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Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2018

     
11:34 am on Aug 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4909313.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:47 am on Aug 1, 2018 (PDT -8)

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HERE WE GO! Get your sit belts on:

Google Search Algorithm August 1st Update Rolling Out Now; Might Be A Big One
Aug 1, 2018
https://www.seroundtable.com/google-search-algorithm-update-26141.html [seroundtable.com]




[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:57 am (utc) on Aug 1, 2018]
7:35 am on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Everyone who's mentioning that their site is down I'd love to know what type of site you are and if you are adding any value to the web or a user? Or is your website only active for affiliate or adsense revenue purposes?

I've mentioned on this forum before, last year we got absolutely smashed by the 'Fred' update but we turned our whole content strategy and we've been on an upward trend ever since. I'm not sure if this latest update is a content or links update but i really recommend REALLY looking at the content on your site.

One thing I have noticed, is one of our main competitors who have been ranking well for key terms for the last 2 years have been dropping massively over the past few weeks. Their backlink profile has always been spammy from what I can see in Ahrefs (I don't know whats been disavowed), but they did have some really old links (15 years +) from top tier UK press which may have been helping them out.

Looking forward to some expert analysis which I'm sure we'll see over the next few days.
7:49 am on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I got hit and I can tell you its not about links at all. Sites that had spammy links and got punished are suddenly up again and they are complete trash. My best guess is that pages/posts length are no longer a factor. I think those that got hit (like me) might be related lengthy posts/pages that google now sees as keyword stuffing or spamming. I hope they will revise this update because this is just pathetic.

I want to add that its not speed related either nor is it https or mobile indexing. If google doesnt see your content as quality you will get hit hard and I mean hard. I am going to come up with a new strategy as soon as I am convinced this update is over.
7:53 am on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This latest update seems a step back for me.

We're seeing more non geo targeted traffic and some of the big players in our sector have fallen back.

Meanwhile, small businesses without any sort of infrastructure or regulation are starting to appear - essentially cowboys.

I'm hoping that this is the shake up before normal results return again. That typically does seem to be the trend, but when i see results like this morning it pisses me off.
7:57 am on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I completely agree with you. I got pushed back because google resurrected spammy sites and I went down the chain. I am going to keep an eye for more fluctuations but this is just WOW. The odd part is that only my homepage got it, all other pages are fine. I am going to start cutting text from the homepage and see if it helps.

Semrush showed that the ranking sites in my niche have on average 800 words and I have 1.6k. I dont want to start doing it until this update is over. Google should have the decency to make an exception and provide more details on what was changed exactly.

UPDATE! My ranking keeps fluctuating, this means the update is not over guys. After being in page 3, then to page 31, then page 10 I am now on page 4. Looks like they are trying to fix the mess they created.

[edited by: yollo03 at 8:33 am (utc) on Aug 2, 2018]

8:29 am on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@NYCTech

Good news considering what you have been through.

In terms of speed and not only biggest mistake is for Google to use chrome data as user experience satisfaction measurement instead of referencing speed back to their own tool.
10:07 am on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hi Guys,
I lost have my website organic ranking due to google update, anybody let me know the exact reason behind this
10:49 am on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google performs an update every 1 to 3 months and some unlucky webmasters suffer the brunt.

I mentioned before that my site is unaffected from initial observations, but I don't think I'm over the hump yet. I actually have a bad feeling about this.
11:20 am on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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traffic is down -40% for main site, from 50k users to half of that, all posts affected still, damn
1:49 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Found a strange result that may account for the slight recent increase; big brand Ho*zz was displaying an Adsense ad using my brand name as the title which pointed to my page on Ho*zz..which then points back to me. Thanks for the free ad! What is their logic in placing an ad to promote my page? They must be hurting for traffic and need my content. Too bad Google doesn't do that. Hope that trend increases in the future. LOL
2:04 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just updating that I am now on page 5 (was on page 3, went to down to 10, then page 4, then page 31). Semrush is showing a lot of volatility in the rankings. According to semrush there is more volatility today than yesterday so Im guessing those that werent hit yesterday are being hunted down by the algorithm.
2:09 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Semrush updated and every keyword rank dropped :(
2:13 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Mine will update in a few hours. I dont think I had accurate reading yesterday because it showed I actually gained +0.75%. You might think thats good but I dont see it and my competitors got a huge boost, something like +20%. I will keep an eye on it and update, I still think things are going to change until this is done. Im assuming today's update is a fix for yesterday. The worse part of all this is that google said that there is nothing you can do about it. It means that those that get penalized will have to wait a long time until the next core update ,probably a year.
2:20 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google traffic was up 5% yesterday and seems to be holding today, but no huge changes for me.
3:05 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm pretty happy with this update. It could be better, but at least I got some boost. Hope that those of you who was working hard will get what deserved with this August changes. Good luck, guys!

