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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2016

     
8:06 am on May 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Continuing from:
Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2016
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4798794.htm [webmasterworld.com]


Mod's note: In the April thread, Simon_H did an excellent job of saying something that needed to be said about off-topic discussion in the Google Updates and SERP Changes thread....
Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of Google's business ethics, moaning about it on here is counter-productive. When SER covered zombie traffic recently, there was a backlash of the type "it's just another conspiracy theory from the idiots at WebmasterWorld". That's very difficult to argue against.

If you believe that there's no hope because Google hates you, then there's no point posting on here about it. If you believe that there is hope, then try posting unemotional details of what you're seeing and we can collectively try to work out what is going on.

We try to keep the Updates thread primarily about ranking and traffic changes. The point of the thread is that by comparing changes, we can sometimes see patterns with Google that are not otherwise clear, and give those topics dedicated discussions when a pattern is observed.

9:01 am on May 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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vlexo has just posted an observation about a relationship his brand has observed between PPC spend and SEO click through rate, where a heavy AdWords spend on some terms appears to be negatively affecting organic click-throughs.

Discussion in dedicated thread here...

PPC spend impacting SEO CTR for generic terms
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4802983.htm [webmasterworld.com]

The most extreme case is where we spend a lot more money on PPC and our SEO CTR for keyword goes from 35% CTR to 20% CTR. It's almost like dropping from position 1 for a term to position 2.
12:23 pm on May 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google continues to add more and more answer boxes to the top of its search results, in some cases even trying to use them for complex issues that can't be reduced to a simple "answer".
1:35 am on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google continues to add more and more answer boxes to the top of its search results, in some cases even trying to use them for complex issues that can't be reduced to a simple "answer".

I'd say that depends on what you mean by "complex issues." (There's only so much room in an answer box.) In any case, a new article at Search Engine Land argues that direct answers can be useful in driving traffic:

[searchengineland.com...]
6:36 am on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hello everyone,
We have been experiencing a huge drop of traffic coming from Mexico and other latin america countries (Argentina, Colombia, Chile...). April started great, but the % has been dropping non stop. Analyzing our traffic, we have lost about 15% mexican sessions in some webs in the last week. Anyone noticing the same trend? Any idea what is going on with Google in Latin America.
Thank you.
1:45 pm on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google was anemic the end of April and May is a continuation of that. Traffic is a stable quantity but converting traffic is lacking. In terms of converting traffic value, Bing is doing just as good as Google. CPA on Microsoft Ad Center is much better than Adwords because Adwords is suffering from the same anemic visitor trend as organic search is.
1:57 pm on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google continues to add more and more answer boxes to the top of its search results, in some cases even trying to use them for complex issues that can't be reduced to a simple "answer".


I am not sure if claim is supported by the evidence, according to Mozcast features graph [mozcast.com ] the number of knowledge cards in search rose only 0.6%, which is most likely statistically insignificant.
2:08 pm on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Seeing some movement today. For a high traffic keyword, seeing our GV backed competitor take the #1 spot from Wikipedia, first time WP has not been the first listing for at least 8 years. We moved from page 2 to page 3.
6:32 pm on May 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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April was over all good for me, page view and unique traffic was up. Same on May 1, But on 2, I faced a drop of 2k unique visitors from G which is around 19% of Total traffic.
I just tested one of major Keyword which I used to be one 1, now I'm on number 5. Pinterest and Youtube just ate my place.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 1:47 pm (utc) on May 3, 2016]
[edit reason] Corrected spelling for clarity [/edit]

2:45 am on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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April was great for me on Amazon. Google's poor excuse for traffic remains in the same in zombie state since fall of last year. Google is not sending many conversions, but since I'm no longer paying for what appears to be fake Adwords clicks any conversion is seen as a bonus.
5:07 am on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Considering that this month's thread was started with a couple of posts not directly related to Google updates and serp changes, at least as I see it, I'll take some liberties.

