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Google Drops Sites Hosted on SiteGround via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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SiteGround has confirmed a serious issue that has caused Google to stop crawling many sites hosted there since Monday. Publishers are panicking as web pages and ecommerce store products drop out of Google.

SiteGround has posted various updates to the problem but it is still unclear what exactly is causing the issue. That in turn is causing more concern with some publishers to tweet that they are done and moving away to other web hosts.

Problem Apparently Started On Monday

The problem at SiteGround began on Monday when publishers noticed Google had stopped crawling their sites.

SiteGround Initially Denies Problem at Their End

SiteGround initially tweeted on Wednesday that they could not identify any problems on their end.

SiteGround responded on Twitter:

“We’ve received reports that a number of Google bot networks cannot crawl some websites using our DNS service.

After thoroughly audit of our DNS, we can confirm there is no blocking on our end that prevents such crawling, nor we see any logs suggesting an issue with our systems.”

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SiteGround “Escalates” Issue to Google

SiteGround next punted the issue over to Google, apparently assuming the problem was there and that Google could fix it.

SiteGround posted:

“We have escalated the issue to Google and we are working to troubleshoot and identify the cause of the problem. We will keep you updated once there’s more information or the problem is fixed.”

SiteGround Denies Problem at Their End

SiteGround followed up by distancing themselves from the problem with a subsequent tweet to essentially say they can’t fix it because nothing on their end is broken.

SiteGround tweeted

“Issues originating outside of our environment are quite difficult to predict, but we completely understand the caused inconvenience. We will update our official post with more information, once available:”

The issue was not widespread and did not affect other web hosts. It was just happening to SiteGround, which could indicate an issue specific to SiteGround, even though it might not be within SiteGround systems themselves.

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SiteGround Passes Ball to AWS and Google

Eventually SiteGround seemed to identify a problem on Thursday morning, tweeting

“Update on the issue reported by some users regarding Google bots unable to crawl their sites:
We traced it down to a network issue between AWS Global Accelerator service and Google. We’re collaborating with engineers from both teams to fix it. We appreciate your patience!”

One customer tweeted that she felt that SiteGround may not have identified the problem and posted a screenshot of an email she received:

SiteGround Customers Are Beyond Losing Patience

Understandably, SiteGround customers are long past losing patience with many tweeting their state of horror, shock and despair:

Related: 22 Possible Reasons Why Your Site Traffic Dropped

Solution to Problem?

A SiteGround customer seemed to confirm that the issue is related to the SiteGround DNS and that moving their website DNS to an external DNS fixed their problem:

At the time of this writing the problem is still ongoing.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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