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Mixed Signs Of A Thanksgiving Holiday Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update

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Mixed Signs Of A Thanksgiving Holiday Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update

For the past several weekends, I’ve been reporting about a Google search ranking algorithm update that hit on a Friday and continued throughout the weekend. Well, last weekend was the Thanksgiving holiday in the US and I did see some signs of a possible Google Search ranking algorithm update – but truth is, it is unlikely that Google pushed something out on a Friday of Thanksgiving.

Weekend Update Trend

Here are the past weekend updates I’ve covered. For example, we had reports of an update last weekend, on November 18th through 20th, then again on the 11th through 12th and then on November 4th and 5th, the weekend before that on October 28th/29th, the spam update kind of surged on a Friday/Saturday with Octber 21st and 22nd, but the one before that was on a Thursday, October 13th.

Recently, it just seems we are seeing adjustments on Fridays and Saturdays. I mean, that can make sense if Google has search launch meetings towards the end of the week and pushes happen on Fridays? I am just guessing here…

But this past Friday, I doubt Google pushed an update. But yet we had some signals, less so, than in previous updates. So I think this one is just Thanksgiving holiday traffic changes, seasonal changes you’d see in both traffic and search volume?

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the chatter I found across the SEO community about this unconfirmed Google search update from WebmasterWorld starting around Friday:

An 18 hours dead zone for my global site with modest traffic returning at 06.00 UK time but for how long?

UK sites have seen less traffic for several days yet real-world business is still holding-up for the moment.

Yesterday was the worst day for me as well in the last 17 years. We have been hit hard and down 50% since last year though. We always see a decline before or on a holiday in the US (in this case Thanksgiving) and then a bump afterwards.

Same here. Yesterday I had numbers from the beginning of my main website that I started in 2013. It’s unfortunate…

I am seeing tanking traffic too. Across all my sites.

Some of it probably is due to Google going into turbo greed mode for Black Friday/Christmas, but it’s more than that – a steady downward trend started after US midterm election.

About 10-20% below normal all day today (UK traffic)

Our traffic is down about 12% and conversions (US Ecom) are down 50%+. In normal times we would see an increase in traffic and conversions with consumers who are in Black Friday spending mode. Inflation, recession, etc. all play a role in spending. However, our overall traffic drop is a combination of a substantial drop in buyer traffic to our product pages with a less substantial increase in traffic to our information pages. Taking a look at the SERPS it’s evident big brands are being promoted more than ever with an increase in Amazon crowded SERPS for many buyer intent queries. This is more of the same we’ve seen from Google in prior years, though each year it gets worse.

Traffic to my global site is precisely where I expected it to be with USA -33% with PVs.

UK hotel site with 95.6% long-term UK traffic is seeing both traffic and real-world footfall and takings up considerably. So far the World Cup is being good to us and with some good live bands over the next few weeks plus lots of Xmas lunches etc we may end 2022 on a high note :-)))

This weekend my traffic has gone down 90% overall, I am unsure if just a bad combo of world cup and post black Friday on the weekend which can be unpredictable but this is nuts.

USA traffic has been down this weekend…-16% yesterday. Today it’s starting the morning -53%. I don’t think it’s unusual for a holiday weekend when everyone is shopping for discounts, traveling or just not online. However, people have usually made their inquiries for Christmas purchases by now and it has been practically nil. The ones that did inquire in mid November had low budgets and no sales resulted. People are not spending freely, despite what news reports say about the well off spending…perhaps on food, travel and eating out yes but not on non-essential material goods. 2022 has been my lowest year for sales in memory…absolutely mind blowing. Even worse than the 2008 crash and worse than during the pandemic in 2020. I don’t see 2023 changing that. Unfortunately I used to be able to depend on at least one foreign market to bring in sales at any time…this year the high dollar, UK economy plunging due to Brexit and the slow economy in Europe and Australia meant that there was no place to turn really.

So there is chatter, for sure…

Google Tracking Tools

Here are what the tracking tool are showing:

Semrush:

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RankRanger:

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Accuranker:

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Cognitive SEO:

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SERPmetrics:

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Mozcast:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Algoroo:

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Again, I doubt Google pushed something specific on Friday of Thanksgiving but maybe we are just seeing the seasonality of the holiday shopping season? What do you all think?

Not all the tools picked up on it, and again, it was a long holiday weekend.

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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