All-time traffic:
[imgur.com...]

Day per-hour comparing the last week:
[imgur.com...]
3:31 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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One of our clients is talking about closing down his shop next month after almost ten years. Google has destroyed him. He can't afford SEO advice, he can't find out why Google has basically removed his site entirely, he's not making enough from the shop to pay for hosting and his second income is drying up too.

One day Google will be destroyed.
I will be throwing a party.
3:41 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Conran are you with DC by any chance? This is not attack but since he is your client, you guys were not able to figure out what is happening to his site? or is it like 400 usd budget

I am on same boat, 10+ years old store, can't afford seo anymore post these updates, next month is the last
3:59 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just wait for the storm to end. google webmaster is going to update for 1 August tomorrow so everyone can see the real damage of the update. One of my high ranking keyword went down from position 30 to position 70, My other keywords are holding so its just one keyword but its a real major one. Be very patient.

I just one to say again that google confirm this is a quality update like I suspected before. Higher authority means better quality so I would focus on that first.
4:03 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm quite happy with this update as well @Cyril. My affiliate sites in the law and government vertical have either gone up 35-45% or remained stable. I think it has been a testament to studying the search quality guidelines religiously. I have read the document like the bible and made many changes based off of it since all my sites tanked from fred, macabees, and may 24. Google released an updated version of the guidelines on July 20. I have mentioned this here in the past but webmasters have balked and said those are just suggestions and not search ranking factors but I can assure everyone that if you follow the guidelines closely you will jump competitors in the serps. Danny even confirmed on twitter yesterday that you need to follow the guidelines.

[static.googleusercontent.com ]
4:05 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am going to look into it now, I know the PDF was removed and then updated but I wasnt expecting the algo to change so quickly. I suspected yesterday this was a quality update when it started. My theory is also to reduce the number of words so it will be less than 1k.

These are new the quality guidelines published by google last week I think: [static.googleusercontent.com...]
4:27 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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my traffic is still up and down , conversions low (had a couple that saved the day late last night but they were an anomaly) but traffic level overall is about the same. The strange things I have noted so far thought are :
1. I am getting a lot more traffic from Tablets - used to be some here and there but this has definitely increased percentage wise (not looked deeply into it yet)
2. Bounce rate is up over the last couple of days, even for some key pages that used to have good bounce rates around 20% - yet I have changed nothing on them.
4:32 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Look into the new guidelines, I learned some new things to be honest. I didnt know the 404 pages gives any value to quality rating. I might add a search button as well. From a brief analysis of the guidelines I think my website is considered as medium and not high quality and the algo is struggling where to place me on google. Because this is a quality update anyone that bought fake reviews on his site is going to benefit from it. I am still analyzing it but I have some idea what to do.
5:41 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have a question, Im still new to the forum so I hope im asking it in the right place. I am running an online service. Would it make any sense to add aggregated rating to the homepage (markup product/service) or just leave it as it is (website)?
6:59 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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How are we supposed to remember these 200 pages guideline?
7:41 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yes, just checked the updated quality guidelines and it says nothing about zombies

What if the raters have their computer hacked and the bad SEOs do the job for them.

What sort of business is this not to communicate decisions that have been taken against you.

It feels like you are serving time but you do not know what for...
8:02 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It feels like you are serving time but you do not know what for...


What a CLASSIC STATEMENT!
It REALLY hits home for me. Wondering, wondering, wondering.
Oh, Yeah.

Do we have to KNOW somebody? Is that the ONLY hope?
I am beginning to think that is the only hope, after spending trillions of hours reading this stuff.
.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 8:07 pm (utc) on Aug 2, 2018]

8:07 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is looking good, a definite improvement over last week. Last time I saw a traffic increase was when Yoast messed up and indexed all my images. Hopefully this time is more legit.
8:41 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Many of my keywords seem to have dropped a few positions and traffic is definitely reflecting that this evening.

