SEO Weekly Digest on 15-19 of January 2024

Google Ends Partnership with Appen

Google has recently announced the termination of its contract with Appen, a company known for providing search engine evaluations and quality ratings. This decision, effective from March 19, 2024, is a significant shift for Appen, as Google’s contract constituted 26% of its revenue. The news comes in the wake of Google updating its Search Quality Rater Guidelines in November 2023 and follows a period of layoffs within Google, as noted by CEO Sundar Pichai. These layoffs, part of a broader effort towards artificial intelligence development, have stirred a mix of criticism and uncertainty among Google employees.

The Mysterious Weekend Ranking Bug in Google

A peculiar bug in Google’s algorithm has been identified, one that causes certain websites with generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to vanish from search results over the weekends, only to reappear on Mondays. This pattern, reported by multiple publishers and discussed in various Google support forum discussions, has raised concerns about its impact on website traffic and search engine optimization. Interestingly, the issue seems to affect specific kinds of gTLDs, and it began around November, with no clear explanation from Google yet.

Google’s Advice on Website Transitioning

John Mueller, Google Search Advocate, has offered valuable advice for businesses transitioning to a new website. He emphasizes the importance of updating or removing old websites to avoid confusing users and search engines with contradictory information. Mueller advises the use of redirects to guide users and maintain search rankings, suggesting that these be left in place for at least a year. For situations where redirects aren’t possible, updating the old site with a notification or taking it down completely are recommended to ensure a smooth transition and maintain SEO effectiveness.

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