Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.92.197.82

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Featured Home Page Discussion

Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2018

     
5:34 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1113
votes: 256



System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4880306.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 2:13 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (PDT -8)


I've pretty much thrown in the towel on presenting my content alone in hopes of making a sale these days. Now, like many sites I am seeing lately, I've succumbed to Amazon affiliate links. They convert well, add value and Google does it so why shouldn't I? I am however noticing a slip of one of two positions soon after placing the ad blocks. Figures. It's OK for them, but nobody else.

Recent trend: Traffic slow during what was always the busiest time of year for us. Conversions scarce and quotas appear to be holding tight. Exact same conversion totals (+/- 1) the last 6 weeks. Almost magical how that can happen.
2:53 pm on Feb 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 3, 2015
posts:76
votes: 8


hi sam. yes, saw that; sorry, thought the things improved for you;
since feb 1st all dead; ranks highly improved but only very few days with 1 hr nice conversions and rest totally dead;
5:10 pm on Feb 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1113
votes: 256


@ion, it HAD improved, but then went totally flat again...even though some of my positions appeared to have improved and bounce rate dropped. I must be looking at week or more old data.
1:03 pm on Feb 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 3, 2015
posts:76
votes: 8


@sam and how about your traffic? any changes recently? especially on last thr/fri
2:11 pm on Feb 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Jan 10, 2012
posts:478
votes: 23


@samwest

So what's wrong with being a store? You can 't keep blogging on the same scope forever without becoming tagged as web spam. New is not always better, but takeaway value is the real gold. Google, social media and its associated stupid humans focus on the current "dumb and shiny object de jour" that is trending. It's really that simple...however, when 10,000,000 sites all blog about the same trend, it's a wash and only one or two wind up in the front row winning.


It's too bad you only see it that way. You don't have to be the same and blog about the same stuff. That's likely your problem. I get it and thought the same way for a long time.

There are so many different ways to be different. Markets, products and competitors change. There should be plenty old and new to talk about. If there are 10,000,000 experts in your field, maybe it's time to get a little more focused in a specific area. Instead of focusing on the broader part of the category, become an expert in a smaller niche first.

Trust me, there are plenty of small shops doing well online in 2018. It's not as easy as it used to be, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Think outside the box and stop looking in the past. Good luck!
5:45 pm on Feb 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1113
votes: 256


@SM - of course 10,000,000 is hyperbole and only stated to make a point. Too many people talking about the same thing, even in different ways is still the same thing. The AI picks up on that quickly. I also did not say it's "impossible". I use the "store" model, with a twist, and it still produces, when I managed to be blessed with traffic.

@-ion - traffic was fine in January which is indicative of my not posting much on WebmasterWorld. Early Feb started to really see the ON/OFF pattern reappear and intensify along with my posts. My previous feb posts describe head scratching and my theories as to why.

Conversions are not really the problem, it's getting stable traffic levels. If it's totally broken, we should never see any traffic. However, we still see surges that are quite unnatural as compared to almost 20 years of site traffic data. What is funny is that these On/OFF periods are seen on a wide array of sites that I manage. Most are distributed on diverse servers so we can scratch any hosting company connectivity issues. It appears wider than that. Don't misunderstand, they do seem to throw in a few zombie periods just to mix it up for confusions sake...or maybe it's just a fantastically repeatable coinkidink.

In the past, each week followed a stable sine wave of traffic. High on Sun, Mon, dropping Tues-Friday then ramping back up on Sat...Nowadays it's like a casino...the only thing stable is the week end conversion totals... exactly. Regardless, traffic is hit or miss on any day of the week with no pattern. Me thinks this new "non-pattern" is by design and particularly more noticeable on sites in the 500-1000 daily hit range. What's the cause? In the words of the wise old owl : "The world may never know".
8:06 pm on Feb 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 14, 2011
posts:988
votes: 110


Is it summer Yet? Well I am back sooner than expected. I was working on a site with a reasonably high conversion rate (9-10%) but low traffic and was confident in the conversion rate so I began to advertise on adwords. The conversion rate jumped to 19%. But guess what all the data was rubbish, I don't know if its automated bots or something but one of the people claimed they hadn't even completed the form.

