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Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2016

     
2:11 pm on Jul 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If you see a big upheaval taking place, especially on multiple sites, then you should report it. Also anything unusual. But minor hourly fluctuations don't have much significance.

[edited by: bakedjake at 2:39 am (utc) on Jul 3, 2016]
[edit reason] Create new July update thread [/edit]

12:20 pm on July 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Anything is possible, though I don't see significant rank changes when checking my keywords from multiple IP addresses. 



what i am referring to has nothing to do with the serps or anybody's website's. If se traffic is down across the board it would devastate alphabet. Zombies would hide this loss of traffic and help increase the bottom line of alphabet . Both adsense and ecom sites are reporting more impressions and less clicks. Not all adsense and ecomm sites but enough to see a pattern.

As more people bypass the traditional se and go strait to their site of choice or one of the many new micro search engines constantly advertised on tv, traffic has to be dropping off for g. The limited supply of real search traffic gets distributed amongst the various sites to help keep them alive and the zombie traffic keeps the ad revenue up.

They have taken obfuscation to whole new levels.
3:44 pm on July 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Okay, I spoke too soon. This weekend has gone to zero after I thought things were back to my usual non-zombie traffic on Friday. However, after taking a closer look at analytics, I realized that I had some significant traffic spikes... but less than a 1/4 of the usual clickthroughs that I would get (and obviously much less in sales). The type of traffic Google is sending right now is absolute garbage, the only thing separating from the "true" zombie phenomena is that it makes a few sales here and there, whereas with pure zombie traffic there are no clicks, interactions, or sales. This is extremely aggravating, because even if I pay for traffic I am still not going to make sales... not to mention they continually increase the CPC on keywords that actually get decent impressions and clicks. What is the point when advertising costs more than what you will make? I am blown away at the idiocy of Google putting their faith in something they don't even understand.

So far I am convinced it has something to do with long tails because I have tracked down a decent list that fluctuates wildly when this occurs... I should also mention that Google also seems to somehow obfuscate most rank tracking tools, the only thing that has been accurate for me so far is ahrefs.
7:52 pm on July 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@toidi

What you say does have merit. I'm seeing a greater quantity of traffic and conversions through Bing and Yahoo while Google has traffic has increased some but overall conversions declined greatly. If zombies were just computer generated filler, that would explain a lot because that's how they behave (no/few page views, limited time on site, no purchases, etc.). But if you are right, it should not be that long before consumers and advertisers start bolting away from Google en masse. Maybe that's part of the reason why Bing saw some tremendous growth.
9:33 am on July 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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How is it possible that same url gets visited in the same time by Ips from both France and Germany. Do not get me wrong this not the homepage we hardly get any traffic here on that page let alone from France and Germany in the same time. Watched all user sessions with clicktale and for about an hour got people (whatever they are) wondering around not making any sense. Their engagement is a lot less compared to the average user.

I wonder if these are pogo-stickers trying to influence dwell time or something but where are the real users? How is it possible that for one hour no visitor was making any sense as browsing behaviour?
1:08 pm on July 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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How is it possible that for one hour no visitor was making any sense as browsing behaviour?

Unfortunately that is a classic zombie. Hopefully you won't see too many of them like I and others are seeing.
2:29 pm on July 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Well, the weekend was almost "normal" as compared to the usual non converting mess. I did a little research this morning and see that on ahrefs, I have jumped up 2 million in their "rank". Referring domains / pages have skyrocketed starting on November 1st of 2015 measuring 17 / 42 respectively, but now at 205 / 510. Unfortunately, the CTLD distribution is mostly from the UK and Russia, which might explain some of the zombie behavior and low organic results.
Organic Traffic was riding along fine at about 2500/day but then took a hit in April 23rd, then again on June 11, June 30 and knocking the site down over 60% on July 14. It's now rebounding from a low of under 1000 to about 1700. Organic keywords has been a roller coaster...they funny thing is, it should remain stable, but something within the search engines is seeing wild variations where there should be none.
The position heat map tells the whole story...page one listings are evaporating, with #1 positions cut in halve over the past 6 months..Everything is being moved to #1 on page two.
Considering the large percentage of refers from Russia, it's likely I am under a targeted attack. BTW, I have been blocking the entire country of Russia for the past few months using Cloudflares firewall.


