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Google July 2021 Update is Over – What Happened? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s July 2021 Core Algorithm update is now fully rolled out. Any subsequent changes you’ll see in rankings will probably be due to the normal shifting of search results.

The announcement was made by Google SearchLiaison this afternoon.

This generally means that the new search index has fully rolled out to all the data centers and that the search results should remain relatively settled.

If you lost rankings it’s probably safe to no longer expect a last minute reprieve, it’s time to get to work understanding what happened.

Background of the July 2021 Core Algorithm Update

Google rarely says what is involved in the core algorithm update. But Google has said that a core algorithm update is one that introduces changes across a wide range of the indexing and ranking processes.

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The July 2021 update was preceded by two spam updates, which was unusual.

Earlier this year Google announced that it was fighting spam with a new anti-spam AI, so it’s not far fetched to speculate that Google may have introduced more efficient spam fighting features that allow it to perform the task at a faster pace.

Less ccTLD Domain Crowding in Search Results?

Domain crowding is when the same domain ranks repeatedly in the search results.

For some search results sites with multiple country code top level domains (CCTLDs) like .uk, .tv, .ca domains tended to dominate Google’s search results.

Lily Ray noticed that Pinterest ccTLDs lost visibility after Google’s July Core Algorithm Update.

She tweeted:

“Here are the different Pinterest ccTLDs, which saw huge visibility increases in the U.S. throughout 2020. Those sites are taking a nosedive right now.

We have already noticed for some ecomm clients that product/category pages are replacing spots previously held by Pinterest.”

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July 2021 Update Speculation and Anecdotal Observations

Quality Links

A common observation I’m seeing in many Facebook groups is that solid on-page and off-page SEO practices are paying off with stable rankings.

Steven Kang (@SEOSignalsLab), founder of the popular SEO Signals Lab Facebook group said that he has seen minimal changes from the recent updates and credited avoiding things like low quality links.

Steven shared:

“I’m not noticing much. Very little fluctuations even for high search volume keywords.

I have a client ranking for 300k monthly search volume. It’s fluctuating between 1st and 2nd. Even for 10k+ keywords for other clients.

Then again, I don’t do low quality links.

WebmasterWorld Update Discussion

Publishers and SEOs in the WebmasterWorld forum speculated on a wide range of things that may have changed.  Although this kind of discussion can be unreliable sometimes what people are talking about lines up with what is going on.

One of things they’re talking about is an increase in People Also Ask (PAA), a query refinement feature designed to get users to the answers they want to see.

Another observation of interest is in there being similarities in the ranking losses in images and the regular organic search engine results pages (SERPs).

One forum member observed:

“What I found interesting is that the losses in image search mirrored the losses in web search despite being separated by a week, and being different search systems.”

Low Quality Sites in the Search Results?

There is also anecdotal evidence of a seeming increase in spam in Google’s search results since the recent spam updates that is persisting through the July 2021 Core Algorithm Update.

Although Google is actively trying not to show low quality search results, arguably questionable search results continue to show up in Google.

For example, this is a screenshot of Google’s search results for Instagram Account Hacked, taken on July 7th shortly after a Google spam update.

Google’s algorithm ranks this at position two, you be the judge if you agree that this is a great search result.

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Search Results for Instagram Account Hacked

PDF Ranked Above Search Engine JournalThis is a screenshot of the PDF file that is ranking in Google:

PDF Ranked Above Search Engine Journal

Screenshot of Top Ranked PDF

Top Ranked PDF

Top Ranked PDF

Now that Google’s July Core Algorithm Update is over that same PDF continues to rank in position 9.

PDF Still Ranking After Google July 2021 Core Update

PDF in Search Results

PDF in Search Results

Search Community Notices Low Quality Sites

One person remarked on how bad some search results in Italy were:

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Scraper Spam in Search Results

There are also spam pages generated from scraping Google’s featured snippets that are ranking number one.

I was shown dozens of examples of multiple sites that were scraping Google’s featured snippets and combining that from other scraped websites to create new web pages and ranking in the number one position, outranking the legitimate websites from which the content was scraped from.

