MASSIVE Traffic Drop? Website SMASHED By Google HCU? (Read This NOW)

Last Update: Sep 21, 2023

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This Is NOT for Newbies or those within the first 6 months of their journey.

This is LONG.


This is MY OPINION (could be right, could be wrong)

I have NOT re-read this, I’m just publishing it straight, so you’ll have to put up with all my grammatical and spelling errors, etc.

Come on!!!! You know I’ve spent hours and hours and hours writing this, and don’t forget I DON’T PROMOTE WEALTHY AFFILIATE, so me providing help for you is done out of the kindness of my heart and NOT for personal gain.

So, if anyone moans about length (can someone kick "PMs" a** If he moans again on one of my blog posts, because after him being rude to a few of my friends recently I’ve really had enough of the guy), or that this is too complicated, I’ll set Old Fluff on you, LOL!


Ain’t no-one else gonna do this for you, so I HAVE!

You’re welcome! LOL!

SORRY!! Forgot these on first draft/publication, click on these links to learn more

Google Heloful Content 2023

GOOGLE'S OWN GUIDELINES on How to Write "Helpful Content"


Okay, first things first, if you’ve been hit by Google’s current on-going Helpful Content Update, get that anger, frustration, and despair out of your system.

DO NOT hold onto it.

Go and cry, smash your front room up, or do what I did this morning, go to the gym and spend 90 minutes smashing the hell out of a punchbag.

(DO NOT physically hurt though please)

Secondly, DO NOT do anything “different” with your website yet.

Helpful Content updates are typically around two weeks.

So, this started on September 14th 2023, so it should end around September 28th 2023.

I always say to allow at least “4 weeks for everything to settle down afterwards”, so that takes us to October 26th 2023.

So basically, DO NOT make any sweeping changes to your website until AT LEAST October 26th 2023.

Carry on doing what you’ve been doing (and TRY not to look at ANY STATISTICS until then).

Hard, I know, but things would work out better for you if you manage to add 20-30 articles to your website over the next 5 weeks, as opposed to checking your stats, crying and pulling your hair out every day (and NOT doing any work on your website)

Okay, I get it, all these various Google Algorithm updates, you do what you think you’re supposed to do, and then Google comes around and punishes your website.

What's Going On With Google's Helpful Content Update


You can obviously check this in Google Search Console Under SECURITY & MANUAL ACTIONS.

Then Choose “Manual Actions” and hopefully you’ll get a green tick, so this PROVES, it is NOT your site that has been punished.

Feels like it though, right?

Here’s another way to look at it:


Basically, for everyone who has suffered a “hit” there is another webmaster who has seen a massive increase.

In other words, your rankings have been REPLACED by someone else’s rankings.

However, as much “chatter” as there usually is when a Google Updates comes around, and there is ALWAYS people saying they’ve been “hit” EVERY SINGLE UPDATE

THIS TIME I’ve definitely seen a lot more discussions about people saying their site has been “HIT”.

I’ve been on Twitter Groups, Mediavine Forums, Other Affiliate Marketing Programs’ Forums, and Reddit.


Everyone’s talking about it, and it “appears” that ”everyone has been hit”.’

(of course, we know this isn't strictly true because, as I say, if you’ve lost rankings, someone else has gained them).

That being said, here’s quite an interesting quote via Reddit, and this is an opinion that MANY PEOPLE seem to share, and I’ve seen evidence of this myself (I’ll show you in a minute).

“You're right, it's not the content. There are reports of countless bloggers with tons of expertise who write the highest quality content that have gotten destroyed with this update. The idea that all of these people have "unhelpful content" is absurd.

No, the sites that are winning right now are newspaper sites, magazines, massive authority sites like Forbes, and discussion sites like Reddit and Quora. Many results in the SERPs now have poor relevance or no relevance at all to the query. Google dun screwed up.”

Okay, what this is saying, and there are MANY bloggers saying this is:

High Domain Authority websites that appear to have NO RELEVANCE to a specific search term (or very little relevance) seem to have “taken over the rankings”.

So sites like Amazon, Walmart, Forbes, and simply High Domain Authority websites.

Additionally, and this was actually true of the Helpful Content Update of September 2022, Quora and Reddit queries appear to be “owning the rankings”.

By the way, I still stand by my original teachings, that if you see Quora and Reddit ranking on page one for a keyword, you stand a great chance of also ranking for that keyword.