.
12:52 am on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Am I the only one who is thinking that 70 degrees is the new normal for Mozcast? Serps are bouncing everywhere and while this time of year is typically low for us (ecommerce), the amount of non converting traffic is a bit disheartening. I think this type of dance encourages folks to increase adword spending as uncertainty sets in.
1:10 am on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Serp "weather" checking tools are pretty useless in general, but I did notice a correlation between days where conversions drop off and regular potential buyer traffic. The last few days have been a nightmare, even though traffic is up a bit there are very few sales or leads I get from it.
3:24 am on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is trending up a little here too. Even getting a few conversions at evenly spaced intervals. ATM, site page-to-page traffic looks more natural. I suspect a few page 2 results matriculated back to page one. Probably won't last.
5:53 am on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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An algo update was pushed on Sunday for sure. AU, US, DE, GB, TR, RU, FR, BG, GR - all these experience a big shift in topical broad keywords and some heavier shifting of somewhat established websites vanishing from the SERPs, combined with lower traffic in all verticals I monitor. Local eating Organic traffic maybe? In any case we are about to go on an interesting ride here folks.
10:55 am on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I can confirm that the delisiting on our end is now shown as a manual action in GWT; interestingly enough no email notification was sent.
11:06 am on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Organic traffic is disappearing. That's a reality. And it's not confined to the shuffling of the serps. Query rewriting has been around for several years now.
I posted how even the top organic result is becoming the equivalent of 5th or 6th organic position from a few years ago in terms of the placement.
In our careers vertical, I've a strong feeling that all careers and jobs related queries are going to have the top results like this:

Ad1
Ad2
Ad3
Ad4
Excerpt from one of the top 10
----
Excerpt Details
Excerpt Details
Excerpt Details

SERP1
SERP2
SERP3
....

SERP10

I'm certain that the RankBrain or whatever this is called, will soon have rich snippets-full of links. Bing already has those, effectively making a rank 1 on the SERP feel like much lower rank.
Reading these forums and everyone's replies, it seems we are too emotionally attached to the SERPs. We need to get over it. Google traffic is vanishing and it's the writing on the wall. Organic SERPs are going the way of landline phones.

Those relying on organic SERPs need to change their perspective and focus on the paid channels of acquisition. If you can make it work in the paid model, seo becomes just another little tool in the arsenal. And google's whims and constant push for 'improving' the results for its shareholders will be of little relevance.
Longer term, as more and more content creators become indifferent to Google, it will lead to Google's eventual irrelevance. Not happening anytime soon, but when someone takes everything and offers little in return, the equation changes.
I for sure won't program for the google 'platform' in my next venture.
Sorry for the rant.
12:51 pm on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@niku_piku, donīt forget that ads, domain crowding and less choices are good for the user. They like it. They like not to get the best deal.
1:04 pm on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday traffic was up around 18%, which is substantial by any measure. Sales, on the other hand, reflect the poor conversion rate seen on zombie days. Looking at this morning's stats, I would concur with Nutterum that something was pushed Sunday/Monday. Whether it sticks, is still updating or will be rolled back is the next question. Most importantly, will these changes impact traffic quality and conversions, because those are the only real metrics to gauge the value of Google these days in my business.

On a side note, Mozcast is reporting greater domain diversity and a lower big 10 influence on the 25th with Friday showing a very hot day.
1:14 pm on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Could these traffic gains be something to do with Gary Illyes saying the 30x redirects no longer lose page rank?
1:18 pm on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The stats are looking weird here too. Bounce rate is low, but so are conversions. Traffic is up, but there are no interactions on the site to account for it.