This seemed a complete manipulation of ads and traffic. I pulled the campaign and am looking at alternative advertisers as my conversion of 9-10% is genuine and should offer a profitable model. I am just not sure anymore that Google with its zombie traffic and traffic hacking is a viable prospect anymore. Or maybe buyers have fragmented across the web. I am left totally puzzled why my adwords experience was so bad and why Google is no longer converting for many people. Maybe its just a saturated market ?
8:33 pm on Feb 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Jan 10, 2012
posts:478
votes: 23


Too many people talking about the same thing, even in different ways is still the same thing.


You're clearly stuck in your ways and the future will be tough online. Like I said, I used to think like you. Stepping outside my comfort zone and changing things up worked. Google traffic growth of 420% in 13 months and revenue growth over 65% YTD 2017 vs 2018. Becoming the actual expert changed how our paid search performed as well. We are seeing our lowest CPA's in the history of our business. Spending half what we did in 2015 and 2016, with 10% more revenue.

If you have some advantage over the competition, there are ways to present it in your content while answering your customers questions. Just be honest about where you aren't superior and I guarantee positive results will come your way. We focus on educating everyone, knowing that only 10-15% of the market will actually want our products. That's okay with me, because that is still a big piece of the pie. Plus I have gained the trust of a large percentage of all the consumers searching in our industry.

How many people in your niche are talking positively about their competitors? How many people are recommending the competitors products in their content? We do all the time, zero of our competitors do it. They are always the #1 this and the #1 that. All other products are inferior. People tune that out immediately.

How does this impact our search? The people that come from search stick around our site FOREVER. We build trust with them within the first 10 seconds they start to read. They end up looking at tons of content, coming back multiple times, bookmarking, sharing, etc. Some are literally basing their entire buying decision on our content. That's how good it is when you're actually being honest. When is the last time you read on a competitors site they told you their product was bad at something?

Maybe there is zero hope in your niche. Every possible idea has been exhausted. I find that hard to believe though, you just have to try a little harder to find out what works. Hopefully you find what works. I know how horrible it feels dealing with the bad side of search.
10:43 pm on Feb 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 14, 2011
posts:988
votes: 110


Hang fire on all I said, could be a corrupt affiliate scheme. Data from other affiliate schemes show a 75% conversion on enquires
3:44 am on Feb 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1113
votes: 256


I love how some seem bent on defending this trend. Keep going with you theories because like I said, nobody knows for sure. Neither do you.
3:41 pm on Feb 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Jan 10, 2012
posts:478
votes: 23


I mean it is 2018, heck of a lot easier to blame everyone else than look in the mirror.
8:53 pm on Feb 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:May 28, 2014
posts:88
votes: 11


Anyone figure out what this ghost direct traffic is? Is it crawlers? Super strange.
1:34 am on Feb 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member

joined:Jan 20, 2012
posts: 6
votes: 0


Yeah the phantom direct traffic continues. Sometimes it outnumbers googlers. A lot of the time it matches it very closely. Weirdest part of this whole thing imo. My guess is mobile index is being fleshed out by ai and some niches are probably doing fine while others turn for the worse. Whatever it is theyre clearly still testing given these mozcasts and webmaster reports.
3:00 am on Feb 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:10642
votes: 630


Anyone figure out what this ghost direct traffic is? Is it crawlers?

Most of Your Traffic is Not Human [webmasterworld.com]

GA and other site traffic programs fail significantly in separating bots from humans.
10:40 am on Feb 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Sept 25, 2017
posts: 18
votes: 0


Seeing alot of throttled traffic this morning...
5:36 pm on Feb 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

Administrator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 21, 2004
posts:3338
votes: 249


Mods Note: Let's be careful to stay on topic and avoid personal comments.
10:20 pm on Feb 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts:353
votes: 47


In the hours when zombies take over I am seeing less traffic not more like it used to be. Conversions still not occur but the traffic is small so it does tell you that somebody slowly but surely is getting concerned...
1:59 pm on Feb 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 19, 2008
posts:1247
votes: 70


@seoskunk, this perfectly matches to my last observations

This seemed a complete manipulation of ads and traffic.


