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Google Search Ranking Update On January 19th & 20th

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Google Algorithm Update


Google has been busy over the last couple of weeks after being taking a bit of a break with the new years. It seems we are seeing again signs of another Google search ranking algorithm update occurring yesterday and today, January 19th and 20th. And no, these updates are unrelated to crawl spike activity.

There is both SEO industry chatter and data from the tracking tools that support this but yes, we do not have a Google confirmation about an update.

Most recently we had unconfirmed Google search updates on January 14th, 15th and 17th, then before that on January 11th and then it was quiet until some tremors in late December.

SEO Industry Chatter

The chatter is just starting to kick up with renewed discussion at WebmasterWorld starting on January 18th, here are some of the early snippets from that thread related to the recent Google volatility:

One of my sites is about a sport called cricket and today lots of terms popped out of nowhere ranking. Guess which country? Moldova – which has no idea it’s even a sport, most would know it as an animal.

I wonder how long this will last? Good traffic again Tuesday at 131.3% and so far today 87.0%

The sources, queries and paths are all normal but, as yet, not driving many new enquiries however this is not unusual.

All my SERPs look normal.

Massive fluctuations again this morning. In our affiliate niche we have a lot of high DA newspaper and blog sites with ‘Top 10 listings’ outranking dedicated affiliate sites. The Herald, The Scotsman, The Denver Post, The Mercury News all appear. A few previously top 10 sites just been kicked into the long grass – pages 4 and 5. It’s happened before and reverted pretty quickly. But there is no let up in the volatility which has been on going for weeks – since start of December.

Very large increases in traffic across the board for the last two days…yesterday was up 30% and that included USA traffic. My ranking has barely budged though…gained back 4 top3 terms, lost them all the next day. My top3/10 ranking remains at less that half of one year ago. So if rank is not improving, then where is all the traffic suddenly coming from?

Also…a popular arts magazine just published an in depth article about me and it has yet to be indexed 5 days later…nothing. The on-page tags are correct, and the site publishes a lot of very high quality editorial using freelance writers, but it does not get indexed or rank well when it does. It’s mystifying to me…

On my side, I see drops in the last two days and today the drop is getting even bigger.

I expect to see more chatter from the SEO space as the day goes on…

Google Tracking Tools

Here is what the tracking tools are showing right now:

Semrush:

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SERPmetrics:

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Cognitive SEO:

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RankRanger:

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Accuranker:

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Algoroo:

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Are you folks noticing any big changes for the sites you manage?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.



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Google Layoffs, DOJ Sues Google, Search Console Content Ideas & Google Optimize Going Away, Yahoo Search Comeback

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Google Layoffs, DOJ Sues Google, Search Console Content Ideas & Google Optimize Going Away, Yahoo Search Comeback

As I mentioned briefly last week, Google announced mass layoffs last week, and I discuss what I know so far about it. There are also reports that Google is pushing advertisers to use third-party resellers and not their internal staff. The DOJ sued Google again to break up its ad business. Microsoft announced its earnings, showing how Bing’s search ad growth continues to slow. Bing also may have had a search ranking algorithm update. Google Search Console content ideas beta feature may go away in March. Google Search Console Insights has an achievements section. Google confirmed a bug with some preferred languages in Google Search, and they blame mobile-first indexing. Google Ads had an outage on Monday morning that caused huge headaches. Google has no preferences between connected structured data and not connected structured data. Google will parse the image elements even when those elements are enclosed within other elements. Google published a new case study after 18 months, this one from Vimeo on video SEO. Google said generating tons of fake URLs on a site won’t cause SEO issues. Google Business Profiles now supports cars for sale inventory for US dealerships. Bing is testing infinite scroll. Google is testing two justifications in the local results. Google is also testing a new trusted store badge. Bing has a new menu for image search that uses a drop-down and adds explore and collect. Account-level negative keywords are now available on Google Ads. Google will sunset Google Optimize on September 30th. And it seems like Yahoo Search may be making a comeback to Search – that would be exciting. And if you want to help sponsor those vlogs, go to patreon.com/barryschwartz. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

SPONSOR: This week’s video recap is sponsored by Duda, the Professional Website Builder You Can Call Your Own.

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New Google Trusted Store Badge Test

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Google Store Smile

Google is testing a new design for the trusted store badge in the paid shopping results. The Google Trusted Stores program to all U.S. merchants back in 2012, along with that came a badge in the search results to make those listings stand out.

FYI – here is how to qualify for this trusted store badge.

Brian Freiesleben spotted this new badge the other day and posted a screenshot on Twitter – here is that screenshot:

Google Trusted Store Badge New

Curently, the badge looks more like this version from last year:

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And the original one looked like this:

Google Trusted Stores AdWords Badge

Brian said on Twitter, “Would love to see Google add this to organic products from trusted merchants as well, but not sure if that’s likely.”

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Google Search Console Content Ideas Going Away March 28th

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Google Ideas Light

Last December, we caught Google testing an experimental feature named content ideas in Google Search Console. Well, yesterday, Google sent more invites to this feature but noted the feature is only available until March 28, 2023 and then it goes away.

Both Robin Dirksen on Twitter and Deepak Ness on Twitter shared screenshots of this feature but the new part is the March 28th date.

The email they received about this feature reads, “Note: This feature be available only until March 28, 2023, and only to select properties.” Then when you access the feature, there is a notice in the interface that says, “New! Get inspiration for new content (available until March 28).”

Here are those screenshots (click to enlarge):

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We know this seems like the Question Hub feature and that Google Question Hub shut down this month. So maybe this content ideas feature is also shutting down but not until the end of March?

Here are more tweets with this:

I do wonder if Google is only testing it until then and maybe will bring it to more users later or if Google is completely killing it off on March 28th?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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