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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.)
2:27 am on Apr 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Every single SERP weather sensor is going crazy. Scary.
3:29 am on Apr 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Every single SERP weather sensor is going crazy. Scary.
Lake, MOZcast is at 100-degrees... I'm not a huge MOZcast watcher, but I understand and have come to respect the methodology behind it... and that's the highest I've ever seen it.
2:43 pm on Apr 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Every single SERP weather sensor is going crazy. Scary.

Maybe they're messing with our minds. It is April Fool's Day!
7:13 pm on Apr 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For the past several years, April has come in like a zombie...this year is no exception.
9:07 pm on Apr 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Maybe they're messing with our minds. It is April Fool's Day!

EG... fwiw, and, again, I don't routinely visit these tools, the display seems to be a day or two behind, but the bars are dated... so MozCast's 100-degrees was for 3/30. March 31 and April 1 were both in the low eighties.

Since this slim data, such as we have, suggests that there might have been an inflection point around the time of your report, I'm splitting this thread off at that point to keep various related discussion together.

Are others showing unusual movement, up or down, around March 29 and 30?

3:16 pm on Apr 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google has been showing less and lesser results for KWs in a specific Niche. For one KW, I am now seeing only 60 results [my site isn't one of them.] Some of the pages are from Hacked sites; these sites have nothing to do with this Niche, but the hacked pages are full of keywords and Google is including them in the only 60 results it is showing.
7:57 pm on Apr 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing huge drops on a lot of keywords I'm monitoring around the 30th up to Sunday.
8:54 pm on Apr 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@syedyasir

how do you know the search results are from hacked sites?
9:58 am on Apr 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Guys the problem is bigger that we can imagine. I've build about 10 powerfull links (TF 20-30) in the last 3 weeks and i see 0 movements on serp. Any advices?
11:12 am on Apr 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu

I usually look at the URL and it can [not always] tell if the page is from a hacked site. A while back, there was some Premium Wordpress plugin that had a vulnerability which hackers exploited to create spam pages. Back then, the SERP for a specific Niche was full of hacked sites.

Currently, I am seeing hacked sites that are using Wordpress or Joomla. Google is showing different sets of SERPs, and some of them still have a lot of hacked sites in it.
Here are few lines I copied from a page created on a hacked site:

Options trading forex cfd trading. Options trading championships entries are simple. Will be drawn as equity index. Costs and actinic morse enduing his trusted binary options, and software, as it offers binary options trading, commodities and indices with binary options. Series: using options us for day ending at one hundred million at all major binary trading index.


I don't understand why Google is ranking these hacked pages in top 20; the content is BS, but for some reason, Google likes this content.

The hacked pages usually have a fishy looking URL, like the following:

index.php?option=com_content


Example URL:

frederickwidget dot com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=73&itemid=39781


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:03 pm (utc) on Apr 4, 2017]
[edit reason] widgetized some specifics, and fixed typo at poster request [/edit]

12:58 pm on Apr 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@syedyasir

yeah, it makes sense
1:17 pm on Apr 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is this FRED update or something new
3:16 pm on Apr 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@syedyasir I am not saying those pages are not hacked but your example URL is not really fishy. That is actually what a Joomla URL looks like before search engine friendly (SEF) URLs are enabled in the Joomla Configuration.
3:54 pm on Apr 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I see more general results for the query; bigger articles (not only brands) seems to be winners, but the search result is really crappy!

A lot of spammy sites are now high in the serps. It's like something is boiling.

I see massive swings on Asian local serps.
I believe that we will see a big "surprise" this Easter.
5:16 pm on Apr 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The more things change the more they stay the same.
7:28 pm on Apr 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@JesterMagic

You are correct and I should have explained more. A while back when I first noticed these pages, I thought all URLs containing "index.php?option=com_content" are from hacked sites [I myself use WordPress,] but a quick search in Google showed me how Joomla URL structure looks like. The one specific Niche I follow, is being intensively targeted by hackers/spammers.
The name of the domain [like some research-center.com,] the Page Title [like secret forex trading system] of the indexed page, and the "index.php?option=com_content" in the URL often means the page is from a hacked site [in the one specific Niche I follow.] Most of the sites I that have checked, have search engine friendly URLs [ like /index.php/aboutus or /contact-us/ ,] but the hacked pages/URLs from these sites often have "index.php?option=com_content" in them.

