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Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update Kicking Off Or Is It The Helpful Content & Link Spam Updates?

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Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update Kicking Off Or Is It The Helpful Content & Link Spam Updates?

I see signals, both in terms of SEO chatter and some of the Google Search tracking tools, of more volatility in the Google Search results. The volatility is algorithm update levels and can either be a new Google search ranking algorithm update or it can be the tail-end of the ongoing December 2022 helpful content update and December 2022 link spam update.

As you know, the December 2022 helpful content update started on December 5, 2022, and should have been done three weeks ago, but we are now on week number five. And the December 2022 link spam update started on December 14, 2022, and should have been done almost two weeks ago, but now we are heading into week number four.

But yes, we have a week or two more to go as of last Friday – so it might make sense to see some rumblings and fluctuations at the tail-end of these updates. I hope these updates finish on different dates and not the same dates.

Earlier last week, Danny Sullivan implied that the fluctuations we saw on January 3rd to 5th were related to these updates. He said on Mastodon then, “Both the updates are continuing to rollout. Normally these types of updates would have concluded by now, but rollouts can slow or pause when we get into the holiday periods.”

The two updates were delayed in its finish date because they ran into the holidays. Google said there was a security issue with completing them on the holidays. Also, we did see some big turbulence days before Christmas, and then things calmed down a lot. The truth is, the Google volatility is much calmer still than the previous couple of weeks. We also saw some fluctuations on December 26th.

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the SEO chatter from WebmasterWorld and BlackHatWorld over the past day or so… Note, some have been saying things are settling but some are seeing some wild swings (like any update, I guess).

Seeing black and white changes in search volume – happened 2 days ago

Anyone else seeing a drop in USA traffic today? Every other country is zooming, but USA is down 25%+ at 4:30pm

I’m seeing major position changes for high-volume, commercial queries in G serps, including some VERY high authority websites in this space. We’re generally side by side with these sites so it’s significant to see them disappearing from serp’s. Old positions were 1-3, new positions are 85-90 for the same queries. SEMR is showing a 15-25% drop in several of the sites within this niche and I think the only reason it’s not higher, is that the queries are not updated in their database yet.

After weeks of turbulence, the SERPs in my vertical seem to be settling.

If previous years are anything to go by then my traffic should start to return to my global site from today onwards, Monday it was at 71%.

Last night I received a notification about ranking change for a query and went to investigate. I found a SERP that was completely different than the day before. All of the scrapers and AI garbage and low quality sites were gone and replaced by the sort of sites you would expect to show up on page one. The sites that actually produce and sell a widget rather than the sites that write 2,000 word articles about the widget.

The further drastic drop in traffic, “IT how-to” niche. Neither updating, nor new content helps, it’s just destroying my 10 year old website. After a year-by-year growth, Google suddenly identified my website as a bad one, and started killing it, and nothing helps. I don’t know for what reason should we produce new content these days…

Google Tracking Tools

It is early but here is what some of the tools are showing, I will make sure to update these charts later on in the day as the tools update again:

Semrush:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Accuranker:

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Algoroo:

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SERPwoo:

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Cognitive SEO:

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SERPmetrics:

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RankRanger:

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Mozcast:

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SERPstat:

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Do you see any volatility yet? Do you think this is the ending of these two updates?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and BlackHatWorld.

Source: www.seroundtable.com

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SEOs Trust YMYL Content Less If It Is AI-Generated

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Surgery Google

Lily Ray ran a Twitter poll asking SEOs if they trust content in the YMYL, your money or your life, category more, less or the same if it was written by AI. The vast majority of responses said they trust AI-generated content less than human-generated content.

Lily asked, “If a site offering Your Money, Your Life information/advice (health, finance, etc) indicates that the content was partially written using AI, does this make you trust the content:”

About 74% of the over 1,000 votes said AI-generated content would be trusted less, 22% said there is no difference – they would trust it the same and 4% said it would be trusted more.

Here is the poll with the “See answers” option:

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Google Ads Now Supports Account-Level Negative Keywords

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Google Negative Keywords Ads

We knew it was coming, Google Ads now supports negative keywords for brand safety at the account level. Google has just added account-level negative keywords to Google Ads and the PPC community is happy about it.

I spotted this first via Melissa Mackey on Twitter who credits @NilsRooijmanSEA with the find on LinkedIn. Melissa wrote, “Account-level negative keywords are here! This is big.”

The Google help document on negative keywords has a new section that reads, “Account-level negative keywords.”

When you create your account-level list of negative keywords, it will automatically apply to all search and shopping inventory in relevant campaign types. This allows you to create a single, global, account-level list that applies negative keywords across all relevant inventory in your account.

You can create a single, account-level list of negative keywords in your Google Ads account settings. In your “Account Settings,” you’ll find the “Negative keywords” section. When you click on this section, you can begin creating your negative keywords list.

You can create your list by defining which search terms are considered negative for your brand. You can then enter this all at once in the “Negative keywords” section of your “Account Settings” in your Google Ads account. You can also specify whether you want to exclude these based on broad, exact, or phrase match. A limit of 1,000 negative keywords can be excluded for each account. Learn more about account-level negative keywords.

Here is a screenshot of this setting, where Nils Rooijmans explained, “Google is rolling out this feature in most of my accounts right now.”

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11 months ago, Ginny Marvin, the Google Ads Liaison said, Ginny Marvin responded to this saying “There are no current plans for a keyword tab in PMax. There are, however, plans to support negative keywords for brand safety at the account level.”

And now we got them.

Bit more history:

And some reaction on this:

Forum discussion at Twitter and LinkedIn.

Update: The Google Ads Liaison has now posted about this on Twitter:



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Google Says Google Search Handles marquee Tags Appropriately

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Google Marquee Lights

Gary Illyes, from the Google Search Relations team, said on LinkedIn that Google Search handles the marquee HTML tag “appropriately.” What does it mean by appropriately? That is Gary for you.

I assume it means Google can read the text within the marquee HTML tag.

The marquee HTML element is used to insert a scrolling area of text. You can control what happens when the text reaches the edges of its content area using its attributes.

Google even has this long standing marquee tag new easter egg that looks like this:

Google Marquee Easter Egg

Here are some funny comments in the LinkedIn thread:

Linkedin Comments

Again, Gary wrote, “Please note that, after digging through some ancient code, I can confidently confirm Google handles marquee tags appropriately. You’re welcome, internet.”

Forum discussion at LinkedIn.

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