Google Spam Update 2022 - analysis according to my findings... ❌❌❌

Sartre

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Hey guys,

It's been a problematic update for a lot of people. Probably the toughest one since Panda.

As some of you know, I own a lot of both black hat and white hat sites, and I create AI sites for clients.

A couple of my own sites have been hit (both BH and WH), and a couple of my clients have also suffered, which is always very painful to deal with because on the one hand they are taking a gamble buying black hat AI sites, on the other hand, I don't want unhappy clients.

I'm in a unique position to have access to over 100 Google Search Consoles and Google Analytics, and over the last 2 days, I've been running SEO audits and statistical analysis to find correlations.
It has been a lot of stress.

These are my findings:
  • Sites in very popular/competitive niches have been hit more. Tech, pets, VPNs, etc. It seems like Google has given these positions to big and rich "network" sites.
  • Google doesn't detect AI writing, per se. It's mostly looking for thin, duplicate content. This is proven by both AI and non-AI websites have being hit, while some of my pure AI sites are going up.
  • I want to emphasize this - Google can't detect AI, and I'm 100% certain of this. It uses simple language metrics to detect content that is characteristic of AI writers, like repeating sentences, overstuffing with keywords, a keyword in every H2, and such. I'm not 100% sure what the metrics are precisely. Give me one more week to analyze that.
  • Low-effort AI sites in less popular niches are still going up.
  • MAJOR CHANGE - Google has updated its algorithm to affect non-English websites too. No more easy rankings with super crappy content in French, German, Italian, etc.
  • The update seems to be over.
  • Sites that have been copy-pasting content have been almost entirely destroyed - copying reviews, comments, snippets - without changing them.
  • Sites that have been hit by the algo have no manual penalty in GSC.
  • VERY IMPORTANT - Sites that "look" like spam have been hit. Weak EAT, ugly theme, stock pictures. Sites that are AI/spam that "look" good seem to be up. I'm not trying to say that Google is manual-checking sites. There is no way they could do this in a few days. This happened to small sites too. There is some kind of text on-page analysis algorithm, or maybe just user signals that Google is taking into account very heavily when ranking sites now.
I'm adapting my model to match my findings in the next few days.

You can see how traffic looks on the sites that I've created for my journey this year here: https://datastudio.google.com/u/0/reporting/7db9eb94-334e-4ba1-9847-d0155f291a83/page/LuRfC - unfortunately Data Studio has quite a big lag, but we will see it clearly in a few days :)

What do you guys think about this update?
Any ideas about the exact metrics Google is using with their algorithm?


Good luck to y'all!
 

HenryObi

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What do you guys think about this update?
Any ideas about the exact metrics Google is using with their algorithm?
None of the sites I oversee was impacted, so I have limited knowledge. But I really did not notice major changes in my niche, most sites are still about the same, usual fluctuations.

In fact most sites I know and monitor weren't impacted
 

MrNimbus

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I haven't done any statistical analysis because I don't have the data or skillset, but can confirm this is true:

"Sites in very popular/competitive niches have been hit more. Tech, pets, VPNs, etc. It seems like Google has given these positions to big and rich "network" sites."

One thing i've noticed from checking manually is that some search results are now absolutely horrible.

As many WH sites took big hits (myself included), there are now some search results which are completely irrelevant and off topic for basic enquiries. These search terms are generally low volume, so big sites have not written about them, but are now ranking well for them, despite not being relevant to the search.

I've also heard about some people getting deindexed for no reason too but thankfully that hasn't happened to me so far.
 

tazarbm

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one of the few experts of the forum who still shares valuable info for free (not many such guys left unfortunately). God bless you @Sartre, your posts are truly appreciated!

I have 2 questions if you don't mind answering (if you do mind answering it's fine, you always give valuable insights anyway so I won't mind if you don't answer)...

1) any particular sub-niches of the tech industry that have been targeted by this update? The tech industry consists of dozens of profitable niches with high search volumes, so which ones did you notice have been hit the most?

2) which niches are you referring to when you say "less popular" niches? Or, if you don't want to give the niches away (I can totally understand this), can you at least give the industries away? Or at least 2-3 of them? Like for example, "stop smoking" is a (sub)niche in the health / self-help industries, so you don't need to say "stop smoking", you only need to mention the health / self-help industry, that's good enough for me :)
 

xelex

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when did this update come out? I did see my rankings absolutely tank in last week. I've got an adult tube site with fully embedded content, i.e. nothing original, not even titles.
 

PrgnIM

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Hi, with this update in mind, would you recommend starting a fully AI/spam site, or starting an edited/proofread AI site with some manual editing and plagiarism checking to avoid issues with this Google update?
 

rafark

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when did this update come out? I did see my rankings absolutely tank in last week. I've got an adult tube site with fully embedded content, i.e. nothing original, not even titles.
Last week, I think it's obvious it was the update
 

Wetter88

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One thing i've noticed from checking manually is that some search results are now absolutely horrible.

