The Summary of Discussion 2: 9 Points to Be Prepared Before a Google Algorithm Update Blows
Here is one of our Finance niche website that got hit by the update and regained the traffic and rankings in the later days. Have more sites that were hit and some that gained, by a lot.
I have been monitoring a range of websites from 1K/m traffic up to 300K/m traffic.
I have multiple theories around the update, still testing a few. But here are some that look a bit possible:
➡️Larger sites that are at least 3+ years old were largely unaffected. These were mostly gainers or stable, given they were already authority in their niche.
➡️Sites that were hit last update(s) and fixed in terms of layout, content and speed were all winners this update.
➡️Relevancy seem to have been a huge factor this update, the more niche relevant any site was, the less affected it was. Winners in many cases actually.
➡️All our general sites or even sites covering multiple niche were hit.
➡️This should be a no-brainer, but a few sites that we didn't work on for a few months were hit as well.
➡️Sites with better brand presence also seem to have done well or stable this update.
I would do further analysis on this and post an update co-relating metrics such as bounce rate and time on site etc., but at least on one site I believe pagespeed and code bloat to have been a factor.
But here are a few things that I am solid on didn't affect the websites at all:
✅Links didn't play much of a role in this update, our sites with the best link profiles (but multiple niches) were hit while the ones with weaker link profile (but niche relevant) were gainers in all cases.
✅EAT doesn't seem to have played any role in this update, the above point is true here as well.
✅Niche authority seems to have played larger role than just link authority.
The observations are from my assessment of over 15 affiliate websites.
How's the update been treating your sites?
[filtered from 15 💬🗨]
Some of the authority sites I know definitely got hit. This update really is weird. Nothing can be said at this point.
Yep, there is a wide range of gainers and losers, but fortunately for us, our larger website portfolio were largely stable or gainers. We mostly were more volatile in the mid to small site range i.e., under 20K traffic.
So stronger or weaker backlink doesn't matter any more??
They may matter in the next broad update? Who knows? Everybody knows a link from NYtimes is always good. It's good to have those kind of link; Google update or Bing update, doesn't matter.
MuQas ✍️ » Nasif
Links do matter and you never truly become an authority website without actually building links. Yes, people may throw some random cases where they ranked without doing a lot of link building, but we wouldn't be focusing on that argument today. What my observation says that in the "December update", links weren't a deciding factor.
That said, you'd have a hard time getting anywhere without focusing as much as on links as you do on content.
Shakil » MuQas
, I felt the same. Broader niche (General niche) sites are hit hard, experienced the same.
Haloi » MuQas
How do you define '' general niche '' from your analysis?
For example. Did you see a general health site tanked compared to a niche authority site that focus on protein supplements only?
By general niche, I mean websites that do not have a specific niche defined, for example a broad sports niche website that covers Golf, Basketball, Football and Soccer, instead of focusing on any one of those.
Bruno » MuQas
dude we own exactly the same idea.
I would honestly remove 'code bloat' as a factor though..
Yeah, I guess you can already categorize that under Speed and UX.
Its still to early to tell anything for sure. With the update last year we didn't really know what was going on until spring. Nice insights however.
The Summary of Discussion 1: Plus 6 Points below to Be Prepared Before a Google Algorithm Update Blows
Just wanted to share a few of the things I'm seeing with the core update:
– Google said they started rolling it out Dec 3…I actually think it started November 30
– For non affiliate keywords, Google is continuing to replace affiliate sites with e-commerce sites like amazon, Ebay, best buy, etc.. – this makes sense as they are matching the search intent to the type of site they are showing.
– Starting earlier this year with the previous core updates, Google have been ranking e-commerce sites in the top positions for many affiliate keywords (best, review, reviews, etc..). This one is absolutely killer.
– I'm seeing 90% drops in traffic for some sites and other users are experiencing the same kind of drops. This isn't normal. I understand keywords dropping from #1-3 spot farther down the page, maybe even on page 2. But what I'm seeing is the keywords dropping out of the top 100 completely. How does that happen? The closest thing I've seen was earlier this year when there was a Google bug (they wouldn't admit it but it was definitely there – many users were all experiencing similar issues in drop of rankings/traffic and other explainable "coincidences" like pages not even showing in Google with site: command). Eventually they fixed it.
– Don't see a pattern so far. None of the sites were using private blog networks PBNs. Some sites build on expired domains, others have been organically grown over the years.
– One potential issue could be around link building. Most people use the same handful of services to buy links so it's possible Google is catching on to this and penalizing the sites buying those links.
[filtered from 15 💬🗨]
It seems like they're favoring big brands and authority. Simple as that. It's a shame.
In your case – seems like it is something related to link building.
All our clients who were heavy on PBNs and content are quite stable. Example below!
One of our sites was a big authority site built on a very powerful expired domain – so it had no new link building
Wahi » Yury
Maybe the authority what you mention has lost authority in the eyes of Google.
I reckon you can still recover the rankings with some consistent link building and content updation. Google seems to prefer consistency.
I have a relatively new website I'm building based primarily on content (no substantial back links yet). In the past two weeks it's gone from being listed several pages deep on search engine result pages SERPs to the top few pages on most related key word searches.
Visitor growth has exploded by 159% since Dec 1.
No doubt, a secret meeting and deal was likely made at some point between Google and the big players… though of course they wouldn't incriminate themselves by admitting it.
Everyone purchases the same links from the same resellers, its easy to follow the footprint.
Thanks for the insights Yuri.
The site I have that got hit hardest is 100% white hat, not even outreach never mind link buying. Traffic drop of over 50%.
Doesn't make sense that Google can go from loving to despising a site so quickly.
Thanks for sharing…I thought it may be link related but may be not.
This may satisfy you: 7 SEO Steps for Website Rehabilitation after Google Updates