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How to Prepare For & Recover From Google Updates

     
1:52 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google makes hundreds and hundreds of updates each year. If you aren't ready you can get destroyed, heck even if you are ready you can still get destroyed depending on what they change. So let's take a moment to chat about helpful ways to prepare and respond when Google rolls out an update ... especially a huge game changing update.

Google wants to rank popular sites. So focus less on short cuts and more on building up your brand. The bigger brands get mentioned in press articles, get legit link drops from bloggers, mentions on social media and so many more benefits. This is your ultimate goal. You want to be so popular that when Google changes their algo, you don't care because most of your traffic is coming from non-Google sources. Of course that is easier to say than actually achieve.

How to make your website popular without Google?
  • Provide value that's not already on 100 other sites. Build a new tool, write a free book, create original videos, solve a problem that others ignore.
  • Work social media. Engage with your target audience. I'm not talking about fake social signals. I'm talking about developing a cult fan base. Fans will promote your website on websites, forums, and other social channels. This will drive traffic and boost your traffic generating links. If you lose your Google rankings, you might be able to survive purely on social media.
  • Cross Promote. Stop thinking about 20 year old SEO link tricks and focus more on current marketing strategy. Find relevant websites and cross promote each other. Swap content, co-sponsor contests and expose each other to your loyal fan base.
  • Patrol your content. Seek out your outdated content and refresh it. Find errors & fix them. Regularly seek out sites that steal your content and don't be afraid of using DMCA if needed. Remember you want content that solves problems and answers a real need. We aren't talking about outdated keyword matching. We are talking about your value proposition & protecting it.
  • Tech Up Your Site. Technology has greatly advanced from just a few years ago. Make sure your site is https, mobile friendly, using relevant schema and you implement other website tech best practices. Being up to date with your website tech is not a magic solution but its a good first step. Sites that aren't up to date on tech tend to also be the sites that got lazy in other critical SEO areas.
  • Don't copy bad SEO. Just because your competition is spamming Google doesn't necessarily mean you should. Your competition might be ranking despite that bad SEO and if you copy that poison you can hurt your site. Assuming its a working algo exploit, it can be fun & profitable in the short term to spam Google. Eventually Google is going to drop the hammer and sites rarely survive getting smashed by Google. How many panda or penguin sites ever recovered? Be smart and make the right choice your personal situation.
  • Save up your money. Websites cost money so make sure to spend less than you earn. When Google makes a change you will need a healthy war chest full of money to fix your content that you've ignored or to undo that link scam shortcut from 5 years ago or to hire a tech person to fix your server setup. Make sure each month you are reinvesting into your site. Websites are not ATM cash machines that eternally spit out money. If you want your website to be profitable you need to constantly reinvest into it. When Google rolls out their update, if you lose all traffic will you have enough reserves to survive the weeks or months needed to rebuild while you have no Google traffic?
  • Keep Your Hustle Strong Don't get complacent, always hustle. Data mine Google's auto complete feature, questions being posted on social media and your site's own search box queries to identify new content ideas. Being the first to produce quality content on a topic makes it easier to gain traffic since there is little to no competition. Pay attention to other industries. When you see a good idea in another industry, be the first to bring it your industry. Big established companies can have big red tape, multiple committee meetings and other headaches that slows their reaction time. If you streamline your workflow you can beat established companies to grab the traffic and become king of the hill when new opportunities come along.


When Google rolls out their next big update ... and trust me it is going to happen, be ready to respond.
  • Research your rankings & traffic. Too many webmasters still just focus on rankings. 1st - Rankings are personalized so your rankings are likely different from what I see. 2nd - Your rankings don't really matter if you aren't getting any traffic. Pay attention to the landing pages generating traffic. Tie in your search console data to get keyword data as well. This will make spotting a pattern easier.
  • Understand Google isn't your friend. They are not here to make your life easy because that would also make it easier for spammers to attach Google. To protect themselves, Google prefers rolling out multiple updates at once to make it harder for spammers to reverse engineer and exploit their ranking algorithm. Be careful not to get sidetracked with minor stuff that Google also changed to obfuscate their main update.
  • Pay attention to what Google doesn't say. Remember Google doesn't want to make it easy for spammers so they tend to be careful about what they say and don't say. Don't assume things or blindly take Google at their word. Googlers usually don't lie but they also aren't going to help you spam their search results.
  • Look at multiple niche sites. Having a network of niche sites let's you do different things on different sites. Smaller niche sites tend to have fewer moving parts which can make it less difficult to reverse engineer changes. When Google rolls out a big update you can look at your different sites to better figure out what is happening. Did Google adjust how they handle expired domains being redirected? Did Google change how they handle social media backlinks? Did Google adjust how they handle synonyms? More sites you deploy or research, the better information you will have.
  • Don't blindly follow internet gurus. Ever notice whenever there is a big Google update, the internet gurus all start claiming the problem is related to whatever product or service they are selling? The content people say you need to buy their EAT content, the link people say you need to disavow links or build links with their tool, the social people say you need to post more selfies on Facebook. Use your head and intelligently piece together all the different sources of data to make the right choice your personal situation.


