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Daily Search Forum Recap: March 11, 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.


We saw the Google core update potentially do its first drop on Friday and then into Saturday but then it went quiet on Sunday and Monday. Google will be replacing FID with INP in its Core Web Vitals tomorrow (unrelated to Core updates). Google said it is a bad idea to double down on AI content now. Google says the use of AI for some articles but not saying which articles is the lowest form of low quality content. Google Local Service Ads can show competitors in your local profile listing. Bing Webmaster Tools may go from 6 months of data to 24 months of data.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google March 2024 Core Update Ranking Changes Have Begun


    Today is the first day I have seen solid evidence of serious ranking volatility and changes related to the big Google March 2024 Core Update. As a reminder, the Google March 2024 Core Update officially started on March 5, 2024 and will take up to a month to fully roll out, we are expecting numerous ranking changes during the next few weeks.

  • Reminder: Google Core Web Vitals Replaces FID With INP Tomorrow (March 12)


    This is just a friendly reminder that Google will replace First Input Delay (FID) with Interaction to Next Paint (INP) as a Core Web Vital metric tomorrow, Tuesday, March 12, 2024. This has nothing to do with the Google March 2024 Core update that is currently rolling out at the same time, but I am confident this will confuse SEOs even more since “core” is in the name of both of these changes.


  • Google Explains Doubling Down On AI Content Now May Be A Bad Idea


    There is a thread on Reddit asking site owners how they are dealing with the new various Google updates and the associated traffic drops. One Redditor responded that he would go from 500 articles to 5,000 articles written using AI to make up for the traffic drop. In which Google’s John Mueller responded, “this is a bad idea.”

  • Google: Sites Using AI For Some Articles But Don’t Specify Which Is Lowest Quality Pages


    The updated Google Search Quality Raters guidelines last week and added an example of that it considers the “lowest quality pages.” In section 4.7 it states the only mention of using AI and writes, “The website terms of use states that “some articles” are generated by artificial intelligence and may have errors or be out of date; there is no indication to which pages this statement applies. The information in this article is not trustworthy and is Lowest E-E-A-T.”

  • Google LSAs Shows Competitors In Your Google Business Profile Listing


    Imagine you pay for an advertisement, someone then clicks on that ad and is then able to see local competitors. Is that ad worth buying? Well, Google Local Service Ads that bring up your Google Business Profile can show nearby competitors in your Business Profile listing.

  • Bing Webmaster Tools May Provide Up 24 Months Of Data


    Currently, Bing Webmaster Tools will give you up to six months of data, but Microsoft may extend that up to 24 months. Fabrice Canel from Microsoft said on X, “We will consider extending to 2 years.”

  • Google Hong Kong Lobby Decor


    Here is a recent photo of the lobby at the Google Hong Kong office. The Google logo on the brick wall seems to be made up of some sort of wire mesh. And then there are some Chinese items around.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

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 Ranking Volatility Over The Memorial Day Weekend

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Google Logo Explode

While I highly doubt Google pushed an algorithmic change over Memorial Day, there was a significant spike in chatter in the SEO community and the third-party Google Search tracking tools are showing volatility. Yes, traffic can be weird and lower on Memorial Day – I get that – but there seems to be more movement than normal.

So, was there a Google Search ranking update over Memorial Day weekend? Let me share what I am seeing but before I do.

Just a reminder that we saw Google ranking volatility around May 22nd, May 16th, May 9th, May 3rd and April 25th. Before that the March 2024 core update started on March 5th and ended on April 19th, 45 days later. It has been a busy month.

SEO Chatter

I began seeing chatter at WebmasterWorld on Sunday, May 26th and the chatter continued on through yesterday. Here is some of what was said in the forums:

Wow, I am seeing a 70% drop in traffic to my site’s homepage this weekend. Now a drop is normal on holiday weekends, but certainly not 70%….what’s up with that?

Very poor weekend for my global site at 60% yesterday and so far today after 20 hours at 40%. I expect tomorrow to be equally low.

UK hotel site ended up yesterday after a very slow start and has been extremely busy today as hoped for with food and live music.

What a strange weekend. Saturday traffic from Google collapsed, Sunday a strong increase, today so far 1 hour a lot of traffic, one hour as good as nothing, this has been going on since 6 am. I give up trying to understand that.

For me too, a little bit down again at the weekend. It goes down, down and down. Nobody knows why or why. I’m slowly but surely coming to terms with the fact that this topic no longer has a future. 🙁

Oh wow, there is life after Google. My traffic overnight is +140%. Bringing me back to, almost, where I was. I think a few new articles went viral but Google, was -20%. So none of this increased traffic was sent from them. Nice! After months and weeks of solid decline I now see an increase. Now to try and maintain it.

