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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Nov 2015

     
9:56 am on Nov 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Continuing from [webmasterworld.com...]

It's November and so far no one placed any concerns about the first of Nov spike on the forecast tools like Mozcast and SERP metrics. Algoroo has not updated for that date and SERPs com tools shows sunnier forecast. I decided to start the November thread with these observations as it is uncommon for the weather forecast tools to be in such big disagreement. Sadly I do not have access to Kissmetrics and the rest of the enterprise tools so perhaps someone else can fill that void in the data.

In any case, what do you see on 1st of Nov? Any dramatic changes or vertical shifts in the SERPS?
12:11 pm on Nov 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Anyone having problems with indexing of new sites? Have a site which has been live for 2 weeks now. Brand new domain. Sitemap created and even a few quick links have been created to speed up indexation but the site wont get indexed by Google. Even fetched it without any results. Is Google on pre-update Pause mode again?
1:29 pm on Nov 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Last week was the best week since April 1st...this week, starting off very slow...maybe record low. Plenty of flux.
8:36 am on Nov 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@ samwest, confirmed. I guess google started its Xmax season. Traffic up, conversions near Zero.
8:53 am on Nov 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A friend of mine who is an excellent webmaster operating an over 100k daily visits website reported something interesting that I believe is worth noting in this thread. He stopped ranking for the "money keywords" and was "promoted" to the generic keyword SERPS. His traffic jumped by 20% or so, but his conversions went to the gutter. I do not know whether anyone else has seen similar domain wide shifts in ranking positioning and what was the fallout but this sounds chilling.
3:56 pm on Nov 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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^ nutterum - I think that's exactly what most of us who are "afflicted" are seeing and have been seeing for quite some time.
10:52 pm on Nov 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I was thinking the same thing samwest. A fair number of people have been reporting similar losses in conversions since September. The only possible difference I see in Nutterum's post is that I am still ranking for money keywords but the shoppers with money disappear for days at a time. Or maybe it's personalized search results, and I am the only one seeing myself rank for money keywords. That's possible because I don't have any rank checking software.
11:26 am on Nov 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Well the only explanation I can think of is, once a website qualify for the "wikipedia" type of SERPS and stop ranking for "money type SERPS" they need to think of alternative business model. The bad news is that when you operate a 100k visits website the operations costs and expectations grow and you can't just turn your conversion funnel off and invent a new one.

I do not know the traffic volume of samwet and mrengine as well as the rest of the affected people but for the site I was shown the stats for is big. (50k+ landing pages and 500k+ keywords). I'd expect the "cursed" websites to be smaller or medium sized ones at best. Not this, definitely not this.
12:29 pm on Nov 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Or maybe it's personalized search results, and I am the only one seeing myself rank for money keywords

What does WMT (Search Console -->Search Analytics) say with regards to rank positions for money keywords? This could give you some idea whether the results are personalised just for you.
1:31 pm on Nov 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just started to see lots of wrong country hits to many of our sites, this usually happens when google launches some new twist to the algo. Revenue still strong, just lots of world-wide traffic added to local USA & Canada sites making it appear that we are getting an upsurge in traffic numbers, but the extra will never convert.
4:37 pm on Nov 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In my niche there is was an partial roll back to very old serps. Serps that donīt even match the query but lots of brands showing up.

My guess is that this was an quality update. It helps the user to find more compelling websites, that google is thinking will help the user to find what he wants.
6:53 pm on Nov 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is panda still slow rolling? Any ideas on when it will be fully "done"?
10:16 am on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seeing really positive Panda movement as of today in the UK. All my sites are making progress. Multiple verticals.

Anyone else?
3:52 pm on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a lot of change here in the UK too. Links are king; bought or otherwise (mainly bought).
4:53 pm on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Funny how they're called "quality updates" yet crappy Forbes articles still rank the top of page 1 for an enormous number of web searches.

I'm also still seeing ridiculous "zombie" type traffic for this month... almost no conversions. I've built up another website the last few months and have increased my traffic by about 30% (and ranked keywords that were similar as well as the same)... but conversions remain poor.
5:31 pm on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seen some major dips and spikes on certain keywords on my US and UK sites. Others are just flat!
5:37 pm on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If having thousands of instant links from Chinese blogs is quality then, yes, this is a quality update.

