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Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2017

     
9:55 am on Mar 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 3 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4834186.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 11:19 am on Mar 2, 2017 (PDT -8)


CTR and position going up on the 28th, not to the december and january levels, but slowly up. Was doing an average of 6000 clicks from search, and on the 28th it got past 1000 for the first time since early feb.
2:49 pm on Mar 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I want to know from everyone, if all pages of your site have lost page views or just a few...
Looking at my site, it is just like the domain have been punished/devaluated, because all page have lost page views, aprox 2/3 lost.
Never had this before. Each algo update had some fluctuation, for more or less ( ~10% or 15%), some pages gaining more visibility and others going down. But never at this level, site wide, to lost 2/3 of organic traffic.
I do not have any message of "manual action".
And I do not know what to do...
2:49 pm on Mar 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@andynicky89 Clearly you have been impacted by the latest movement in the serps. Your assertion that copy paste content is being preferred over original content is not really supported by your screen shots. Your first two websites fell hard from the top of the ranking to page three and page ten. But the third copy and paste website only moved from page 13 to page 6 or 7. At best the site went from completely and totally non-existent to simply non-existent. It is reasonable to think that out of the hundreds of sites ahead of you many suck more than your copy paste site.

If anything, your screen caps may show that the latest update had a bias for links. If the your third site has no links than it can't be penalized for having bad links. Whereas the sites ahead of yours probably do have links, maybe even spammy links.
7:14 pm on Mar 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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How do these updates relate to revenue? Maybe you get less bots and no drop in genuine traffic.

For us it is like we can be on fourth page or on the first page revenue does not change and we do have the lowest prices in industry
7:33 pm on Mar 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No, it's not a bot thing. My CPCs are in levels never seen before. My prior traffic was a legit traffic. This penalty is sitewide, the CTRs are exactly the same than before, and all other metrics. Only this ever improving CTR.
11:09 pm on Mar 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I can confirm what Jori says, revenue has dropped massively inline with the traffic drop.

WMT search analytics shows my site went from an average position of 19 to 40 something for all countries.

all my links are natural, all my onsite stuff is legit

I live in hope that google reverses this change
11:22 pm on Mar 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Looking to my adsense revenues, it's just that time of the year (march) where everyone wants to be present on advertising. But this year, it's huge. Maybe because all other websites like mine are even more penalized, so adwords users are lacking of placements, thus pushing up CPCs ? I have to study my competitors better...
11:28 pm on Mar 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I understand it sounds like content has been downgraded

No content is better than great content whithout links and shares especially if big fishes are around
1:44 am on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've collected about 30 sites, stay tuned guys. If you have more, send them my way.
3:55 am on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've collected about 30 sites, stay tuned guys. If you have more, send them my way.

Sounds good Barry. I'll catch it here or on your blog. Can't wait to see what similarities there may be...
8:18 am on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I was just explaining it to my husband now. The description was...

'basically they're favouring Macdonalds over X restaurant (insert gourmet/a la carte).

In my niche, there's a clear favourite, they can sometimes take up 3-4 of the top spots, and now it's got much worse.
10:38 am on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This is insane... and absolutelly strange i was hit in some of my sites (the 80% of they) in febreuary now 2 of that sites afected by febreuary changes are now afected again the 7th of march i have 9 servers (5 private and 4 virtual) this 2 sites afected by the 7th of march update has the same structure (diferent content but are done with same script) and are in the same server... its the only common thing, i have some other sites in other diferent servers using the same script but not afected in march. I have to say that that server had some performance problems some times so may be will be also related with performance. I think that google is counting many variables in this new filters so its very dificult to understand what the chages are realted with, i think its an overall site scoring depending on site structure, backlinks (specially related topics backlinks), age, performance.... and so on.

My incomes(adsense) are slow but constantly decreasing specially this month now are 40-45% less than before march closer to be the half that they are before this start..
12:09 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@juand can you check the backlinks for the sites affected? maybe they had the same sites linking back to them and Google has now devalued those links?

or maybe the backlinks were of the same sort of 'type'?
12:33 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@nonstop Umhhh interesting very very interesting, both have links from website directories (spanish languaje), are very old links, every site is a classifieds Geo located site (diferent countries) im checking my other sites and some other have directory links (some of they just very few, not representative and others a medium representative) but this two have a big representative number i mean they have a total 50-60 diferent domains links and one of they have 40 from directories and the other 20 links so may be March change its related with links and you are right.... but even this change will be most related with links im still thinking that is a combination of some extra factors too.

I see that someone talked that he disavoid some links on webmastertools have some of you some luck yet and get any recover?
12:56 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@nonstop and both are liked by one site. im looking at my other sites and this link is not there (im using majestic seo for domain linking check)



[edited by: not2easy at 1:30 pm (utc) on Mar 12, 2017]
[edit reason] Please, no specifics/see Charter [/edit]

4:10 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Wow, more destruction over the weekend for me. It started on Feb 7th (20% loss), trickled downward until March 7th-ish when I got another 20% loss on top of that, and over the weekend I am down ANOTHER 30% on top of that...I am going to have to lay off at *least* one employee and I feel sick...
5:45 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Seems link related. All the usual link builders and link buyers are crying once more. Probably they applied another layer of disavow machine learning to the algo and cought even more built links.