It takes a while to settle right? During previous updates, my posts decreased in ranking and then went back to the top. Hope the same thing happens again. :/
8:51 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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From page 1 to 4
frustrating result after a hard work with no spammy link building
8:52 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It seems like sites practising keyword stuffing are jumping SERPS whilst those that done are moving down.
8:58 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So far I am down from page 3 to page 9, a real shake up. I am going to try following those new guidelines and see what happens. The update might not be over. I am in a very tough niche, I will never get to the first page but I tried going to page 2.
9:17 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@penitentman

Can you please give a single example on what you changed? Something that you did not even think before.
9:22 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I thought I had dodged a bullet on this one (finally) as there was really no change. Then, at 1pm Eastern time today #*$! hit the fan. Down 20% every hour since then.

[i.imgur.com...]

So this keeps up my record of being hit negatively by basically every single confirmed update since October 2016, it's insane.
9:27 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Yollo03

I regularly post articles targeting search volumes of 250 pm and the articles sometimes go straight to the top 3 on google for the main keyword phrase within minutes after submitted to search console. The articles end up getting way more than 250 pm, sometimes thousands per month over time.

Although, it's common for it to land high in the SERPs, go down, and then slowly rise again to the top. That's been my experience anyway...

Traffic is down around 40% today. It's making me realize that I better start working harder on my brand name and other sources of traffic than purely relying on Google! :/ I'm earning enough to quit my job right now, but now I'm wondering if I should hang on a bit longer.
9:53 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The quality of the MC (main content) is one of the most important criteria in Page Quality rating, and displays the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) of the page. For all types of webpages, creating high quality MC takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill.

I started by replacing all my low quality iffy main content with good quality. Especially on YMYL pages. Bite the bullet and hired a decent writer. Pages that I could not come up with content for I excluded from my sitemap until I could get content. Google can tell how much effort it takes to build, maintain, and improve your website. The effort you put in is a ranking factor.

After I had a content strategy I focused on monetization- I took ads off pages, changed location of ads, titled ads and reviewed ad locations that did not get clicks and just removed them.

Thirdly I focused on site performance and still working on that currently with the help of lightspeed, google page speed, and gtmetrix.

I used to chirp in the forums and complain about google, the guessing game, the zombies etc etc but they aren't changing and I'm not about to get a new career(yet). Unfortunately, John Mueller isn't going to audit my website after each and every algorithm update. The search quality guidelines is the closest I'm going to get to that. There are lots of little nuggets in there that you can find on your own.

Oh and also.. I compared my websites to my competitors with a fine tooth comb. See if you can find some weaknesses and make sure you are strong in their areas of weakness. If you have the time and resources launch more websites in the same niche with a different angle. As many as possible. Use those websites to test different strategies to see what google likes best. Then rinse and repeat. Long grueling process but it's the only way I made this business work for me.
11:13 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The quality of the MC (main content) is one of the most important criteria in Page Quality rating, and displays the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) of the page. For all types of webpages, creating high quality MC takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill.


Which leaves me wondering why my main competitor comes at number 1 across the board for 70% of the keywords Im aiming for yet their content is garbage, often just copied and reworded from other sites, short and not useful for people and they have lots of spammy and paid links.
Im focusing on doing things right , my site is faster, better content, not using spammy links or paid links but they keep winning with out all the effort, expertise etc. That is the most frustrating thing for me.
11:18 pm on Aug 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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According to Search Console - Search Analytics, my site has had an impression of over 4 million & a total clicks of 38 thousand the past 30 days. I should be getting way more clicks than that but google shows a featured snippet above results so searchers see no need to click on my site. I wish they would stop showing those featured snippets and just show only links instead.
12:22 am on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Wow that Google PQ document looks like a gold mine. Can't I hadn't seen it till now.
12:22 am on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am having an abnormal amount of Pinterest referrals today for one specific 3 keyword phrase for one of my globally exclusive products.

G is borked again, that's nothing new!
12:47 am on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What is more beneficial for SEO?

1. Writing 5-10 articles per day based on news that people can read elsewhere, or
2. Doing painstaking research to gather data/information that nobody else has and coming up with a truly unique and useful article which could take several days, or even weeks, to put together?

Seems like many few of us, rightly or wrongly, choose the easy option of 1. Before anyone gets defensive, I'll admit to having gone with the easy option for most of my life as a webmaster too. But I'm starting to think it may be time to change my strategy.