How else do you prepare yourself and recover from Google updates?

PS Please remember all of this advice is YMMV. Each site is different, so use your brain to do what is best for you.
4:44 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google makes hundreds and hundreds of updates each year

But aren't most of those updates very minor tweaks that have no noticeable effect on the vast majority of sites?

Then there are "medium-size updates" that might cause very small changes in rankings and traffic. These may not be noticeable individually, but could have a cumulative effect over a long period of time, which would explain slow gradual changes in traffic that are only noticeable on a long-term chart.

As for "big updates" that drastically affect millions of sites, they may happen about every six months or a year apart.

There haven't been any "super-big updates" like Panda for a long long time.
5:33 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Provide value that's not already on 100 other sites.

I'm going to disagree with this one. Google hates original or unique content, it loves more of the same. I see two problems, first and foremost users have trouble digesting previously unseen content or tools. It is no different than sales of truly innovative products. The biggest challenge is getting the user/buyer to understand what it is your selling and why they need it.

The second problem is that If users aren't immediately thrilled with the content then Google is unlikely to rank it.

If you take your "new" product and heavily promote it, paying for product placements and celebrity endorsements, then sure Google will love it. But it isn't the newness or originality that it loves, it is simply that it wants in on the buzz that your marketing dollars have generated.

Original content can be a real uphill battle. Conversely, take some topic that has been rehashed a hundred times, slap some new lipstick on it, links from a few PBN's and bingo your go to go. Google already knows who to show the content to and which ads convert best with it.

The bottom line is that Google is content agnostic, the value of content is based on the traffic and ad revenue it can generate. Google's job is not to provide users with the best content, it is to provide the user with the content that the user is most likely to click on and engage with. "Give'm what they want not what they need."

I would add a point:
Google Moves Slowly
While the impact of an update can be sudden and drastic, it is likely the result of months worth of crawling and indexing. This includes not only one's own website but all the other site in the niche and related niche's. Making few small changes and expecting to immediately regain one's position is wishful thinking. Take time to compare data from far before an update to data collected well past the date of the update. Make any changes deemed necessary and then collect data for an equally long period thereafter before drawing any conclusions.

As Aristotle points out above:
As for "big updates" that drastically affect millions of sites, they may happen about every six months or a year apart.


Constantly making minor changes to a website is probably not helping Google fairly assess and rank the site.
7:07 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to disagree with this one. Google hates original or unique content, it loves more of the same.

That can certainly appear to be true for a lot of searches. But the real explanation is more complicated.

The real explanation is the effect of authority and trust, not "hate".

To be more precise, authority and trust have become more important to google than originality and uniqueness. As a result, a copycat article on a trusted authoritative site will often rank above an original unique article on a small less-trusted site.

Also, in some cases, the small site is under an algortithmic penalty, giving it an additional handicap.
8:22 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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To clarify what I said previously about the frequency of updates:

Very small tweaks -- almost daily

Bigger tweaks -- about once a month on average

Major algorithmic updates -- about every 6 to 12 months

Super big updates -- erratic but usually years apart

Actually the timing is erratic for all of them
12:01 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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As someone who has successfully pulled herself out of Panda TWICE plus a dozen other minor scrapes...

Pro Tip #1: Keep a diligent change log - Sometimes an update is not exactly an update. Sometimes a change to your site can trigger something that already exists in the algo. Knowing exactly what you did to your site and when can help when you are trying to sleuth out the problem.

