Google Algorithm Updates - 2020 Ongoing Discussion

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Yes Floate recently mentioned in a YouTube video that he thinks it could of been about authority, lack of links to pages & over-optimization.

The over-optimization theory could fit in with the outlier site I have thats killing it while being a 3 month old brand new domain with 4 links. I have about 30 articles of 2.5k words each and its the only site in my portfolio I did not use Surfer SEO on or do any on-page optimization for, again too small a sample size but its the only difference I am seeing between my other sites. Cant wait until some studies come out from the bigger testers in seo
How are the sites doing that you use Surfer SEO on?
 

bernard

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I'll say something a bit controversial, but usually the worst takes on Google algo seem to come from link spammers.

Their entire business model is based on link spam and "optimization", so naturally everything has to be about links, too many or too few.

Then EAT replaced the old Moz bs of "good content".

In reality, the Google algo is a complex algorithm with variables that act on each other. It's also probably more and more driven by AI, which means that it is increasingly difficult to pinpoint A -> B.

I've thought of Google algos as a flag based model for the last years. Like you get one flag for being slow, one flag for poor content (lacking LSI etc), one flag for lack of links, one flag for lack of brand searches etc. It could also be reverse, but for positive flags. If you reach a certain tresholds of flags, you move up, if you have enough bad ones, you move down, then Google uses AI to user test your site, which particularly makes you move up or down on the front page.

There are ways around this, notably having a lot more links than the competition, but I've increasingly seen in my niches, that "King of the Links" is reserved for one or two spots only, while most sites rank based on seemingly other factors. This does change. Some updates you get more linkranking sites and some updates you get more UX ranking sites.

My 2 cents.
 
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The main pattern I'm seeing is the same thing we see every time. @secretagentdad's screenshot above shows it perfectly. His clicks in the SERPs didn't decrease and perhaps increased, but his impressions decreased.

This is explained by the fact that there's always a window of time between updates where a page can rank for crazy amounts of long-tails that it shouldn't be. And then some offline relevancy calculation is done and the data is merged in and you lose all of that "extra free traffic," which is how it should be seen.

The way I look at core updates is, in between them you have a chance to take 2 steps forward, then the update takes you 1 step back. And in that way you rollercoaster your way forward with an upwards trend.
This.

This time around, the data's even more fuzzy because different countries/states are relaxing their lockdown measures at different rates. The virus changed search patterns and volumes, so if you're seeing a drop then it could also be due to search behaviors (volume) going back to pre-virus conditions because of the on-going relaxing of measures. There's no way to prove this, of course, but it would be interesting to see what happens when there's a (big) second wave.
 
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Did this update focus on content quality(as determined by AI) more than links?
It will explain results in many niches to an extent. I know there are many exceptions. But, the trend seems to point that way.
It would explain why some sites with average/shitty/weak link profiles ranking well. As Google relying less on links and more on search intent, some queries give worse results.
 
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How are the sites doing that you use Surfer SEO on?
Honestly they varied up and down, not enough data to make any conclusion from, but this volatility and the non surfer site doing so well makes me wonder if its really worth using these expensive content tools now when the results of just writing naturally and optimizing the basics like Title h1 h2 are giving the same or better results, why am i dedicating an hour an article of a va and $x a month on them.
 
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Honestly they varied up and down, not enough data to make any conclusion from, but this volatility and the non surfer site doing so well makes me wonder if its really worth using these expensive content tools now when the results of just writing naturally and optimizing the basics like Title h1 h2 are giving the same or better results, why am i dedicating an hour an article of a va and $x a month on them.
I ended up to the same conclusion.

Frankly, I had some issues with this concept behind "100s of ranking factors". While some keywords performed better, I can not say for sure that it's because of the modifications. There are too many factors at play. I prefer to tweak and wait.
 

Ryuzaki

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Update: May 21st, 2020

Yesterday I noticed that I was losing a bit of the gains I had received from the core update and assumed they were doing their typical corrections after the fact. Turns out this was the case. Many of the SERP analyzers are now picking it up. It doesn't seem to be drastic, but they definitely turned a few knobs.

Algoroo


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Looking at SERPWoo's volatility stats, which break it down to region and volume ranges, it looks like this had the most impact from keywords with search volumes between 0 to under 1,000,000, which again suggests a correction to the core update. It doesn't appear to target local or mobile or desktop only results, but had a minor affect across the board, with one exception.

Canada appears to have the most volatility for some reason (maybe geo-results getting shuffled around between .com vs. .ca).

It's hard to say much because it doesn't seem to be a huge update, just a correction-based tremor.
 
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On the core update, I read in recent days that (1) Google views UGC content the same as your own (i.e. can impact you just as much as your own content; and (2) someone noticed that a lot of heavy UGC sites got massacred in the update.

My only site that got massacred has a very popular forum that gets 70% of its traffic and it got MASSACRED. So I would agree with the above. What I have now done is index the HP of the forum only, and noindex everything else. The rest of the site content (that I wrote) is 100% quality stuff and deserves to rank well, so this is going to be a test to see what happens when I noindex the UGC.
 
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First week after May 4th update: -16% organic traffic
Second week: -22% (versus week before update)
Third week: -26%
Yesterday (Friday) versus Friday before the update: -58% (Friday's been my weakest day of the week for a while now in terms of traffic)

April vs May (to date) I've lost about 30% of organic traffic and I sure hope Friday will remain my weakest day.

I saw some big movements yesterday, most of them not in my favor. There's no penalties, technical problems, etc. at start of update or now. I do expect June to be worse than May, purely going off of the trend.