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Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update Around February 14th

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Google Algorithm Update

Here we go again; yet another Google search ranking algorithm update seems to have touched down on February 14th, maybe as early as February 13th, and seems to be continuing to shake things up throughout today. We previously covered unconfirmed updates on the 8th/9th and also the 4th.

I am seeing an increase in chatter starting on the 13th of February into today as well as some of the Google automated tracking tools are picking up on volatility and fluctuations.

We are due a broad core update soon, so maybe we are all getting that itch?

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the chatter here in the comments and also on WebmasterWorld:

Is it me or has traffic died the last couple of days? Really died!

Today, my traffic showed a steep drop, the worst value I have seen in 2023. How about yours?

No traffic on 14th feb. organic traffic is less than 20% as compared to previous year comparison.

Something is definitely going on, for the first time in years in the last 24 hours I have not received ONE piece of email spam, not one, zero spam … Considering the usual volume of garbage I get this is very significant.

The past week and a bit – nearly 2 weeks we had higher traffic and loads of conversions. We took around 3 weeks worth of orders in this space of time. Then last Tuesday / Wednesday google closed down that traffic and we have not had a single order since.

I’m in a different market, lead generation, but the timeline sounds remarkably similar. For 2-3 weeks we saw higher volume, steady, quality traffic to our services. Around the 4th of Feb it all seemed to have steadied out, but now the quality traffic arrives in short bursts. Meaning, we may be slow for the first 6 hours of our business day, then at some point in the afternoon we’ll see a flurry of lead activity for 1-2 hours, before it all turns back off again. It’s not related to a single service, a single area, or a specific thing. At one point, I thought it was ad-related, but I’m no longer sure since the hour or three of activity might come at 9am today, or 2pm tomorrow.

Definitely not normal traffic trends.

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Well, I haven’t see this in quite some time, so far today one visitor 2hrs and 4 mins with 254 page views and still on the site !

Interesting that so many of us have noticed a huge drop in sales recently. My visibility is at a high point going back as far as I can see, but today my search traffic is -25%. USA / Canada are -43% and -40% this morning at 11am. Traffic to my landing pages is down dramatically…almost all of them simultaneously.

My SERPs are all over the place today. If I get the layout with the favicons I am always 1st, if I get the layout without favicons then the top 4 seem to just be shuffling about, I can go from 1st to 3rd to 4th & back to 1st again just by opening new incognito tabs..

Daily, my two websites are shuffling their position front and back, no stability.

Whatever is going on, traffic is very low today…USA is -30% at 4:30pm and most of my major landing pages are way down. Canada is -66%, Australia is at zero today. This is while my visibility is higher than at any time in the last two years according to SEM. I checked and for the first time I am coming in 1st place in searches that I have been at 2 or 3 for years now…but the traffic just isn’t there.

Huge drop the last 3 days, but metrics on website backend are consistent.
More emails from possible customers, maybe the end of my zombie traffic increase I’m having since 2 months..

Glenn Gabe posted another site that is on this rollercoaster:

So as you can see, there is a lot of chatter in the past couple of days.

Google Tracking Tools

Some of the tools have picked up on the volatility today and yesterday, some have not picked up on it yet. Here is what I see from the popular tracking tools right now.

RankRanger:

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Cognitive SEO:

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Mozcast:

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Accuranker:

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SERPmetrics:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Semrush:

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Algoroo:

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What are you all noticing?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: April 15, 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.


There was more Google core update volatility over the weekend. Google defended its statements about forums ranking for almost everything. Google responded to The Verge’s printer article mocking its search results. Google AdSense publishers are seeing really big earnings drops. Google crawl budget is allocated on the hostname level. Google threatened California over its new proposed link tax bill with pulling investments and its news results from the state.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Weekend Google Core Ranking Volatility Taxing Site Owners


    As I mentioned briefly in my Friday video recap, I was starting to see renewed chatter on Friday morning around more Google search ranking volatility. I spotted some renewed chatter that lead through Friday, into Saturday and today. So I figured I’d cover it and share some of what SEOs are saying over the weekend.

  • Google Responds To The Verge Mocking Its Search Rankings For Best Printer


    Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of the Verge posted a new article with the intent to both rank for [best printer] in Google Search, as well as mock Google for how he can game Google’s search rankings using AI-generated content, while throwing in some affiliate links. Google’s John Mueller responded saying, “People seem to really enjoy it.”

  • Google Goes On Defensive On Its Search Quality & Forum Results Statements


    Recently, we covered some of Google’s rationale for ranking forums like Reddit and Quora so well in the Discussion and Forums box for many queries. Just a few days ago, we covered how I was sad to see Google ranking some dangerous and potentially harmful forum threads for health-related queries.

  • Google Threatens California: Tests Removing Links To Publishers & Pauses Investments


    On Friday, Google responded to a pending bill in the California state legislature, the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), that would require Google to pay a link tax to publishers by testing removing links to California based publishers and pausing investments in news publishers within the state.



  • Google Crawl Budget Is Allocated By Hostname


    Google gives every hostname its own allocated crawl budget. So that means each domain, subdomain, etc has its own unique crawl budget.



  • Google AdSense Publishers Reporting Huge RPM Earnings Drops


    Many Google AdSense publishers have been reporting massive declines in their earnings and RPMs (page revenue per thousand impressions) since late February. This comes a couple of weeks after we reported the switch from CPC to CPM bidding in AdSense did not have a negative revenue result for publishers.