However, these Quora and Reddit “rankings” are being explained as, many of the answers allow for a more human element, emotion, and are often provided by an expert.

In other words, a lot of the stuff in the SERPs currently ranking for keywords/search terms is the same old drivel, basically people rewriting other people’s content, who have rewritten someone else’s content, who had originally rewritten someone else’s content…

Basically, the only ORIGINAL & UNIQUE content is coming from places like Quora, Reddit, and even the numerous StackOverflow forums (which cover just about every niche).

And this is why they are ranking.

Now, another common trend among bloggers after this update is as follows:

“I have a completely no authority AI driven site that is purely for SEO and has doubled in clicks and impressions. While another white hat site with all original content and photos was hit. So in my case, they rewarded the spam site and punished the one designed for users.”

So, a lot of bloggers are saying that purely AI-created websites appear to have benefited from the current Helpful Content Update, even though these are completely AI written and totally focused on SEO, i.e. Trying to manipulate Google’s algorithms.

Furthermore, many bloggers are saying that their websites are completely original and unique, in that the content is based around something they are an expert in.

So, ALL content is unique and original, ALL images they have taken themselves, i.e. unique and original, and yet they have been “punished”.

Additionally, their rankings have been “taken over” either by authority websites that aren’t really relevant to the query, or by “poor websites”, with “rewritten” content, or purely AI-generated content, with stock images, while not adding anything further of value.

In fact, one such blogger had a website around a very specific niche that he has been working in for 15 years.

He has also created over 150 Amazon books, short guides and tutorials, and his website has been running for 12 years now.

He had NEVER BEFORE been affected by a Google Algorithm Update in the previous 12 years, and now suddenly this week, his rankings have plummeted.

Upon checking who has “taken over his rankings” it was much the same as I’ve already described, i.e. authority sites with NO relevance to the keyword, poorly constructed spam or AI-generated websites.

Now, before everyone gets excited and starts spamming the hell out of ChatGPT and Bard, etc.


The Helpful Content Update is NOT OVER YET, it’s still ongoing.

Therefore, there are likely to be a lot of fluctuations over the coming week, and potentially for the month following.

So, what you’re experiencing today may NOT actually be the “final outcome”.

That being said, and I’m really SORRY to say this, the Helpful Content Updates of September 2022 and December 2022 DID actually stay consistent after the first week.

In other words, if you lost traffic DURING the update, unfortunately it stayed that way afterwards.


I know a lot of people try to sugarcoat things, I much prefer to just give it straight.

Let’s Look at Some Examples & What to Do Next

Okay, I want to go through a couple of examples and then show you how can do these checks for yourself.


As I’ve mentioned, I DON’T want you to start making any changes yet.

Just treat your website as normally as your emotions will currently allow, and continue creating and publishing content (as you normally do until at least October 26th 2023).

After this date, decisions can then be made.

Right, an article of mine on my Exercise website that I have often used in examples in WA blog posts is :

What Do I Feel Bench Press in My Arms?

Although I’m not as big on “keywords” nowadays as I am on “topics”, I guess you could say the target keyword for this article is

Feel Bench Press in Arms

I have typically ranked position 1 or 2 for approximately 2.5 years for this keyword.

As of today, I am position 3, BUT this “looks like” position 4, as there is now a Featured Snippet.

Now, the article ranking in the Featured Snippet is this one

And as you can see the title is NOT about “feeling” bench press in your arms, but rather does bench press actually work your biceps.

So, the “intent” behind this article is DIFFERENT to mine.

I’m talking about pain and discomfort, this article is talking about whether an exercise builds muscle.

So, completely different search intent.

Now, something that I have noticed over the last year or so is that the “keyword” that my article was receiving the most clicks for according to Google Search Console is

Why Do I Feel Bench Press in My Biceps

Here’s my Google Search Console stats showing the “top queries” that this article is receiving clicks for.

What’s even more interesting is that in positions 1 and 2 on Google (underneath the People Also Ask section) is Reddit and Quora.

And these results are MORE IN LINE WITH MY ARTICLE

Basically, why am I “feeling” pain/discomfort in my arms when I bench press?

Furthermore, the article that is ranking at number one, sure it’s exercise-related, but the entire website is focused around TRX training (suspension resistance training).

So, the “bench press exercise” is NOT an exercise that you would do with TRX.

Therefore, the article they are ranking number one for is not wholly relevant to their website.


I won’t show the article here, you can go and look at it for yourself.

