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Google’s Helpful Content & Link Spam Updates Completed Rolling Out On January 12, 2023

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Google algorithm notebook

After a long slow, and paused rollout, Google has said that both the December 2022 helpful content update and December 2022 link spam update are now both done rolling out. Google said both completed rolling out on Thursday, January 12, 2023.

The December 2022 helpful content update started on December 5, 2022, and was completed rolling out about 38 days afterward.

While the December 2022 link spam update started on December 14, 2022, and was completed 29 days later.

Both these updates should have been done rolling out after 14 days, so it took a lot longer.

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, so they took a pause. We saw movement from these updates around December 18th and 19th and then some big turbulence days before Christmas, and then things calmed down a lot. We then also saw some fluctuations on December 26th, again on January 3rd to 5th, and then again on January 10th and 11th.

December 2022 Google Helpful Content Update Quick Facts

Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:

  • Name: Google helpful content update
  • Launch Date: It began to rollout on December 5th but not so noticeable until December 6th
  • Completion Date: January 12, 2023, 38 days later
  • Rollout: It will take about two weeks to fully roll out (it took much longer)
  • Targets: It looks at content that was created to rank well in search over help humans
  • Search Only: This currently only impacts Google Search, not Google Discover or other Google surfaces. But Google may expand this to Discover and more in the future.
  • Penalty: Google did not mention penalty but this update does seem to feel like a penalty for sites that will be hit by it
  • Sitewide: This is a sitewide algorithm, so the whole site will be impacted by this update
  • Not a core update: Many are going to say this is a core update, it is not.
  • Global and all languages: This is no longer just for English-language content, it is now all languages and global.
  • Impact: Google would not tell me what percentage of queries or searches were impacted by this update but Google did tell me it would be “meaningful.” Also, Google said this will be felt more for online-educational materials, entertainment, shopping, and tech-related content.
  • Recover: If you were hit by this, then you will need to look at your content and see if you can do better with Google’s advice below
  • Refreshes: Google updates the scores constantly here but there is a timeout period, and a validation period and it can take several months to recover from this update.

December 2022 Google Link Spam Update Quick Facts

Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:

  • Name: Google December 2022 Link Spam Update
  • Launch Date: It began to roll out on December 14th
  • Completion Date: January 12, 2023, 29 days later
  • Rollout: It will take about two weeks to fully roll out (it took much longer)
  • Targets: It targets both sites buying links, and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.
  • Penalty: This will “neutralize” links that it detects as being spam and thus links that are detected won’t be counted and may show a decline in rankings.
  • Not a manual action: This is not a manual action, so you won’t be notified in Search Console if you are hit.
  • Global and all languages: This is a global launch and affects all languages.
  • SpamBrain: This is the first time Google is using its AI-based spam detection, i.e., SpamBrain, for link spam purposes.

Here is that infographic I made showing the 2022 Google updates and now when they are all completed:

2022 Google algorithm updates graphic - click for full size

So let’s stick a fork in it – or maybe two forks?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



Source: www.seroundtable.com

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Yandex Search Ranking Factors Leaked & Exposed

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Yandex Leak

Yandex had a boatload of its source code across all its technology allegedly leaked by a disgruntled employee and part of that was the source code for Russia’s largest search engine – Yandex. As you can imagine, SEOs and others are diving in and seeing what they can learn from the source code.

I personally did not download the source code, so I did not go through it myself but I wanted to share what people did find via Twitter from their investigations of the source code.

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Will this help you do SEO on Google? Probably not but hey, it is super interesting.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.



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Unconfirmed Google Update Impacting Product Reviews Sites On January 26th

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Google Product Reviews Update

On Thursday, January 26th, there were some signs of a possible Google search ranking algorithm update. The signals and chatter I was tracking, honestly, were not at super high levels. However, now that I see Glenn Gabe shared some really shocking charts of sites previously impacted by Google updates but now seeing a big swing. This is not necessarily a product reviews update but rather sites in the product reviews space that are seeing massive swings on the 26th.

Let me first share Glenn’s charts, which he posted on Twitter and said, “Heads-up, run a product reviews site? Google pushed something on 1/26 that, once again, impacted some product review sites HEAVILY. These are sites I’ve documented before with crazy surges/drops, even outside of Product Reviews Updates. Let’s see if this sticks. I hope it does.”

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Here is that tweet:

Starting on the 25th, I began to see limited chatter kick into gear at WebmasterWorld. The chatter there was not specific to the product reviews update but it could have been related to it. Here are some quotes from there:

My site has been climbing rankings all week and yet today the traffic has been dismal (UK). Do I smell an update?

My ranks, as I said, have been getting better after being in decline steadily since this time last year. I haven’t done anything to improve. Could this mean that google are indeed looking at different ranking signals, not just links? I could have gained a link or two that has turned it around I suppose but no evidence so far.

After great improvement over the month of January, got a big bang down since January 24 onwards. Changes again?

Definitely, something is wrong with Google. My traffic is going down without any reason. Are there any delays with Analytics?

I don’t know what’s going on, but my website has been in free fall for a week now. And it’s the usual picture again, old news articles or meaningless keyword spam ranks in my area on the top places. It’s really no fun anymore …

Google Tracking Tools

Here are what the tracking tool are showing:

Mozcast:

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Semrush:

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Cognitive SEO:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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RankRanger:

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Accuranker:

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SERPmetrics:

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Algoroo:

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So the tools are not lighting up but this update may have been something tweaked with the product reviews update, or a new update impacting product review sites or limited to those segments of websites?

Have any of you seen any big changes around January 26th?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Jeff Ferguson On Starting His Own Digital Marketing Agency

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Jeff Ferguson

In part one, we go through Jeff Ferguson’s long history in search marketing. Here, in part two, we pick up with him starting his own agency. Jeff explained how he was working at this arbitrage company, and they were not profitable for a decade, and then overnight, he helped them become profitable, and they were making a ton of money. But they didn’t do it right, and eventually, they took a major hit. So he was offered a package to leave but picked up doing consulting during that time. He ran his agency for ten years before merging with Amplitude Digital.

He loves agency life and doing his own thing. He is at a point in life where doing his own thing and owning his agency is where he wants to be. He does write a lot of content; he shares a lot of advice on Twitter and Facebook.

You can learn more about Jeff Ferguson at Amplitude Digital and follow him on Twitter @CountXero.


You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.



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