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Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2017

     
12:21 am on Apr 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 5 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4838449.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 12:55 pm on Apr 2, 2017 (PDT -8)


We had a noticeable improvement in average Google rankings on the 29th (the most recent date in Google Search Console). Google organic traffic has also been up 6.0 to 9.7 percent for each of the last five days, compared to the same days last week. Another mini-update, maybe? (The changes definitely fall outside our normal week-to-week variations.)
9:44 pm on Apr 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well, we lost a few competitors the past two years, gained mobile audience are on a constant usability improvement campaign, pumped social media yet keep slipping to sites that post such interesting content as "87 hilarious photos of squirrels" - not surprisingly these sites are ad network partners. Yup, that's business on Google.
10:05 pm on Apr 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In other April search news, Google failed once again to guarantee that everyone's organic traffic will convert, implying that the onus is on the site owner to turn free prospects into sales.
1:44 am on Apr 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Will just throw it in here.

I am seeing https pages take over where http used to be.

I am also seeing for our website non-www URLs displayed, although we don't link like that and have non-www to www redirects everywhere. In fact when you click non-www link, it redirects to www.

And since G is messing with correct pages, weaker pages are up in SERPs so they slip against stronger competitor pages.
11:48 am on Apr 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In other April search news, Google failed once again to guarantee that everyone's organic traffic will convert, implying that the onus is on the site owner to turn free prospects into sales.


Never mind the fact that for well over a decade, free prospects regularly turned into sales with no smoke, mirrors, first born or cash payments required. The real problem is that there are far fewer "free" prospects on the "free" internet. It's fully owned.

update: Scratch that "fewer"...in our case make that none. Zero traffic all morning and it's not because it's Easter. Once again while SERP's "appear" to not have changed, traffic as virtually disappeared...again.
12:40 pm on Apr 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys,

I woke up early on Easter morning, looked at my ranking report and, after a week, all my primary keywords were once again back on the first page of Google and this time I really hope they stay there! What a beautiful Easter morning ;)
1:08 pm on Apr 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Did anyone observe a lower crawler activity since the end of march?
See the search console - Crawl - Crawl Stats

[i.imgur.com...]
3:28 pm on Apr 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Daum, my organic traffic from the U.S has dropped by over 50%. Started on Friday, I'm really panicking.
7:17 pm on Apr 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It's grim.
7:18 pm on Apr 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Never mind the fact that for well over a decade, free prospects regularly turned into sales with no smoke, mirrors, first born or cash payments required. The real problem is that there are far fewer "free" prospects on the "free" internet. It's fully owned.

First, change happens. Suck it up. And deal with it.

Second, one needs to stop identifying the internet with Google. The internet is far far more than the web, which, in turn, is far far more than Google. The Google is 'all' mindset is certainly a common delusion however it's commonality does not negate the delusion. Yes, once upon a time it was the easiest. So easy that everyone climbed on board and easy became crowded.

Third, one needs to stop extrapolating from the specific (one to many search queries have pushed non-enterprise organic results well down the listings - something that has been increasing for a decade and should NOT be a surprise) with the general; internet traffic is still largely free (although in some niches arbitrage plays are easier) and acquiring that free traffic is certainly not 'fully owned' (although platforms are increasingly preempting where they can). Adapt, for crikey's sake! Surely a decades continuing notice of change is sufficient lead time?

Fourth, bots have multiplied. Bots coming via SEs including Google is through the roof. If one doesn't account or block for this one's analytics analysis is fundamentally flawed. Just because one's traffic is almost all via Google doesn't mean that it's necessarily anywhere near all human.

Fifth, traffic patterns tend to be unique by data centre. This used to be much more visible in the long ago when one could see update progression in real time and before the noise of personalisation became overwhelming.

Sixth, how/where SEs, including Google direct traffic has changed what with Navigational/Informational/Transactional/Personal/Local/etc. Given the volumes even the smallest misdirection is huge in absolute numbers.

Seventh... well, there is a lot that most webdevs never contemplate nor SEOs for that matter. There are a lot of trees in the forest and I think far far too many are more lost than I. They just don't know it.

Yes, I am fortunate to have begun in the long ago when 'life' was easier. However, even then there were a significant number of similar complaints about traffic, conversion, Google et al. Yes, I am 'fortunate' to have kept 'adapting', adding features, adjusting layouts, etc. mostly for solid business requirements but also because it's fun!

I have the wherewithal to go deep into data analysis and marketing and leverage machine learning. But while I am playing where few webdevs have the opportunity the questions I'm asking can all be answered, to some good degree of workability, without all the bells and whistles. The wealth of free advice that would have and still can guide one past the shoals of Google change, into diversification of traffic and revenue et al here at WebmasterWorld is absolutely priceless. The biggest secret of success on the web is that there is no secret.

Perhaps the best advice one can give is RTFM.
Then test. And adapt, always adapt.
Be ahead of the curve rather than behind.
The road is always moving, standing still means being passed right on by.
9:25 pm on Apr 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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^ fan boy promoting an eBook on online success? How about a nice free listing on page 100.
12:32 am on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed in the answer box that when an image is included it may not necessarily be the image belonging to the site quoted.

So the widget answer comes from widgets.com, but the widget image comes from widgets-are-great.com
3:05 am on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed in the answer box that when an image is included it may not necessarily be the image belonging to the site quoted.
We've got a thread with some background on that here...

Mashed Up Featured Snippet w/ Links to 2 Different Sites
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4844393.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Yes, most people do call them "answer boxes".