The article is approximately 1,400 words long, there are NO images after the header image, NO videos, and the article is solely focused on BICEPS and BENCH PRESS.

Additionally, after the article there are AMAZON IMAGE AFFILIATE LINKS FOR NON-RELEVANT PRODUCTS.

To say that I’m pi**ed off is an understatement.

Basically, Google has ranked a DA62 website, with NON-RELEVANT content, which ISN’T VERY GOOD, at the top of the page.

WTF are you doing Google?


This is also why I’m willing to wait this out until the end of October.

Also, if you look at the rest of page one, NONE of the other articles (or YOUTUBE videos) talk about “feeling bench press in arms”, but rather “not feeling bench press in chest”.

So, sure it is kinda relevant, but NOT completely relevant to the query.

Once More, WTF are you doing Google?

Interestingly, my old mate Avi (former Canadian Olympic Coach) who’s website I was in constant “battle” with during 2022 (My best year for THIS website, over 1.5 million page views and $73,000 in income), well after the HC update in September 2022, Avi ALWAYS ranked above me for every query.

I got “hit” last year, he didn’t.


For this one query above, I am ranking ABOVE him now.

Sure, his article isn’t completely relevant to the query, but does this mean that Avi’s site has also been “hit” this year?

If so, he really didn’t deserve it.

Fantastic content, completely original and unique, and he’s a bloody Olympic Weightlifting Coach for Canada. How much more Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E.E.A.T) do you want Google?

This also kinda shows me that either Google has got this very wrong or they are still “testing and trying” different positions for different articles.


I will say, and I mean this, if my article remains ABOVE Avi’s, something is very wrong.

Sure, I also have qualifications. I think my article’s pretty good, but I’m big enough to admit that Avi’s article is MUCH better than mine.

Okay, the main reason for you “losing traffic” is because you simply aren’t ranking as well for as many keywords any more (at the moment I should say, it MAY change).


One article typically ranks for 100s or 1000s of keywords.

So, you may still be ranking for your PRIMARY keyword (this is also why I say “checking rankings in Google” and even using Jaaxy’s siterank can be a little misleading).

I’m still ranking for my PRIMARY KEYWORD for the above article, BUT now I’m getting approximately 30 less visitors per day (so approx 900 less visitors per month to ONE article).

So, if I’m constantly looking at Google Search for ONE keyword or checking Jaaxy SiteRank for ONE keyword, I won’t know what the hell is going on.

Why is my article getting 900 less visits per month even though I am ranking on page one for my PRIMARY keyword?

This is why “checking” individual rankings for INDIVIDUAL keywords, as far I'm concerned, is a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.

You’re NOT getting the full picture.

You want to know what’s going on with your website in Google, then USE WHAT GOOGLE HAS GIVEN YOU _ Google Search Console.

So, for now, you’ll want to do some checks on Google Search Console, which I’m going to do now with one of Diane and my sites.

And YES, this site appears to have been “hit” (it’s not the site, it’s the “replacement” rankings remember) on Monday just gone.

OLD FLUFF FAINTS (hahahahahahaha!! This MAY be the first that Diane knows about this, I certainly haven’t discussed it with her yet.. I have NOW, LOL).

Okay, let me show you what I mean about impressions dropping.

So, let’s go back before the Helpful Content Update started to September 10th 2023.

On that day we received 28,551 impressions JUST from Google and 517 clicks JUST from Google (don’t forget that we also have regular traffic from Bing, Yahoo, and Social Media ON TOP OF THIS).

And now let’s look at Tuesday September 19th 2023, we have a total of 11,859 impressions and a total of 267 clicks.

Interestingly, our “average position” and “clickthrough rate” has increased ever so slightly.


If we’re getting approximately 17,000 less IMPRESSIONS per day this will obviously impact traffic.

What this basically means is that it’s likely that a lot of the SECONDARY (call it LSI or whatever you want) KEYWORDS have now COMPLETELY LOST THEIR RANKINGS.

So, at first appearance we MAY still be ranking for our PRIMARY KEYWORDS, so if you’re constantly checking rankings in Google for ONE keyword or using Jaaxy Siterank to check the ranking for ONE keyword, YOU WOULDN’T KNOW THIS INFORMATION.

Okay, now that we are a week into this Google update, what we can do is to check an individual article that has been “hit”.

We can check the stats for the last week or so, let’s say from September 14th to September 19th.

And then do the checks on this article from September 8th to September 13th.