The Domain Name, Full URL, Title, and the description do help to identify a hacked site [at least it does in one specific Niche that I follow.] I also check the page using Google cache and sometimes, I simply open the page, which I guess isn't safe. The hacked pages contain non sense words, links, and sometimes, they redirect to some spam website.
2:19 pm on Apr 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I see big updates on rankings yesterday

  • There are a lot of serps with two results of the same domain, even three results of same domain.

  • Impressions and clicks data in Google Search Console changes the same day, April 3, an upward trend in desktop version, and downwards trend in mobile version (in my case)

Can you see the same data?
3:15 pm on Apr 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing some weakness in traffic yesterday and this morning. Is this the start of the monthly update?
3:44 pm on Apr 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've build about 10 powerfull links (TF 20-30)

What do you mean by "powerful"? Do you mean that they send a lot of traffic to your site?

That's how I judge the value of a backlink -- by how much traffic it sends to my site. If it doesn't send any traffic, then it's just about worthless in my view.
4:55 pm on Apr 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For one of the KWs I monitor, Google is showing top three results from the same domain.
8:17 pm on Apr 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle

Great definition of a powerful link, the link needs to send traffic
10:47 pm on Apr 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm digging a little deeper into the Google answer box and just ran two searches, both answers appeared in the Google answer box without listing where they retrieved the information. The searches were along these lines...

How long do widgets last
How long does it take to make a widget

With other searches 'causes of xyz' the same site appears in ALL answer boxes and then has the top two or three results. It's crazy.
8:37 am on Apr 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well, this is crazy, -10% traffic vs las week and going down.
It's like a holiday, but it's not yet Easter!
9:17 am on Apr 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm 20% down on this time last month.

I have reported on an answer box thread to Google twice now. The information is incorrect and dangerous (I sit in the no. 1 position below the answer box totally contradicting the answer box text), and they are still publishing the wrong answer. So frustrating.
1:52 pm on Apr 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I also have several answer boxes for queries that I would usually rank number 1 in too. The algorithm is poor, I don't know why they insist on limiting the "knowledge box" to just 1 highlighted answer. If it was for facts, then it could be useful. Currency conversions, historical figures, holidays, etc... but to think that they can shove 1 answer (and usually from mediocre sites for whatever reason) for complex questions is beyond me.
8:50 pm on Apr 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A relevant post from Search Engine Roundtable of Apr 6, 2017:

Small Google Algorithm Update On April 4th?

Over the past 24 hours, I've been tracking what I would call mild chatter in the SEO community around a potential Google algorithm ranking update on April 4th. I would categorize this at best as a small update, in terms of what SEOs are at least chatting about.

[seroundtable.com...]
10:29 pm on Apr 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Our Google organic traffic was up about 6 percent on Tuesday, April 4, compared to the previous Tuesday. Normally there's a more pronounced drop-off from one day to the next as the week wears on, but this week the slope is a lot gentler.
5:23 am on Apr 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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All traffic I've earned in the last few months, I've lost in two days.



[edited by: not2easy at 6:03 pm (utc) on Apr 7, 2017]
[edit reason] Broken Link Removed [/edit]

7:20 am on Apr 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'd be interested to know if everyone who has been hit by this possible update were ones who gained from the updates on Feb 7th and Feb 21st?

We we're hit badly on Feb 21st loosing rankings and keywords. Interestingly it looked like Google was having trouble ranking the correct pages and our homepage was ranking for pretty much everything instead of our specific landing pages.

Since Sunday (2nd of April) we have been seeing recovery with more and more keywords coming back each day. Our visibility score is now higher than it was prior to the updates in Feb.

Admittedly we have been cleaning up our site over the last few weeks, de indexing/deleting old posts, updating and republishing posts, combining posts that we're talking about similar topics etc. I must also add we're a big corporate site so no spammy backlinks etc or a huge number of backlinks come to think of it.

Would be interested to see if this is a rollback or revised version of what went out previously. Either way I hope it stays like this now.
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