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Site With Quality Issues Switched Domains, Saw Temporary Google Ranking Boost & Dropped Again

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Site With Quality Issues Switched Domains, Saw Temporary Google Ranking Boost & Dropped Again

On last Friday’s hangout with Google’s John Mueller, Ankit Dalal, an SEO, asked about a site he is working on and what the issue it has with rankings. In short, the site was not ranking well, so they migrated the site to a new domain and the rankings climbed for a three-day period, then after that, the rankings went back down to where the original domain was ranking.

John Mueller of Google asked a few technical SEO diagnostic question and then suggested that it might be a quality issue with the site. That the old domain had that quality issue, and then when you migrated to a new domain, it took Google a few days to understand the site moved. Once Google figured out the site moved, Google applied the same quality signals to that new domain – resulting in the rankings going down again.

We know that Google algorithms, penalties, etc can follow you, this is not new. We covered this topic many times but here in 2022, it still happens.

Glenn Gabe summed it up nicely in these two tweets:

Here is the video embed – starting at 29:38 mark:

Here is the transcript:

ANKIT DALAL: Thank you for your time. Yeah, I have a question. It’s kind of lengthy one. So there is a problem going on with me. I have a new website. So what the issue is going, I have been running this website for three years. So everything was perfect and good. So this month, I also asked you this question on last hangout, but that problem also becomes bigger now. It has grown. So on 1st March, my website home page, it was gone from the search results, completely gone from there. OK, it’s a kind of Google thing. So [INAUDIBLE] everything. I kind of do everything. I tried many things. But the home page was not in the search results. But the interesting thing, in the Google Search Console, for every keyword, Search Console is saying I’m still ranking on first position for every keyword that was ranking before 1st March. But the significant amount of impressions and clicks had gone. About 90% had gone. But the rankings and the CTR is the same. For about one week, I tried everything, but nothing works out for me. I have also gone through Central [INAUDIBLE] forms and everything, but nothing. So I take a bold step. I migrate the website to a whole new domain. So in a couple of hours, everything gets indexed. About 200 pages get indexed in a couple of hours. And the new website, in three hours, was ranking on the first position for those keywords. Everything was good. [INAUDIBLE] but everything else take care of. After three days, the same problem happens with the new website also. Only the home page gone for the search results. But the Search Console is still saying that I am ranking on the first position [INAUDIBLE],, but I can’t find my website in the search. I tried many different devices, IPs, but I can’t find my website on those keywords, especially my own. But Google Search Console is saying I am still ranking on the first position still. But every day, I’m checking. It’s still ranking on the first [INAUDIBLE].. I don’t know. I’m out of options now. I don’t know what I should do.

JOHN MUELLER: What I would do first of all is try to figure out if it’s a technical issue or not. And one way you could try to find out more there is to use the URL inspection tool.

ANKIT DALAL: Yeah, I did the URL inspection tool with the old website also. There is no error in the Search Console. I tried different crawlers, also scanning for everything. Everything is good. And there is no error in everything. Now I also switch to AMP for– and the Core Web Vitals are 100%, for the old website also and for the new one also. There is no error in the technical point of view, nothing like– it’s the home page. I kind of not say it’s a quality issue because– it can happen because it’s a Google thing. But I don’t think it’s a quality thing because Search Console is still saying I’m ranking on the first page but I can’t find my website. And the traffic has also gone like 90% off. I’m still getting the traffic from those keywords, but I can’t find my website. I try different IPs, country, search engine, devices, but I can’t find my website anywhere.

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah. I mean, the check with the URL inspection tool is mostly to determine, is the page indexed or not? And–

ANKIT DALAL: Yeah, it’s indexed.

JOHN MUELLER: From what you’re explaining, it’s indexed but it’s not ranking, at least when you search. And the thing with, I think, the performance report in Search Console, especially the position number there, that is based on what people actually saw. And it can be the case that a small number of people saw your website, but when they did see it, it was ranking really well. And in those cases, we would say, well, that ranking is what we saw. It doesn’t mean that it will always be ranking that high when people search. It might be that, for a short period of time, it’s ranking at number one, and then, for a longer period of time, its ranking at position 200, for example. And if nobody goes to number 200, then the only thing we see is that number-one ranking. And that’s what we would show in Search Console, then, because we just essentially report on what people actually saw.

And the history that you said there with regards to, I moved to a new domain, for a brief time it was very good, and then it disappeared again, to me, that hints very much at a bigger quality issue, where, when Google systems was able to understand your website again, it was like, well, we’re not convinced. And kind of that period in between, when Google says, well, we don’t know much about this website yet, we will try to treat it as something reasonable, that’s kind of that time when Google wasn’t even able to understand your website that well.