Traffic back to normal for me today which surprised me a little.

It is a holiday weekend in the UK therefore I went out for a few beers last night and it really did shock me. Several pubs were already closed and the normally really busy pubs were all absolutely dead … Were all the supposed 20 million car journeys happening last night?

I also saw some chatter on this site:

I thought Google would leave it alone on memorial day but seems there is now shuffling in my niche anyway. It was actually awfully quiet for a few days with pretty much no changes in the rankings. But it’s starting again. It’s just sick. I don’t get why the rankings shuffle so much day to day. I have read the theories here and they seem correct. Could be A/B testing. Who even knows.

Someone is feeling a difference during this weekend?

Glenn Gabe also spotted changes, he wrote, “Well, add 5/26 to the list. I’m seeing some confirmed surges in rankings across sites I have access to. And these are sites also impacted by the March core update.”

And more:

Google Tracking Tools

As you can see, most of these tools have been super heated and showing a lot of Google ranking volatility over the past week.

Semrush:

Semrush

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Mozcast:

Mozcast

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Mangools:

Mangools

Wincher:

Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

Algoroo:

Algoroo

What did you all see this weekend?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.



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Google’s Site Reputation Abuse Policy Is Not Algorithmic Yet

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Google Robot Police

Google has once again said that its enforcement of the site reputation abuse policy is still only being done through manual actions and not algorithmically. Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liasion, said this on X yesterday, “We have not gone live with algorithmic actions on site reputation abuse.”

Sullivan added that “when we do, we’ll be very clear about that.” Meaning, when Google starts to enforce the site reputation abuse policy through algorithmic means, Google will announce it somewhere. Likely on the its search status page.

As a reminder, Sullivan said this on May 6th on X, as we covered back then. He wrote then, “we’re only doing manual actions right now. The algorithmic component will indeed come, as we’ve said, but that’s not live yet.” So the algorithmic component 18 days later is still not live.

Sullivan added:

Publishers seeing changes and thinking it’s this — it’s not — results change all the time for all types of reasons. The actions currently only also impact the content being actions, not the entire site, as the action notices I believe make clear.

This was in response to some SEOs saying that the site reputation abuse policy is algorithmic now. Google is saying no, it is not.

Here is that post:

Google did say the site reputation abuse policy would be enforced both algorithmically and through manual actions but when it first went live, it was only enforced using manual actions.

As a reminder, site reputation abuse “is when third-party pages are published with little or no first-party oversight or involvement, where the purpose is to manipulate Search rankings by taking advantage of the first-party site’s ranking signals,” Chris Nelson from the Google Search Quality team wrote. This includes sponsored, advertising, partner, or other third-party pages that are typically independent of a host site’s main purpose or produced without close oversight or involvement of the host site, and provide little to no value to users, he explained.

Here is more commentary on this topic from yesterday:

I should add, there is a lot of confusion around a lof of the ranking volatility over the past few weeks. There was a lot of unconfirmed Google updates in the past few weeks that really shuffled things around in the Google search results.

Forum discussion at X.



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Google Ranking Volatility, Ads In Google AI Overviews, Sundar Pichai Interview, Heartfelt Helpful Content & More Ad News

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Google Ranking Volatility, Ads In Google AI Overviews, Sundar Pichai Interview, Heartfelt Helpful Content & More Ad News

We had more Google search ranking volatility in the middle of the week after some calming for a few days. Google Ads will soon show within the Google AI Overview, plus we covered a lot more ad news. Sundar Pichai was interviewed, and we broke it down. Bing lets you turn off its AI Copilot answers in the search results, but Google still does not. There are many poor-quality AI Overviews, and now there is a way to find a lot of them. Google said it is working on surfacing more heartfelt, helpful content in Search. Google is testing a special snippet treatment for Reddit. Google Search Console is showing a weird surge in the search performance reports for product snippets. Google and Bing recommend you upgrade to WordPress 6.5 because it supports lastmod dates in sitemaps. Google’s site reputation abuse policy enforcement is still not algorithmic. Google Lens now shows richer and links to sites. Google added more visual knowledge panel source information. Google can now index epub formats. Bing went down this week, taking down ChatGPT search, DuckDuckGo, Copilot, and more services. Bing is testing tags filters in its search results. Apple Maps can permanently close a business if the hours and address are missing or don’t match. GA4 real-time reports now show users in the last 5 minutes. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

SPONSOR: This week’s video recap is sponsored by Duda, the Professional Website Builder You Can Call Your Own.

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Search Topics of Discussion:

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