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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2016

     
1:18 pm on Sep 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 4 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4814310.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:01 pm on Sep 1, 2016 (PDT -8)


I agree with you that features such keyword, location, browser type and so on (not set) may well be someone blocking the info for privacy reasons.But @ionguy my understanding is that whenever the hostname is set to anything other than your domain name then it must be a bot, this includes (not set). In so far as hostname specifically is concerned (not set) is always a bot and not a privacy issue. Filtering out the hostname (not set)s and other foreign domain from your data is essential to getting accurate stats.

This is applies to piwik and other analytics tools as much as it does to GA.
1:23 pm on Sept 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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chrisv1963, on zombie days I notice that there tends to be a lot more domain crowding than usual... speaking of which, traffic has been the lowest quality for the last few weeks it has ever been. It is pretty much just bot traffic, because there is almost no interaction with my sites at all. If this isn't a part of September SEO discussions then what exactly are we talking about?
1:36 pm on Sept 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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From the limited set of results I follow, it seems like a consolidating of the Mobile and Desktop results. They seem more similar than ever. My interpretation from this update is Google is giving a lot more weight to responsive/mobile friendly sites.
3:24 pm on Sept 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Jez123 wrote
Wow, conversions are through the roof today

This might be a good opportunity to investigate your rankings, competition from Adwords, etc
9:09 am on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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This might be a good opportunity to investigate your rankings, competition from Adwords, etc


Thanks Aristotle. My rankings have increased slightly on some phrases (on the ones I check) but not all, and not massive. I have a feeling the change will be in the long tail that i don't monitor though. How and why would competition from Adwords be affected with this update (or whatever it was, I personally don't think it was and update). There is nothing showing as to why i would suddenly get a massive surge in conversions. It doesn't seem to be continuing today so far.
10:06 am on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Same @Jez123 - we saw great traffic and conversions yesterday and we seem to be on the rise organically too. Hopefully we continue to keep improving.

Interesting notes:- I had 1200 legacy 404s drop into my WMT and my bot activity has been through the roof.
10:20 am on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@BushieTop When you say "great traffic and conversions" and "on the rise organically too", do you mean that your *paid* campaigns are suddenly seeing increased traffic and conversions? Because we've also seen a sudden increase too.

And we had 40,000 legacy 404s appear a couple of days ago. In fact, GSC has been emailing us warning us about this, even though the issue is with Google.
10:35 am on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@ Simon H. It's just organic for me.

My Search Console has not updated since end of August but no rise in 404's as far as i can see.
10:35 am on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@Simon_H No, i never refer to paid on this thread, the changes I'm seeing are all organic. Conversion isn't the main factor, it's more traffic, which is due to the increase in generic organic - But the reason i mention it is because i haven't seen to two tandem since early June!
10:50 am on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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why there are low visitors when your site are top 10 in browsing keyword?
i have done quality keyword,backling creating since last 2 years,and my site show in top 10 results.good on-page work.but i got only 1000 visitors per month..anyone solve my this problem plz...
11:33 am on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Really mate ? goback to $5er
1:48 pm on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@BushieTop We had same issue with 404s. GSC is finding old URLs.
5:03 pm on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@BushieTop, @Jhurwith - Do the sites with the legacy 404s in GSC have any link spam issues, e.g. been hit with Penguin or are at risk of doing so?
5:44 pm on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@Simon H, Not sure how you are defining legacy 404s, but ours are old URLs that are no longer live.

We have not been hit by penguin or panda and should not be at risk.
10:45 pm on Sept 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@Jhurwith Thanks. Yes, I was defining legacy 404s as old URLs that are no longer live.

Just trying to see if you, us, @BushieTop have anything in common given we're all seeing the same thing happening, e.g. is this Google doing some exhaustive link graph refresh on key sites in preparation for Penguin, or is this just completely random?
2:58 am on Sept 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Picking back up last two days -fingers crossed. US adult
8:22 am on Sept 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Data problems in GSC

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6211453#search_analytics

--

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:07 am (utc) on Sep 7, 2016]
[edit reason] Delinked link which wasn't working [/edit]

9:13 am on Sept 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Mod's note: Regarding the link above... hash characters in urls break in the WebmasterWorld redirect script, and the link, broken at the hash character, was taking us to the right page, but the Search Analytics Report from Google was hidden.

Copy the above url and paste it into your address bar.

