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Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2016

     
6:59 am on Apr 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Continuing from:
Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2016
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4793805.htm [webmasterworld.com]


Still suffering from zombie traffic. Not a single conversion since Good Friday. The "pocketliner" update is really aggravating me, not to mention they still haven't released Penguin. I should also mention that conversions have been dropping off slowly since my site started being blasted with exact match anchor texts and I submitted disavows. Maybe it has something to do with it, but I will wait to hear back from webmasters with clean websites.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:15 am (utc) on May 1, 2016]

2:04 am on Apr 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Not sure if this the right place to bring this up, but...
Things have been strange over the past few days, yesterday we had a pretty good day and today is slower than usual. I have also been noticing big spikes of high traffic, followed by dips of low traffic and then back to normal.

Even stranger, I noticed that in Search Console my Search Analytics hadn't updated since the 27th, I just checked it now and it finally updated but the 28th is still missing. It is showing me data for 27, then the 29, 30 and 31st. What happened to the 28th? Is this just me or are other seeing this?
5:15 am on Apr 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I noticed a lot more flux than usual in my search rankings. I haven't updated my disavow for a few days and in the mean time have been blasted by about 300 more links. This ongoing neg SEO attack on my site might have something to do with it. Perhaps the absolute garbage traffic I've been getting is a result of this - being less trustworthy in the eyes of G.
12:47 pm on Apr 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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In my Search Console, I am noticing a more constant updating of new backlinks or when they are eliminated. This was something that took a few weeks to happen, or even more than month.

It would be a sign of a possible penguin? (Just a hint.)
1:18 pm on Apr 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Just checked my WMT and it appears quite a few new links have appeared since yesterday. Looks like I have more disavowing to do.
5:19 pm on Apr 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS - Here the same bug!? 28th disappeared.
6:40 am on Apr 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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same here 27th - EMPTY - 29th
10:43 am on Apr 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Something is going to germany serps again. And it is not for good. Winners are lousy websites with allmost no content on it. We are sseing massiv lost in traffic. Remaining traffic are zombies. It is a new low quality hit that google shows right now. But i guess the numbers are right.
3:03 pm on Apr 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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seen an uptick in fluctuations for my rankings (USA, e-commerce). it started on April 1st and hasn't settled throughout the weekend and today. From what I am seeing, traffic and conversions are coming in packs. When traffic is coming in, it is coming in above average, as well as conversions. But when it is dead, it is dead. No consistency throughout the day. These bursts/packs of traffic and conversions appear to be happening at random times.
12:11 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I had a short burst in sales as well SEOcomfort. However, it still doesn't make up for what I've lost over the last 2 weeks with pure garbage traffic. There is definitely some strange behavior happening.
1:05 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I had not one but two days in a row where Google sent converting traffic, albeit in short waves. Dare I hold my breath for a third day? If I hit seven days in a row, Adwords campaigns will be reactivated and tested.
1:10 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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These bursts/packs of traffic and conversions appear to be happening at random times.

It sounds like a hole temporarily opens in the algorithm and lets a burst of traffic get through.
1:27 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm experiencing similar activity. I would guess A/B testing of some sort. Hopefully when they are done, they go live with the high traffic version.
3:48 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I am hoping this is some temporary change too NickMNS. One thing I will comment on as I experienced this traffic is that the answer box is gone after filing several complaints about how spammy it is (which it was). Polluting one of the top spots with a crappy Amazon product listing is not helping anyone for such a vague query, perhaps they are testing the effectiveness of what they put at the top there.
10:34 am on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Unfurtunatelly the good traffic times are now only once or twice a day. Domain crowding with 6 times the same domain are normal ebay, amazon + brands )
Engagement for users coming from google is zero. u can allmost think that this are yahoo users.

Domains from manufacturers where they put only descriptions from their products on are ruling the serps in my niche. ( this are not the original domains but second domains like info-brand. )

From a users sight this was the worst quality update for years.

I am astonished how far google is going to kill their serps in favour of selling ads.
1:20 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have two totally different sites on different servers and they are seeing the exact same daily conversion patterns. The past few days it's off in the morning and afternoon, but conversions start after 6pm. When it shifts, it shifts on both sites. They are clearly filtering buyers.

On my 15 year old site, search terms just keep shrinking. The sites ahead of me are all all riddled Google partner sites with NO compelling content. I guess ads are compelling for Google.
1:45 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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One thing to note, on my site I had the exact same amount of conversions for both February and March. If I get the same amount of conversions this month, I think it is very hard to say that is a coincidence. It goes directly in line with the thought of Google filtering traffic and conversions.
2:31 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Since last weekend on my ipad with adblocker ( adblock plus) google shopping ads appeared again on desktop they are still filtered.. google must have paid a lot of money to keep it out of the ad block filter. Seems like adblockers hurt google a lot.

There is no option to kill the google ads. Time for a new adblocker.

germany
6:30 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hey all, site was "normal" for about a week or so, got regular conversions daily, now the spigot has been turned off, once again. Zero conversions in over a week. Bad in the bad bucket again me thinks...
7:41 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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wgchris, Google is not sending us conversions either.
8:24 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I find it interesting that the discussion in this particular thread focuses mainly on conversions rather than the quantity of traffic that comes your way. It's an indication that the discussion is more about traffic quality then it is about actually getting traffic. Oh, well. Like many others, I think SEO is long dead and now the conversation is slowly turning to the process of getting what you can from the traffic you get. It's an interesting conversation for those that are trying to sell things but leaves little for the sites that don't offer products for sale. I guess the real competition is between the big guys and the smaller fish. Always has been, always will be.

