Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Google Search Changes Hurt Independent Sites

Brandon Saltalamacchia (Hacker News, Dennis):

The main source of our traffic was through Google Search. Whenever you searched for something retro gaming-related, our hope was that you would stumble across our website for advice, as we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into expert journalists to provide you with answers to your retro gaming queries. It worked incredibly well; Google’s search engine did what it entailed, showing users informative content created by human experts.


Since September 2023, Google has hidden our site from millions of retro gamers, reducing our organic traffic and revenue by 85% and causing our business to be on the edge of going under.


Google’s algorithms now favor a handful of results BEFORE “normal” websites, results that rarely show independent websites.


Reddit is the single biggest winner in recent algorithm changes, seeing millions of more clicks every single day thanks to recent updates.


My real issue is that Google isn’t telling us and other creators what we are doing wrong; they are replying with vague answers or sharing advice that goes completely against what’s showing up in the search results.


I left the article being like “oh it can’t be that bad” and left my little Kagi oasis to try out some Google searches similar to the article and I’ve completely changed my tune. What in the hell happened? There’s nary an organic result to be found, 80% of the page is shopping garbage and sponsored links, the few organic results are blogspam, and there’s banner ads in the middle of results now?

The folks here in the comments are missing the forest for the trees here, sure algo tweaks reshuffle winners and losers but there’s almost no results that aren’t Google’s own scraped content and ad spots. No amount of “make better content” can push you above the fold.

Barry Schwartz:

While we have still not seen any sites recover from the September 2023 helpful content update, we have seen sites recover from previous core updates. We were hoping by now to see sites recover from that September 2023 helpful content update with this March 2024 core update (since it incorporated the helpful content system in part), but no, not yet.


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Jesus Christ! The serp for "best home arcade cabinets" is a sight to behold.

I wonder if Google will do an OpenAI and create a hand coded result for this abomination.

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