Pro Tip #2: Know the natural rhythms of your site and keep a close eye on them - Sometimes an update can be hinted at days or weeks earlier. Check your analytics often and if something looks out of the norm, investigate it ASAP. You might not be able to head off an update, but you can start working on the issue sooner.

Pro Tip #3: Don't PANIC! & bring a towel - Sometimes what looks like an update is something else. One time, I was sure that my site had been hit by a major update. Traffic from Google nose dived in less than 48 hours. I have a plan (see the next tip) and had very calmly started to put it in place... And because I was calm and not panicking, I was able to pay attention to an employee who noticed the (Google driven) site search was looking weird. Turned out that a naughty plugin had automatically blocked Googlebot and we were being delisted. Quick fix and 1 week recovery. Had I been in a panic because of what I perceived to be an update, I probably would not have taken the time to listen to that employee's relatively minor (compared to an update) concern and it may have taken me weeks or months to really figure out what had occurred.

Pro Tip #4: Have an emergency plan in place - To this day, despite the fact that it has been years since my site has experienced a major downturn, I have a bank account labeled "Google Update Fund". I also have a written plan of action steps to take in case of an update. Between the money and the plan, I know I can keep the site running for 9 months which is about how long I have needed in the past to fix and then wait out the recovery of the site.
12:21 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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How to prepare?

1. Don't Do Something Stupid.
2. Users first.
3. Content.
4. Do not rely on g

1 is pretty obvious ... about 90% of "seo" (a dramatic statement, but probably close to the truth) is bogus, and likely to come back and bite ya...

2. Your bread and butter. Make sure THEY are satisfied. If very satisfied they are unpaid advertisers of your site. "Hey buddy! Take a look at this!" followed by a link to your site or specific content. This creates the potential for returns and geometric "and this one and this one and this one" kind of sharing.

3. Up to date. New. Revised as needed (no, these are not minor changes, they are necessary for the user experience).

4. Start regional, in your back yard. Radio spots, TV, Newspapers (if any still exist in your area). Community outreach. Schools. Local businesses. (Most of this would be doing direct advertising, etc.) Build on that and then go beyond your region. Become a force that IGNORES g (in particular).

The most important "preparation" however is DON'T DO SOMETHING STUPID. These days g is after content and with the scope of the web they have all kinds of that out there and NO LONGER REQUIRE yours to make THEIR BIZ successful. Keep that in mind and you will sleep better at night.

You get their traffic by being too large (or unique) to be ignored.

Anything else and you are grain of sand on the beach, much like all the other grains of sand.
2:56 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Bravo Zulu both goodroi and hannamyluv.

And the sound of one hand clapping for tangor and DON'T DO SOMETHING STUPID. Although I rather like idjit competitors... Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake...


@goodroi: Provide value that's not already on 100 other sites. Build a new tool, write a free book, create original videos, solve a problem that others ignore.

@NickMNS: I'm going to disagree with this one. Google hates original or unique content, it loves more of the same.

The reason to provide unique value is NOT so much for Google whose algo doesn't explicitly 'know' good from bad content (I've seen no content or gobbledygook as first results every year) rather primarily for (1) visitors and (2) backlinks; lastly for Google who will (1) 'notice' you when a searcher requests what only you can provide even if you have next to no backlinks or other signals so long as you are indexed and (2) think of you as a first mover/authority as links reinforce originality with popularity. Basically, once again, you get Google for free no need to chase them.
Note: SM is a great driver of unique offerings. If they refer traffic directly, great; if they cause never before seen entity search queries that resolve to you even better.

That said, Google is mostly a popularity derived search results engine; if you are one of a zillion with duplicate/similar content then your content is NOT the deciding factor for query result ranking.

You can be a breakaway or take turns drafting in the peloton, your choice, your effort.

For long term success position your business/site/offering as a brand:
Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.
---Eric Schmidt, 2008.
Yup, a decade ago... weren't you listening?

Google acquires MetaWeb and expands beyond mere keywords into named entities (including brands), 2010.
Yup, eight years ago... weren't you paying attention?

None of this is new.
Déjà vu all over again.
Again.
3:41 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for this thread folks. (bookmarked)
4:51 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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You can be a breakaway or take turns drafting in the peloton, your choice, your effort.