I've always seen this recurring thread as a place where people vent frustrations, propose theories and generally complain about the state of the internet. It serves a purpose because people do need to express frustrations, and sometimes work through the issues that may be causing them problems.

I have nothing but respect for Simon_H, I've PM'd saying so. But, mods and admins can't convey the desired message? It has to be a quote from a member?

The second post in this thread mentions another thread OP'd by vlexo. 5 or 6 posts in that thread? Personally, I'd never try to highlight a thread that most people did not want to participate in.

Sigh. It's the world of today. For those that have been around a while, I did some who is on jimworld today. Not because I had a big development plan, but just because.
7:16 am on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've always seen this recurring thread as a place where people vent frustrations, propose theories and generally complain about the state of the internet. It serves a purpose because people do need to express frustrations, and sometimes work through the issues that may be causing them problems.
Walt, in good part I agree with you.

This was in my first draft of what I'd originally planned to post...
I'm sorry that it's been a tough time for a lot of members here. While we tend to allow more venting in this thread than in other threads on the forum, the venting has gotten to the point where it's burying the discussions about ranking and traffic changes, which are the point of having this dedicated thread. By comparing changes, we can sometimes see patterns with Google that are not otherwise clear....

Since I was in the process of moving the thread from April to May, which would have left Simon's comments near the end of last month's thread to be forgotten, I ultimately ended quoting his post and editing out parts of mine that felt superfluous. I liked his take on the situation better than what I'd written.

vlexo's thread, which you also mention, touches on some of organic/paid interaction discussion that's been coming up the past several months on this thread. It was there at the time, and I thought might be of interest to those who post here. It ended up as the second post in the thread.
12:27 pm on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@Walt_Hartwell Sorry if my comment upset you. To be fair, I think it was in context when I posted it, as the question had been asked about how people felt about Google's behaviour. That was my response.

I'm obviously not a mod, but my personal view is that a little off-topic discussion is fine as long as there is a constructive element to it. But post after post after post of argument about whether or not Google is evil is pointless and results in more actionable comments getting lost and trivialised.
1:42 pm on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else notice the new Google colour scheme change for its serp results? Gone bright blue just now.
1:45 pm on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm sorry that it's been a tough time for a lot of members here. While we tend to allow more venting in this thread than in other threads on the forum, the venting has gotten to the point where it's burying the discussions about ranking and traffic changes, which are the point of having this dedicated thread. .


Finally a mod has commented on this. Enough is enough already.
10:43 pm on May 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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From the closed April thread.

>>OldFaces: We noticed a significant overall organic traffic decline from Google (e.g. 6-9% drop day versus same day previous week) that began April 13th-April 14th PST. Comparing April 25th to April 4th we are now down 16%.

Confirming on an ecommerce site in USA, some minor sales around the world. Between April 13-14 and April 25, 2016 significant daily loss of traffic, to a point where today (early May) we are down close to 40%. Niche leader too... ok maybe top-10 in the niche, while G keeps showing irrelevant Walmarts and Homedepots above everybody.


>>wgchris: Going on 10 days without a conversion. I think 9 was my previous all-time longest gap

Confirmed last two weeks conversions are very light. I assumed it was due to the US election cycle and very heavy competition there.


>>SnowMan68: Whatever you were able to do in the past, you are not able to do today. Google CPC is even better. Hire a professional to manage your CPC's and you will see success.

Right, su-u-u-re. Hired one CPC , "top firm" , fired in a year. Worthless, they found several brands and bid on those, brainiacs. You should know your business better than anyone, better keywords and niches, which isn't something any CPC firm can possibly offer.

When your CPC goes from 10 cents to $2-$3 due to "black box" algorithm (and, of course "competition"), no matter how you try or who you hire you can't possibly make that work. Unless , of course, you are in a niche with 5000% profit margins.
3:15 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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When your CPC goes from 10 cents to $2-$3 due to "black box" algorithm (and, of course "competition"), no matter how you try or who you hire you can't possibly make that work. Unless , of course, you are in a niche with 5000% profit margins.

