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Google Helpful Content Update Not Done (Now Done) Yet And Now We’re Seeing Fluctuations

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Google Helpful Content Update Not Done (Now Done) Yet And Now We're Seeing Fluctuations

Today marks the two-week and one-day mark since the Google helpful content update started to roll out and by the time I am writing this and when it was published Google has still not noted that the helpful content update is done rolling out (update, at 2pm today, Google said the update is done rolling out). Plus, as I noted yesterday, we are now seeing more significant volatility and fluctuations as of yesterday and more today in the Google Search results.

The page that will inform us of when it is done rolling out still says “Released the August 2022 helpful content update. The rollout could take up to two weeks to complete.” It does not have a date on when it is done.

John Mueller of Google was asked about this and he replied this morning on Twitter saying, “These kinds of rollouts take up to about two weeks. Sometimes they’re a bit slower, sometimes a bit faster.”

SEO Chatter Now Showing

I am now seeing much more chatter in the past 24 hours than I have in the previous two weeks. Here is some of the chatter in the WebmasterWorld forums in the past day or so:

Since 17-18.00 hrs UK time yesterday (Wednesday) I have seen a noticeable reduction in traffic to my global site returning so far to the levels of July and the first 2 weeks of August.

confirmed, we see a big trop today about 40%.

Agreed, about -40 to 50% at the moment.

Something’s definitely showing on the volatility trackers. Rollout should be just about done by now.

Traffic’s up +20% today but could be unrelated.

Mostly the same as usual for our travel information site, although we’re up a bit compared to the peak summer season. Normally we’d see the beginnings of a seasonal decline after September 1. (This probably has less to do with Google than with pent-up travel demand.)

Sept 8th and a mega group of sites, each with 250k auto-generated pages of mostly scraped content receiving between 2 and 5 million monthly visitors from search…. have not been affected yet. C’mon Google!

My traffic was very strong until noon EST, then dropped off a cliff until 3pm EST…so I think yes it’s all about the Queen’s passing.

Again, this is more chatter than I have seen in the past two weeks, just in the past 24 hours.

Google Tracking Tools

And now the tracking tools are also showing big swings, again, the previous two weeks were super calm according to the trackers but in the past day, the tools are picking up on volatility.

Semrush:

click for full size

RankRanger:

click for full size

Cognitive SEO:

click for full size

Mozcast:

click for full size

SERPmetrics:

click for full size

Accuranker:

click for full size

Advanced Web Rankings:

click for full size

So is this new movement in the past 24 hours related to the helpful content update or is it something else? Did Google decide to turn up the dial at the tail end of this rollout? I am not sure – but I figured I’d share what I am seeing from the SEO community.

Earlier this week we reported that 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 substantial 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 early on seemed pretty minor in terms of what SEOs and tools are picking up, despite what we all thought would happen. Maybe now what we are seeing are the teeth of this update?

Forum discussion at Twitter and WebmasterWorld.

Update: The rollout of this helpful content update finished on September 9th at around 2pm ET:



Source: www.seroundtable.com

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Daily Search Forum Recap: May 29, 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 Business Profiles is dropping the chat feature and call history on July 31st. Google is working on surfacing the site you search for in Google Search :). Google AI Overviews click data studies conflict. Google Business Profiles now shows why product uploads fail. Also, Google Discover feeds are not loading for some searchers.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Business Profile Call History & Chat Going Away


    Google will be removing the call history reports and the Chat feature within Google Business Profiles on July 31, 2024. Google said, “We acknowledge this may be difficult news,” but added, “We occasionally have to make difficult decisions.”

  • Google Search Working To Surface Site When Site Name Is Referenced In Query


    There have been a number of complaints that when you search for a query and the site name, Google doesn’t always show results from the site you mentioned in the query. But Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, said the Google Search team is working on adjusting that so the site mentioned in the query is surfaced higher in the search results.

  • Two Conflicting Google AI Overview CTR Studies


    In the past couple of weeks, we had two blog posts published on the topic of the click through rates from the new Google AI Overviews to publishers compared to those clicks to publishers prior to the AI Overviews going live. And guess what – the studies conflict with each other.

  • Google Discover Feed Not Loading For Some Searchers


    Over the past few days, some Google users are complaining that the Google Discover news feed is not loading. It seems many of these users are on Pixel devices but I am not sure if this is only impacting Pixel users.

  • Google Business Profiles Shows Product Rejection Details


    Google Business Profiles can now show you why your uploaded products were rejected by the system. I guess previously Google did not do this but now Google can show you the reason why your products were not processed properly by Google Business Profiles.

  • Google Education Cards


    Here are a bunch of Google colored cards or badges that are part of some sort of Google Education event held in Brazil. Each card has a different Google service or product and they are in blue, red, yellow and green.

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 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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