not see massive complaints yet but I received a notice on X about this (that post was deleted) but I still see the issue.

Here are some examples:

site:cnn.com – within hour – 2 results:

Google Cnn Index

site:wsj.com – within hour 2 results:

Google Wsj Index

WSJ down to nothing:

Wsj Hour

site:nytimes.com – within hour 10 results:

Google Nytimes Index

site:hollywoodreporter.com – within hour – 2 results:

Google Hollywood Index

site:forbes.com – within hour 0 results:

Google Forbes Index

Here are more examples of massive news sites not seeing much content in the Google index in the past hour:

Foxnews Google Index

Nbcnews Google Index

Apnews Google Index

Reuters Google Index

Cnbc Google Index

I often see indexing complaints about Google Search but I rarely see it on sites this big that produce a lot of content.

We last had a larger issue like this in January 2024, then in December 2023, October 2023 and then many more over the years.

Are any of you seeing this?

Update at 7:30pm ET: I waited over 30 minutes for this story to be indexed by Google and it was not. Normally this site is indexed within minutes of a story going live.

Ser Google Index Hour

So I checked Google Search Console and it said the page was crawled on Jun 20, 2024, 7:14:49 PM but the page was not in the Google index:

Gsc Not Indexed

Meanwhile, the live URL inspection tool says there is nothing preventing it from being indexed:

Gsc Can Be Indexed

I did request indexing manually to be sure – but still, not indexed.

Forum discussion at X.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 19, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google posted its FAQs on AI Overviews, asking why you can’t disable then. Google may be showing fewer Reddit links. Google explains when it is not a good thing when Googlebot is crawling you more. Google is testing 6 people also ask by default. Google launched menu buttons in the Google Maps results. Google AdSense has a new privacy and messaging feature for privacy rules.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google AI Overviews FAQs Including Why You Can’t Disable AI Overviews


    Google has posted a new document in its forums named frequently asked questions about AI Overviews. In this document it has a section named “why can’t I disable AI Overviews?” The answer is that Google’s “goal is to help people find the information they’re looking for quickly and reliably.”

  • Report On If Google Showing Fewer Reddit Links In Search?


    Some in the SEO industry have been asking if Google has been showing fewer links in its search results to Reddit over the past several weeks. So Mordy Obserstein pulled some Semrush data that showed a slight downtick in Reddit results in Google’s Discussion and Forums section.

  • Google: Two Common Reasons When A Spike In Crawling Is Bad


    Google’s Gary Illyes posted on LinkedIn with two common examples of when a spike in Googlebot activity, crawling, is a bad thing. The short answer is when Googlebot gets to crawling an infinite section of your site (like calendar pages that goes on forever) and when your site is hacked with a ton of new hacked pages.

  • Google Tests Two More People Also Ask Results (6 PPA)


    Google is testing showing two more people also ask results, by default, which is a total of six people also ask, instead of the typical four people also ask that Google would show in its search results.



  • Google Local Panels Gains Menu Button


    Google seems to be adding a “menu” button to the Google Business Profiles, the local panels, in the web search results. I think Google has tested this one and off over the years, but as Marcin Karwowski noted, it seems to be rolling out now to some businesses.



  • New Google AdSense Privacy & Messaging For Users To Opt Out


    Google has begun rolling out a new privacy and messaging feature for AdSense ads in some US states. This is to comply with California, Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia, and Utah privacy laws. The feature allows the site to communicate to the user about opting out of the sale or sharing of their personal information.



  • Google Japanese Circular Keyboard


    Here is a photo from Daniel Waisberg’s trip to the Google Japan office, and it shows these circular Japanese keyboards on display. There are other items on display.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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