We can then see WHICH KEYWORDS we have lost impressions and traffic for.

We can then check Google for each of these individual “keywords” to see who is ranking on page one and whether we find what many others are finding (non-relevant authority websites, AI crap, SEO-stuffed articles, etc.)

If we are finding this “poor or irrelevant content” has replaced our rankings, then THERE IS HOPE.

This could mean that Google is still “playing around with rankings and nothing has been decided yet”.

Then again, if the rankings remain this way AFTER October, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, Google has completely lost the plot and they simply can’t cope with the amount of AI content that is being produced.

This carries on for much longer and we start to see Google AI Algorithm Updates from next year, e.g. anyone using AI “out of the box” (a one sentence prompt and then just copying and pasting and creating a blog post) MAY see fluctuations in ranking.

How the hell Google will do this, well I have absolutely no idea.


Could Google and other search engines simply become AI-generated answer machines within the next 5 years?

Who knows.

For now, I’m not completely trusting Google and what is going on, so I would say to all of you, look at other forms of traffic generation.

Basically, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Realistically, Affiliate Marketing is a fairly simple strategy.

You have an offer, you need to get visitors to that offer, that’s it.

No-one said that your visitors have to come from Google.

And even for me, someone who has lived and died (figuratively speaking) by Google Search Results for over 15 years, YEP, I’ve been looking at other forms of traffic generation.

Of course, I will eventually do a write up, but let’s just say that I’ve been SMASHING Pinterest and Quora since July 24th 2023.

I’ve “Partha Potioned” the hell out of both platforms, used a few tweaks, used my brain for “out of the box ideas”, and in the space of 60 days I am now getting approx 9,700 visitors PER MONTH to my website from these two platforms.

This Is NOT how many views I'm getting on these platforms (that is in the MILLIONS), this is HOW MANY OUTBOUND CLICKS I AM GETTING TO MY WEBSITE FROM PINTEREST & QUORA (9,700 OUTBOUND CLICKS IN THE LAST 30 DAYS BETWEEN BOTH - Don't forget I've ONLY been doing this for 60 days - gotta love a "Dodgy Partha Potion" LOL)

My aim is to be getting 50,000 visitors per month from Pinterest and Quora by 31st December 2023.

And you KNOW I’ll do it.. Hahahahahaha!!

Basically, if Google wants to “play games” with me, I’ll go and get traffic from somewhere else.

Oops, I just realised I went off on a tangent again, Hahahahahaha, where was I, oh yeah, checking Google Search Console.

Here’s Goes:

Okay, the stats won’t reveal too much now because it’s too early to tell,

But let’s have a look at ONE individual article anyway.

You will need to click on PAGES on Google Search Console and then choose a specific article.

I have set my stats for “LAST 28 DAYS”

Okay, I can see that this article here had 515 impressions on September 10th and 315 impressions on September 19th.

So, a loss of 200 impressions PER DAY FOR ONE ARTICLE.

So, I click on “Last 28 Days” and change the date range from September 10th TO September 10th, basically I just want that ONE DAY’S STATS.

I then click on “Impressions” and this will list all my “keywords” in the order of most impressions to least.

Here’s the top “keywords” that this ONE ARTICLE was receiving impressions for.

Now, I want to do EXACTLY THE SAME for September 19th and see if I can work out which “keywords” I have lost impressions for (a prime example of losing “impressions” is that one week I was ranking on page one for certain keywords, and the following week I’m ranking on say page 4 for those “keywords”, I am no longer producing impressions because I am no longer featuring on page one for those keywords, and people aren’t going as far as page 4 to check out the results)

Here’s the top “keywords” for September 19th

Immediately you can see the 1st and 3rd “top keywords” have disappeared.

(Admittedly, the “top keyword” in terms of impressions, “How long do baby bells last” is further down the page, but only had 7 impressions on September 19th compared to 12 impressions on September 10th, so there’s 5 impressions lost)

So, on September 10th the “third highest impression keyword” was “Does Babybel Go Bad” and we were ranked at number one of that day and received 9 impressions.

Today, the article is ranked at number 3 for that SPECIFIC KEYWORD, and on September 19th it received NO impressions.

Okay admittedly, it could just be that no-one specifically searched for that phrase on that day, I mean 9 impressions is hardly a lot.

But, we have definitely lost 2 places in the rankings for that keyword.

I’ll tell you what’s interesting.

Here’s the article that is NOW ranking at number one (in the last TWO DAYS).

