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September 2019 Google Update – Winners and Losers



According to discussions online and what people have communicated to me, I’m seeing mostly contented publishers and scattered reports of recovery. There is also what seems like a link related component to Google’s Broad Core Update that put the screws on a popular link scheme.

While there were some reports of traffic collapse, the overall narrative in many online discussions were a mix of recoveries and mild wins and losses on the order of 10 to 20 percent, nothing catastrophic as in past updates.

September 2019 Google Update Winners

Reaction to Google’s update in the private SEOSignalsLab Facebook discussion group tended to be positive. A few members noted they had quality sites that were hit. When others took a look it turned out that the losers had low quality content.

One member reported a drop that appears to be attributed to links. He stated that he had just started building links.

September 2019 Google Update Losers

Black Hat World forum had more members reporting losses.

Screenshot of a post in

Screenshot of a post in

Nothing specific was said as to ideas of what caused the ranking declines.

This post was typical of the black hat marketers reporting losses:

What stood out among the publishers who reported losses is how many attributed it to links.

A broad core algorithm update focuses on a wide range of changes. In general the updates work together to improve relevance.

Although there were many discussing links, links are likely one part of many changes. Links may simply be the factor that happens to be the one that stands out.

That said, a week before the algorithm rolled out I was made aware of link based spam network that had collapsed. This involved 301 redirecting expired domains to a website.

Some claimed that this technique exploited a ranking loophole in Google. I can’t know for certain but the link based spam network had been ranking for six months and on Saturday September 21st they were gone.

That ranking demotion happened a few days before the algorithm was announced.

What makes that interesting is that members of the Proper PBN Facebook Group that focuses on aggressive SEO tactics noted a downturn in site employing the 301 redirect trick.

Some members said that sites with irrelevant domain redirects suffered and that sites with relevant 301 redirects kept ranking.

I would caution to not accept these reports as actual facts. I only bring this up because the reports matched what I had seen from the week before.

A successful black hat search marketer told me by private message that he had lost 20% of his traffic. His link profile is diversified and he admitted that some of his links involved expired domains.

Several publishers related 301 redirect link spamming casualties that matched what happened to a link spam network the week before.

As previously mentioned, while there are many components to a broad core update, a notable feature of the September 24, 2019 Broad Core Algorithm Update appears to be the link component.

Links Appear to be Important in September 2019 Google Broad Core Update

In my opinion, one part of this update is related to links.

Perhaps coincidentally, September is the month Google announced a change in how they handle nofollow links.  So it does not seem unreasonable to deduce that Google has been focusing on links.


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



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.


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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