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Ranking Changes Related To Google March 2024 Core Update

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Google Logo Core Explosion

Today is the first day I have seen solid evidence of serious ranking volatility and changes related to the big Google March 2024 Core Update. As a reminder, the Google March 2024 Core Update officially started on March 5, 2024, and will take up to a month to roll out fully. We are expecting numerous ranking changes during the next few weeks.

Google said this core update should reduce the amount of unhelpful, low-quality, unoriginal content in its search results by 40%. Google is pushing out changes to numerous systems within the overall core ranking system, which is why it will take around a month to roll out and which is why you should expect ranking volatility numerous times throughout this roll out period.

Today I am seeing signs from both SEO professionals and site owners and also the automated Google tracking tools that this update has landed today, March 9th. Some saw early signs yesterday as well.

Also, keep in mind, Google dished out tons of manual action penalties on March 6th and 7th, mostly related to “pure spam” penalties. This is different from the core update or even the spam update, because manual actions are not algorithmic and you will get notified of a penalty in Google Search Console – I explain more over here.

Google Tracking Tools On March 2024 Core Update:

As you can see, most of the tools started to spike a bit on Friday, March 8th, but really started to show big volatility on Saturday, March 9th. I expect even more volatility to show tomorrow, Sunday, March 10th – I may update this story with more details then, so check back tomorrow:

Mozcast:

Mozcast

Semrush:

Semrush

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics


Accuranker:

Accuranker

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Mangools:

Mangools

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Wincher:

Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Algoroo:

Algoroo

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the SEO chatter of people talking about this update kicking in. This is across X, WebmasterWorld and the over 1,200 comments here:

Traffic is terrible this morning. Google vs spammers battle is more intense than ever. And they are not using precision munitions either. They are dropping nukes. Collateral damage is immense. Spammers are changing tactics. Reddit, Medium, Linkedin Pulse are turning into Blogspot style spam dumps. Quality of search continues to steadily decline. It’s Spamaggeddon!

Strangely, GSC shows a corresponding increase in indexed pages to around 150k for 1 ccTLD. It only has around 1200 pages to index. All noindex’s are checked and in order, so what’s going on, I wonder.

No manual penalties reported.

There is tremendous volatility on many queries right now. A guide of mine with several solutions on android auto problems is surpassed by news sites that give a solution that there was on a certain day a few years ago. Obviously this solution no longer works and is not valid for all the problems that can be had with the operation of Android auto, moreover these news dealt with only a bug of a version of Android auto. Once My article used to be among the top positions, rightly so Since it has all the possible solutions to try for solve.

I’m hoping that this is a Search Console bug too. But the other thing that my GA4 must be glitching too, because it also shows drop to 2 clicks per day. But…

I’m checking my Semrush, checking Hrefs numbers – they are all showing some changes (~10%), but no drop to zero or something like that. Hoping this is a glitch…

I am not seeing a huge decline in overall traffic, but this morning there is a big increase in traffic to obscure lower-level pages and also from unusual locations. I am also seeing single product pages with unusually high levels of visits from different unique visitors. It’s as if this one item suddenly rocketed to the top of searches and lots of people clicked it, then it dropped out of sight again. So I think there must be a lot of churning going on now as the pattern of visits is very different from the norm. The steady decline in converting traffic continues…zero serious inquiries from USA, UK, CA, AU or UAE…it’s like the blood being drained out of my business. I did get an inquiry from Mongolia though…no joke.

This remains to be seen, though many will believe it simply because Google said it. Instead observe the serps for evidence. I see numerous very high quality websites have taken a huge hit in the last few days. By high quality I’m talking about site’s created by professionals with degrees in their fields who have so much EEAT it is oozing out of their eyeballs. My observation suggests the facts don’t back up the claim about Google very easily penalizing AI sites. But we are still early in this update to come to any definitive conclusions.

USA traffic is -31% today, so something is definitely kicking in in the USA SERPS. My overall search traffic is actually up slightly, and UK, AU, CA, and most of Europe ex France is very high today.

I see a slight increase today, as opposed to the last 3 days and compared to the last 3 Saturdays – Saturday is an important mark for one of my sites. So, on this site I see a small increase.

Seeing a lot of sites drop total traffic i.e no impressions but page still shows on the index

So I really think this March 2024 core update started to dig its heels in today.

What are you all seeing?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: May 21, 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’s CEO, Sunda Pichai, spoke about AI Overviews killing the web, small publishers dying and not giving us Search Console data (well, kinda). The Google site reputation abuse policy also applies to Google Discover. Google AI Overview colors have nothing to do with the confidence of the answer. Google about source knowledge panels get graphical. Google also is rolling out a more graphical and richer search results interface. Google Marketing Live was this afternoon, more on that tomorrow… I am going to try publishing the newsletter earlier in the day (see how you like it).


