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Google Helpful Content Update’s Last Surge?

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Google Helpful Content Update Logo

Over the past couple of days, I’ve seen more chatter of ranking movement for those SEOs initially impacted by the September 2023 helpful content update. I wonder if this is the last push, the last surge, of this helpful content update before Google says this update is done rolling out.

This update seemed to wreak havoc on our industry, seeming to target SEO’ed sites a bit more than others. And Google says the update is doing what it needs to and will not be rolled back. Don’t forget, Google did originally warn us that this update would impact SEOs. I wrote it would be as big as Panda was for some SEOs and while it took three of these updates to sink it, it seems like it finally did.

As a reminder, this update started to roll out on September 14th, about 12 days ago, so it should be done within the next couple of days. But sometimes these updates can take longer to roll out than just two weeks, although the previous one took 38 days but the one before that was only 15 days.

In any event, we are seeing more chatter while the tools are still acting super calm.

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the new SEO chatter in the past couple of days from WebmasterWorld and the comments here – this is just a sampling of that chatter:

Big drop in USA, UK, and CA traffic today, -35%, -25%, -75% respectively at 2pm. Yesterday UK ended the day at -39% and AU was -50%, USA was flat, CA was up 120%. So big swings and this is while my number of top 5 ranking terms keeps climbing all summer and through September.

Saturday global site 61.5%. I get concerned when it’s sub 60% on weekends
Saturday hotel venue 198%

So far today global site 53.5%
So far today hotel 196%

The crazy inconsistency continues.

In Germany we have a very big problem with newspapers and large magazines that rent out their domains outside of their subject area or write articles for all sorts of things – without any real specialist knowledge. These are actually all areas (finance, energy, telecommunications, streaming, etc.)

Huge drop today… Here We Go Again 😀

Big drops today for USA (-26%), Canada (-61%), Australia (-67%) and Germany (-40%) at 2pm. Clearly the strong traffic pattern of early Sept. is over as all of the anglophone countries are perpetually lagging now. German traffic was unusually high earlier this month and is now reverting.

Crazy spikey day again after a 63.5% day Sunday, so far today 271.5%, these page view spreads are npt “normal” for me.

I also see traffic spikes, then cliffs. Today the SERP’s are crazy… AdSense on the floor, I smell G’s movements.

+34% increase in USA traffic.
-27% decrease in Canadian traffic

We are based in Canada and we’re seeing an increase in USA traffic and decrease in Canadian traffic.

We also just got #0 featured snippet for USA traffic as well…

I’m not mad at growing in the USA, it was one of our goals – but we are destabilizing in our own country.

30% drop.

We experienced a much harder fall then this just from all the ads Google put in the serps months ago. Combine this with the horrific HCU, and it’s a complete disaster in Google. The only thing saving us is the increased sales from other search engines

For my global site Monday ended with my second highest day of the year at 284.5% however traffic came to an abrupt halt at UK 20.00. After 11 hours today it’s at 30.5% with PVs to uniques reverting to almost 1:1, Monday was 1:6.1

Utter inconsistency seems to be G’s delivery at the moment.

100 users in 5 minutes, nice. going up I’m confirming. I don’t think I’m special so everyone will see the improvements in a next days (I expect it to get where it was before)

Anything new today? Is it still keeping/going up?

That is just some of the chatter in the past couple of days.

Google Tracking Tools

Like we said before, the Google tracking tools are unusually calm. This tells the same story as our earlier reports. Chatter within the SEO community is off the charts but the tools are super calm.

Semrush:

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SERPmetrics:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Accuranker:

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Mozcast:

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Cognitive SEO:

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Algoroo:

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RankRanger:

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SERPstat:

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Wincher:

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SERPwoo:

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What are you all seeing over the past couple of days? Do you think we are at the tail end of this update?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: June 14, 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 experiments sometimes cause problems for Google Search and they need to revert them. Google Business Profile websites now 404. Google Ads it testing new call and location extension formats. Google is testing a new from sources across the web snippets. SEO bloggers are the reason Googler’s don’t share as much, sorry. Plus, I posted the SEO video recap (in a daze).

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Search News Buzz Video Recap: Google Weekend Volatility, Google On Search Leak, Elizabeth Tucker Interview, Apple Intelligence & More


    Google Search had more weekend volatility, surprise, surprise. Google responded more to the search leak around Navboost, clicks and user interactions. I interviewed Google’s Elizabeth Tucker on the March core update and much more. Google said you can recover from the helpful content update after a core update…

  • Google: Sometimes Search Experiments Conflict Causing Issues


    In the last Search Off The Record podcast, Gary Illyes from the Google Search team said that sometimes issues can arise within the Google Search results due to two experiments that conflict with each other. He said at the 19:41 mark, “Very often there are experiments that need to be rolled back because two experiments might interact very badly with each other.”

  • Google Business Profiles Websites No Longer Load – 404


    Google Business Profiles websites, which stopped loading websites and began redirecting to the Google Business Profiles listing on Google Maps now completely 404 – as expected. It was supposed to stop working completely this past Sunday, but it did not stop working until later this week.

  • Google Tests New Call & Location Extension Ad Format


    Google may be testing a new call extension and location extension ad format. This format shows up as a carousel of links or buttons that you can scroll through below the ad snippet in the search results.