As many WH sites took big hits (myself included), there are now some search results which are completely irrelevant and off topic for basic enquiries. These search terms are generally low volume, so big sites have not written about them, but are now ranking well for them, despite not being relevant to the search.
This, i manually took a look at some serp and I noticed there are some really thin content sites right now.
 

Guybrushthepirate

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Hey guys,

It's been a problematic update for a lot of people. Probably the toughest one since Panda.

As some of you know, I own a lot of both black hat and white hat sites, and I create AI sites for clients.

A couple of my own sites have been hit (both BH and WH), and a couple of my clients have also suffered, which is always very painful to deal with because on the one hand they are taking a gamble buying black hat AI sites, on the other hand, I don't want unhappy clients.

I'm in a unique position to have access to over 100 Google Search Consoles and Google Analytics, and over the last 2 days, I've been running SEO audits and statistical analysis to find correlations.
It has been a lot of stress.

These are my findings:
  • Sites in very popular/competitive niches have been hit more. Tech, pets, VPNs, etc. It seems like Google has given these positions to big and rich "network" sites.
  • Google doesn't detect AI writing, per se. It's mostly looking for thin, duplicate content. This is proven by both AI and non-AI websites have being hit, while some of my pure AI sites are going up.
  • I want to emphasize this - Google can't detect AI, and I'm 100% certain of this. It uses simple language metrics to detect content that is characteristic of AI writers, like repeating sentences, overstuffing with keywords, a keyword in every H2, and such. I'm not 100% sure what the metrics are precisely. Give me one more week to analyze that.
  • Low-effort AI sites in less popular niches are still going up.
  • MAJOR CHANGE - Google has updated its algorithm to affect non-English websites too. No more easy rankings with super crappy content in French, German, Italian, etc.
  • The update seems to be over.
  • Sites that have been copy-pasting content have been almost entirely destroyed - copying reviews, comments, snippets - without changing them.
  • Sites that have been hit by the algo have no manual penalty in GSC.
  • VERY IMPORTANT - Sites that "look" like spam have been hit. Weak EAT, ugly theme, stock pictures. Sites that are AI/spam that "look" good seem to be up. I'm not trying to say that Google is manual-checking sites. There is no way they could do this in a few days. This happened to small sites too. There is some kind of text on-page analysis algorithm, or maybe just user signals that Google is taking into account very heavily when ranking sites now.
I'm adapting my model to match my findings in the next few days.

You can see how traffic looks on the sites that I've created for my journey this year here: https://datastudio.google.com/u/0/reporting/7db9eb94-334e-4ba1-9847-d0155f291a83/page/LuRfC - unfortunately Data Studio has quite a big lag, but we will see it clearly in a few days :)

What do you guys think about this update?
Any ideas about the exact metrics Google is using with their algorithm?


Good luck to y'all!
Mine is a generic (not targeting a specific niche) PPA website, with decent content (articles are rewritten by humans, +1000 words and +95% unique according to Copyscape) and so far about 50% of my articles have been de-indexed.

Also the site looks legit, with a Facebook page and a Twitter accounts which are updated regularly every time a new post is published (with hashtags and images).

I am wandering if using exact match keywords (PAA) in headers and very close-to-exact-match keywords for internal links may have caused that.

I am still struggling to find a pattern (and try to fix that), as the articles that are still indexed use the same formula than the ones that have been de-indexed.
 

Ozzyzig

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Sound analysis @Sartre
I agree with tech sites being hit, and the cynic in me would say that those with a lower ad spend got pushed down the list.

I've always said that well written content that shows a high degree of knowledge is the way forward (in my main niche anyway). Looking at my top ranking keywords, quite a few competitors have tanked hard. One in particular can't be found in the top ten now. Then again, that site was a poor rehash of Amazon sales pages
 

Daemon Targaryen

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Thanks for the valuable insights. I noticed something about the H2 tag from studying other websites. It deranks you when you use only the keyword as H2 but they don't derank when the keyword is mixed with other words even if all H2s contain a keyword.