Their article covers a slightly different topic, but I guess it is relevant…


The structure of the article is the same as Diane and mine, and they have even used OUR clickbait words in their meta title.

Basically, someone has found our website, “legitimately stolen” our keyword, written an article that mirrors ours (their article was written and published SIX MONTHS after ours, this is how I know they have “copied” us), and now they have displaced us in the rankings.

Admittedly, their article is a little more in-depth than ours (but purely because it covers different topics), and their website has MORE AUTHORITY than ours.

BUT, they still “copied” our keywords, and then wrote an article using OUR STRUCTURE.

Nothing you can do about this, they are NOT copying our content, simply stealing out keywords (perfectly legitimate practice).

But it doesn’t make you feel great…

Old Fluff, go and find out who owns this website and beat them up please!! LOL.

Okay, back to the “loss of two ranking places”.

Remember, according to Brian Dean’s (probably now slightly outdated) study that ranking at position 1 would typically get around a 31% clickthrough rate, whereas ranking at position 3 generally gets a 15% clickthrough rate.

So, forget “impressions” for just one moment, the difference (based on Brian’s study) in traffic between position 1 and position 3 is approximately HALF.

Therefore, if you ranked number ONE for a keyword and were getting 100 clicks per month, you can expect only 50 clicks per month for ranking at number THREE for the same keyword.

Obviously, these are NOT EXACTS, I’m just giving you an example.

However, it’s clear to see that even losing a couple of places in the SERPS can affect your traffic.

Okay, I won’t go through any more results, plus this is long enough already, but I can clearly see that out of just TWO of the SIXTY SIX keywords this ONE article is ranking for, we have lost 21 impressions per day.

This tells me that a LOT more of our keywords have lost rankings for this ONE article when you consider we have lost 200 impressions per day to this one article.

Unfortunately, this could mean that Google no longer deems us RELEVANT for the keywords that we were previously ranking for.


As proven, it could mean that our competitors have displaced us in the rankings.


Above all, The Helpful Content Update is NOT OVER YET, and as I say, always give it at least a month AFTER the update is OVER to make any significant changes to your website.

However, you can certainly check Google Search Console for your INDIVIDUAL articles and the INDIVIDUAL keywords you are ranking for.

Have you lost impressions for certain keywords?

Have you lost rankings for certain keywords?

Who has replaced you in the rankings? Try to be objective, is their article BETTER than yours, or is it a higher authority website that isn’t RELEVANT to the search query, or is it trashy “out of the box” AI crap.

If it’s the latter two, there is still HOPE that you may recover.

If it’s simply a “better written article” then (NOT UNTIL THE END OF OCTOBER PLEASE) you may need to UPDATE and REWRITE your article.

Okay, I know a HUGE amount to take in, but I know that a LOT of people have been affected.

So, this is to help you look through Google Search Console.

Above all, do something like I am, look for alternative traffic generation methods too.

Okay, perhaps you may not be getting close to an ADDITIONAL 10,000 WEBSITE monthly visitors in 60 days (But those who know me KNOW, when I go for it, I REALLY GO FOR IT).

And you never know, it’s ME, I may in future teach you all how I am getting this type of traffic (in such a short space of time) for Pinterest and Quora.

For now, if you’ve been “Hit”, I’m sorry, Google is a %%$$&**%


But, don’t forget, the update is NOT OVER YET.

Things may change. Sure, I’ve been honest enough to say that in the two previous helpful content updates in 2022 things DIDN’T change after the initial drops in impressions and traffic, but you never know.

Unfortunately, this is BUSINESS, whether offline or online, there’s MANY HORRIBLE TIMES, but equally, there are also some great times too.

Thank You For Reading


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Recent Comments


Hi Partha and all you SEO ninja warriors (apparently we all ruined the internet) ...

I was just listening to Barry Schwartz's latest update (link below) and he mentioned the HCU site wide signal again. Apparently Google have re-iterated this detail.

So now I'm wondering should I identify all my pages that were hit (already done) and put them all into 'draft' status in order to fix the site wide signal, then re-introduce improved versions of those pages?

interesting, maybe you could ask this question separately in a new thread?

Yeah I might just do that Lizzy.

My reasoning is there is almost no traffic to those pages anyway although it's always worth checking GA4 as well as GSC just in case there's traffic coming in from elsewhere ... this can be done en masse as well.

Maybe also worth checking if there's any decent external links coming in before flicking the switch.