  • Google Tests Multiple Featured Snippets Under From Sources Across The Web


    Google is testing a new look for the “from sources across the web” search results feature. This one looks like the multiple features snippets look, with the perspectives design, but is titled under the “from sources across the web” search results.

  • I’m The Reason Googlers Don’t Reply With Nuance


    Did you know that SEO bloggers, like myself, are the reason you see fewer and less nuanced responses from Google Search reps? John Mueller from Google said so on Reddit, where he wrote, “Love the SEO news/bloggers, but it also means I can’t reply to things with nuance publicly.”



  • Google Dinosaur Eating A Baby


    Stan, the Google dinosaur, has a baby in its mouth, as if it is eating the baby. Stan is the Google dinosaur that is located at the GooglePlex, the Google Mountain View offices in California.

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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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 13, 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 is testing description overlays on local photos in the Google local pack. Microsoft Bing is testing black review stars. Google said we should not let Googlebot crawl action URLs. Google is testing larger fonts for the snippet title link and smaller fonts for the site links. Google updated GA4 attribution models to associate conversions better to paid search campaigns. Reminder, I am offline today and this newsletter was pre-written and scheduled.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Fixes GA4 Attribution Models To Better Associate Conversions To Paid Search


    Google posted a notice that it fixed an issue where Google Analytics, GA4, would sometimes not credit the proper conversion attribution to the paid search campaign. Google said it will update the “attribution models in GA4 over the next two weeks to improve the accuracy of conversion credit for paid search campaigns.”

  • Google Tests Larger Fonts For Main Snippet Title Link & Smaller Font For Sitelinks


    Google is testing a larger font size for the main search result title link, followed by smaller fonts for that same snippet’s sitelinks. This was spotted a few days ago by both Umair Khan on X and Lily Ray on X.

  • Google: Disallow Crawling Of Action URLs (Buy Now, Sign Up, etc)


    Google posted a public service announcement saying you should disallow Googlebot from crawling your action URLs. Gary Illyes from Google posted on LinkedIn, “You should really disallow crawling of your action URLs. Crawlers will not buy that organic non-GMO scented candle, nor do they care for a wishlist.”

  • Bing Tests Black Review Stars In Search Results


    Microsoft is testing using black-colored review stars in its Bing Search results. This is instead of the yellow or orange review stars. I am not sure why they are testing it in black, but they are.

  • Google Local Pack Photos With Labels


    Google seems to be testing adding labels and descriptions on the photos within the local business profile listings. These are on both the carousel of images and on the detailed business profile page.

  • I’m Feeling Lucky Notebooks At Google


    Here are some colorful notebooks that say “I’m Feeling Lucky” that were spotted at the GooglePlex, the Google office in Mountain View.

  • Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot On Wednesday & Thursday


    This is a programming note that I will be completely offline for the holiday of Shavout/Shavous, from Tuesday night, June 11th, through late Thursday night, June 13th – I return Friday, June 14th. Any stories published here will be scheduled, written beforehand, and not written during the holiday hours.

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.


Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Shavout.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 12, 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.


Yesterday I interviewed Google’s Elizabeth Tucker about the core update, the old helpful content update, Reddit, AI Overviews and the Google Search leak. Google now supports return policy markup at the organization level. Google Maps is testing QR codes in Business Profile listings. Google Ads will ad a new optional verification method. Google is testing shaded site names and favicons in the search results. Google has drop the home activities cards from its search results. As a reminder, I am offline today, this newsletter was pre-written and scheduled.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • I Interviewed Elizabeth Tucker, Googler Responsible For The March Core Update


    Yesterday at SMX Advanced, I interviewed the Google executive who announced the March 2024 core update on the main Google blog. I asked Elizabeth Tucker a boatload of questions around SEO, the core update, the helpful content update, the search data leak and of course AI Overviews. Heck, I even made a comment about Reddit ruling the Google Search results.

  • Google Adds Return Policy Structured Data Support To Organization Level


    Google has expanded its support for return policy structured data to allow you to add the return policy to the organization level, and not have to specify that policy on each and every product detail level. Last year Google began supporting return policies in structured data but at the individual product level – now it is also supported at the organization level.

  • Google Home Activity Removed From Search


    Google Search no longer shows home activities after launching the feature just under four years ago. Google has pulled down the home activities structured data from its search developer documents last night and wrote, “The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

  • Google Maps Tests QR Codes On Business Profiles


    Google is testing QR codes on the Google Business Profile listings within Google Maps. The QR code shows on the right side of the action buttons (i.e. directions, save, share, etc).

  • Google Ads Adding New Optional Verification This Month


    Google Ads announced it will add a new optional verification to verify the affiliation of the advertiser/individual with the organization they are verifying. This starts sometime this month, June 2024, but it is not clear to me what the new verification is exactly.

  • Google Tests Shaded Site Name & Favicon For Search Results


    Google is testing shading the background color in gray behind the favicon and site name and URL for the mobile search results. It brings a little bit more of a design flair to the ten blue links, don’t you think?

  • Giant Spinning Rock At Google


    At the Google visitor center they have this giant spinning rock. This rock is mounted on this device that slowly spins it in circles.

  • Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot On Wednesday & Thursday


    This is a programming note that I will be completely offline for the holiday of Shavout/Shavous, from Tuesday night, June 11th, through late Thursday night, June 13th – I return Friday, June 14th. Any stories published here will be scheduled, written beforehand, and not written during the holiday hours.

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.


Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Shavout.



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