Here is is again...
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6211453#search_analytics

And here's the Google report...
Sept 1, 2016 (ongoing)

A system error began dropping all Search Analytics data after Aug 31. We hope to fix the problem soon and add back the missing data.


1:40 pm on Sept 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@Simon H, We got that influx in late August and have yet to see any traffic changes. Our reps and other experts say to ignore as a result. Very annoying, but don't think we should worry too much.
1:59 pm on Sept 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Had a good converting day after over a week stretch of almost nothing happening. SERP positions haven't changed much out of the ordinary flux as others are reporting an update... if the converting days are a sign of what's to come in this update and pull through for the next few weeks then I may be back on the adwords gravy train. Until then it will take some time to rebuild trust in the services.
2:06 am on Sept 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Update: Things completely dropped off again, zombies are back.
8:16 am on Sept 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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All of my serps dropped yesterday here in the UK, right across the board and I have no idea why. I've never bothered building links to the site (and only have a small number of domains linking to me) so don't believe I've been penalised and there's no message in GSC.

I read somewhere that a Penguin update is on its way, could the 2 things be related?
8:38 am on Sept 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Holey S**t - We have legacy 404s appearing from years (and i mean years) ago - hundreds of them.

I assume that this is one of the root causes of our fluctuations. Worst part, is that they are linked from legacy pages too. Looks messy. Going to implement 301 on all of them. Clearly, cant let them 404/410
9:30 am on Sept 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Actually, I am just curious about last week's recent Google algorithm changes and it was rolled-out in September 1, 2016 which was observed by certain SEO practitioners.

According to John Mueller and her clarify that the recent update is regarding on "quality update" and not penguin related update. Is there anyone out here who has a clue of what specific scope of the recent quality update is? Is it related to "user-intent? or trust signals related? or because of manipulated reviews in rich snippets?

I am hoping to for your response. Thanks a lot. Cheers!
9:32 am on Sept 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Please excuse some of my typos. Thanks.
12:31 pm on Sept 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I noticed a move on 3 separate sites all of which had been hit by Penguin back in Sept 2014, not massive or dramatic but a jump up from same page 7 to page 5, that sort of progression on a wide range of phrases.

Feels like an slight release of Penguin or an update that relates to quality in a similar way. Pre Penguin each site had page #1 results for the same phrases and since we have comprehensively cleaned up links and disavowed etc.

Not sure what to make of it, a move in the right direction for us maybe.
1:02 pm on Sept 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Let's all send to John Muller examples of zombie traffic he points that way here [seroundtable.com...]
1:10 pm on Sept 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@ highlander888 When my site was partially released in 2014 from Penguin, I had a similar small surge before a larger jump in ranks and traffic when Penguin was run. I can't recall how long before but a couple of weeks or a month. I did think this seemed similar.
10:19 am on Sept 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hi Guys,

I hope this would helps somehow. There were rumours of:

Penguin roll-outs (affecting Personal Blog Networks [PBN’s])
Local pack result updates
Knowledge panel updates
Spam targeting
Pre-testing

As what I observed to the current ranking in campaigns that I am handling. Most local keywords were mostly affected in the recent update.
Try to search for something with geo-location at the end of the phrase example: "tile cleaning brisbane" . Most results are with EMD and EMAT.
There are only few PMAT and LSI terms that can be seend in the first top 10 search results. Use the TLD of .com.au to see the sample.

Here is my conclusion above the recent although it is too early to decide but here 's what I also observed.
- Most organic terms are when up and most of the local terms drastically declined from rankings. (Geo-targeted terms)
- Google may probably working in the quality update of search intent to viewers. (but it is too early to decide)
- Most of the websites that went up in rankings are the website that has legit reviews & ratings.
- If there a pre-launch of penguin update, there should be changes in rankings for websites that have been penalized by penguin.

Please let me know if you think that my conclusions are right. Let me know your observations and inputs regarding in this update.
10:36 am on Sept 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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- If there a pre-launch of penguin update, there should be changes in rankings for websites that have been penalized by penguin.


This sort of fits with my thinking as this was what I observed the last time Penguin was run and my site was released. Or 75% released anyway.

In your opinion, why would this happen? It seems odd to see a slight improvement and then a larger improvement before Penguin is fully run.
12:18 pm on Sept 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@simon_h @Jhurwith No we haven't suffered a penguin it and a lot of these pages are old product variant pages with minimal link equity. In the past i would have 410'd them, however, recently I've not seen that work, so where i know that there can be no negative effect other than potential redirect chains, I've implemented 301.
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