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Part of what is helping these sites rank is having obtained links from quality websites that don’t appear to be selling links (but maybe they are).

Many of these scraper sites didn’t exist prior to November 2020 and others appeared in January 2021, all of them with tens of thousands of pages of scraped content.

I verified the information that was shared with me.

Here is some of what this person (who wishes to remain anonymous) shared with me:

“Not even a year old, 50,000 pages indexed getting MILLIONS of visitors from Google in just a few months from launch.

  • Refresh the page and the words change
  • Try the rating stars and they are fake
  • Most of the “see full answer” links open other people’s sites in a full screen iframe

As I said, pure spam, but LOVED by Google.

In fact the owner replicated the site and each variant is doing equally well. …that spam site is able to rank for brand names, medical terms and more.

The backlink profile is the cream of the crop, it’s got links from mainstream media, psychology sites and trusted kids sites run by doctors.”

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I checked the backlinks and the person who showed me these top ranked scraper sites may be correct about the spam getting a boost from the quality links.

What it Means: Sites Didn’t Do Anything Wrong

Google says that sites that lost rankings don’t have anything to fix.

Most in the search community find that statement from Google to be debatable.

It’s true in the sense that the search community likes to probe sites that lost rankings in order to find and fix technical issues as well as quality issues, like ads above the fold.

But those kinds of technical issues are not likely why a site typically loses ranking, so “fixing” those kinds of things seems to be what Google means when there is nothing to fix.

On the other hand, there are things to be fixed.

For example, after the Medic Update many sites lost rankings for health and medical related queries. The reason they lost rankings is because Google’s algorithm began associating medical search queries with scientifically proven answers. Alternative healing sites like Oz lost traffic because of that change.

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It’s not that there was something wrong with alternative medical sites. They just weren’t relevant for the user intent inherent in medical search queries which demands proven not speculative health remedies.

It’s common to view a loss of rankings or traffic as a sign that the web page did something wrong. But that is not always the case.

The search industry needs to broaden the way it reviews ranking changes by expanding their reviews beyond picking apart the affected site looking for clues.

Review the Search Results to Understand Ranking Changes

Search professionals need to review the search results to gain a full understanding of what changed and why it affected the sites that lost rankings.

MANY times Google’s updates change how Google understands what queries and/or web pages mean (i.e. BERT). That can result in different sites moving up, sites that conform to the algorithms new understanding of what a user is looking for when they make a particular search query.

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  • Some sites may lose positions not because they did something bad but because the algorithm’s judgment of what is relevant changed.
  • In other cases Google may introduce query refinement features like People Also Ask (PAA) which can lower a web page from position two to a virtual position 5 (while technically still position 2).
  • But the People Also Ask (PAA) feature can also mean that another site, appearing within the PAA feature may gain more traffic because it’s more topically relevant for the user making a particular query, gaining traffic for a query it may not have otherwise been rewarded with.
  • The site that dropped to beneath the PAA didn’t do anything wrong and neither did the site that ranks in position 1, which in theory may lose some traffic to one of the sites in the PAA query refinement feature.
  • Google might also introduce more FAQ rich results which can impact site visibility in the search results (positively and negatively).

Those are just a few examples of how factors that are external to a website may negatively influence the rankings.

This idea that sites lose positions because of something “bad” they did is an outdated form of analyzing or conceptualizing what happened in an update.

So if your site has suffered a negative search performance change it’s a good practice to look outside your site first to try to understand what may have changed then return to your site and see if any insights are to be gained.

Searchenginejournal.com

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OpenAI Introduces ChatGPT Plus with Monthly Subscription of $20

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Open AI - Chat GPT

OpenAI, the leading artificial intelligence research laboratory, has launched a new product – ChatGPT Plus. The new product is an advanced version of its previous language model, ChatGPT, and is available for a monthly subscription of $20. The company aims to provide a more sophisticated and efficient conversational AI tool to its users through this new product.

