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Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update Rolls Out October 15th - October 18th Update Causes 20 to 30% Drops in Traffic

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News, SEO

Not to sound like a broken record, but, here we go yet again. Google sure knows how to keep the SEO community on its toes, as evidenced by another recent unconfirmed  Google search ranking algorithm update.

For those who haven’t been keeping tabs, this is one of at least six updates to roll out in the last couple of weeks.

The most recent one appears to have rolled out between October 15 and 18, according to Search Engine Journal.

While nothing too crazy seems to have occurred, chatter in the search engine forums shows that many SEOs are experiencing significant effects.

 For instance, some have reported drops in traffic between 20 and 30 percent, along with rankings for their main keyword phrases.

 Here are a few direct quotes taken from WebmasterWorld that support this:

“Huge decline so far this morning in traffic… -20% or so. Haven’t ever seen this happen before….” 

“Starting the morning with a massive decline in USA traffic, -74% at 10:30am. CA -40%, home page down 40%. UK / AU normal. Rather than the usual starting off normal and dropping off a cliff at 8-9am sharp, today traffic has been very low across every hour. This is happening so often now that you really can’t call in an “update”…Google just goes from massive decline to the next 2-3X a week now…traffic has been abysmal since September 14th.”

“Search is down 30% and direct is down 35% as of 12:30pm today…what a freakin catastrophe Google is every day now.”

 “Even for a Saturday this is very quiet, 15 hours of my Googleday gone and traffic at 26% of average. The last 3-4 hours of my Friday night were also quiet.”

 “Saturday traffic was relatively normal, but today USA and UK traffic are both down more than 40%. My daily home page traffic is perpetually down for weeks, sometimes by as much as 60% on any given day. This was also the case in June, when my home page would just vanish from the SERPs every other day.”

Here’s what the tracking tools had to say:

Semrush:

SERPmetrics:

Advanced Web Rankings:

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Will Google Run Another Search Ranking Update?

11/01/2022

Just earlier this month many suspected that Google had run an unconfirmed search ranking update. That was around the 13th of October. Now, just a couple of weeks later, we’re wondering if Google will strike again.

Read More: Google’s Core & Product Reviews Update Rolled Out

On Twitter, many SEOs are noticing the impacts of the previous updates, like Google’s October 2022 Spam Update, Search Engine Roundtable reports.  For some, the impacts are significant and it has people wondering if theres another one on the way, or maybe its already in motion.

What Is A Search Ranking Algorithm Update?

With so many updates, its important to get back to the basics and review what a search ranking algorithm update is. Basically, in order to quickly provide the most relevant results for a query, Google uses a sophisticated set of algorithms to retrieve information from its search index.

Back in the day, the search engine only did and algorithm update every now and then. But these days Google is launching more updates than Kellogs has got cornflakes.

Read More: Are Core Update Ranking Losses A Soft Penalty?

In a nutshell, on its search engine results pages, Google ranks websites according to relevance. To do this they use a variety of algorithms and ranking parameters (SERPs), Search Engine Journal explains.

As for the hum about October 28th, there’s no definitive answer as to which kind of algorithm update was impacting sites.

Here’s was popular SEO expert Glenn Gabe noticed with regards to the site impacts.

Previous Confirmed Updates

As we’ve said, Google loves doing algorithm updates but its hard to tell what specific update could be causing impacts on users’ sites.

Over the past 6 months we’ve seen a bunch of updates rollout. Just as the summer ended, August 2022 Helpful content update was launched. While in the fall, the September 2022 Broad Core Update and the September 2022 Products Review Update took the main stage.

Read More: Google Launches October 2022 Spam Update

Just last month we saw Google launch its most recent Spam update since 2021. Some SEOs who believe this update lines of up with the October 2022 Spam update, pinpointing is still difficult.

If your site got hit by the October 28th update, see below for some of Google’s advice.

“Sites that see a change after a spam update should review our spam policies to ensure they are complying with those. Making changes may help a site improve if our automated systems learn over a period of months that the site complies with our spam policies,” said a statement from Google Search Central.

read more

Google To Target Sites Creating SEO Content?

08/19/2022

Update from the future: Two weeks after it started rolling out, the Helpful Content Update is still not showing big ranking changes. Danny Sullivan said the update might get stronger with the next core update. Read more about that here.

Google is releasing a new, site-wide ranking signal that will target content created for search engines, instead of users. Glenn Gabe shared about this on Twitter, and Barry Schwartz reported on this on Search Engine Land.

Turns out a new algorithm change is about to happen, and it might just be the biggest one in the last ten years. Called the “helpful content update”, the ranking algorithm change is supposed to target websites that have a high amount of not-good-enough content, meaning that the content had one purpose in mind: getting that rank. What it should have done instead was be written for the user, not Google.

So, if you might have content that could be labelled as unhelpful or unsatisfying, you better act fast!

What Does “Site Wide” Mean?

Exactly that – it will impact content on your whole website, not just a page or two, unlike many other Google algorithms updates that are page-based.  Google will evaluate your website as a whole and the impact will be just as significant. The sooner you remove the unhelpful content, the better.

Why Is Google Doing This?

Because it wants to help searchers find high-quality content, Google told Barry. The search engine simply wants to reward useful content written for people, not bots and crawlers.

This absolutely makes sense, considering the number of complaints you can hear from users. It must have happened to you too; you were searching for an answer and you keep ending up on highly ranked articles that have no value to you as a reader. You end up opening a bunch of links and improving their traffic, meanwhile getting no answer to your query whatsoever.

So, it sounds fair that Google’s doing this. There’s too much content out there that’s just designed to rank well, instead of actually being helpful to the customer.

The update is supposed to be released next week, and it will take about two weeks for it to fully roll out.

According to Search Engine Land, Google said the content type that will be impacted the most will be online educational materials, arts and entertainment, shopping and tech-related content.

Also, the search engine shared with Glenn Gabe that ANY content on your site that was created to serve the search engine before the reader is less likely to have good results in Search. So even if you do have high-quality content, the bad one can and probably will bring your whole site’s rank down.  Google says you should remove the unhelpful content ASAP.

Google’s Advice On Building People-first Content

Google shared a list of questions to ask yourself when creating content. To create people-first content, you should focus on creating satisfying, actually helpful content while also utilizing best SEO practices. Here are the questions to ask yourself when creating content:

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience that would find the content useful?
  • Does your content demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • After reading your content, will a human leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are pretty high you’re all good. If not, it’s definitely time for a change.

Read More: Google Helpful Content Update Still Rolling Out, Kind of Slow though

Update from the future: The Google Helpful Content Updatefinsihed rolling out on September 9th! Even though not a lot of people reported seeing major fluctuations, the update is still valuable and very important. Read more about it here and find out what to do if you were hit!

Read More: Word Count Doesn’t Mean Your Content Is Unhelpful
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