  • Google Android Figurine Display Case


    At the Google Chicago office they have dozens of Android figurines on display in this glass display case. I guess they all have a name and are labeled with details. I found this image on Instagram.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

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Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

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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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Weekend Google Core Ranking Volatility

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Google Core Update Explode

As I mentioned briefly in my Friday video recap, I was starting to see renewed chatter on Friday morning around more Google search ranking volatility likely related to the ongoing Google March 2024 core update. I spotted some renewed chatter that lead through Friday, into Saturday and today. So I figured I’d cover it and share some of what SEOs are saying over the weekend.

We reported on volatility last Wedneday, on April 10th, and now we are seeing more of it. As a reminder, some sites got hit super hard by this update and no, it is not done yet. We have still not seen any real recoveries for sites hit by the September 2023 helpful content update recovery yet with this core update.

We are now 40 days and almost 40 nights since the update started rolling out and Passover is just around the corner. (sorry, had to…)

Both the Google ranking tracking tools and SEO chatter spiked over the past 48 hours.

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the chatter on social media, WebmasterWorld and comments here on this site over the past couple of days:

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Glenn Gabe has been tracking the movement closely, comparing previously hit sites by previous core and helpful content updates. I find his shares very insightful. Here is his latest post this morning:

He wrote:

Google Morning Google Land! This is the April 14 edition of “Core Update Notes”. I shared yesterday how the tools were all spiking and I picked up serious volatility across several sites I’m helping and tracking. Just wanted to share more about that this morning. Whatever Google updated, it’s definitely having a big effect on some sites. I have several documented that reversed course (and some reversing course for the *second time* during the update). For example, I shared rank tracking yesterday for one of those sites, which is even clearer today (see first screenshot). That site surged with the March core update, then reversed course half way through losing all gains. And it just surged completely back yesterday. The site owner is on a roller coaster. And yep, he’s ready to get off the coaster and hoping this surge sticks. :)

In addition, I’ve included several other screenshots of sites reversing course over the weekend. Remember, Google explained they would be updating several systems with the March core update that would reinforce each other. They also said to expect more volatility with this update. I’m definitely seeing that as I’m tracking many sites over time.

And for those interested in sites impacted heavily by the September HCU(X), I have still not seen any bounce back. 0. I checked the visibility numbers for 373 sites heavily impacted by the Sep HCU(X) this morning and all are down heavily over time (and most more with the March core update). I’ll keep checking… and we’ll see if the old HCU classifier gets dropped at some point while Google’s systems for assessing the helpfulness of content take over. Stay tuned.

He shared some of eye-popping charts, here is one of them:

Chart

Here are more:

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Slowly it’s not fun anymore. Since Friday, Google’s traffic has dropped considerably on my site and all the other sites I monitor. Many keywords have disappeared without a trace, even for the main keyword my site no longer ranks, in first place is now a cleaning company that has nothing to do with the topic, but well, people certainly want a cleaning when they google for the keyword.

Result since Friday -56 per cent, unfortunately the trend is still downwards. As I am also currently monitoring my friend’s online shop: it’s exactly the same for him, -56 per cent since Friday, we no longer need to talk about sales, although his ranking is stable.

Again, same same since Friday. No let up and remaining sites heading to zero. I thought I had it figured. Not so unfortunately.

Yes, they are rolling out something awful since Friday. Sensors confirm that too.

Traffic totally dead today here in Germany

Here too in Czech

My rankings had a little wobble yesterday. It always tends to happen on the back end of an update.

Traffic and conversions absolutely nonexistent today.

Weekends were the best days of the week. Currently I’m getting like 3-5 Visitors every 30 Min. That’s really a Joke.

Same, and as compared to all the previous weeks ,this one is the WORSE.

I fear it will just keep getting worse and we should get used to this as it will be the norm.

Google Tracking Tools

Many, not all, but many of the tools showed spikes over the past 24 hours or so. These are not insane spikes in volatility, well, Algoroo and Advanced Web Rankings show massive spikes but the others are not as heated.

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Semrush:

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Semrush

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Mozcast:

Mozcast

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Mangools:

Mangools

Wincher:

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Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Algoroo:

Algoroo

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

More Google Update Stories

Here are our previous stories on these updates:

What are you all seeing? Think we are just about done after 40 days of this rolling out?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Google Core Update Volatility, Helpful Content Update Gone, Dangerous Google Search Results & Google Ads Confusion

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Google Core Update Volatility, Helpful Content Update Gone, Dangerous Google Search Results & Google Ads Confusion


For the original iTunes version, click here.

This week, we covered that the Google March 2024 core update is still rolling out 38 days later, but we saw more volatility this week. Just a reminder that the Google helpful content update no longer exists. Gary Illyes from Google again says core update and indexing are independent. Google responded to complaints about dangerous and harmful search results. Google says ranking well in other verticals like shopping, images and others, does not negatively impact your web rankings. Google updated its structured data carousels beta documentation. Google says don’t disallow your internal footer links. Google says there are minimal differences between using a 404 and 410 status code. Google is testing short videos in the search bar. Google is not removing the site command. Bing is testing removing the cache link and the estimated number of search results. Google SGE is testing AI overview tabs. Bing is testing sources across the web AI. Google image search now has pixel-level object segmentation. Google Ad strength is not used in the auction, Google says. Google is testing sticky sponsored labels. Google Ads is also testing people also considered labels in the search ads. Google Ads tests “get phone number” buttons instead of the “call” button. Google released its Merchant Center product data specifications for 2024. Google Maps has a new flow for suggest an edit. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Sponsored by Similarweb, the all-in-one- strategic SEO software. Get clarity of the SEO landscape through competitor analysis, keyword research, rank tracking, SERP insights and more. With industry-leading traffic and keyword data, based on real user journeys, Similarweb gives SEO professionals the whole picture so they can strategize smartly and drive sustainable business growth.

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