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Daily Search Forum Recap: December 29, 2021



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.

This month, the month of December, may have been the most volatile month in Google search algorithm update history. Google also had some sort of search algorithmic jolt yesterday. Google Search Console showed an announcement banner the other night, it was a bug, but if you missed it, we have screenshots and videos. Google Ads is testing excluding placements in smart shopping. And what were some of the most counterintuitive SEO recommendations you tried out?

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • Semrush: December The Most Volatile Month For Google Search Of 2021

    According to recent Semrush data, this month, the month of December, was the most volatile month of the year and probably Google history. Here is a chart Mordy Oberstein of Semrush shared showing how December soared amongst the rest of the months in 2021.
  • December 27 & 28 Google Search Ranking Algorithm Jolt?

    Around December 27th and 28th we may have a Google search ranking algorithm jolt or quick tremor. I highly doubt Google pushed out something over the holidays, this last week of December. But it might just be some weird change that jolted the search results (like that even happens as I am describing).
  • Google Search Console Announcements Bar Test

    Google Search Console had this new bar at the top of the Search Console interface with announcements. It showed three types of announcements; informational, minor issue and major issue announcements. These showed up in blue, yellow and red respectively.

  • Google Ads Exclude Placements Coming To Smart Shopping Campaigns?

    Google seems to be testing a feature to exclude unwanted placements in Smart Shopping Campaigns within Google Ads. ADworld Experience posted this on Twitter but it is not clear if it works or if this was some sort of slip up from Google.
  • Counterintuitive SEO Recommendations Thread

    A couple of months ago, Aleyda Solis posted a thread on Twitter (I was waiting for a slow week to post it here) asking “what’s the most counterintuitive SEO recommendation/implementation you’ve done that actually made sense in the context you were working and paid off as you expected?”

  • Doogler Crate & Bed At Google

    Here is a photo from a few years back of a Doogler, Google dog, getting ready to move offices in the Google Seattle office. You can see the dog crate and bed (I think it is called that) all ready to

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:


Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice



Other Search


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, you can follow us on Facebook 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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January 22nd Another Unconfirmed Google Search Ranking Update



Google Algorithm Update

Again I am seeing signals, both a lot of chatter from the SEO community and tools lighting up around a possible but yet unconfirmed Google search ranking algorithm update. Yes, there has been a ton of unconfirmed updates in the past couple of weeks and let’s add this one to the list.

Most recently we had unconfirmed Google search updates on January 19th and 20th, January 14th, 15th and 17th, then before that on January 11th and then it was quiet until some tremors in late December. So now I am seeing chatter start up on Friday, January 21st and spike through January 22nd and this morning.

It might be just some sort of update that Google didn’t announce that started a week or two ago and it is still rolling out but it is hard for us to say without a statement from Google.

And like the other unconfirmed updates this month, there is both SEO industry chatter and data from the tracking tools that support this but yes, we do not have a Google confirmation about an update.

SEO Industry Chatter

Like I said above, the chatter started around Friday, January 21st and continued through Saturday January 22nd and today, Sunday January 23rd. Here is what I found at WebmasterWorld throughout this timeframe:

It’s all come to a grinding halt this morning for me so far. The last 4 days have seen seen an average of 133.1% but coming up to 14 hours of my Googleday I’m struggling on 29.7%.

About the same here. I assume the update is still rolling out or twhat we are seeing is the ghost town after an update.

The lost keywords on mobile search have not returned. They do show on desktops. The page experience for mobile is good so not sure what’s really going on. Any ideas would be welcomed.

update: this is only in US by the looks of it. All the ‘lost’ keywords show in UK and other places but have been removed from US.

I see high spikes in traffic on totally irrelevant pages on my site. This morning it looks like quality traffic is starting to pick up. The weird thing is that G drives so much traffic to very unimportant pages. Some adjustment is certainly taking place.

My main site is about weather forecast. This morning I had high traffic spikes on pages from small and irrelevant towns in Tanzania, Colombia, Chile, Kenya and many others. This is unusual. These locations are not having any particular weather events to attract so many users at the same time on the same page.

I keep seeing anomalies with high traffic right now. I don’t know if it’s a fix or an update.

It’s pretty weird after 3 days of drops.

Something major happened because my main website dropped like a rock (25-30% in keywords and traffic) over the night. And my competitors as well. Semrush shows very depressing data and the traffic does confirm it. Looking forward to see what Google cooked this time.

Yesterday ended at 91.7% however just seemed slow all day. and again today it seems sluggish but “is it that time of year” ?!?!

One thing is for certain though, the pub / hotel site today is quiet BUT the restaurant had a great lunch service and the the “new UK norm” bars are very busy at the moment … It’s cold outside so they’re all warrming-up inside 🙂

Some are also suggesting that the tracking tools, like Semrush and others need to readjust for the new high levels of volatility.

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Google Tracking Tools

Here is what the tracking tools are showing right now:


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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Cognitive SEO:

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So most of the tools seem pretty hot…

Are you noticing ranking changes?

Update: Glenn Gabe agrees that it might be a continuation from whatever rolled out earlier, he shared these charts:

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Google New York City Conference Room View



Google NYC Conference Room View

Here is a recent photo from the New York City Google office and the view this conference room has. It was the first time this Googler has been back at the office in almost two years and it was a nice day for it.

This photo was shared on Instagram.

This post is part of our daily Search Photo of the Day column, where we find fun and interesting photos related to the search industry and share them with our readers.

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Bug With Google Ads Discovery & Performance Max Campaigns & New Placement Reports



Bug With Google Ads Discovery & Performance Max Campaigns & New Placement Reports

Google Ads confirmed some sort of bug with Discovery and Performance Max campaigns that are a “significant subset of users.” It is unclear what this bug is, but it started last night at around 11pm ET. Also, George Nguyen at Search Engine Land spotted that Google released new placement reports for Performance Max campaigns.

Discovery and Performance Max Campaigns Bug

Google wrote that on January 21, 2022 at 4:07 AM UTC “We’re aware of a problem with Google Ads affecting a significant subset of users. We will provide an update by Jan 21, 2022, 8:00 AM UTC detailing when we expect to resolve the problem. Please note that this resolution time is an estimate and may change. This issue is affecting Discovery and Performance Max campaigns”

Google has issued another update that “We are continuing to investigate this issue” but has no details yet on what the specific issue is.

Any of you seeing the issue?

Update: Here is Google’s statement “our team uncovered a temporary technical issue that affected serving on YouTube inventory between January 18 and January 21 for a subset of Discovery campaigns and a small portion of Performance Max campaigns. We have resolved the issue and everything is now working as intended.”

New placement reports for Performance Max campaigns

George explained that Google Ads has launched placement reports for Performance Max campaigns where these new placement reports can be generated to see where ads have served for Performance Max campaigns as well as how many impressions those ads obtained.

Google sent Search Engine Land this statement, “Placement reports for Performance Max campaigns are a new reporting resource for advertisers to easily see where on Google’s channels ads have served and associated impressions. We created these reports to give advertisers more transparency and assurance around where their ads are showing.”

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Chris Ridley shared this on Twitter on this topic:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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