I suppose I've seen worse Google results before but I can't remember when. Hopefully this will change when it settles but these spam sites have been around for months so I'm not holding my breath.
6:09 pm on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seeing positive movement here too - don't know whether its panda, but I've been working on making sites mobile and tablet friendly - upturn is not limited to those platforms.
1:28 pm on Nov 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ranking all year for a few good kw, now I am GONE. I was good for 1 year and now I am not?

Well done just before Christmas.

And getting traffic more than ever (after disappearing mostly from Pinterest). Conversions are a disaster.

What a lovely update.
2:00 pm on Nov 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Highest traffic this year from Google with the lowest conversions. I wonder if the zombie traffic sample I've been seeing since September is rolling out globally now. I'm waiting for that one or two days a week that Google can mysteriously send good traffic, or maybe that too will be gone if there was indeed an update? One thing is for sure, getting a lot of traffic to privacy policy pages, terms of use pages and faq will not pay the bills if you have an ecommerce website! LOL Thank goodness other search engines and social networks can get it right. If I relied solely on Google I would have sunk a long time ago.
2:30 pm on Nov 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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privacy policy pages, terms of use pages and faq


You should put noindex tags on those types of pages.
7:20 pm on Nov 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@glakes if you can survive on other search engines and social and build traffic from those sources you should build up enough 'reputation' that Google will eventually give you quality traffic. It might take time and shouldn't be forced (i.e. no link building).

I have a couple of sites that I have been nurturing for about 18 months now that are just beginning to show signs of decent Google traffic.
7:58 pm on Nov 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@glakes - I see that pattern very often too...sudden interest in my privacy and terms pages but little else. I know a lot of new sites like to steal that content for their own...even had several that copied it and forgot to update the company name (mine). Last week was gangbusters on sales, this week just the opposite, it you compared the two weeks you'd find very little difference in overall traffic volume.
12:08 am on Nov 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle
Not sure why adding noindex to those pages should be needed. About the only thing I noindex is everything related to the checkout process (checkout page, cart, etc.)

@Ian
The site has been online for a number of years and has done well up until September when I an others were hit with zombie traffic. It does not seem like a technical problem with my site because the same low quality and non converting traffic spanned across Google's free and paid results.

@samwest
I see some are reporting a return from zombie land, with one person holding strong for a few days. Here's hoping that we will see the same.
2:47 pm on Nov 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seeing some shift in the SERPS for the last few days. I believe Google dialed up the domain age ranking factor. Some websites with 10+ year domains are ranking up despite their 10+ years old design and coding. November feels more like Experimenber if you ask me.
4:24 pm on Nov 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Record Google traffic for me yesterday but flat sales. It seems like Google likes the "how to" information about our products more than the products themselves.
7:59 pm on Nov 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have seen some improvement in my traffic, but my conversions are below average. Not sure what's going on, but I miss my conversions and sales.
11:42 pm on Nov 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seeing something I haven't seen since the months following April 2012. Got a page/keyword combination that was hit by first penguin. Currently never ranks any higher than last spot on page 2. HOWEVER, when using the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool the page is listed in the #3 organic spot on the first page (bout where it should be). I remember this happening for the first few months after the original penguin, the adwords preview tool and a few google search partner sites showing non-penguin results.

Not sure what, if anything, it means. Just thought it was interesting.
9:10 am on Nov 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Have google removed the ability to set the location that you want to search in? I can't specify a town like I could, I think, yesterday. Another lockdown on info? Like we have much to go on as it is!
9:49 am on Nov 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A new lowest quality traffic from google since a week now. Sales have plumped down th drain. Traffic remains same or is up. Today we had the first visitor from africa and we are located in germany. There is going on something very strange. We gained a lot of #1 - #3 spots this last week but they donīt convert. Even GSA are at Zero sales.

Searching for a certain, clear defined term in my niche only shows fuzzy and unrelated serps. Only the asked lenght is returned correctly.
I donīt have intentionally have to say that 6 out of 10 entries are from amazon.


The new mobile layout is IMO unreadable. The light grey boxes on white backgorund for each entry makes it look very "noisy".
3:14 pm on Nov 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Calm before the next BIG storm? Have to wonder if they will wait until the week of December 7th to release the new Penguin. With Gary Illyes recently saying the new penguin WILL be real time, it seems like they must be very close. Previously he had said it was maybe going to be real time, but they weren't confident yet. With his recent statement it seems like he is pretty confident in the newest iteration and where it stands going real time.
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