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Google Search Ranking Algorithm Updates & Volatility Continues

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Google Algorithm Update

Every Monday, I end up covering an unconfirmed Google search ranking algorithm update but this past week, going into the weekend, was even more volatile than the others. I am seeing way more chatter, and even the tools are showing heavier volatility than the normal high volatility.

There was a lot of movement mid-to-late last week and then this weekend even more. Wednesday, November 30th was a big movement day. But then again, this weekend had some big movement as well, such as December 2nd and 3rd were pretty big.

Tracking Tools

This time, I’ll start with the charts to show you what the automated tracking tools are showing. Some, as you can see, are pretty heated up – even Semrush which is always calm now showed a big spike:

RankRanger:

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Mozcast:

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SERPmetrics:

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Cognitive SEO:

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Semrush:

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Algoroo:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Accuranker:

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SERPstat:

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Google SEO Chatter

I am going to include both the December and some end-of-November chatter from the ongoing WebmasterWorld threads so you can see what is going on; I’ll include them in order of oldest to newest chatter:

Today I have the biggest drop I’ve ever seen. Did anyone else notice anything big today?

My search traffic nearly doubled yesterday, it doubled from a very low base but it is a move in the right direction. Numbers have dropped back slightly today.

More of my articles are also gaining impressions again, the position is terrible but at least google is doing something with them.

Still down about 98% from before the spam update.

Yesterday traffic skyrocketed across the board, but this morning USA traffic is down 54%. Only USA is down…AGAIN. On days like this where USA traffic opens mysteriously low it tends to recover somewhat and close the day at just under break even.

My UK traffic is now almost 50% of my USA traffic, which is ludicrous. It was 10% for years. That’s not due to extra UK traffic, but the loss of USA traffic over the years. USA traffic is so tamped down due to the intense competition from the number of ads and on page crap being run at any one time. In my field I am also seeing numerous new businesses running instagram ads…they all appear to be different brands, but look like clones and they are selling remarkably similar items at very low prices. Soon they will run each other into the ground.

Just checked my metrics for the past 7 days and my USA-only traffic is down 32% as a proportion of my overall traffic. Yesterday I was having a good day until US traffic hardly kicked-in at all.

I think it’s already rolling out (unannounced). Started on December 1st. I have had big swings with traffic disappearing and reappearing and it just disappeared again tonight.

Something massive is happening since midnight on Saturday. From 12am to 10:30am so far traffic has vanished. Search traffic is down 47% and direct is down almost as much. It appears to be hitting EN language traffic…USA -62%, UK -59%, CA -68%, AU -50%. I have never seen drops like this so hopefully it will be short lived!

Is anyone else seeing a huge drop (or increase) today? I’m at -40% of my search traffic at 2pm.

Looking like normal Saturday traffic here, global site on average UK gig site ahead of average as per usual.

I am seeing huge drops on my sites.

We’ve had an encouraging hint of recovery since Friday. It started with an increase of 4.7 percent in Google traffic on Friday, compared to the same day of the week a year ago. The increase on Saturday was 9.93 percent, and today (Sunday) it was 13.11 percent.

Yesterday was our worst google traffic day ever. Today it is not looking better.

Same here; my traffic was the same when I had my first weekend over three years ago, LOL!

Now, today my traffic is bursting… Honestly, I am starting to get some tinfoil hat hairdo going on… Is Google trolling me? Why? Its almost Christmas! I am not even going to say things are up; it seems extreme swings are going both ways nearly every few days; this is beyond bizarre.

Have any of you noticed anything really big this weekend and last week? Let us know.

Forumdiskussion kl WebmasterWorld.

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Google Search People Cards Visible In US

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Google Man Cards

Back in 2020, Google Search introduced a feature named people cards. It was only available in India but now it seems like it might be expanding, as I can now see it in the United States.

Brian Freiesleben’s card, which he created when it was first announced by spoofing his location to be in India, is now showing up as a people card for searchers in the United States. Personally, I was able to bring it up on my mobile device in New York.

Here is a screenshot he shared of this on Twitter:

click for full size

He said, “I found my name now triggers a ‘people card’. This was introduced in Google India back in 2020. I spoofed my location back then to create the card and now (finally) it’s appearing.”

Glenn Gabe was able to replicate it as well:

Forumdiskussion kl Twitter.



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Google Search Bard, It’s ChatGPT Feature, To Trusted Testers

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Google Bard Butler Graphic

Well, we knew it was coming and here it is, Bard – Google’s answer to ChatGPT. Google is now having its trusted testers test out Bard and will soon roll it out more widely to users in Google Search and others products in the coming weeks, Google announced. It is not called Apprectice Bard but rather Bard.

I covered this when the news broke at Search Engine Land and as I pointed out, right now, Google does not have an answer for how to attribute or link to answers Bard generates – yet. But I do suspect Google will have some answer for it. I also mentioned that Google has been writing knowledge panels using AI and other methods since 2018 and said then it is not stealing. So it will be interesting to see what Google ends up doing here.

Bard is Google’s experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA, where Google can answer questions that might not have one right answer. Google said they will roll this out more widely in the coming weeks but for now, only trusted testers (who is outsourced to a third-party company) will be able to play with it.

Google said, “Soon, you’ll see AI-powered features in Search that distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web: whether that’s seeking out additional perspectives, like blogs from people who play both piano and guitar, or going deeper on a related topic, like steps to get started as a beginner. These new AI features will begin rolling out on Google Search soon.”

Here is a screenshot they shared of how it might look in Google Search:

Google Bard in Google Search

This is how it might look like in Google Search (without the attribution part…).

This is the Bard direct interface, not in search:

Google Bard GIF

I am super excited to see how this evolves at Google, Bing and others.

It is not too far off from the leaks of the Bing ChatGPT interface.

Here is Sundar Pichai’s tweets:

Here is some of the SEO community reaction:

Also, make sure to check out the roundup at Techmeme.

Forumdiskussion kl Twitter, WebmasterWorld.



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Most SEOs Think Yahoo Won’t Be Able To Compete In Search

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Yahoo 404 Baseball Sign

As you know, Yahoo is planning a come back to search with a new way of thinking about Yahoo Search. What that means, we don’t know yet, but we do know Yahoo is thinking hard about how they can compete. Greg Sterling ran a Twitter poll asking if Yahoo has a shot at it, and most say, nope – Yahoo Search is dead on arrival.

The poll on Twitter asked, “Yahoo is planning to “relaunch” search. Is there a chance to revive it?” It received a nice number of responses, 631 responses. The results were not too optimistic.

  • 43.7% said nope, dead on arrival
  • 26.6% said depends on the UI/UX
  • 29.6% said yes, now is the time

Here is that poll:

Personally, I think Yahoo has a good shot at it, better than most other companies. But time will tell and I am very much looking forward to seeing what Yahoo Search comes out with.

Forumdiskussion kl Twitter.



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