So to me, without knowing your website, that sounds a lot like a quality issue and sounds like something where it might help to have multiple people who are not associated with the website to also give you some tips and kind of say, here’s what you should be doing differently or what you could be doing differently. And I think, as a site owner, when you’re running the website, you’re making the website, it’s sometimes really hard to take this kind of feedback. But I think it’s important, especially if you care about the bigger picture in the search traffic side of things.

Forum discussion at Twitter.




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Google Algorithm Update, Yandex Search Factors Leaked, ChatGPT Craze (Bing/Google), Bing Lastmod & More Yahoo Search

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Google Algorithm Update, Yandex Search Factors Leaked, ChatGPT Craze (Bing/Google), Bing Lastmod & More Yahoo Search

In this week’s recap, I covered the unconfirmed Google update that seemed to impact product review sites but maybe more on January 26th. Yandex had a huge leak, and SEOs and marketers dug through the search engine’s source code. Google’s answer to ChatGPT might be Apprentice Bard using LAMDA Sundar Pichai of Google basically confirmed this. Google’s John Mueller blasted some links sellers. Google Search Console updated the video indexing report. Google said to try to nofollow site credit links in your footer. Google said spammy links from porn sites should not be a priority. Google said if you redesign your site, the rankings make go “nuts.” Google Search Console verification does not impact your rankings. Google said firewalls and CDNs are the biggest reason for why your site is blocking crawling. Google updated its canonicalization docs in a big way. Google said don’t use relative paths in your canonicals. I posted the big Google webmaster report for Friday. Microsoft Bing said the lastmod field in your sitemap file is critical. The new BingBot might go 100% today. Google Ads announcements and news seemed to have slowed since late last year. Google reported earnings that showed their ad revenue was down 3.6% year over year. Yahoo Search is really going to be making a comeback, I have more evidence. 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.

Sponsored by BruceClay, who has been doing search marketing optimization since 1996 and also has an amazing SEO training platform.

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Google’s Answer To OpenAI’s ChatGPT?

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Google Chat Bot Ai

CNBC reported the other day that Google is working on its own AI chatbot named Apprentice Bard. Apprentice Bard is reportedly built on Google’s AI LaMDA language model stack and while Google is being more cautious with this rollout, Google is working on testing an AI bot in search.

CNBC wrote, “As a result of ChatGPT, the LaMDA team has been asked to prioritize working on a response to ChatGPT,” read one internal memo viewed by CNBC. “In the short term, it takes precedence over other projects,” the email continued, warning that some employees stop attending certain unrelated meetings.

“Apprentice Bard looks similar to ChatGPT: Employees can enter a question in a dialog box and get a text answer, then give feedback on the response. Based on several responses viewed by CNBC, Apprentice Bard’s answers can include recent events, a feature ChatGPT doesn’t have yet,” CNBC said. This makes sense, as Google can crawl the web in almost real-time and process that information faster than any other company.

The examples given by CNBC show that Google even picked up on the Google layoff news and was able to respond to questions about this. Whereas ChatGPT only has content from 2021 or earlier.

Also, CNBC said Google is working on designing an alternative search interface to support this chat feature. CNBC said, “One view showed the home search page offering five different prompts for potential questions placed directly under the main search bar, replacing the current “I’m feeling lucky” bar. It also showed a small chat logo inside the far right end of the search bar.” “When a question is entered, the search results show a grey bubble directly under the search bar, offering more human-like responses than typical search results. Directly beneath that, the page suggests several follow-up questions related to the first one. Under that, it shows typical search results, including links and headlines.”

Super interesting stuff and I suspect that if Google does release something, it will be a lot better than what we’ve been seeing so far, if that is even imaginable…

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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A New Googlebot Crawler From Google Named GoogleProducer

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Crochet Google Bot Spider

Google may be crawling the web with a new crawler, a new Googlebot, named GoogleProducer. This useragent is not listed on the official Google crawlers page but maybe it is too new to be listed yet?

Hernán Marsili spotted this and asked Google about this on Twitter. He said, “we are seeing a lot of traffic to publisher’s sites with a new user-agent ‘GoogleProducer; (+http://goo.gl/7y4SX) ‘. Our WAF is currently blocking it, but it’s origin is actually Google Proxy hosts. Is this legit traffic?”

That link goes to this page that 404s within the Google News Producer section.

As an FYI, Google Producer is part of Google News and Google Currents, I believe. This help document from Google says, “You will use Google Currents producer to manage your issues (e.g., pricing, description, etc.) for Google Play Magazines. If you’re participating in Google Currents, Producer will look familiar to you. You can manage both your edition(s) for Google Currents and your issues for Google Play Magazines through Producer. See our article on publisher account setup for the steps you need to take to fully set up your publisher account and magazines for Play. If you have any questions about using Producer for Google Currents, please see the Currents Producer Help Center.” Note, the Currents Producer Help Center redirects to the Google Publisher Center help center.

John Mueller of Google said he will look into it:

I guess we will see what he says but until then, I do suspect this is a legit Googlebot crawler.

Update: This is old, an older one:

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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