5:42 am on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am getting killed. The last 3 days I have hardly had any traffic.
6:47 am on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Robert, I must have missed that thread. I'll go post in there.
8:07 am on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@hermosa same thing here, started on Friday.
8:13 am on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hopefully the downward trend is Easter and people being away. My site is down too. I'm trying not to panic. It's spring in the Northern Hemisphere, here in Australia it's been beautiful weather, even I've managed to tear myself away from panic mode and get outside.

Tomorrow will be interesting when everybody returns to work.
9:15 am on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The current answer boxes are becoming more ridiculous by the day. Why do they choose results from #7-9? It only gets worse when they are clearly PBNs and spun /stolen content from elsewhere or pure nonsense.

Also, zombie traffic is back too. I've had significant ranking increases for my sites, but the traffic is barely useful. I should be making 10x the number of sales I'm getting for the keywords that are supposedly ranking. I just don't get it. If Google helps me, Im quite happy to spend a bit of money on adwords. If they aren't going to do that, then they aren't getting a dime. It's so simple, yet so foreign to Google.
9:48 am on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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These drop-down answer boxes seem to be the resurrection of long tail titles. I just did a search for how to drink chocolate milk to see if that's still a beverage of choice. Here are the initial answers dropdowns...

- Is chocolate milk a good recovery drink?
- What does chocolate milk do to your body?
- Can milk help you lose weight?
- Why chocolate milk is good for recovery?

And, as you read more answers, they keeping adding questions onto the end of the list, two at a time, so we're also now getting...
- Why is chocolate milk good after a long run?
- Is chocolate milk better than white?
- Why athletes should drink chocolate milk?
- Is it good to drink milk after a workout?
- What are the ingredients of chocolate milk?
- Is milk good for building muscle mass?
- Is the milk healthy?
- Is milk is fattening?
- Is it bad to have too much milk?
- Is skim milk or 1 better for you?
- Is whole milk more fattening?
- Can drinking milk make you fat?
- How many ounces of chocolate milk should I drink after a workout?
- Why chocolate milk is not good for you?

Etc, etc, etc, etc. They're getting to be like the hydra. You read the answer to one, and several more pop up. This is making the 2010 answer farms look quaint and naive.

Most of these answers, though, each come from a different site. I'm sure they're testing something, but it might just be the battery life of your mobile phone. ;)

3:17 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Tomorrow will be interesting when everybody returns to work.

In some countries, Easter Monday is a holiday, so if things seem slow, wait a day before worrying. :-)
4:47 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I see a possible roll back
6:10 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I see what appears to be a roll back, too.
6:36 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@reseller & @atomic, post screenshots as a proof, otherwise all words are nonsense.
8:29 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@reseller & @atomic yeah, I'm also experiencing a roll back : )
9:13 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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what is being rolled back?
9:44 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@reseller & @atomic, post screenshots as a proof, otherwise all words are nonsense.

This forum isn't the comments section of Search Engine Roundtable. Just saying. :-)
9:49 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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RankRanger is showing high level of Google SERP fluctuations today April 17th 2017. Very exciting indeed :)
9:53 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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With it being Easter weekend it is difficult to get any sense of what is up and what is down. On my end traffic seemed normal, to slightly stronger than a usual weekend. But if you factor in Easter, that would suggest a net increase. Is it? Mozcast reported 98 for both Saturday and Sunday.
1:20 pm on Apr 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Robert, I am seeing that too, its not a test. The questions and answers appear to be scraped from a bunch of related websites, and some of them are just pure rubbish. Is Google going to be the new ehow? Who knows... all I know is that I want a way to disable them because I would like to read the actual authors comment and pay their websites a visit for helping me as a searcher.

The only reason I would want an instant answer is for facts, local queries, currency conversion etc.

I find myself using bing and ddg a lot more often these days because the results are so obfuscated with old content, local result heavy (especially for queries like cheap web hosting - I'm in Australia, I don't want local results), PBN's, thin articles on "authority" websites. Ugh.
2:13 pm on Apr 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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>> @hermosa: I am getting killed. The last 3 days I have hardly had any traffic.

>> @Halaspike: same thing here, started on Friday.

That's Easter + Passover + unusually warm weather in Eastern US.

It is also very possible G is "testing" while your niche traffic is low due to holidays. Or rolling up big brand sales items on lots of additional queries - the last one is my blind guess.
2:21 pm on Apr 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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>> @Robert Charlton

Priceless queries. completely clueless answers. should get 1 or 0 and be on top of Google fake news list instead of being displayed in Google Answers. Telling you how clueless automated "guessing" at the right answers is.


Can milk help you lose weight?
Myth No. 5: Milk Can Help You Lose Weight. The theory: Calcium helps the body break down fat more efficiently, stimulating weight loss. The reality: Dairy doesn't appear to have magic properties. A few studies from the mid-2000s concluded that dieters who consumed dairy lost more weight than dieters who did not.


US-made, homogenized, pasterized, and especially FAT FREE or low fat (and even whole milk as "whole" is a scam as cows can't possibly make milk lower than 6%-8% fat and US-made "whole" is 2% so it is already "low fat") - with added "vitamins" that leach from the hormones and other crap they are feeding cows so they grow quick. That milk has been recently linked to be very dangerous and one of the possible cancer causes.

Hence this is completely worthless, clueless and dangerous "answer" as well:


What does chocolate milk do to your body?

The new research suggests that drinking fat free chocolate milk after exercise can help the body retain, replenish and rebuild muscle to help your body recover. Drinking lowfat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout could even help prep muscles to perform better in a subsequent bout of exercise


Low fat is basically poison. Historically that won't even was allowed to be fed to animals (in Europe) as they exhibit all sorts of issues. Plus the above. Plus there's , guaranteed, sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup in it - triple poison.

Same for a bunch of others above.
>> Is skim milk or 1 better for you?

Seriously, Google and health advice.. shish, talk about clueless and fake.
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