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Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2017

     
11:07 am on Jan 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 8 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4830556.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 4:05 am on Feb 1, 2017 (PDT -8)


Here's something I found happened at the start of January across smaller, medium and massive websites, across verticals, within my GSC account.

I will write down the exact steps you can take to check if this happened with your properties as well.

1.) Timespan last 90 days, select all metrics, group by countries (there is no possibility to write in a country you're looking for so you need to find it manually in the next step)
2.) Sort by impressions descending
3.) If I'm right, most likely you'll see "Unknown Region" within the first 30 results for larger sites (in terms of organic traffic), first 10 for smaller ones
4.) Click on the Unknown Region to filter by that, what you should see is a 10x drop in impressions and a 2x spike in avg. position at around January 4th-5th -> clicks actually remained the same (so CTR rose also through the roof)
5.) This change is maintained and steady for the data I have so far (last day for which I have data is January 29th, because of the GSC delay of course)

Just sharing this 'cause it looks like a wide-spread phenomena, so hoping to get confirmations from others, feel free to report if you found something similar.

One of the questions arising from this observation is: could this be related to the general observation about country of origin traffic shifts that other members noticed (at a later date though, January 24th if I'm not mistaken)?

Another hypothesis that leaped to mind is maybe a SERP tracker or some other major bot that Google started counting out of the equation since this date. I based this on the fact that most of those impressions were evenly spread across queries and the number of impressions per specific query was the same each week.

But let's see if others see this same pattern in GSC
5:56 pm on Feb 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Search Engine Roundtable has posted today the following relevant post:

Google: Panda Takes Into Account Site Quality Including Site Architecture [seroundtable.com...]
6:25 pm on Feb 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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jeremyers1,

I have never seen anything from Google about being listed in blogrolls being a bad thing. I wouldn't disavow those links, because there isn't anything wrong with them and there still are many blogrolls on the web in enough numbers that penalizing those would harm many sites that shouldn't be.
8:18 pm on Feb 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@andymorris
I got exactly same hit ( no manual penalty) , HUGE traffic drop between Feb21 - Feb 24 , pretty old domain, domain was purchased with links so not sure what was involved in SEO.




[edited by: not2easy at 2:52 am (utc) on Mar 22, 2017]
[edit reason] Compliance [/edit]

11:59 pm on Feb 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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deriklogov : are you slowly recovering since then? It's my case (really slowly...)
12:18 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Jori
No recovering, traffic got stable low.
We had a huge raise on Jan 17 and then huge drop on Feb 24 to the level of that we had before.
12:20 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Jori
Do you have any image traffic ? Only web traffic drops in our case, image traffic stays the same (from Google Webmaster Tools Filter by Search Type)
12:23 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is there any way to post images here ? I want to show how our traffic grow/drop looks like
9:57 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@deriklogov yeah weird right ? Organic search is still very low here but i'm slowly getting better positions and more clicks. I wonder if Analytics is broken, coz on the 26th, i got 1021 clicks in search console (with a really bad CTR or 4% for 22000 impressions) but only 405 sessions in analytics. Or maybe half of them didnt stay long enough on the page...

Revenues are still very, very low too.
10:57 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@andymorris

Have you done any site speed tweaks lately? If your SC and Analytics numbers are not adding up then perhaps something is interfering with the tracking code?
11:09 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What can I say? Everything was doing fine (as usual) until 2/10. The 11 days after, -40% in comparison of the 11 days before 2/10 in organic search. After the 2/21, another 40% during the following week against the week before 2/21.

I'm slowly "recovering", because I was loosing 53% of my traffic on 2/21 against 2/14, and know, I'm just loosing 17% on 2/27 against 2/20.

This is due to huge drops in positions. A part of this, my audience looks the same, same ctr and others indicators. But I did a big update, throwing away my amp pages (and consequent raise in page/session indicator).
11:13 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Another thing : comparing, with analytics, my website with other websites in the same field of mine, I can see there that I'm well behind the other sites in page/session.

But... this is because my pages are long tail !

more : 2016/12/05, Googlebot started to explore my small website (less tha 200 pages) massively (from 1500 pages/day to 15000 pages/day) and stayed that way until 2/09. Then, it dropped a bit, juste before the "penalty". It dropped massively on 2/21, back to the same level before 16/12/05.

The dates are strangely almost the same then the drops in Analytics. Was my website in observation during all this time? And I deceived Google, because I put very few content during this period?

[edited by: Jori at 11:22 am (utc) on Feb 28, 2017]

11:21 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@traffik daddy no speed tweaks no, i added W3 Total Cache plugin in february and moved to https at the end of january. But i wasnt aware at the time of that Google update so i thought the loss of audience and revenue was due to the move to https. Now i use both http/https but i set in the Search console the http as main domain.

I'll have to dig into that to find out what's going on, but i guess Google is slowly learning that http is the source and not https. Revenues dropped since the move to https. Like Drastically...

@Jori : so you got rid of amp completely ? I'm thinking of doing the same as people dont say more than 30 secs on those pages. It was a big part of my audience in december and january, now, not so much...
11:25 am on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes, completely removed AMP pages. They were performing worse than my responsive webpages, and I didn't gain any traffic for this.
1:12 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've registered just to share my experience on this...

We saw a big drop for some of our main keywords on the 21st of Feb. Rankings stayed flat until yesterday where we saw most terms return back to the same position or better.

One of the pages that dropped had been ranking at p1 for almost 3 months. Low bounce rate, almost 2mins spent on page, bringing in a good amount of leads. Then overnight bang...down to p34. When it returned back to p1 26th/27th same great metrics. We're also ranking with a rich snippet, that did exactly the same thing.

Our homepage is still ranking well it seems that it's a lot of our deeper pages that's dropped.

Really lost at what to do. We have no bad backlinks, all our content is written by our content team in house. We're a medium sized corporate business, no PBN's or anything allowed here.

Any ideas would be welcomed
1:27 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You saw a drop in your keywords, what about your traffic? That's what you should be looking at.
1:37 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A drop in keywords like that usually results in a drop in traffic... But just to be clear we've seen a huge drop in traffic as a result of everything. At it's worst a 60% drop in organic traffic.

I'm just trying to figure out why everything was back to normal yesterday.
2:56 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Another -50% drop here on Feb 21st and no explanation apparent.
3:09 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a recovery in traffic numbers, but sales have still been at a standstill for 2 days now. Completely worthless zombie rubbish.
4:00 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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[dropbox.com...]

What i am seeing is a change in the CTR just after the drop.
Maybe the have moved this traffic to a known region.
5:53 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google is toying wih the rankings. Had some rankings recovery for 2 days. Made me think that Google has recognised what is quality content again.

Then the next day, the rankings got eroded to the point that they were worse than before the recovery.

What on earth is Google trying to do?

Playing around with the rankings?
6:25 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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They played with rankings since forever. What it's new to me, it's the scale of the play.
7:00 pm on Feb 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google is confused period.
1:11 am on Mar 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Im also now seeing knowledge boxes for queries for affiliate websites that have been ghostwritten, as in they have nothing to do with the original query. Unbelievable.

System

9:55 am on Mar 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

redhat

 
 


The following 3 messages were cut out to new thread by robert_charlton. New thread at: google/4838449.htm [webmasterworld.com]
11:19 am on Mar 2, 2017 (PDT -8)
This 234 message thread spans 8 pages: 234
 

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