But chances are, most pages could go into draft without any major negative effects. I guess there'd be quite a bit of link juice removed from the site but I don't think that's a massive concern ... could be wrong!

Decisions decisions ....

You say it's not for newbies but that was great post. (for the parts I understood lol). My site has been up and running for just 2 months and i noticed also. One of mine was moving up gradually and was at 23 one day,.... Then the next.. Was nowhere to be seen in the top 100. So, although it's not anywere near as devastating for us greenhorns as for the true veterans (I can't imagine how you feel), but it must be a massive shift if we see it also. Thanks for

It certainly has been a massive shift Darren ... my site was consistently building up visitors every month since I began, just over 2 years ago.

Still really small-time but getting there ... y'know.

80% drop in activity for me and still bumping along the bottom.

I stopped trusting and using Google years ago. I'm a Bing Man. I guess that Google wants to push paid advertisement vs. organic results for all those who are not Forbes and other big guns. It might be a backdoor deal with them, perhaps? I don't know, but Google has had a bad history recently.

Like these occasions:

In 2021, France fined Google $270 million for being unfair in online ads. Google said it would fix things to work better with other ad companies.

Also, in 2021, Google couldn't get out of a $2.8 billion fine from the European Union for showing favour to its shopping service in search results.

In 2019, the European Union fined Google $1.7 billion for unfair actions to stay ahead in online ads. The EU said Google made it hard for other companies to show ads on websites using Google's AdSense.

In 2018, the EU fined Google $5 billion for misusing its power on mobile phones. They said Google set unfair rules for phone makers and service providers to keep ahead in searches and app stores.

In 2021, again, Italy fined Google $400 million for being unfair in smart devices. Italy said Google left out an app by Enel X Italia from its car system, Android Auto.

Oddly, Google has not been sued or fined in the USA - as I know of - already makes things stink about the giant and makes you wonder what is happening here.

Thanks for that Andy. Do you go after Bing organic rankings?

Bing is the only search engine I use and consider. Google is an unfair and dirty player. However I still use Site Kit and other Google services. Only their search engine is a scam.

How working this wap i dont no help my

It is no surprise though that an American company wants to get rid of Europe , just look at what Elon Musk is doing. He will get fined for breaking plenty of European rules on X, so he really considers just deleting X for Europeans. It's madness.
But the problem is every popular tool out there is American, including social media.

If he would remove X from EU countries, then he will lose a crap load of money. He is not stupid. He just runs his mouth.

There are non-American social media that beat the market.

TikTok - Chinese - most popular.
Telegram - Russian - highly popular.

For example.

dont be fooled, he is already losing tons of money

He messed up big time with X, not a brilliant move in my opinion.

And true: you are naming 2 social media sites, but the majority is American, and a lot of niches won't do well on either of them.

Well I can live without twitter. I barely use it at all. When one door closes, another opens.

I sat down with a cup of tea and read through this properly earlier. Great content, thanks Partha.

Now, my traffic levels are still pretty small compared to some in WA so my GSC analysis is going to be prone to some wild fluctuations.

I chose an article and exported the 6 weeks of keyword data prior to Sept 14th. There's 375 keywords in total. I averaged the data out over a week.

I then downloaded the data from 14th to 21st for the week's worth of data after the HCU.

I love a spreadsheet and a vlookup formula so I set about comparing the two data sets.

For one article, out of 160 keywords that I'm able to compare, I have 116 keywords that have lost ranking. On the flip side there are 35 keywords that moved up the charts.

Oddly, out of the 116 which lost rank (the largest is a 67% drop) there are 67 keywords whose impressions increased!

Many of these will be anomalies due to my low traffic levels (small actual changes can mean big percentage changes) but the general trend is definitely lower rank translating into lower traffic ... as would be expected.

Basically, a lot of my spreadsheet is red, which is not positive :-(

Ran the same process for another page I was getting half decent traffic to (relatively). For the keywords with statistically significant traffic levels 90% of the rankings are down.

Unless Google rows back a bit on this I'm not sure where to go from here.

Very well said, PP! I was never worried about it to begin with. I only have a meager book promo site that I focus on. Beside the other day, I read that Google might be involved in a huge Anit-Trust suit, so we shall see! Thanks once again for your astute advice!


Thanks for this,

Really glad to hear this on here, was a little surprised by the science on here as I have heard so many others who have been tanked by this update.

And I am one...