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google’s Sundar Pichai On AI Overviews Killing Web, Smaller Publishers & Search Console Data


    Nilay Patel, Editor-In-Chief of The Verge interviewed Sunday Pichai, CEO of Google, at Google I/O and the 40 minute interview released yesterday dug into a lot of the concerns we have been covering here. This includes how AI Overviews may kill the web, how smaller/indepdent publishers are dying and if we can get data in Search Console.

  • Google Rolling Out More Graphical & Richer Search Results


    Rajan Patel, the VP of Engineering at Google leading the Search experiences, wrote that Google is rolling out a more graphical results interface that go “beyond visual matches to include things like more links and facts from Knowledge Graph as well as AI Overviews.”


  • PSA: Site Reputation Abuse Policy Also Applies To Google Discover


    Just a PSA – the newish Google site reputation abuse policy not only applies to Google Search but also applies to Google Discover. Google updated the Discover content policies a while back to add a line that reads, “Publishers should be aware of the new site reputation abuse policy that becomes effective as of May 5, 2024.”


  • Google Adds Visuals To About Source Knowledge Panels


    December 2022, Google began showing “About this” site under some search result snippets, when the intent of the query was to learn more about that brand. It was a pretty sparse textual box that has more details about the source. Now, Google is testing showing this information in a more graphical user interface.



  • Google AI Overviews Colors Do Not Indicate Confidence Of Response


    Google’s John Mueller said the colors that Google selects for the AI Overviews has no indication of the confidence of the response. Back when SGE (old name for AI Overviews), Google told me the color had more to do with the journey but they were just fun.





  • Android Shrubbery Statue


    Here is an Android statue at the Google London office that is covered in shrubbery. This is a super green and plant-like Android figurine.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

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.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: May 20, 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 said it is working on surfacing more heartful helpful content, after no sites seemed to have recovered from the last helpful content update. Danny Sullivan said he speaks directly to engineers working on Google Search. Google doesn’t let you turn off AI Overviews, but Bing lets you turn off its AI responses. Google Notes says it is ending the labs feature soon but Google may bring comments to notes.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Working On Surfacing More Content That Comes From The Heart


    Last week we reported how Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, said how they are looking for ways to better promote sites that were hit by that helpful content update in September. Now, over the weekend, John Mueller from Google added, “the team working on this is explictly evaluating how sites can / will improve in Search for the next update.”

  • Bing Lets You Turn Off AI Responses But Google Doesn’t Let You Turn Off AI Overviews


    Google has been rolling out AI Overviews in its search results since last week and more and more searchers are super unhappy that there is no way to turn off the AI Overviews. Michael Schechter, a Vice President at Microsoft, shared a screenshot in Bing, on how you can turn off Copilot responses in Bing Search with the click of a button.

  • Danny Sullivan: We Speak Directly To Engineers Working On Google Ranking Systems


    Google was asked where Google’s Danny Sullivan and John Mueller get their information from when responding to search and ranking-related questions. Sullivan responded directly to the engineers who code those ranking systems at Google.


  • Google Says Notes On Search Now Ends Soon


    Google has updated the Google Search Labs to say that Notes on Search now “ends soon.” As a reminder, last November Google rolled out as a labs the Notes feature in Google Search and Google Discover.

  • Comments To Notes In Google Search?


    Google may be bringing comments to the Notes on Google Search (and Discover) feature. Notes on Search came last November as a labs feature in Google Search and Google Discover. Google recently tested a new button for the notes feature in Search. Now Google may be testing comments on Notes.

  • NYC Bring Your Child To Work Day At Google NYC


    Google held its annual bring your child to work day at the Google New York City office. This was back in late April and I found some cute photos of kids at Google doing face painting, gaming, balloons and more.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

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.



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Google AI Overviews, Ranking Volatility, Web Filter, Google Ads AI Summaries & More

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For the original iTunes version, click here.

Google announced they are rolling out AI Overviews in the US and many searchers want to turn it off, and some content creators want to opt out of them. Google also announced new AI search features that will roll out soon. OpenAI showed off their GPT-4o 24 hours before Google I/O and it was amazing. Google search results volatility has been super hearted all week long. Google confirmed it deindexed vast amounts of URLs in February. Google lifted some of the site reputation abuse manual actions earlier this week. Google said sites hit by the helpful content update can see a lift after the next core update. Google has read our feedback on our issues with search quality and changes may come, maybe. Google also might give us an automated action viewer in Search Console. Google also rolled out a web filter to see only text links in the search results. Google lowered the search ranking of some deepfake porn sites. Google locked down the complaint forum thread around images not showing in the search result snippets. Google may have a new local ranking signal, service areas. Google Local Service Ads tests messaging multiple businesses at once. Google Ads AI summaries are going live for some advertisers. Google Ads changed the functionality for suspended accounts. Google AdSense will not change the minimum reporting thresholds for channels. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

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Search Topics of Discussion:

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