ChatGPT Plus is a state-of-the-art language model that uses advanced deep learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to text inputs. The model has been trained on a massive corpus of text data, allowing it to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. The model is designed to handle a wide range of conversational topics and can be integrated into various applications, such as chatbots, customer support systems, and virtual assistants.

One of the main advantages of ChatGPT Plus over its predecessor, ChatGPT, is its ability to generate responses in a more human-like manner. The model has been fine-tuned to incorporate more advanced language processing techniques, which enable it to better understand the context and tone of a conversation. This makes it possible for the model to generate more nuanced and appropriate responses, which can greatly improve the user experience.

In addition to its advanced language processing capabilities, ChatGPT Plus also offers improved performance in terms of response generation speed and efficiency. The model has been optimized to run on faster hardware and has been fine-tuned to generate responses more quickly. This makes it possible for the model to handle a larger volume of requests, making it an ideal solution for businesses with high traffic websites or customer support centers.

The monthly subscription fee of $20 for ChatGPT Plus makes it an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. The company has designed the pricing model in such a way that it is accessible to businesses of all sizes, regardless of their budget. This makes it possible for small businesses to take advantage of advanced conversational AI technology, which can greatly improve their customer engagement and support.

OpenAI has also made it easy to integrate ChatGPT Plus into various applications. The company has provided a comprehensive API that allows developers to easily integrate the model into their applications. The API supports a wide range of programming languages, making it possible for developers to use the technology regardless of their preferred programming language. This makes it possible for businesses to quickly and easily incorporate conversational AI into their operations.

In conclusion, OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT Plus is a significant development in the field of conversational AI. The new product offers advanced language processing capabilities and improved performance, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes. The affordable pricing model and easy integration make it accessible to businesses of all sizes, and the advanced language processing capabilities make it possible for businesses to improve their customer engagement and support. OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus is set to revolutionize the conversational AI industry and bring advanced technology within the reach of businesses of all sizes.

Visit OpenAI.com to read more and to get the latest news about ChatGPT.

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What can ChatGPT do?

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ChatGPT Explained

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is trained on a massive amount of text data. It is capable of generating human-like text and has been used in a variety of applications, such as chatbots, language translation, and text summarization.

One of the key features of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is similar to human writing. This is achieved through the use of a transformer architecture, which allows the model to understand the context and relationships between words in a sentence. The transformer architecture is a type of neural network that is designed to process sequential data, such as natural language.

Another important aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is contextually relevant. This means that the model is able to understand the context of a conversation and generate responses that are appropriate to the conversation. This is accomplished by the use of a technique called “masked language modeling,” which allows the model to predict the next word in a sentence based on the context of the previous words.

One of the most popular applications of ChatGPT is in the creation of chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation and can be used in customer service, sales, and other applications. ChatGPT is particularly well-suited for this task because of its ability to generate human-like text and understand context.

Another application of ChatGPT is language translation. By training the model on a large amount of text data in multiple languages, it can be used to translate text from one language to another. The model is able to understand the meaning of the text and generate a translation that is grammatically correct and semantically equivalent.

In addition to chatbots and language translation, ChatGPT can also be used for text summarization. This is the process of taking a large amount of text and condensing it into a shorter, more concise version. ChatGPT is able to understand the main ideas of the text and generate a summary that captures the most important information.

Despite its many capabilities and applications, ChatGPT is not without its limitations. One of the main challenges with using language models like ChatGPT is the risk of generating text that is biased or offensive. This can occur when the model is trained on text data that contains biases or stereotypes. To address this, OpenAI has implemented a number of techniques to reduce bias in the training data and in the model itself.

In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful language model that is capable of generating human-like text and understanding context. It has a wide range of applications, including chatbots, language translation, and text summarization. While there are limitations to its use, ongoing research and development is aimed at improving the model’s performance and reducing the risk of bias.

** The above article has been written 100% by ChatGPT. This is an example of what can be done with AI. This was done to show the advanced text that can be written by an automated AI.

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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.

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.

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

[embedded content]Searchenginejournal.com

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