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March 11th Google Search Ranking Update Weirdness

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Google Core Update

For the past few days I have been debating if I should cover what may have been a Google search ranking update that ticked off on Friday March 11th. There was super unusual update like chatter in the WebmasterWorld forums but the automated tracking tools showed nothing – nada.

So I waited and waited and it seems like whatever happened on March 11th that went through the weekend, may have reverted itself on Monday, March 14th. Like I said, I was on the verge of reporting a possible unconfirmed Google update but held back.

Now, what I am asking, is if you saw some really weird Google update like patterns for the sites you track on Friday, March 11th and then it flip back on Monday, March 14th?

SEO Chatter

Let me first start by sharing the chatter I saw over the past few days, starting off on Friday, March 11th. Again, keep in mind, this chatter looks just like what you’d expect to see from the SEO forums during a Google update. But it didn’t last and something seemed to revert over time.

Absolutely massive 30% drop in search and 41% drop in direct traffic by 5:30pm today. USA -43%, UK -53%, even India is down -36% and that is never down. Anyone else seeing this?

The massive traffic drop continues….down 60% for both USA and UK at 11:30am. Search is down 51%. My ranking is heading higher across the board for the last week

Drop since Thursday.

My global site’s traffic was well down on Friday at 71%, Saturday was average and Sunday well above average resulting in the first 13 days at 100% !.!.! Today has started well with a notable increase in Eastern European traffic and realworld enquiries have started again.

UK-focussed sites are generally on average with the busiest one actually at 106.5% at the moment and, interestingly, it is also trading much higher than usual for this time of year. This is a traditional B&M business not an online trader.

15% downturn at the weekend; looks like it started on 10th/11th (UK informational site with lots of UGC as well as editorial)

So I then followed up the other day to ask about the status and most said it was a weird blip on Friday?

For me yes, Monday was 100.3% which is higher than a regular Monday but obviously within my weekday average.

I’m not seeing much movement within my established / evergreen website SERPs however new pages and especially so new sites seem to be almost impossible to gain any traction whatsoever and this has been on-going for far too long.

They’re not sandboxed simply kept behind to force ad sales IMHO.

Yes it lasted almost 2 days but now back to normal. Search traffic is much higher and direct is lower now…something definitely happened.

On my side, only today I see a big drop. The last weekend was of good gains. But today it all came crashing down.

Anyway, you can probably see why I held off on covering this.

Google Tracking Tools

So with this weird chatter, as I shared above, combined with the tools showing unusually lower volatility than ever before – like really low levels of movement – it just seemed weird and unusual. Can low volatility be a sign of an update? Probably not.

Here are some of the charts I track, notice the 11th forward, how calm everything is trending.

Semrush:

click for full size

RankRanger:

click for full size

Cognitive SEO:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

click for full size

Mozcast:

click for full size

Accuranker:

click for full size

click for full size

So what do you think happened?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.


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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 13, 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 is testing description overlays on local photos in the Google local pack. Microsoft Bing is testing black review stars. Google said we should not let Googlebot crawl action URLs. Google is testing larger fonts for the snippet title link and smaller fonts for the site links. Google updated GA4 attribution models to associate conversions better to paid search campaigns. Reminder, I am offline today and this newsletter was pre-written and scheduled.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Fixes GA4 Attribution Models To Better Associate Conversions To Paid Search


    Google posted a notice that it fixed an issue where Google Analytics, GA4, would sometimes not credit the proper conversion attribution to the paid search campaign. Google said it will update the “attribution models in GA4 over the next two weeks to improve the accuracy of conversion credit for paid search campaigns.”

  • Google Tests Larger Fonts For Main Snippet Title Link & Smaller Font For Sitelinks


    Google is testing a larger font size for the main search result title link, followed by smaller fonts for that same snippet’s sitelinks. This was spotted a few days ago by both Umair Khan on X and Lily Ray on X.

  • Google: Disallow Crawling Of Action URLs (Buy Now, Sign Up, etc)


    Google posted a public service announcement saying you should disallow Googlebot from crawling your action URLs. Gary Illyes from Google posted on LinkedIn, “You should really disallow crawling of your action URLs. Crawlers will not buy that organic non-GMO scented candle, nor do they care for a wishlist.”