Google doesn't send conversions. It send clickers. If you can convert the click. You're doing something right. Not everyone is in the mood to buy today but that doesn't mean they didn't find what they were looking for on your site. If your landing page looks like an ad, time on page and bounce rate are surely going to suffer. That isn't particularly a Google problem problem though (even if you insist it is). There are too many factors to start labeling traffic as junk (IMHO) base solely on the conversion rate.
8:50 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@webcentric You are right Google doesn't send conversions. It is responsible for sending quality traffic. Based off what I have seen over the past few weeks, it is like the quality traffic light is being turned on and off like a switch. It's just an observation and I am not claiming my site is perfect or deserves every conversion. But when data is mocking very specific patterns on a consistent basis, is that really natural traffic being sent to my site? I do not believe it is. If its natural traffic, how can I get the exact amount of conversions back to back months when my natural yearly trend is dipping at this time of year? Yea it might be a coincidence, but at the same time it might not.

I agree a lot of people think they deserve everything from Google. I am not one of those haha. I just like to observe what is going on and come to an assumption/theory.
11:37 pm on Apr 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@webcentric and @seocomfort simply observing patters can be extremely misleading, randomness can produce results that seem unbelievable but that are still only the result of randomness.

That said, if you have steady traffic that displays a specific pattern within a consistent range over time (a range that accounts for the day to day variations caused by randmoness) and suddenly this pattern changes, and no changes have been made to the website, then the likelihood that the other variable in the equation (Google or maybe something else) has changed is some manner is very high. This is compounded, when others observe similar outcomes.

I am observing a lot of changes, but this coincides with some major changes on my site so I am no help here. None the less speculating is fun! Isn't that what following pro-sports is all about.
3:13 am on Apr 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have a small list of 10 distinct keywords for my site that I check when I wonder if a major update has occurred. The bottom few results on page one generally come and go but the top spots stay immortal. They stay there, that is, until there is a major update.

I'm only ever mildly surprised when I see a would be contender for immortality disappear but it's usually because they've become frustrated with 'almost ranked' status(below the fold) and made major changes, which didn't help.

9/10 of the immortals have changed, in my opinion this has been a major update(affecting roughly 1% of queries, no doubt). Penguin perhaps?
3:49 am on Apr 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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JS Harris I was about to post the same thing. I've seen some serious changes for keywords that I moniter closely.

Yesterday, I was ranked #2 for another brands keyword. Today, I am ranked in both position 7 & 8 for 2 separate articles... basically on my website I have a "vendors" page which has all their products listed, and then links to information specific to their products (more in depth). I did not take into account the confusion it would cause to Google, I would suspect it fairly easy to distinguish in this day and age...

However, both are very relevant articles, so I will wait and see if it settles somewhere more reasonable (update dancing)
10:07 am on Apr 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google doesn't send conversions. It send clickers.

Google profiles its users and claims to have the ability to send traffic that is more likely to convert. At least in Adwords they allow you to bid higher for traffic that is more likely to convert. Knowing this, Google has at least some ability to distinguish between shoppers with wallets and window shoppers, and they control what they send us.

If you can convert the click. You're doing something right.

In some cases yes, but in my case I disagree. There are many components to a converted click, with the first step consisting of traffic that is properly matched to the site. For example, if you sell flowers online but Google only sends you traffic that is interested in pruning flowers, conversions will not be great. Many of us coping with zombies do have an acceptable conversion rate from Google traffic one or two days a week. It's not like we are changing our site design and content one or two days a week and presenting users with crap on the other days. Bing and Yahoo convert consistently well each day. To lay the blame at our feet overlooks the high degree of manipulation that Google is engaged in.

There are too many factors to start labeling traffic as junk (IMHO) base solely on the conversion rate.

True. There will always be a number of window shoppers that may purchase later. But ecommerce websites need conversions to exist and that is how we measure our success and pay our employees and other bills. If Google is incapable of or unwilling to match buying traffic with ecommerce websites, when they claim to allow one to increase their bids by X percent in Adwords for traffic more likely to convert, then the problem is with Google and not those of us with Google zombie traffic most days a week.

I think SEO is long dead and now the conversation is slowly turning to the process of getting what you can from the traffic you get.

I agree. Google has become a blackhat multinational company and produces search results that maximizes their profits at the expense of our time and money. Since this is the highly manipulative environment we as small businesses must operate in, we must adjust. And dumping Google to sell on Amazon has freed me of a lot of time and aggravation, while also increasing my profits. Instead of bidding in Adwords for zombie traffic that wasted thousands of dollars, I'm filling orders from Amazon. Sure, the 800 lb Amazon gorilla is getting their cut, but I'll take that over Google slashing my throat and leaving my business to die.
11:40 am on Apr 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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MY traffic pattern is like this:
-full hour traffic from google makes a deep dive (- 90%)
-hour 15 min, traffic comes back a litte bit (-80%)
-hour 30 min traffic suddenly jumps back to (100%) and stays till full hour.

It looks like their algo for traffic threshold has the same big bug like the algo for quality traffic has one.


Has someboddy realized that suddenly the spam emails are gone?
1:46 pm on Apr 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Noticing that my traffic is about 40% higher than it would usually be on a Wednesday.

Some of that is a trending article, but some of that is abnormal.

Whatever it is, I sure would be ok with it being permanent.

Or is today some kind of holiday?
2:04 pm on Apr 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My traffic also seems higher than a normal Weds when it's usually very quiet
2:15 pm on Apr 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I do not cheer me more with these traffic spikes in abnormal days. Soon after always comes a sudden drop in traffic.

Google Dance.
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