Drop in traffic after helpful content update

Drop in traffic doing recent helpful content updates; time will tell if I will recover.

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By. Jacob

Edited: 2024-04-21 00:57

After several Google updates since late 2023, Beamtic´s traffic has seemingly dropped to nothingness. On most days I now get less than 100 clicks from Google in search console, and I get barely around 2K clicks from Google this last month (This is down from 20K at one point). So naturally this had me looking at the massive spike in *-k.html cloaked pages linking to my images. Of course, that is probably one of the least likely causes I am seeing a massive drop in rankings this time around. The actual cause, I confidently determined, has to do with the helpful content update – perhaps it is more accurate to describe it as the "not so helpful content update". Since 2023 when this all began, there has been a few Google updates that more or less correlate with the drop I am seeing now.

What web creators should know about our March 2024 core update and new spam policies - developers.google.com

The interesting thing is, I am actually not doing any SEO work on Beamtic; all of my traffic has been naturally growing over time, and the few links I shared on Reddit long ago, I even went back and deleted. I have no interest in engaging in conscious "linkbuilding" activities, and nor do I ever buy links. In fact, I have advised against it repeatedly in the past.

This could be temporary, of course. As it has been the other times. Each time I experienced this in the past, my site would only return to a higher traffic level than before the drop – but while it lasts, it leaves uncertainty and unanswered questions. E.g:

1. What is happening to my traffic?

And, perhaps recently also:

2. Is AI like ChatGPT going to take all my traffic?

What will happen this time around remains to be seen. So far, this is now how my search console traffic looks like:

And of course, it leaves me wondering whether I want to continue maintaining my website, updating old content, and if so to what extent. Etc. This time my traffic dropped to such a ridiculous low level, some content even getting deindexed and/or just not showing up in Google at all. But, maybe writing / blogging is simply dead and replaced by only the most comprehensive content farms.

It is especially disheartening because of some of the spammy stuff I now see outranking me. E.g. A dedicated tool to perform HTTP requests that might as well have been AI-created, designed specifically with the purpose of making money on ads. In fact, at least some of these sites do not even have an About page, and still outrank me. Be it deceptive reviews or articles ripe with grammatical- and spelling issues, that sort of stuff even seem to outrank me at times. Would congratulations on the not so helpful Google updates be in order? Maybe. They do, at a minimum, still leave much to be desired.

I also question the value in punishing individual sites so severely; surely it would be better to roll out updates over a longer period of time and give website owners time to mitigate the consequences.

Exact match phrases issues

Google's quality and relevance seem to have been decreasing tremendously in regards to ranking new content. In particular certain near-exact match key phrases no longer seem to return quality results; I have content that does not even show up when people search on partly exact match phrases, which is something I find very problematic for my type of site. Duckduckgo is often much better in this area, so when I search these days, I tend to more often use Duckduckgo simply because of the broader results it is showing for verbatim phrases.

The reason for this may be that they are trying to decrease the effectiveness of a well known on-page "SEO technique" abused by some to rank spam. The technique would use or abuse exact-match phrases in content and/or page titles in an attempt to outrank less targeted competitors. In some instances this may be good thing, but not everyone was abusing this technique, and with IT-related queries, in particular rare error messages, users might expect to have "exact match" results returned and even prioritized to more lengthy articles. But, the problem is, often nowadays, it seem that Google will even prefer non-existent content to "optimized" and relevant content. E.g. When no other relevant answer exist to a given query but the one with the "SEO optimised" near exact-match title, Google might opt to not even show that one for some reason, which is ultimately and obviously eroding the quality of their own search engine.

I have a lot of smaller pages like this, so I suspect it could, at least in some instances, be a cause for the drop in rankings. Some content that was previously indexed is not even returned for verbertim searches or when followed by "Beamtic" as a search word. E.g. The pages are either not indexed or not properly indexed. That is clearly a problem on Google's end – they have seemingly become incredibly bad both at indexing content and at keeping old material indexed for relevant search phrases.

Removed AdSense from my website

Because of Google's nullification of my traffic, I decided to remove AdSense from my website. I was not making money with it anyway, so it is simply the most logical thing to do.

Will I bring back adsense? Probably not at this point. It is unlikely I will ever have enough visitors to make money on it. You will probably need at least hundreds of thousands visitors per month to make anything meaningful with AdSense, and I just don't see a feasible way for that to happen with a full time job and other goals in life. But who knows. Maybe if Google remove the payout threshold on AdSense or if things change significantly for the better and they cease destructive "moving of the goal posts" behaviour.

Links

  1. Helpful content and Google Search results FAQ
  2. Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content

Tell us what you think:

  1. Let us investigate what is up with those mass spammed *-k.html backlinks that many of us are seeing in our link reports.
  2. An in-dept look at the use of headings (h1-h6) and sections in HTML pages.
  3. Pagination can be a confusing thing to get right both practically and programmatically. I have put a lot of thought into this subject, and here I am giving you a few of the ideas I have been working with.
  4. The Video outside the viewport is properly not worth spending time on solving; it is probably intended to solve a specific issue, and every single little video probably does not need to get indexed anyway.

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