Think about the last article that really (I mean, really) impressed you. How long do you think it took for the writer to put it together?

For me, it was an article on recovery from a Panda penalty by an SEO expert based on months (years?) of working on several case studies with various clients. That's certainly not an article one could put together by reading Google News or watching YouTube, or dare I say it, reading "chatter" on webmasterworld. ;)
1:03 am on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Whilst my content has been on the thin side in the past it is mostly because there hasn't been a need for in depth content on my category pages (users dont really want it - they get the info they need in the products), and my products have always had plenty of details. I have started to write long informative category pages that are better than anything else in the serps. I research them , read all the competition and try to provide everything they do and always more. The results though are mixed. Some of it has gone to number 1 but for less competitive subjects, my main target keyword I get on first page , sometimes up as high as 2 often 3 or 4 and get some featured snippets even but the number one page is a garbage, as are most other pages that come above me - they have just basic info that is very little of use to a user. So i struggle to understand it .
Today thought I did spot some things that could be effecting me? 1 is a page with newish content I created that is coming around 2 or 3 in the serps for a massively competive keyword / subject - i havent even been focusing on trying to get this as it was very tough, yet just by rewriting my cat page I am getting good placements.
2. A page that I have good content for and is a priority keyword for me is coming only on page 2 (slowly been increasing from 3 , 4) and I spotted that I had a misconfig on that category meaning all the layered navigation urls where indexed for it . So im thinking they are cannibalizing any authority it has in combination with the fact lots of products also use the same keywords (and rank for it). The competitive page I wasnt trying hard to rank for but am doing well has far less canbilization of the target keywords and also has quite a lot of internal links.

So, at least I might have some clues to work on and the fact I have that hard to rank for page "by accident" gives me some hope at least. Today has been bad but im not panicking - ive managed to make a lot of progress in several areas I wanted to today at least. 13 hours straight work with just a ten minute break for food - time for a glass of wine now!
3:40 am on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In my 20+ years experience, if you got hit you are gone, and it will likely keep diminishing. But each time you learn, and start it up again, and work out where you went wrong this time.
4:37 am on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My search traffic dropped 40% from last two days. Used to have 100K daily unique users back in 2013-15, now dropped to 30K post this update while my pathetic competitors laughing at me .. My days are are counting i guess.
7:22 am on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think before evaluating the impact on your site, you should at least give it a few days for things to settle down. The positions on the SERPs are still jumping all over the place.

I've been hit for a day or two, even a week, and then things bounced back even stronger.

Doesn't mean I'm not scared right now though! lol :) I'm also down about 40% from what I should be at by this time of day.
10:22 am on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Good news for me, I really hope this trend will stick. After being bumped all over the place I am now in page 4. I studied my webmaster, only major keywords got hit and are now beginning to recover. I strongly suggest anyone that got hit and is now recovering to implement google;s quality guidelines even if you come out stronger.

The story behind those guidelines is interesting. The official data was leaked on the internet, it was confidential at first. Google then realized everyone had it and said, "what the hell, let everyone have it." It was taken offline last week and then the updated version came back online.
12:41 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Traffic just tripled over here :) I'm so happy right now.
12:49 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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[semrush.com...]

Today is even higher than last two days
12:51 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182

Did this happen AFTER or DURING the semrush report? Like post update, 1 week later was emrush flat or still showing high spikes? Wondering when to lose hope, in two days or a week
1:04 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have checked last 2 days traffic and nothing happened. Hope it will be fine.
1:11 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I just checked semrush, I confirm, today volatility is higher than the last 2 days. My ranking has improved since yesterday but this is not over guys, once its over it will be easier to assess the damage or the gains. My competitors gained over me but not by much. I saw the drop I had yesterday, 70% drop in key keywords. It reversed today but I cant tell by how much.

This is a huge update, every topic is affected.

[edited by: yollo03 at 1:13 pm (utc) on Aug 3, 2018]

1:11 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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im confused with this update really. Yesterday traffic down probably 20% and conversions down , in the evening when i usually get most conversions nothing at all. I usually wake up to find at least 1 or 2 conversions in the morning. Today nothing and traffic is down to a trickle. Yes looking in the serps , I am still ok for my main keywords and just see some minor movements on others - seems strange. I am literally getting period were there are zero people on my site for mike 15 to 20 mins at a time. I have never known that ever. Im going to keep working on content etc and see how the coming days pan out but if I have a week of this im done.
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