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The Google Rollercoaster (tm) is Back
Nonstop update szn is in effect
Google is back to bombarding us with new updates every month after an extremely rare four month dry spell.
That type of breathing room doesn’t happen often.
For the past few years Google has been relentless with their update drops (they know that the SERPs are starting to suck and are trying desperately to fix the situation).
They just released two updates back to back:
August Core Update
September Helpful Content Update
August Core Update
Core Updates are the biggest events of the year in SEO (Big G usually drops one every 6 months or so).
These are the times when people either get launched to the moon or get completely obliterated.
What were the results this time around?
Non-half-assed affiliate sites win big
This is the traffic from an affiliate site that’s doing a lot of things right.
The domain is garagegymreviews.com.
If you take a look at their site you can see why their traffic skyrocketed.
Read their reviews. It’s obvious that they actually physically try the products and take real pictures.
Their authors are obviously real people and you can find many of them on LinkedIn.
The site has fleshed out social media profiles.
This is the future.
Half-assed affiliate sites that ignore EEAT are going to continue to suffer.
You need real proof that you actually tried the products. Yes there are ways you can fake it, and for a lot of products you’re going to have to do that when you first start out (being legit is always always better though).
But the key takeaway here is that you need to build a Real Business. The days of autistically manipulating the algorithm with bullshit are slowly coming to an end.
Would you trust one of the reviews on your site?
If the answer is no then you have a ton of work to do.
I also think every affiliate should invest in paying someone to make real videos (face videos are best). It’s not strictly necessary right now but it’s clear that video is the direction that the game is trending towards.
Embed the videos in your text reviews and link back to your text reviews from the video. Everything should be integrated.
Obviously Garage Gym Reviews is owned by Pillar4 Media (clear ownership is also an EEAT signal) so they have the money to afford products if the brands don’t want to send them out.
There’s no question about it: they definitely have an advantage over smaller independently-owned affiliate sites.
But big incumbents always have the advantage in every type of business. Quit whining and start working.
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UGC sites did very well
Reddit and Quora both won bigly.
Google isn’t stupid.
They’re basically the God/Santa Claus of the internet. They see everything.
So they obviously know that people are searching for a keyword and adding “reddit” at the end.
Why? Because people don’t trust the results from most websites and would rather get info from real people.
This is the opposite of what the AI hype machine has been trying to program into people’s heads (the absurd idea that people will ever trust a robot).
I’m sure you’ve noticed Reddit results popping up randomly during your keyword research. For a lot of queries there’s usually at least one in the top 10.
Orient your content towards humans and not just algorithms or you’ll pay the price.
How did parasite sites do?
There were some declines in the major parasite sites like Outlook India. But I still see them ranking highly in some extremely competitive niches (search “best kratom capsules” and see for yourself).
The idea that parasite SEO is dead is laughable.
Maybe some individual sites will get nuked but others will rise up to take their place.
Google LOVES sites that have links and these sites have tons of them. Also their EEAT is solid, which is another factor that Google keeps increasing the weight of in the algorithm.
How do you protect your parasite rankings?
If you’re smart you’ll build topical authority on each individual site (internally link all articles) and also build external links to your sponsored posts.
It’s not “pay for one post and you’re done”. You still have to do the normal SEO stuff, it’s just way easier and more expensive.
Helpful Content Update
A new Helpful Content update is rolling out right now. It’s designed to “improve Google’s classifier”.
The update is sitewide. That means that if you have ANY garbage content on your site then everything will suffer (even well-written articles).
This is mostly just another routine update, but there are a couple important changes to the documentation.
Sites that host third-party content are now being targeted.
Obviously this is Google’s attempt to obliterate parasite SEO (good luck).
They also added the question “Are you changing the date of pages to make them seem fresh when the content has not substantially changed?” under the Avoid Creating Search-Engine First Content section.
For a while now you could get away with changing the date on an article without changing any of the content as a way to make the page seem fresh.
That tactic is coming to an end (very easy for Google to detect).
Build a Real Business.
Going Full Autist and only thinking about the algorithm might give you some short-term gains but will only hurt you in the long run.
Write content for humans. Build a YouTube channel. Flesh out your social media profiles. Have real contact information (phone number + multiple emails). Build real links (not just swipe your credit card and buy a link from a link farm).
Make everything as high-quality as possible without being a perfectionist aka procrastinator and you’ll do fine.