As for the domain diversity, Im still seeing Amazon take up multiple spots in pretty much every health related product search.
1:23 pm on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@glakes, from my view: google conversion: ZERO since sunday, bounce >90% on 3 ecom sites. I know it from other ecoms sites, too.
This is not only for organic traffic but for PPA.
amazon still converting very good.
2:59 pm on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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There's a lot of patterns here i can sympathise with. We've seen substantial drops across the board organically. Originally, I thought it was an indexation issue, but there's too much commonality with other webmasters. Less traffic, bounce rates up >25%, conversion down equal measures. Saw the huge spike on MozCast but like other webmasters unsure of its credibility. Not seen the movement you guys have seen since Sunday. I do agree though, this client has seen the most instability i have EVER seen for nearly a month. Positions dont seem to be occupied for longer that 24 hours in this vertical.
9:13 pm on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@BushieTop, same here, something being cooked out there for sure. @Niku_piku made a very good point as well.
9:44 pm on July 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@Martin Ice Web
How did your PPA pan out today? At the end of the work day, I must say Google sent some of the most unproductive traffic I have ever seen come from their search engine to date. Traffic remained elevated though, and I'm on par to keep the 18% increase in traffic (maybe more) that I saw yesterday. The only problem is that increase is just a number and apparently not one Google user owns a credit card. Not even one sale from Google. Pathetic.

Edit: I'm seeing Google's new layout on desktop too. Every listing, paid and organic, is contained in a white box. Don't know if this has anything to do with the increase in traffic, but as far as I am concerned the layout change is lipstick on a pig.
8:21 am on July 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@paperchaser Also seeing massive google bot activity across the site - don't know if you're seeing the same?
8:30 am on July 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The slight uptrend of traffic that was felt around Brexit and affected most B2B queries, now returned to normal and even lower than that, cause lets face it its vacations season. The shift in the broad topic keywords continues, but what I saw as a new thing, that started since 18th is that broad queries that we have have heavy authority on several different languages, disqualify us from showing up for the same term in English for people on our geo-locations that are not natives. The entire SERP for these type of people was shifted towards their "regular" local search bubble but with relevant local listings of the location they are currently at. Very interesting mix.

Same thing for topical keywords as well. Say you are German related business that hold the top spots for the keywords "geld". If a German in Germany writes the term "money" we are not shown for that search query, but some Wikipedia or other broad international websites including US/UK landing pages for topic related services. Google is basically skimming organic traffic and funneling it to US related websites and services wherever they can, something I am very disappointed about.
8:30 am on July 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Things took a slightly productive turn today. Sales came in quick and then vanished within 3 hours. I met my entire days quota in just hours, which only really happens when things have been total zombie mode for a few days, and I guess Google feels like throwing us some bones.
9:38 am on July 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@glakes. since sunday we experience the worst traffic google ever send. I figured out that all prior traffic pages have been dead since. Traffic is going to pages that have never been seeing much traffic. All money pages are way down. Users donīt have credit cards, too.
We see foreign traffic, traffic from very dubios domains though ( like fretdde**102.com just letters/number combinations).

PPA is on current low now. Yesterday i opened a window and threw out 10 bucks. It thought it must feel other than throwing it into googles bucket. It wasnīt. The 10 bucks were lost, too.

I donīt see the current layout change ( germany ).
12:45 pm on July 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google Germany, ecom: Seeing slightly loses with main keys while most of longtail rankings skyrock. Doesn't look offpage-related, rather some new onpage calculations or user signals done by Google. Also broken language- / geolocation for two days (seems to fixed by now). But SERPs change heavily every other minute. Looks like sth. started in June and the vibrations get heavier and heavier, producing more everflux than ever.
3:22 am on July 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Conversions turned up yesterday and I made more than 2 days worth of sales. Excellent, but there is still going to be issues if 3-4 days of the week are dead as dog poo.
8:28 am on July 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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google shows a rising number in 410s in WMT. Some very, very old pages are flashing up again.

But more weird is that under the tab "linked by" in the crawl error page the http and the https are shown as the "linked from" pages! Someone seeing the same?
12:06 pm on July 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google is introducing "expanded" Adwords ads. These are bigger bolder ads expected to get more clicks and higher bids than the current size ads.

for more details, see [webmasterworld.com ]
and [webmasterworld.com ]

Most likely the main effects will be:
-- fewer clicks on organic results
-- more revenue for Google
12:59 pm on July 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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* But more weird is that under the tab "linked by" in the crawl error page the http and the https are shown as the "linked from" pages! Someone seeing the same? *

Just checked...I see the same thing for my https. Don't see for my http but that most likely is because I 301 everything to https which I switched over to earlier this month.
1:16 pm on July 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday in advancedwebranking-com had something big. Someone noticed something on your sites?
This 137 message thread spans 5 pages: 137