According to discussions online and what people have communicated to me, I’m seeing mostly contented publishers and scattered reports of recovery. There is also what seems like a link related component to Google’s Broad Core Update that put the screws on a popular link scheme.
While there were some reports of traffic collapse, the overall narrative in many online discussions were a mix of recoveries and mild wins and losses on the order of 10 to 20 percent, nothing catastrophic as in past updates.
September 2019 Google Update Winners
Reaction to Google’s update in the private SEOSignalsLab Facebook discussion group tended to be positive. A few members noted they had quality sites that were hit. When others took a look it turned out that the losers had low quality content.
One member reported a drop that appears to be attributed to links. He stated that he had just started building links.
September 2019 Google Update Losers
Black Hat World forum had more members reporting losses.
Nothing specific was said as to ideas of what caused the ranking declines.
This post was typical of the black hat marketers reporting losses:
What stood out among the publishers who reported losses is how many attributed it to links.
A broad core algorithm update focuses on a wide range of changes. In general the updates work together to improve relevance.
Although there were many discussing links, links are likely one part of many changes. Links may simply be the factor that happens to be the one that stands out.
That said, a week before the algorithm rolled out I was made aware of link based spam network that had collapsed. This involved 301 redirecting expired domains to a website.
Some claimed that this technique exploited a ranking loophole in Google. I can’t know for certain but the link based spam network had been ranking for six months and on Saturday September 21st they were gone.
That ranking demotion happened a few days before the algorithm was announced.
What makes that interesting is that members of the Proper PBN Facebook Group that focuses on aggressive SEO tactics noted a downturn in site employing the 301 redirect trick.
Some members said that sites with irrelevant domain redirects suffered and that sites with relevant 301 redirects kept ranking.
I would caution to not accept these reports as actual facts. I only bring this up because the reports matched what I had seen from the week before.
A successful black hat search marketer told me by private message that he had lost 20% of his traffic. His link profile is diversified and he admitted that some of his links involved expired domains.
Several publishers related 301 redirect link spamming casualties that matched what happened to a link spam network the week before.
As previously mentioned, while there are many components to a broad core update, a notable feature of the September 24, 2019 Broad Core Algorithm Update appears to be the link component.
Links Appear to be Important in September 2019 Google Broad Core Update
In my opinion, one part of this update is related to links.
Perhaps coincidentally, September is the month Google announced a change in how they handle nofollow links. So it does not seem unreasonable to deduce that Google has been focusing on links.