75% of traffic was lost overnight! I have been hit by updates before, but nothing this hard, and in the last couple of years, I seemed to benefit from updates, or at least rode out the storm.

But this one has smashed me, Check out the Graph Below!

I have to admit it's very very very hard to just carry on as usual.

I hear a lot of people saying that this one might sort itself out when Google realizes how badly they have fudged up, but I am less hopeful. If the Update shows well on THEIR bottom line, it will stick, they don't care about the customer, just the bottom line.

Like you, I am looking at using this as an excuse to diversify

I am getting there on YouTube and will double down on that and look into Pinterest etc...

F*&***G Google C*&$s

Hey Stephen,

Oh Man!! I totally feel this.

Tbh, this time, things aren't as bad, but I've seen my fair share of algo updates over the years.

I hail from the days of "Penguin" and "Panda" updates, circa 2011 and 2012, but I'll admit, that WAS down to me (ex-Blackhatter, loved a bit of backlink spam!! LOL).

But yeah, last year's Google "Helpful Content" update, around the same time, one of my sites got smashed.

I even wrote about traffic and income on that site in July last year as a WA blog post.

The growth was HUGE during 2022 on that site, income superb.

At the time of writing the post I was gonna hit 200,000 page views for July 2022. Litte did I know at the time of writing that blog post what was just around the corner.

"Helpful Content" hit towards the end of August 2022 and went into September, page views down to 150,000 for August.

And then, there was the "Spam" update in September 2022, got "hit" again, 63,000 views for the month of September.

You can guess the income drops...

I was actually thinking of writing another blog post here or mentioning

"Will There Be a Google "Spam" Algorithm Update on October 5th 2023?"

Basically, will this follow suit from last year?

But seriously, I know you're pi**ed right now, and I don't blame you.

Wanna feel worse?

Go check some of your keywords in Google that you've lost rankings for.

Read that garbage that has displaced YOU and tell me that's better than what you produce?

I really do hope this is one of those, "We're just fluctuating rankings and testing and tracking for a week or two, true results revealed in a month".


As I've mentiond, the 2 previous "Helpful Content" (you KNOW why I'm adding in quotation marks each time, right? Hahahaha!!!) updates, August/September and December 2022, things pretty stuck after the first week.

Yep, time to diversify.

You play your games Google, we'll plays ours.

Sorry man, but you're doing your YouTube already, so that's a fantastic start.

The one thing is, look at your previous stats, you KNOW what you're capable of, you KNOW you can do it again, and this time, same as me, not so heavily reliant on the F&%$&% "BIg G".

BUT again, we all still have to wait for a few weeks yet... let's see what happens.


Cheers mate, more than anything it's good to know you are not alone, that you have not done anything wrong!

Yep, I have been checking the rankings and it's not like I have been replaced by anything remotely better. Like your Weight Lifting Coach example, I have good rivals, who can and do outrank me on occasion, it's a constant dance, and when THEY are above me, I am disappointed but okay with it, but they have been hit too, not as badly, and the new top ranking content is just garbage.

I don't seem to be suffering the AI influx, or the parasite spam, but everything above me, save a few good articles that were already there, is just irrelevant nonsense.

They can't be happy with this update, but we just don't know what metric they measure success by, and if it affects the bottom line positively, then that might be a win for them.

But they need to be careful, as if they push all the quality writers out of business there will be no good content to steal and plagiarise and the whole internet will become a closed loop of nonsense.

Unfortunately, one of my diversification strategies, at least in the short term is to maybe do the one thing Google REALLY does want me to do, and that is look at PPC.

The thing is, I know my articles convert, when they rank, they convert, so maybe paying Google to show them, might be a solution. I hate the thought of caving in and paying the dragon, but it might be the only short-term option available if things don't re-shake-up...

As suspected, no signs they're planning to roll anything back.

Saw that, and its getting worse for me!

Actually tried doing research on a new article and Google is just unusable!

It does feel like they've screwed up. Surely everyone will just churn out more ai junk now.

I actually haven't done any keyword research for new content since the 14th!

... actually maybe the 19th, when my site was hit.

Couldn't bring myself to look.

Yeah, I know the feeling but it really wont help to stop publishing, just do what you can when you can.

You will get moments of focus just try and use them

I just hit publish on a 6000 word epic that I know would help hundreds of people, but I kind of know for now no-one will see it ...should have got Ai to knock out a 500 word piece of garbage, that would have ranked right!