  • Bing Tests Black Review Stars In Search Results


    Microsoft is testing using black-colored review stars in its Bing Search results. This is instead of the yellow or orange review stars. I am not sure why they are testing it in black, but they are.

  • Google Local Pack Photos With Labels


    Google seems to be testing adding labels and descriptions on the photos within the local business profile listings. These are on both the carousel of images and on the detailed business profile page.

  • I’m Feeling Lucky Notebooks At Google


    Here are some colorful notebooks that say “I’m Feeling Lucky” that were spotted at the GooglePlex, the Google office in Mountain View.

  • Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot On Wednesday & Thursday


    This is a programming note that I will be completely offline for the holiday of Shavout/Shavous, from Tuesday night, June 11th, through late Thursday night, June 13th – I return Friday, June 14th. Any stories published here will be scheduled, written beforehand, and not written during the holiday hours.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

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.


Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Shavout.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 12, 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.


Yesterday I interviewed Google’s Elizabeth Tucker about the core update, the old helpful content update, Reddit, AI Overviews and the Google Search leak. Google now supports return policy markup at the organization level. Google Maps is testing QR codes in Business Profile listings. Google Ads will ad a new optional verification method. Google is testing shaded site names and favicons in the search results. Google has drop the home activities cards from its search results. As a reminder, I am offline today, this newsletter was pre-written and scheduled.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • I Interviewed Elizabeth Tucker, Googler Responsible For The March Core Update


    Yesterday at SMX Advanced, I interviewed the Google executive who announced the March 2024 core update on the main Google blog. I asked Elizabeth Tucker a boatload of questions around SEO, the core update, the helpful content update, the search data leak and of course AI Overviews. Heck, I even made a comment about Reddit ruling the Google Search results.

  • Google Adds Return Policy Structured Data Support To Organization Level


    Google has expanded its support for return policy structured data to allow you to add the return policy to the organization level, and not have to specify that policy on each and every product detail level. Last year Google began supporting return policies in structured data but at the individual product level – now it is also supported at the organization level.

  • Google Home Activity Removed From Search


    Google Search no longer shows home activities after launching the feature just under four years ago. Google has pulled down the home activities structured data from its search developer documents last night and wrote, “The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

  • Google Maps Tests QR Codes On Business Profiles


    Google is testing QR codes on the Google Business Profile listings within Google Maps. The QR code shows on the right side of the action buttons (i.e. directions, save, share, etc).

  • Google Ads Adding New Optional Verification This Month


    Google Ads announced it will add a new optional verification to verify the affiliation of the advertiser/individual with the organization they are verifying. This starts sometime this month, June 2024, but it is not clear to me what the new verification is exactly.

  • Google Tests Shaded Site Name & Favicon For Search Results


    Google is testing shading the background color in gray behind the favicon and site name and URL for the mobile search results. It brings a little bit more of a design flair to the ten blue links, don’t you think?

  • Giant Spinning Rock At Google


    At the Google visitor center they have this giant spinning rock. This rock is mounted on this device that slowly spins it in circles.

  • Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot On Wednesday & Thursday


    This is a programming note that I will be completely offline for the holiday of Shavout/Shavous, from Tuesday night, June 11th, through late Thursday night, June 13th – I return Friday, June 14th. Any stories published here will be scheduled, written beforehand, and not written during the holiday hours.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

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.


Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Shavout.



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Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot 5784

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Synagogue Green Flowers

This is a programming note that I will be completely offline for the holiday of Shavout/Shavous, from Tuesday night, June 11th, through late Thursday night, June 13th – I return Friday, June 14th. Any stories published here will be scheduled, written beforehand, and not written during the holiday hours.

I will be completely offline, so any social media posts, tweets, or anything coming from this site, or my social channels are all scheduled beforehand.

I won’t be able to reply to comments, remove spam or break any stories on those days. I will catch up when I get back online. If a core update happens, I will also catch up on that when I get back. There also won’t be the It’s New daily podcast on those days.

Feel free to check out the archives or catch up with the weekly videos or just browse the search pics. Oh, and if you have nothing to do, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

For more on this holiday, check out Wikipedia.

For all those celebrating the holiday – have a good one and I’ll be back late Thursday night.

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