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Google Says The Quality Of Your Languages On Your Multilingual Site Can Impact Each Other

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Google Says The Quality Of Your Languages On Your Multilingual Site Can Impact Each Other

Google’s John Mueller confirmed on the December 31st SEO hangout that if you have multiple versions of your site (on the same domain name), and one version is deemed high quality by Google and the other version is deemed low quality by Google – the low quality version can negatively impact the high quality version. And yes, we should all know by now that quality is at the site level and significant portions of your site can impact other portions of that same site.

This came up at the 6:52 mark where an SEO asked “do you consider the language quality of each language version on the same domain independently or can there be some sort of negative or bad neighborhood effect so that if one language version is of poor quality, all the other language versions on the same domain suffer as well?”

John Mueller said the short answer is yes, and it is not necessarily about the site having different languages but about the site overall having sections that are low quality. John said “the main issue here is less about these being translated versions of the content but more that for some things we look at the quality of the site overall. And when we look at the quality of the site overall if you have significant portions that are lower quality, it doesn’t matter so much for us like why they would be lower quality if they’re just bad translations or if they’re terrible content or whatever. But if we see that they’re significant parts that are lower quality then we might think overall this website is not so fantastic as we thought. And that can have effects in different places across the website.”

John added “so in short, I guess if you have a very low quality translation that’s also indexed and that’s also very visible in search then that can definitely pull down the good quality translation as well or the good quality original content that you also have.”

Here is where he said this, the back and forth goes on for a lot more, so it is worth watching:

Here is how Glenn Gabe summed it up from his perspective:

Here is the transcript:

QUESTION:

I wonder if a poor translation of a new language version can negatively affect the SEO for domains more established main language versions. So let’s go with an example, let’s assume that i have an established website in French that exists for a number of years and has reasonable SEO success. And then I want to add German language version on the same domain, so not the distinct domain but the same domain and the website owner uses automated translation unfortunately for the G user interface and the German content.

So I know that automated translation is considered as automated automated generated content and Google doesn’t like it so it would seem normal that Google probably doesn’t appreciate the new German version so much. But my question mainly targets the established French version which has done reasonably well so far.

I wonder if this poor German language version can influence negatively the success of the more established French version? So in other words do you consider the language quality of each language version on the same domain independently or can there be some sort of negative or bad neighborhood effect so that if one language version is of poor quality, all the other language versions on the same domain suffer as well?

ANSWER:

I guess the short answer is, yes.

The main issue here is less about these being translated versions of the content but more that for some things we look at the quality of the site overall. And when we look at the quality of the site overall if you have significant portions that are lower quality, it doesn’t matter so much for us like why they would be lower quality if they’re just bad translations or if they’re terrible content or whatever. But if we see that they’re significant parts that are lower quality then we might think overall this website is not so fantastic as we thought. And that can have effects in different places across the website.

So in short, I guess if you have a very low quality translation that’s also indexed and that’s also very visible in search then that can definitely pull down the good quality translation as well or the good quality original content that you also have.

Forum discussion at Twitter.




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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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