But you got to keep on grinding on,

Dont let the bastards grind you down

We have been playing with pintrest aswell today and that looks really promising...

Thanks Stephen,

I will keep on keeping on. With the cost of living really biting now I'm struggling to convince my wife that another imminent yearly investment in WA is warranted :-/

My site is building very slowly due to time constraints but traffic was growing, albeit very gradually.

Now it feels like I'm back to square one.

Time to dig deep and carry on ...

6000 words!

I'm pleased with myself when I get to 2500 :-)

I'm back to researching and writing again. Seeing a lot of SERPs with:

1. Medical News Today
2. Healthline
3. Web MD
4. Quora
5. Reddit
6. Livestrong
7. GQ

Not necessarily in that order although Medical News Today is dominant.

... saw Neil Patel talking about GPT SEO ... lots of traffic there!

Yeah well, one of my 6000+ articles that have ranked for 5+ years has now dropped out of existence and been replaced with a DIRECT scrape on a garbage AI site. Photos and all...they remembered to replace the Affiliate Links though!

Not a good day for me, hope things are better on your end

Wow ... that really sucks.

I honestly don't know how G can justify this nonsense. My site seems to have settled out at around 50% fewer impressions and 65% less clicks.

So it's all over and the day after Google said they've finished rolling out the HCU, my site tanked again.

A little round up vid from Barry Schwartz below.

1. No rollback planned.

2. HCU targeted SEOs writing search engine first content (ie: choosing a keyword you think you can rank for as opposed to just writing for your audience).

3. External backlinks now not in the top 3 ranking factors.

4. Removing lower quality content does not mean the remaining content ranks higher (although Barry questions this).

Where to now? Paid traffic?

Yeah, my rankings went from bad to worse...and are slowly degrading to even worse still.

I have been playing around with Google ads and I think Google does not send me any real people, The articles I have targeted are ones I know convert, but Google's paid traffic is just like a ghost, with no clicks, no interactions, just sucking money out my account...

The only success I am having atm is small amounts of pinterest traffic, and building out the YouTube Channel.

I have sacked my Wife, and sent her off to work, which was really fun to do, but we can't afford to both not be getting paid!

I would love to hear from @Kyle about this as Google has basically just targeted EVERYTHING wealthy affiliate teaches.

If you target a Keyword, Google has just spanked you. Everything WA teaches is now WRONG! It does not matter if the content is good, if you target keywords Google hates you, it hates WA, it Hates SEO, and it loves REDDIT....Does anyone want a bet that Google Buying Reddit?

I honestly don't know the answer!

My only solace is I am hearing about this from the most unusual places, my Wifes Boss at work, people in the supermarket, and random comments on NON-SEo forums, all about how bad the search results are and how they can't find some point, Google needs to see how badly they fucked up...

...They have literally broken the Internet!

Really sorry to hear that Stephen.

I will not spend money on Adwords out of principle at this point. I'm planning to give FB ads a try if I can pull my head out of the self-pity for long enough.

I too would like to see a (non-AI) post from the WA Elders on this as, like you say, everything WA teaches has been targeted by Google. At least, on the organic traffic side of things.

But yeah, I guess the moral of the story is ... never rely on organic traffic because it seems no matter how good your content is, Google will slap you at some point.

Thanks for replying Stephen. You've just helped me reach a conclusion I didn't really want to reach but I kind of knew it was the right decision.

All change at the next stop please ....

Kyle will just say the same thing he always says, focus on writing people first content and you will be fine...

Well, they are succeeding at it, Google, I was looking into PPC as well LOL (laughing green)

Hi Partha.
What to say and not 😭

So much effort and yet we need to be ready for sudden changes.

The foundation ???? has been laid, it is necessary to build according to plan and stability, architects know how to make mistakes.

In addition, it is never too late to build a stable 🏢 that future tenants will pay to enter.

O yes!
Short yet informative and well written post. 👍
Thank you for your time, ℹ️ and pointing out these developments that affect our business.

Be well and stay productive🤞

Slavka 👋

As slways, very imporyant snd great info! I have been stressed about change in traffic for a long time.
Do I did dramatics changes! One of it was to take all ads out and delete my account in Ecoic.
Then I was going to research all key things from that day.
Results? The speed is great (but change all the time).
The traffic? The day I did all this was... 10th of September!
I heard Samsung own bing now, will try to get them up, not had much success there.
Then we have Edge, which I feel now the best user friendly.
It was all confuse, now it is more confuse!

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