When you say they hit everything that's copied (like snippets), do you also mean copied PAA answers? Those get hit too? If yes it means scraping PAA is over.
 

fergster

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I have a bunch of WH mass page sites and some BH ones as well

Going to take a look tomorrow and hope no issues

I did just setup 2 new sites about 2 weeks ago and indexing using site: domain.com only showing around 5 pages even though search console saying 100's or some thousands indexed

Will update tomorrow but kern to se if anyone else seeing issues with mass page sites

Cheers
 

tazarbm

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can you tell some more guys?
@PHPInjected and @RealDaddy are 2 of them that I remember off the top of my head that are still sharing valuable info... @BlogPro is also someone whose replies are extremely knowledgeable (although I don't think I've seen him sharing too much info, but he's definitely knowledgeable).... there might be a few more but I don't remember them at the moment.... oh, @splishsplash as well, and @Nargil and @tiiberius.... all of these guys are truly masters of their domains that you should definitely follow, but not all of them are sharing too much info for free, but their replies are amazingly accurate and their expertise is undeniable
 

Sartre

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I haven't done any statistical analysis because I don't have the data or skillset, but can confirm this is true:

"Sites in very popular/competitive niches have been hit more. Tech, pets, VPNs, etc. It seems like Google has given these positions to big and rich "network" sites."

One thing i've noticed from checking manually is that some search results are now absolutely horrible.

As many WH sites took big hits (myself included), there are now some search results which are completely irrelevant and off topic for basic enquiries. These search terms are generally low volume, so big sites have not written about them, but are now ranking well for them, despite not being relevant to the search.

I've also heard about some people getting deindexed for no reason too but thankfully that hasn't happened to me so far.
my #1 white hat site went from 7k pages indexed to 1.5k, lost traffic for 2 days(just slightly -10% -> it didn't reflect the deindexing rate), then went back to 7k pages on the 3rd day and yesterday was one of the highest days of all time. Apparently there was a problem with indexing.
one of the few experts of the forum who still shares valuable info for free (not many such guys left unfortunately). God bless you @Sartre, your posts are truly appreciated!

I have 2 questions if you don't mind answering (if you do mind answering it's fine, you always give valuable insights anyway so I won't mind if you don't answer)...

1) any particular sub-niches of the tech industry that have been targeted by this update? The tech industry consists of dozens of profitable niches with high search volumes, so which ones did you notice have been hit the most?

2) which niches are you referring to when you say "less popular" niches? Or, if you don't want to give the niches away (I can totally understand this), can you at least give the industries away? Or at least 2-3 of them? Like for example, "stop smoking" is a (sub)niche in the health / self-help industries, so you don't need to say "stop smoking", you only need to mention the health / self-help industry, that's good enough for me :)
1. I've looked at general tech niches which were mixing different subniches like phones, computers, etc
2. less popular niches. like I got a full on AI site on watches for girls with pure PAA spam and it's going up like there's no tomorrow.
when did this update come out? I did see my rankings absolutely tank in last week. I've got an adult tube site with fully embedded content, i.e. nothing original, not even titles.
I believe it was October 19th-22nd
Hi, with this update in mind, would you recommend starting a fully AI/spam site, or starting an edited/proofread AI site with some manual editing and plagiarism checking to avoid issues with this Google update?
I always recommend editing the articles and deleting nonperformers if you're planning to do something that will work long-term.
Mine is a generic (not targeting a specific niche) PPA website, with decent content (articles are rewritten by humans, +1000 words and +95% unique according to Copyscape) and so far about 50% of my articles have been de-indexed.

Also the site looks legit, with a Facebook page and a Twitter accounts which are updated regularly every time a new post is published (with hashtags and images).

I am wandering if using exact match keywords (PAA) in headers and very close-to-exact-match keywords for internal links may have caused that.

I am still struggling to find a pattern (and try to fix that), as the articles that are still indexed use the same formula than the ones that have been de-indexed.
rewritten human content is really not that different than AI at this point. REALLY good content survived. Original research/pictures, etc. I have a site like that and it's killing it after this update.

I think that PAA in headers is a definite tell.
Thanks for the valuable insights. I noticed something about the H2 tag from studying other websites. It deranks you when you use only the keyword as H2 but they don't derank when the keyword is mixed with other words even if all H2s contain a keyword.

When you say they hit everything that's copied (like snippets), do you also mean copied PAA answers? Those get hit too? If yes it means scraping PAA is over.
what do you mean copying? copying and paraphrasing or copy pasting? Scraping PAA isn't over. It's a keyword like anything else. but, possibly, putting 50 PAAs in one article is a trigger ;) that's what I'm betting right now.

One thing I forgot to add - articles that contain a lot of Amazon links tanked too.
 

sneakmyway

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I have started a website with scraped data about football around 6th of october. It got hit hard by the update. I was indexing my pages instantly with Google News bot (posting articles and manually refreshing the feed from publisher center). Now its all gone, google ignores my rss feed and does not event crawl new pages, they are just discovered. I think the main reason is that I got hit by the update is my text was same across all of my posts, only data about football players, teams, scores, statistics etc.. were different. They probably cross checked the pages in particular sites and decided whether they are scraping data and embedding it in a string... This was my first experience with a scraped website :/
 

limez

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May I know what AI tool are you using?
 
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