Breakaways rarely last. Breaking away consumes a lot of energy. Drafting provides an unbeatable advantage. In the days of old, the likelihood of success of a breakaway was greater, but today with real time communications between team staff and every team member in the peleton nearly every breakaway is thwarted. The only ones that succeed are those launched strategically shortly before the end of the race. I don't think any grand Tour in past two decades has been one as a result of a breakaway. The grand tours are won as a result team strategy and tactics on and off the bikes (it has often involved considerable amount of cheating [competing outside the rules])

But there is a significant difference, the game of ranking has no end. So yes, you can provide some great and innovative content that no else offers, a breakaway. And with considerable effort you can educate an audience as to the existence and utility of the content. You can make the breakaway last for a while. But at a certain point, unless of course you are very fortunate, the competition will catch on to what you are doing, copy, imitate or simply steal your content. Not just one competitor but many and your breakaway will have been consumed by the peleton. At which point much of your resources will have been spent.

I have built two websites technically related but in two completely different niches. Each site offered something that was new and meaningful. My first website was relatively successful but I spent the first few years figuring out that I really had to work hard to differentiate myself from a field of spammy competitors. After a while I gained some success at that but others caught on and provided somewhat similar content, but with bigger marketing budgets. Now I picking up whatever is left behind from my competitors with the big marketing budgets.

My second website was really innovative but never left the ground. The only reason I hadn't killed it was that I spent so much time building it and cost me nearly nothing to keep it running. For years Google wouldn't even send me a single user. Google couldn't figure out who to show the site to. The site had all kinds of useful information, interactive graphs, good quality stuff (You're thinking everyone thinks their stuff is good even if its crap, maybe, but wait). At some point I created 4 pages, that took some of the basic data from all the other pages and I created summary pages. The pages featured a series of bullet points resuming the data and some very badly written filler text just to add a bit of content, plus some of my interactive graphs. The pages suck, its embarrassing. So my "high value" pages may not be great, but the 4 summary pages are objectively worse.

Guess what since last October these pages have begun getting traffic. Its a trickle but it has been increasing steadily. What's different about the summary pages, basically I believe it is the fact that similar pages could be found on many other blogs and websites in the niche. For some reason Google decides to show the occasional searcher my page. I have begun re-working these pages in order to attract this potentially interested audience to the high-quality content. We will see how that works out.

Further to my above experience, I have also spent some time helping others with their projects. Projects that have been orders of magnitude more successful than mine. Again the underlying theme is the same. I one such case the content is cringe worthy, pure MFA, nothing unique, nothing special, but despite this the content gets reams of traffic. There are many sites out there providing similar content to a similar audience, simply more of the same. I am certain that if the format of the content changed to make things different, better for the user the site would drop out of the serps like a rock.

The bottom line is that Google is content agnostic it's only goal is to match a searcher with a result that the search will engage with.

I'm not saying that original high value content is not good and does not have its place. What I am saying is that Google will not reward you for the content for the content sake. But it will reward you if you can attract an audience despite Google, because in that case you are bringing users to Google.
5:16 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The recipient of the one hand clap has kept it simple all these years. The sites that pay the bills continue to do well. By doing nothing stupid, by ignoring g---and also having content (product) no one else does. What can I say? Unique always works.

Bits and pieces of all the above posts are grand info for ANY webmaster to mull over and, if applicable, fold into their strategies. ...

On how to prepare for g updates. (you can't, but try anyway!)

Aside: If anyone actually has such a plan that truly works they will either:

a) Never tell a soul or,
b) Write a best seller revealing 80% of what works followed by,
c) Private seminars for x0,000s for a two day weekend in the Bahamas for 10% of what remains.

The last 10% will never be revealed. :)

Or one can just code clean, do right, and don't be stupid (doing SEO to chase traffic).

There are no magic answers.
11:05 pm on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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How to Prepare & Recover From Google Updates
1.- How to prepare: churn, burn, hope & pray
2.- How to recover: churn, burn, hope & pray

It shouldn't be like that, regrettably it has come to that c/o Google for the webmaster not backed by millions worth of ad budget.
True innovation is costly and doesn't pay, success is fluid and random.
.
11:54 pm on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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1.- How to prepare: churn, burn, hope & pray
2.- How to recover: churn, burn, hope & pray

Back years ago, when penguin and panda were still separate parts of the algorithm, oftentimes both of them would go at least a year between updates. People would complain that new sites were getting a "free ride" because they hadn't had to go through an update yet.

