All signs are pointing to what may have been a relatively significant Google algorithm change over the past week or so. Specifically, updates began pouring in from website owners on Friday July 23rd, which continued growing in volumes into fairly late on Saturday July 24th.
As is usually the case, the vast majority of these updates from those affected were not particularly positive. In the meantime, Google made the announcement that an update taking aim at link spam would be rolled out over the course of the next couple of weeks. An update which apparently has nothing to do with the silent update that took place a short while ago, given that it has already happened.
What’s the Word on the Street?
Google has not commented directly on the whole saga one way or the other. Instead, it has been down to the usual people on the usual platforms (WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World) to give us an idea of what has been going on.
From what has been shared so far, it does not appear to be a particularly massive update to Google’s core indexation system, it seems to have been more than enough to affect people’s rankings
A website owner by the name of ‘ichtyous’ gave the following account:
“Today my home page traffic starts down 70% at 10am. Google definitely has a beef with my sites home page now; it won’t allow the page to ranks for any of the terms it was ranking well on for a decade.”
“A huge drop in traffic in the first half of the day yesterday, USA, UK and Canada. 2nd half of the day returned to normal. Today a big recovery of top three ranking terms and normal USA, CA, AU traffic, but UK is down by 68%. I am noticing updates almost every Friday, with UK traffic vanishing on weekends and a big dip in “direct” traffic. Also traffic to my home page mysteriously vanishes for half a day on a regular basis. These are all types of traffic throttling, but also there are way more videos and other types of feeds now, so if you aren’t top three you basically get pushed to the end of the page or page two.
In general my traffic is as low now as when I started my website in 2003. The volume is less than half of what it was in 2019. Most of that is Google, but also I think that this summer people are not spending on material goods but on getting out, traveling, eating out etc.”
Meanwhile, a user with the creative handle ‘saladtosser’ highlighted the extent to which businesses in the UK may be affected by the update:
“UK traffic is abysmal! Google seems to be hitting technically perfect sites that’s have ranked well for years for ones with *tons* of issues to put it mildly. Maybe G is thinking these great site owners must the money required for ads or have figured they have spent to many years at the top so a sudden drop will force them into ads? I find it hard to believe Google has thought these sites were amazing for years then just said, nope we got it wrong all these years/updates and pulled the plug on them on a single month/update.”
A similar complaint was voiced by ‘lee_sufc’ who said:
“UK market here, too. Some of the results for a few keywords now bring up low-quality sites from the US. I really hope this is a mistake somewhere that gets rolled back!”
It remains to be seen whether Google offers any clarification, but going on past performance it is unlikely we will hear anything revealing anytime soon.