I just wish they would fight other kinds of spam, such as youtube spam and other social network spam with the same conviction, because they are as exploitable as some good swiss cheese.

the "good black hats" have switched to social years ago.

I saw it happen... instead of PR 5links, they started making fake facebook pages wiith 50k likes and 20+ posts with 20+ likes and shares each. And that stuff still seems to work like an absolute charm for them. Social shares and likes are the new links.
5:59 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@WhiteHatTryHard

If you read the posts here you'll see that it mostly webmasters who haven't engaged in any link building that have been hit.

including myself.
6:03 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@nonstop true
6:09 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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any UK websites hit yet ?
8:15 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Quick question, I hope it's okay to ask in this thread.

For those of you who don't participate in link building (such as myself), do you still use the disavow tool? I found some unpleasant sites linking to mine (according to webmaster tools), I have no idea why they would want to and I have no intention of visiting those sites (they're not very nice), so did use the disavow tool on Friday. I'm not sure if this should be a part of regular housekeeping or not.
8:56 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hey Browndog,

Iam managing two Technology Blogs.. Iam still using the Disavow-Tool against these Scraper-Sites. Its like fighting against windmills. Actually i have like a few hundreds of good links and ten times more of scraper sites in the disavow-file. Iam already above 2k Domains in the Disavow. Actually i cant say that i feel any positive effect from it. Traffic is lower than last year and the year before.
9:03 pm on Mar 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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According to WMT, there are 87,000 links to my site. 56,000 from Pinterest so I'm assuming they would be okay?

The thing that irritates me is that Google want you to try and have these links removed as some form of punishment, but firstly I didn't ask for these awful links and secondly, I don't want to have to visit their sites, they're not nice and I'd end up being spammed more or getting a virus.

The disavow file I sent had 500 links, but there's more. It's so time consuming.

My traffic drops yearly, despite adding more and more content and updating older articles. I don't entirely blame it on dropping in the rankings, but other factors such as people getting answers on FB or Youtube, as well as Google pushing results further down by adding the knowledge box and ads.
7:03 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hey Brown,

On one of my domains i have also a disavow with 500+ Links. Since the Switch to https and the proper redirection from http:// to [www....] there a many new links to it. Looks like i had a wrong redirection in the past. My new disavow will be around 700-800 domains now from scraper sites. But i wait for the new disavow till the dust of this update has settled. On another domain i experience the same problem. Traffic is declining every year further. Cant find a solution to it.
8:33 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@nonstop
Yes that's what they all say. Everyone else's links are spammy, but mine are 100% legit. Of course.

I got a boost in this update, and even I have to admit, that I have some built links from back in the day and got negative SEOed several times in the last 3 years.

All that's changing now is that they start ignoring those >200$ "quality topical" bought links that held up your sites. Which gives me a boost, since I never relied on those.

[edited by: WhiteHatTryHard at 8:37 am (utc) on Mar 13, 2017]

8:37 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I don't really understand scraper sites.

I see some really dodgy sites in WMT that have nothing to do with my niche, so I don't know why they are linking to me.

What makes me so furious is when I do a search for this update, sites say it's a black hat penalty for people who have engaged in dodgy SEO/link building. In the entire history of my site (established 2002), I have never, ever asked site to add a link to my site or have I hired a SEO company. I have a policy against link building. I add links to other sites as I see fit (ie; if they're really really awesome), I never ask other sites to link to me. But the various blogs are claiming we've been hit due to unsavoury SEO/black hat. *rant over*
8:43 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@browndog
Dont worry about scaper sites. Google knows scraper links and ignores them automatically.

The thing you want to worry about is PBN links and "high quality authoritative topical" bought links that run for a few hundred bucks. Those are the ones Google is starting to filter out now and maybe even punish, especially from expired domains.
8:56 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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An interesting observation made by some colleagues of mine that handle much more properties than me (albeit with smaller traffic sizes). They asked me if I can check whether the properties I have that hold more backlinks from non-https sites have lost traffic. Now I can't be too certain of this because I need more stats to get away from confirmation bias, BUT I did find something related. Got a report from Ahrefs and it turned out that the 3 properties with 20k+ links that saw a small downtrend in search volume did have ~60% of the links coming from non-https sites. Mainly legacy links, forum or comment mentions or links pointing to the non-https version of the domains. Same was seen in over 20 more properties, and I can safely get behind my colleagues' report.

If you like you can check for yourself. If this behavior is correct we might have some better information about what the "Fred" update might be all about, perhaps deprecating legacy links or links coming from non-https/updated websites?
8:58 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Said it once, I'll say it again. I wish Google would ignore links altogether. I actually don't care what Google thinks about links to my site. It shouldn't be a ranking factor, it is too easy to manipulate.

I get a few visitors via a competitor who has a forum and a member linked to an article of mine. I get a few other visitors here and there via links. I really would rather Google ignored all of that. We should be focusing on content, not who is linking to our sites.
9:07 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@browndog if you bet only on content you will never outrank big websites with millions of pages. Things should be balanced, both content and links.
9:46 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I guess it has something to do with the http -> https switch. Why? When the Update started both of my Blogs got kicked out entirely. The Site: Command worked and showed em in index. But in the normal Organic Search they couldnt be found anywhere. They just disappeared. But that only happened to all indexed https. The old http Pages which havent been recrawled were still ranking on their normal spots.
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