Since last week we see the same IP pulling 3 same URLS in a row every hour at the same time. And this is when google changes to zombie traffic. When google sends good traffic this behaviour is not to bee seen.
It was off now for 3 days and today it came back while conversions dropped again.
4:06 pm on Feb 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1113
votes: 256


Fantastic traffic and conversions (on the hour or better) all day on Monday, followed by trickle Tuesday and zip on Wednesday, maybe I should do some self reflection and re-do my entire site.
4:22 pm on Feb 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts:353
votes: 47


@martin

Same IP pulling same url in the same time, is it google bot IP you are referring or any IP?

Maybe that IP is trying to fool Chrome that your site is not loading which should not be the case. Traffic stops without Google informing you but who is creating the fake zombie traffic?

Especially with the ads, would adwords ads, PLAs stop?
4:55 am on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 7, 2005
posts:171
votes: 2


Seeing a drop, probably due to Valentines Day.
10:27 am on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Sept 25, 2017
posts: 18
votes: 0


Same traffic for me this morning but the zombie stuff seems to be continuing, which is a shame because we've had a strong start to the year. Don't get it. I know alot of people mention it on here, but it is literally like an on/off switch some days. Bizarre!
11:18 am on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:May 28, 2014
posts:88
votes: 11


Having just traveled around a bit this week, it's pretty clear that localized targetting for sites is now an absolute must.
2:38 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:May 6, 2016
posts: 37
votes: 5


Besides jmorgan, are other people in the U.S. seeing a drop for Valentine's Day? Our WOW numbers are bad, but somewhat on par with same days in 2017.

Thank you.
3:18 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1113
votes: 256


The SERP layout changes every day. They must A/B test constantly in order to maximize profits. This morning I'm seeing one visit every 30 minutes (trickle traffic) and nothing more. Last Monday saw steady traffic all day, but had a site photo in the answer box. Today, no photos in the answer box or preceding my #2 site listing. I guess someone was right when they suggested that you must outperform your competitor...problem is, my biggest competitor is the search engine itself. Regardless, the weekly quota is right on track.
3:40 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Feb 11, 2017
posts:36
votes: 8


I also noticing -8% traffic drop these days (like when the update is happening). All last months my traffic was increasing, and now it's stopped and started decreasing. Is Valentine's Day can have such impact on traffic? I just can't believe it's so important day to cause such traffic decrease in the way like that...
3:44 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 14, 2013
posts:2830
votes: 348


it's pretty clear that localized targetting for sites is now an absolute must.


Definitely in the US, my international traffic from there is down about 85%, however Google's definition of "local" is abundantly different for UK searches where they still promote US sites which are clearly NOT "local".
4:48 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3100
votes: 594


Having just traveled around a bit this week, it's pretty clear that localized targetting for sites is now an absolute must.

That would make a lot of sense for topics or services that are local in nature. I don't see any evidence of it happening for sites that are about a place but reach (and should reach) a global audience as opposed to a community audience.
5:24 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:June 1, 2017
posts: 3
votes: 0


Hello,

I write from Spain. In my case, the traffic drop since yesterday is 20%, and today it still does not recover. There is also the circumstance that it is Carnival week.

Do you have proof of an update since yesterday?

Thank you
6:38 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:May 28, 2014
posts:88
votes: 11


@EditorialGuy You're right but my point being that generally speaking, if a localized version exists, it'll take preference.
6:59 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 14, 2013
posts:2830
votes: 348


I don't see any evidence of it happening f


However you are a US site writing about non-US locations and it is abundantly clear to all of us non-US site owners that Google is not applying the same "localisation" standards because if they were to then my widget SERPs would be much cleaner rather than being littered with US sites being unable to supply.

I'm not being critical about your site, it's Google's double standards at play here.
This 90 message thread spans 3 pages: 90