Google Algorithm Updates - 2020 Ongoing Discussion

Ryuzaki

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January Core Update Retrospect

I always try to wait to say anything about these updates. There's hardly a point in looking at your traffic the day a big update is announced, since they usually take days if not a couple weeks to fully roll out.

I was originally untouched but it's looking like my main site will suffer a 7% - 10% reduction in traffic, between this core update and them tinkering with the featured snippets in the past couple of days.

Interestingly, my affiliate link clicks have dropped by as much as 30%, but my conversions seem to be holding steady, with the same number of orders coming in. So Google really may be sending higher quality traffic over as they get intent better matched.

Yeah, maybe we lose some random searches or short-tail positions but we gain better traffic in the long tail. Sounds good to me unless I'm just chasing pure pageviews, which I am to a degree, too.

RankRanger put out an overview using their data. There's no advice or identification of specific factors that were tweaked. It's just a big overview, but here's some of the info they share:


This image shows the volatility in four niches that really got shookup, which were Travel, Retail, Finance, and Health (YMYL). They're absolutely focusing on the your money, your life SERPs still, with health and finance getting the most attention. We're talking 82% - 92% shuffling on the front page.

I'm assuming "Retail" is mainly eCommerce and either that affected my review posts or it also effects review posts on non-commercial sites too. Who knows, I don't really care to dig in that deep these days. I'd rather keep publishing, especially when there's not really going to be much actionable data to work off of. Knee jerk reactions just make you more vulnerable later.

How are you guys holding up?
 

Andrewkar

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So far so good. YT traffic x7, search x2. Can't wait for tomorrow to see where it's going...
 

bernard

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I'm not seeing much at all with this update, overall a few new ranks, but it's not much. This has been the case for me for almost all updates with the notable exception of the November one. I've regained most of my traffic from that loss. Some pages are still in the tank, which makes it easier to analyse. I'm leaning towards intent here. I don't know if it is related, since it is January and sale season, but I'm having my best month ever as well, despite less traffic than pre-Black Friday.
 

EyesExist

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my traffic went down but sales went up.

It appears, quality of traffic.. the exact pinpointing of things.. has greatly improved.
 
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Since 14.01.20 my traffic has dropped by 25%, but my conversion rate on Amazon has increased to 12% from steady 5.5%-7.5%. Even during the christmas shopping it was 7.5% on average. My ad rpms are also slightly up by auround 2-5$.

So essentially, my revevenue is pretty much unchanged, but traffic is down 25%. Looks like they've improved the search intent...
 

Andrewkar

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So it looks OK for now. In December we invested some money into branding links (most expensive ever done for this site). Also, we decided to follow E-A-T, but on a tiny scale... We have a lot of work to do in this space. Also in December we've invested in links from higher DR sites. These drops in October are effect of badly done migartion to a new WP setup... Well :wink:
 

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My search traffic has increased almost exactly 100% from the latest core update for a site I have been grooming over the last year. Clean links only from high DR sites, lots of brand anchors, and content is great compared to competition. On paper it’s been one of the better sites quality wise and this latest core update looks like it did a good job at recognizing that
 

Ryuzaki

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I was originally untouched but it's looking like my main site will suffer a 7% - 10% reduction in traffic, between this core update and them tinkering with the featured snippets in the past couple of days. Interestingly, my affiliate link clicks have dropped by as much as 30%
This portion of my reply above was talking about Wednesday and a few days before that. The data for Thursday until today shows a complete reversal of the traffic loss and not only have my affiliate clicks recovered but they've grown slightly (10% or so). Conversions are still high.

As always, there's always aftershocks when Google has to adjust the update. It's not a nerve wracking to me as it was in the past, but it's still a rollercoaster of emotion and expectation. Like @Henry is saying, if you do a good job with everything and can realistically be confident in that from experience, all there is to do is hold the course. Google will ultimately recognize your work. The rolling average of the ups and downs will trend upward over the course of the updates like the stock market.
 

bernard

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How do you guys measure your traffic so precisely? I mean, don't you have variations, seasonal, weekly, day by day, or is it you have so much traffic you still see obvious trends?

For me, I have to look at 6 month trends, to get a good idea of what is going on.
 

Andrewkar

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If you know your niche for a while alredy, you will see how it's working. Trends etc. Any precise problems you have with analysing your data?
 

bernard

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If you know your niche for a while alredy, you will see how it's working. Trends etc. Any precise problems you have with analysing your data?
The problem is my site has been growing consistently and constantly in traffic for the last 2 years, so I don't really have any baseline.
 

Ryuzaki

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@bernard, on the project I can make these kind of calls on confidently, traffic has come very close a logarithmic maximum where I can't possibly publish fast enough to budge that sharply enough to make a difference.

