February 5, 2019
There is a lot of chatter about an algorithm update from Google that has affected many websites mostly the ones that are in the UK. The stats were more-or-less calm after Jan 16th but we have noticed a sudden increase in the stats on all major algorithm update trackers. Some algorithm trackers suggest the update rolled out during February 5-6 is more devastating than the one rolled out in January. We will keep you posted as we dig deeper into the sites affected by the algorithm update and diagnose the reasons for the drop in rankings.
Here are a few stats:
January 18, 2019
We had announced earlier this week that Google rolled out an incremental Algorithm update – the first in 2019. The impact of the Algorithm Update was hard on News websites and Blogs of various niches. This is why we named the latest Google Update as the “Newsgate Algorithm Update.”
A new document released by Google on 16th January 2019 corroborates our findings as it provides advice and tips for the news publishers to get more success in 2019.
Our analysis had found the algorithm update rolled out during the second week of January affected the news sites that “rewrote content” or “scraped content from other sites.”
The latest document released by Google proves that we were right. There are two specific sections in the document titled “Ways to succeed in Google News” that recommend News Publishers to stay away from publishing rewritten and scrapped content.
What the Google document says:
- Block scraped content: Scraping commonly refers to taking material from another site, often on an automated basis. Sites that scrape content must block scraped content from Google News.
- Block rewritten content: Rewriting refers to taking material from another site, then rewriting that material so that it is not identical. Sites that rewrite content in a way that provides no substantial or clear added value must block that rewritten content from Google News. This includes, but is not limited to, rewrites that make only very slight changes or those that make many word replacements but still keep the original article’s overall meaning.
In addition to this, the Ways to Succeed in Google News also highlights a few best practices that News Publishers have to keep in mind before publishing a story.
- Descriptive and Clear Titles
- Displaying accurate date and time using structured data
- Avoid duplicate, rewritten or scrapped content
- Using HTTPS for all posts and pages
The advice and tips provided in the document can help the news websites affected by the latest Google algorithm update to recover. Also, Google has put impetus to the transparency of the News Publisher, which has to do more with the search engine giant’s EAT Guidelines.
The new Google News guidelines ask publishers to be transparent by letting the readers know who published the content. The advice Google gives is to include a clear byline, short description of the author and the contact details of the publication.
According to Google, providing these details to the readers and to the Google bot can help in filtering out the “sites or accounts that impersonate any person or organization, or that misrepresent or conceal their ownership or primary purpose.”
Google also warns news publishers not to engage in link schemes that are intended to manipulate PageRank of other websites.
January 16, 2019
It looks like Google has rolled out its first significant algorithm update for 2019. This time, the target seems to be news sites and blogs! The data from SEMrush Sensor suggests that the “Google Newsgate Algorithm Update” has touched a high-temperature zone of 9.4 on Wednesday.
The speculation about an update was in the air for the last few days. Now, it looks like the search engine giant has come out with an incremental update on Wednesday night.
Google announced earlier that every year, it rolls out around 500–600 core algorithm updates. In addition to this, there are broad core algorithm updates that Google rolls out three to four times a year.
These updates come with a major rank shift in the SERP with a few websites seeing a spike in organic rankings while others experience a dip.
Google has not yet confirmed if the algorithm update rolled out during the second week of January is a core or a broad core update. However, the update seems to have made drastic changes to the results shown in featured snippets.
In addition to the news websites, the “Google Newsgate Algorithm Update 2019” has also affected blogs in niches such as sports, education, travel, government, and automotive sites.
According to the Google Algorithm Weather Report by MozCast, the climate was rough during the 9th and 10th, suggesting an algorithm update.
The graph has shown significant fluctuations in the weather, especially during January 5th and 6th. After a few regular days, the weather deteriorated further, which may be signal of two separate Google Algorithm updates within the same week.
SEO communities are rife with discussions about the update as many websites were affected by the algorithm update in the last few days.
“Travel – All whitehat, good links etc, fresh content, aged domain, and all the good stuff. Was some dancing around Dec and then, wham, 3rd page,” said zippyants a Black Hat Forum member on Thursday.
“Big changes happening in the serps since Friday for us. Anyone noticing an uptick or downward slide of long tail referrals? First time we’ve seen much since the big changes in August/September,” asked a user SnowMan68 via Webmaster World.
“Yes! Today the signals are quite intense. Probably going on for past 4 days No changes seen on the sites though,” answered a Webmaster World user arunpalsingh to one of the questions asked in the forum.
In addition to this, the Google Grump Tool from AccuRanker has also suggested a “furious” last two days. This may be an indication that the algorithm update was rolled out in phases.
According to our early analysis, the sites that were affected by Google’s first Algorithm Update in 2019 are the ones that publish questionable news. Also, we saw a nosedive in the traffic of news sites that rewrote content without including any newly added values.
Algoroo, another Google Algorithm tracker, has added TechCrunch and CNBC to the top losers list. This, yet again, stands as evidence to our understanding that the update is intended for News websites and blogs of different industry niches.Last year, Google had rolled out the infamous Medic Update targeting wellness and YMYL websites. The impact was huge and many websites that were affected are yet to come to terms with the traffic loss.
We found that the sites impacted by the Medic Update were lacking the E.A.T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) quality signals. A few days after this, Google confirmed the same saying the update had nothing to do with user experience.
Some websites hit by the Medic Update made remarkable comebacks after the algorithm update in November. The sites that recovered from the Medic Update created quality content based on the Google EAT guidelines.
The rollout of the update was completed on Sunday as all the sensors had cooled down by Monday. We will soon do a detailed analysis of the sites that were affected by the “Google Newsgate Algorithm.” This will help you understand why the sites were affected and how they can recover from the latest Google Algorithm update.