"Churn and burn" spammers were identified as the group that got the most benefit, because they could jump in and out between updates.
11:56 pm on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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for the webmaster not backed by millions worth of ad budget.


So is this where I get to roll on the floor laughing?

14 years in business. $50 initial investment. 100M visitors a year now. Not a single penny from outside investment beyond the money I got from the traffic I earned and I am 100% certain I could do it again.

You go in with a churn and burn attitude, you will never achieve long term success.
12:44 am on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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You go in with a churn and burn attitude, you will never achieve long term success.
Don't bet on it - since 1998 have nothing to complain.
100M visitors a year now
Yeah, right - and posting here? So is this where I get to roll on the floor laughing?

.
12:54 am on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"Churn and burn" spammers
Confuse "churn & burn" with spamming to your own detriment. This is what all large media businesses are at.
.
1:25 am on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, right - and posting here?

Aww... See there is the sour grapes that keeps me from posting here too often.

I'll admit that WW is not the place it once was. But there was a time when a girl with a bit of gumption could learn a thing or a few hundred from the people she met here. WW will always hold a bit of my loyalty for giving me a place to learn the ropes and see what was possible. So, yeah, when a topic inspires me and I am not crazy busy with life, I will give a little of that back.
1:37 am on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ hannamyluv : sorry for refusing to be taken for a ride.
.
4:59 am on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@heisje: while I acknowledge that churn and burn still is viable, if not as popular as it was back when I joined WebmasterWorld, most of those who have become webdevs since that period haven't the knowledge, skills, nor gambler's fortitude for that business model. I used to envy those C&B folks (such as yourself, I guess) as they seemed to be printing money in such short time frames. Not for the past decade though as I've evergreen-ed my way to success.

@heisje: I can't speak to hannamyluv's numbers, however, given her expertise I've seen shared over the years I will take her word; also I do know several who are in the 36.5 million annual visitors and up range. And that I see in excess of 100 million myself.
Note: I use 36.5 million human uniques aka 100,000 per day as my xlarge site threshold. 100 million is about 275,000 a day on average.
Note: I even know a couple, no longer active here, who were in excess of 1-million a day (xxlarge) before they left.

Unfortunately where once the demographics of Webmasterworld were shifted more to first adapters and the cutting/bleeding edges, both the web and WebmasterWorld have become more settled, staid, and largely uncomprehending. WebmasterWorld isn't as full of 'name' players as it was a decade and more ago but some old fogies still have the habit of hanging about. Am I tempted to leave? Absolutely. There is little of personal interest discussed and too many seem to just want a crying towel. That said WebmasterWorld, imo, is the best public general webdev forum currently available. Sad but true.


WW will always hold a bit of my loyalty for giving me a place to learn the ropes and see what was possible. So, yeah, when a topic inspires me and I am not crazy busy with life, I will give a little of that back.

What she said.
11:17 am on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@iamlost and @hannamyluv : there is no doubt those who have achieved by now authority, trust and permanence are to be commended for their achievement, wisdom & magnificence. To those fortunate few among us, hat off & bow.
WebmasterWorld isn't as full of 'name' players as it was a decade and more ago
Would you venture some honest speculation where most of those folk are now?
I even know a couple, no longer active here, who were in excess of 1-million a day (xxlarge) before they left.
May I draw your attention to "a couple"?
I am 100% certain I could do it again.
Certainty under Google today?
How to Prepare For & Recover From Google Updates
My take (and consequent recommendation) was this thread was referring to the average Joe Webmaster like myself who would need to prepare for a nosedive in income caused by a random Google update (mainly intended to siphon more income to Google) and thereafter need to recover from losing a large chunk of income overnight.