And the numbers are high enough that even as "newer" posts start kicking in their traffic from eventually ranking, it's not enough to shift the baseline.

So the only time I see any significant traffic movement that happens abruptly, I know it's due to an algorithm update, which is confirmed by all the rank tracking tools and/or a Google announcement.
 

TinFoilMan

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The problem is my site has been growing consistently and constantly in traffic for the last 2 years, so I don't really have any baseline.
It is never a problem when your site is growing consistently and constantly in traffic for the last 2 years :cool:
Just sayin
 

Ryuzaki

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Regarding Ikea, Google has admitted in a Webmaster Central hangout that it's likely a problem on Google's end and not Ikea. Not only are they losing the index for their international sites but they're returning the wrong country. Like if you search in Germany you get Austrian results, etc.

I can't help but notice how many bugs and problems Google has been having in the past year or two...

____

I'm skimming through that Twitter thread and caught this quote by John Mueller:

"Search Console’s index coverage and aggregate reports (like mobile usability) do not include pages that have low impression counts in Search. Those drops are likely due to pages we’ve assessed like this."​
That seems like a purposeful way of giving us bad data. How are we supposed to know how our indexation is if they aren't listing everything indexed? Or maybe that begs a different question... are pages with low / no impressions in search ultimately tagged for deindexation (probably). But still... why not give us the full data? Why not show all indexed pages in the coverage report and remove them when they're deindexed? Because otherwise, it's not a coverage report, it's a maybe-covered report.

_____

In other news, I said above that I lost ~10% traffic and ~30% affiliate clicks but conversions were still good. The past 3 or 4 days, I had a spike of traffic, back above my previous level and an extra ~15%, and my affiliate clicks did about the same. They climbed back up ~30% and an extra ~15%. Conversions are still good.

Then that spike decayed back to leaving me where I was before the update. I had a drop, a spike, and then back to baseline. I'll take "no bad effect / neutral" over "bad effect" any day. Always hoping for a boost but mitigating disaster is always nice too.
 

Andrewkar

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The problem is my site has been growing consistently and constantly in traffic for the last 2 years, so I don't really have any baseline.
I've spent like 30 min. creating answer to your post, but it's one beer too much... Anyway I have some ideas and something to say. I will tomorrow :wink:
 

Ryuzaki

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Algo Update: February 2nd, 2012

Calling it now, it's possibly 2 or 3 hours since released, nothing huge but definitely there. Expecting the blogs to figure it out by tomorrow.

Let us know if you see anything! I'm seeing a sizable boost in the past couple of hours. These spikes always concern me because they end up leading to dips, and then settling out either up or down a bit. It's always a gamble.
 

bernard

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The last couple updates has been back to normal for me. Normal meaning, barely anything moving, except for a few first page keywords jumping up to rankings they haven't had before.

The only update that had a wide scale effect was the November 2019 update.
 
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Man, if anyone reads Search Engine Roundtable regularly, you would think the sky is falling with weekly Google updates.

Life is so much better when all the noise is tuned out. Assuming you're doing things right, they shouldn't have much impact on your operations. If you're doing things right and you're dinged by the update, then there's probably not much you can do except wait until another update comes around and bumps you back up.
 

EyesExist

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What i'm seeing is just 'bouncing'. .it's like search is no longer 'static' in some sort of weird, hourly way.

Even with traffic down though, my sales were up.
 

bernard

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So far this update sees me regain positions lost in November 7 update. Mostly limited to first page rankings though, so I figure user behavior could play into it. Rankings that dropped on 2nd page and lower doesn't seem to move much if at all.
 
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Looks like sensors that are already reporting Feb 8th volatility are freaking out. Anyone seeing anything? Only seeing normal looking random bounces on my sites, but I'm not a huge publisher or anything.
 

CCarter

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This massive update looks more like a Google HTML update since the volatility is way too high. This is Google changing the html and throwing rank trackers off.

Similar to how a wordpress blog can update to a different theme with different css and html code underneath yet the content stays the same, that is what we are seeing. The organic position results aren’t moving it’s the rank trackers that use certain css names and classes to identify the positions that are screwing up cause of the new “HTML theme”. This thing happens about 2-3 times a year.

Most rank trackers can hide this by the fact they don’t display ALL the results. For example Ahrefs will update your ranking position once a week, if an error like this occurs they can hide it for 1-2 weeks without anyone knowing. Full SERP daily tracking can’t, so it seems more sensitive since we measure volatility. It’s going to be a rough week, but things will “magically” return to normal once the rank trackers have the new html code mapped.
 
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There was an update. Sites that experienced the issues in December are recovering. Some recovered fully already.