For Google, it's all about the money. The higher CPC, loss of ads in the right column and zombie clicks are all designed by Google to drives clicks, regardless of quality, into high paying ads. It's possible that the zombies on both free and paid search are designed to provide Google legal cover should litigation be brought against them by a company or class - allowing Google to defend themselves against our financial losses in Adwords due to zombie traffic (severely mismatched, untargeted or whatever anyone wants to call it) on an algorithm that applies the same targeting across their entire search network. Meaning the poor targeting does not focus on paid ads alone, which makes it even more difficult for anyone to prove Google is bilking Adwords advertisers via junk traffic.

Despite how Google is using zombie traffic for their financial gain, it's clear that it is here to stay. Even after bowing out of Adwords due to ridiculously poor traffic most days of the week, which cost me a lot of money, the zombie pattern still continues in free search for eight months straight. Out of all the crap visitors Google sends my way, assuming the majority of them are even real, I am still able to get some conversions. It's not anything spectacular, but since I am not spending any money with Google anymore I'll take it. Otherwise I'll spend my money at other marketplaces like Amazon where I am not getting screwed.
2:53 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Does nobody listen to the moderators anymore?
5:26 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I would say that running CPA on Adwords fixes a part of the problem. It will force G to send you traffic that converts, otherwise they get no $$'s. Running Adwords without CPA is asking for problems / bots / traffic that doesn't convert because then you only ask for clicks and nothing more? In addition you should exclude non converting places / city's in Adwords and also exclude the weaker keywords that don't convert in last 30 days or so.

Doing this provides you with a great opportunity to compare Adwords when it runs on an acceptable level with your Organic traffic to see differences .... For example, look close on the demographics reports in Analytics, age differences, where people originate etc. Also cleaning this out helps getting the right traffic on your website, raises user expierences and also raises overal satisfaction of the people left on your website ... This makes the circle round again because it will improve your ranking?
8:05 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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#palviky - Also here.
9:08 am on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Notice some drop in traffic in the last few of days or so. Not sure if there is some kind of public or school holidays somewhere in the world, or some kind of major event that is preventing people from using their computers?
10:42 am on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've notice a 5% or so traffic drop the last 2 weeks as well. It may be a season thing as everyone goes outside to be in the nicer weather instead of inside on their devices. Last year we show a similar downturn.
7:54 pm on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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We are seeing the exact opposite, steady climb in traffic and better than average sales (USA & Canada) across many verticals... adding a steady flow of fresh new links still works folks, throw away whatever color hat you think you are wearing and do what works.

The one difference we do see is google has become faster at picking up new links and showing the effects, like add links on Tuesday and site shoots up by Thursday, not the usual 7-10 days as in the past. Makes it much easier to see what works and what does not.
9:21 pm on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I am sure it also makes it much easier for Google to penalize you.
12:42 am on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I am sure it also makes it much easier for Google to penalize you.


If you leave a footprint......
12:54 am on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Churn and burn spammers have been taking advantage of the long time intervals between Penguin updates, often a year or more. This gives them time to rake in plenty of profits before the penalty hits. And then they have new websites waiting in the wings to get a quick start on the next churn and burn
12:54 am on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If you leave a footprint.


How do you avoid making foot prints?
1:30 am on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Very difficult to avoid leaving a footprint.
1:40 am on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I was hoping you would share some techniques
3:01 am on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Footprints are common factors that can be related to different sites utilizing similar methods.
In English, let's say you go to fiverr and order a link package of really cool, guaranteed to make you rank number one links. But, there is someone else purchasing those same link packages from a totally different niche/domain.

Your links will show up in proximity to those other links that have nothing to do with your site focus. With repeated instances of links to yoursite.com in proximity to somespamsite.com it's not difficult to determine you might be gaming the search engines.

I believe Kelowna isn't committed to success anymore, so take that into consideration.
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