Till the advent of a different environment in Search (expected sooner or later) I definitely stick to my original recommendation. It's a shame that's the most viable route for the average Joe Webmaster, but it is better to face reality than perish in oblivion. No doubt, all rules have their exceptions. Want to bet your livelihood on being the exception to the rule? Be my guest.
.
2:12 pm on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately . . . both the web and WebmasterWorld have become more staid, and largely uncomprehending. WebmasterWorld isn't as full of 'name' players as it was a decade and more ago . . . There is little of personal interest discussed and too many seem to just want a crying towel.
Reality or perceived reality of an idealized past as the world has moved on?
That said WebmasterWorld, imo, is the best public general webdev forum currently available.
Maybe a bit of a contradiction here? Doesn't seem to fit with the above.
Am I tempted to leave? Absolutely.
Hmmmm . . . .
.
1:05 am on Mar 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Post deleted by heisje.
2:21 am on Mar 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Please, I've been getting about like 60 - 70k Daily Page views before, but as at yesterday. I hardly got 30k page views due to the Google Algorithm Update, Please what particularly can I do to revive my traffic.
2:26 am on Mar 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@King Dammy ... welcome to Webmasterworld!

Reality is this update is really too new to have any kind of consensus. As noted above, not even sure what "targets" are involved.

Meanwhile, g has been adjusting traffic for ALL over the last two years (reports of a general decrease by all) and THAT has not been sussed out to date. Nothing hard and fast to offer at the moment.
8:34 am on Mar 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is there nothing I can do to get back my traffic
9:03 am on Mar 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In fact, Google is reported to improve its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times each year. While most of these updates are small and often aren't even picked up by users and SEO, every once in a while, Google releases major updates. Over the past two years alone, we've seen about nine major updates to the algorithm. Oct 18, 2016
2:27 pm on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I just want to touch on the point I was making about quality content. Since this post appeared magically a few days before the last major Google update we now see some concrete examples surfacing of sites that are recovering from past updates. I was reading through this article on SER:
[seroundtable.com...]

Not much there except for a few tweets where the "gurus" come out gloat about how they helped sites recover. Glenn Gabe was nice enough to share the name of one those recovered sites. So I obviously took the time to checked. Because obviously these people must know something that I don't. The site had nice recovery there must be some good quality unique, high value content there. I said Let's see what that is. I clicked one article that refers to a sport I know a little something about (see my post above for a hint). The article reads as follows (I have widgetized it)

What is a widget?
A gadget, also know as widgeting or wdiget class, involves using stuff to make a thing-a-ma-bob turn, a thing-a-ma-bob is sometimes called a thing-a-ma-jig...

The article continues in the same vain describing the more of the obvious and providing more useless information. Typically, tautologies such as:


What things are required to widget?
Arms
Legs
Hands
Feet
What things are not required to widget?
Not having Arms
Not having Legs
A Brain!


I checked out few other articles on the site, while they aren't all as bad as the one in question they are not much better. The recipe seems very obvious, stuff as many keywords and keywords variations into the article as possible and be sure that the content is as simple and basic as possible. Do not vary in anyway from the popular opinion on the specific topic.

Nothing on the site in question appears to be unique, original or of high value. No content on the site cannot be found anywhere else. It is cookie cutter content.

The website recovered what appears from the image of the graph included in the tweet to be about 30 to 40% of the traffic.

I will concede that one anecdotal example is not conclusive.
5:55 pm on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Nick, if there's one thing I've learned as a webmaster it's that even the obvious isn't always obvious in the ways you think.

Right now I have a competitor who is ranking top 3 for extreme difficulty, borderline impossible, keywords with 2 and 3 paragraph articles. His backlink profile revealed 400,000+ backlinks to the 2 year old domain. A review of the backlinks show they are links pointing to another site, not his, that are 301 redirecting to his domain and he's still getting credit for every link the other site received.

I'd have come to the same conclusion as you as to his "keyword stuffed recipe" but the actual culprit, in this case, wasn't obvious. If your competitor is 2-3 years old and has 250,000+ backlinks do yourself a favor and go visit the pages of these supposed backlinks. Specifically, look for links to other sites that when visited redirect via 301 to your competitor.

All of the awesome backlink checking and reporting websites aren't doing that for you. I'll know soon enough if this Florida update nuked his backlink profile soon enough but, somehow, I doubt it.
6:11 pm on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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People are always complaining about how google consistently gives high rankings to bad sites.

The simple fact is that 99% of all websites are bad. If google gives high rankings to a bad site, maybe it's because there are any good sites in that sector.
7:07 pm on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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maybe it's because there are(n't) any good sites in that sector.


True words. :(
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