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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.
10:07 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@SantaCruze did you 301 redirected the old http to https?
10:20 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hey Andy,

Yeah i did that with the https Switch. All different Variations like with and without www. First Website was switched end of January and second in mid February.
10:32 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@SantaCruze if https pages has drop the problem can be links. I'm in the dark too, i have an website that i didnt build any link to it, is normal http without s, and also have 1 article 100% copy pasted, and after that update has ranked 7 and 10 pages for 2 main keywords. Really don't understand what happen.
11:23 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Something related to links also [seems] to be happening. I got an email from a Huge/Brand site requesting me to remove a link that I have placed in one of my sites. I asked why and they said it is because Google has penalized them. This site has many natural links, but they also have a huge number of paid links.
11:43 am on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@syedyasir those who remove the links will get caught more better than usual. I personally i would not remove any link. If you do that, the algo is learning that those type of links are not good. This is the reason that SEO is at that level now and nothing can rank even with powerfull links. I have a lot of website that are really stuck for months even if i add super powerfull links. Google don't count them somehow. Fwck them.
12:30 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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some update: [seroundtable.com...]

What do you think? Even if my website doesn't match these, I wonder how to avoid a false-positive.
12:46 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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it's too early to change things, hold off for a couple of weeks if you can.

It's very unusual for Google to penalize sites that follow it's guidelines.

it could just be a glitch, lets wait until we have all the data
12:53 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I see a lot of "wait&see" advises on forums. I think this is right. I'll work on other projects and see how it resolves by itself or not.
12:56 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I also read the new SeoRoundTablet Article. My two Blogs also dont fit the pattern. They are typical News Websites with Articles i write by myself. Also i have 2 AdSense Ads and a Amazon Ad per Page which is not much. My Competitors in the Blogosphere have 2-3 times more ads on their blogs.
1:07 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@SantaCruze, is not about ads mate. Is about nothing. Both websites whitehat and blackhat are gone from serp. Google today is the biggest scam in history.
2:11 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@andynicky89
If you mean outranking amazon or wallmart, then yes you wont with or without links.

If you mean outranking the biggest brands in an average niche... it took me 3 years of hard work and I did it. And I did it with only minimal off page seo... and 0 links bought. But if you want outrank them quick, you wont. It takes time and a LOT of effort as with everything.
4:59 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am bored of this, its like having a job that you can get sacked from any anytime without warning even if you have done nothing wrong. Everyday I wake up i see less traffic, its really a terrible feeling especially knowing you have worked so hard for so long.
5:18 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@30K_a_month Is more than that. I don't have another job. I just bet on those internet earnings but Google doesn't think at that.
5:46 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Heya,

Looks like Round 2 just started. My Site dropped again out of the Organic Search Index. Site: Command still works but no organic Hits for the Domain are visible. Just like last Wednesday when it all started. Domain 2 isnt "hit" by that at the moment. Anyone else dropped again out with almost zero traffic?
6:12 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@lefrontal: How can a image from pinterest be indexed in google images if it has been copied?
No manual actions?

@lefrontal: Of course Pinterest (Stolen pictures, data...) was not #*$!ed and it is ranking better. I don't understand anything.

Because if Google admits publicly Pinterest has stolen images, then exactly the same applies to Google Images, which is also stolen images that websites no longer are getting traffic from in exchange for "letting Google collect pics", i.e. listed in that directory. Directory got booted, by the way.

Even sue-everyone Getty Images lawyers seem not to affect those two. Although they've been suing bunch of sites for as little as shopping cart image, what is it $1000 per occurrence, $10,000 ?

And a whole bunch of other "alphabet" (pun intended) agencies are going to get upset because they can't use you and G as a free-for-them photo collecting and archiving database called "Pinterest". not gonna happen right now. One of the reasons we , "deplorables", elected Trump, we need some leverage to tell them that we have an opinion, too, about our work.

Because if they admit the law, they are out of business tomorrow. Even at $1000 per image.
6:22 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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the updated page is here [seroundtable.com...]
6:26 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@browndog: According to WMT, there are 87,000 links to my site. 56,000 from Pinterest

Doubt you'd be ok.

I have the same thing or similar. It is completely insane that Pinterest is not auto-disawoved by G. The only reason is that G friends that are on G white list are using it to massively rank and make big $.
6:52 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am running some tests based on what @rustybrick wrote at SEORountable today.

I had 3 ad networks on my site. Google, Amazon, and BuySellAds. Today, I dropped Amazon and BuySell, and am now running ONLY Adsense. I also reduced my adsense ads down to two per page only.

i wonder if Google's "Three ads per page" rule does not apply only the "Adsense" ads, but to ALL ads on the page. Maybe they don't want to see more than 3 ads TOTAL, whether it is Adsense, Amazon, or some other ad network.

My ad revenue will take a hit from this, I suppose, but maybe my traffic will return.

Of course, based on what Google is reported to have said (see link below), it might take weeks to see any traffic return, and even if it does, there is no certain way to know that the ads caused the penalty in the first place. Maybe any future return to normal traffic is caused by an algo update.

[searchengineland.com...]
6:57 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@jeremyers1 I'm using only AdSense for years and got droped so.. you can test that out and tell us if it makes any changes.
7:33 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@jeremyers1 Adsense no longer has a 3 ads per page policy. That was dropped about a year ago.

It will be interesting to see if your changes have an impact. The only question is, will it be immediate or will you have to wait for some kind of an algo refresh?
9:22 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My Google traffic is down by 60% today (though it started in February, this day is the worst by far). SSL, responsive, http2, no commercial banners, no Google Analytics. My site was (is?) a victim of 'spam links attack' (https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4838415.htm), I'm guessing this is the reason.

On the other hand, Google's crawling my site like crazy, today I've got somewhere around 170 000 hits from Googlebot (ips starting with 66.249). It's mind blowing and really scary how much of computing power they have.
11:20 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Since this is a zero-sum game, someone is benefiting *hugely* from the *huge* losses of traffic reported here - but who? There must be huge gains in traffic somewhere balancing out the huge losses reported, but I don't hear of any traffic gains, only losses. How come?

.
11:35 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Zero sum game is a myth. It's a zero sum game if you include the house(i.e. google) in overall numbers. Google can simply change the traffic patterns and divert more traffic to other sites or to its ads as required.
Some data points- in the jobs sector, serps that were full of job sites were replaced by old (read 1 to 3 years old) news postings related to the queries.
if someone is searching for say Jp morgan jobs, the results will now show many results such as layoffs, or offshoring related news. This was a phenomenon I tracked back in 2016 Feb to April. Changing the page layout to eliminate from 3 ads to 4 ads at top, removing side ads...
Google owns the platform and they will milk every cent out of it till the users revolt. Which may never happen.
11:36 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@heisje those that have benefited are less likely to report it in a forum setting. They would not want to come across as boasting.

Also take note that many of those posting about negative impacts are also new members that just signed up since the update. They come here to find out what is going on, and then use the forum to vent their frustrations. [Note: there is nothing wrong with that, and welcome the more the merrier.] This is simply to say that there is, IMO, a natural bias in this venue towards people that have been negatively impacted.
11:59 pm on Mar 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@niku_piku the number of people searching for say JP Morgan is not controlled per-se by Google. So on that basis the person that is in the first rank gets the lion share of those users, once that site is displaced from top ranking, the number of users will drop for that site. But the new site at the top of the rankings takes on the remaining users. So no matter where any site ranks the number of users doesn't change and so one site's loss is a another gain. Your tin foil has to be strapped be tight if want argue that this not how it works.

There are two caveats here, one is if Google royally screws up the algo update and pushes only crap sites to the top of the rankings, then users in general may stop using Google at which point Google's loss becomes your loss as well. The second, is to a degree more likely, that users find better result from search ads than from organic results. This second point can only be pushed so far as pushing it to far will lead to the first.
12:15 am on Mar 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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NickMNS, your point is fair. But my core point hasn't been addressed. When google moves from 3 ads at top to 4 or 5, what will happen? Who will gain? Would it still be a zero sum game? Strictly in the context of organic results. Obviously, loss of one organic result comes with a gain of an ad result. It's still a zero sum gain from google perspective. Because it's a click out albeit a paid click out. They have an army of specialists analyzing pentabytes of data everyday to increase their profits.

There is no need to call it a conspiracy or anything else. Google own the users. Google own the platform. And they will do whatever they want to do with their users. They have to maximize their profits without offending the users. And so far they are doing a great job.
The problem arises when webmasters begin to have any 'expectations' from Google. They don't care for webmasters beyond the free content that's thrown their way to organize as they deem fit. And they have made this point clear since the departure of Matt.
1:02 am on Mar 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The problem arises when webmasters begin to have any 'expectations' from Google.

I'd say the problem arises when Webmasters have unrealistic expectations--such as "Google owes me a living" or "My rankings should only rise, never fall."
2:53 am on Mar 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It's pretty frustrating when you actually work close to 7 days a week adding and improving content and have less traffic than 12 months ago. I don't think Google (or any other search engine) owes me anything, but you can't help but feel awful when the rug is suddenly pulled out from you and you have no idea why.

But, today is shaping up to be somewhat better than the past few days, I'm still down, but more like 5% compared to 15% of the past few days. So I am hoping that things are settling down a bit.

I have been a loud voice in the past about the awful impact of Google algorithm changes, but I am the first to put my hand up and say there's a lot less rubbish (in the searches I do anyway) than there were five years ago. So they are doing something right, but people are obviously going to complain (well I am) when traffic drops.
5:13 am on Mar 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Do a lot of you not actually use Google search? The stack of 4, 5, 6 or more ads at the top of the mobile SERPS? How can that not affect traffic? How about the news boxes now, the answer box, the stacks of ads that show above the fold now more than ever? It's not complicated. It's also not going to reverse. My site is fine but I know what's changed. It's not me. So for me, the SERPS are up against more commercialization and big boxes above the fold than ever before. If Google is the only funnel to the web and free traffic, then it's time to find other hobbies.
6:44 am on Mar 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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MrSavage is 100% right. Go to GSC Search Analytics and compare your current stats with the last 28 days (default option). You'll find that avg. position is the same, CTR is the same (or even better - like mine is), but total clicks is down by at least 25%. What does it mean? Google's serving more ads.

Once again: Google is business. They make money from data you provide voluntarily and for free. Data is money. Google will keep beating this dead horse until it stops spitting out money.
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