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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2017

     
8:21 am on May 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 5 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4842918.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 4:18 am on May 2, 2017 (PDT -8)


Last month April 2017 hasn't been a nice month to webmasters as far as Google Algorithm Updates and SERPs fluctuations are concerned. There are several WebmasterWorld friends who have lost big portions of their organic traffic. If you just take a look at RankRanger's Google SERP Fluctuations chart you would notice dates of medium to high levels of fluctuations on April 17th, April 20th, April 25th, April 29th and April 30th. Those are just indications of the "volatile SERPs environment" of April 2017.

I'm just wondering what would the current month brings us of Google Algorithm Updates surprises :)

Personally I wish to see on this thread happy posts reporting recoveries and the return of at least parts of what have been lost of Google organic traffic during the latest few months. Let's hope so :)
2:33 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The best thing you can do is forget Google and diversify into new market / traffic channels. Not gonna share those here though. M&P's have crashed and burned. I can pretty much guarantee that if you are heading down, it won't get better on Google. Fan boys will disagree. I've worked and waited 7 years following the rules to no avail and diminishing returns.
3:04 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So is it fairly safe to assume that there was not a widespread Google update today (the 18th) or yesterday (the 17th)? A handful of people (myself included) have reported considerable drops in traffic over the past few days, but there doesn't seem to be any widespread panic.

I guess I still don't know why my traffic dropped today. My original thought was that it was just an early seasonal drop since I run an education-based site which naturally loses traffic when school is out for summer. But the drop doesn't usually happen until the end of June, not the middle of May.

I guess the mystery continues.
3:10 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sorry to post again, but I just looked at my Google Analytics and noticed that all of my major traffic sources were down today by roughly the same amount. Google was down by 15%, but direct was down by 10%, Bing down by 7%, Yahoo by 18%. My Spidey sense is telling me that this was something other than a Google update, unless Google updates also affect other traffic sources.
5:42 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think the Algorithm Update which have started May 17 - May 18 is still rolling out. Let's Get Ready To Rumble :)
10:54 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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If I compare 17.05 with 10.05 (being the same day in the week) I see a 33.3% drop for impressions and a 2.15% increase for positions. The CTR dropped with 5.23%.
11:08 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am lost. I have been focusing on content. Worked on hundreds of pages. The result? I now have 1300 less pages indexed according to the sitemap info on WMT. I have noticed this game before. The more I add, the more structured data goes up and then at a certain point Google just starts to take things away. Kind of like saying - Oh you can't rank that high so we will devalue you. This is becoming very obvious Google.


@awarn, thanx, this is something i saw in the past, too. The more quality content we add the more we suffer with every stupid update. Low content sites with meryly no information are ruling. Sublimental content? No! Even sites with designs from 2005 are in serps.

-google is changing the rules on a daily basis.
-searching for a certain term will show u all but sites about the term
-google keeps searching for 5 years old 410 pages
-google says it can´t reach pages - this pages render 100% with "fetch with google"
-google tells me not to this and that but doesn´t tell what to do
11:27 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Has there been any mention of what the May 17 - 18 Google update targeted? I can't for the life of me figure it out. Some of my pages saw a drop of more than 50% on the 18th, while others either remained the same or saw an increase. The difference between the pages? I couldn't tell you. They're structurally identical, and they all follow the rules.

In the good old days, when you got hit by Google, you could just remove an ad and problem solved. These days, there's nothing obvious about it. Nothing you can fix. You're completely helpless.
11:52 am on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Haven't posted here in a very long time.

Something has been rolling out since Tuesday for us. Impacting our blog first, now the ecom side. We have seen a 30% bump on the blog since Tuesday (noticeable movement Tuesday and Thursday). The ecom side was impacted overnight with a lot of keywords pushing into the top 4 positions (was top of 2nd page or bottom of 1st prior to update). We'll see what impact it has on traffic. Very interesting update for sure. We haven't seen large scale movement from an update since Sept 2016. Curious to see how this plays out.
12:52 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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not just low traffic but also a large number of zombies, why are the zombies numbers still up if traffic dropped?
1:25 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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why are the zombies numbers still up if traffic dropped?


Maybe because you are expecting free, viable organic traffic from Google.
If you get free, you gotta take what they give you...paid too.
Google is dead to me.

[edited by: samwest at 2:04 pm (utc) on May 19, 2017]

1:25 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Big Google update yesterday, organic traffic in US version grow up sessions from Spain (never had before), and also grow up out from Spain, but have some problem Google with international sites? I think that hreflang doesn't work fine, never did it
2:05 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sorry for this newb question, but what site or tool can I use to check today's keyword rankings and compare them with earlier in the week? Normally I just use the Google Search Console but it's always a couple of days behind.

I've tried using Semrush, but it's only showing me up to the 17th.
2:51 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A relevant post from Search Engine Roundtable of May 19, 2017:

Was There A Google Algorithm Update Starting On Wednesday?

On Wednesday, some webmasters and SEOs began noticing the automated tracking tools from places like Mozcast, SER Metrics, Algoroo, Advanced Web Rankings, Accuranker, Rank Ranger and SEM Rush mostly begin to show significant signs of a large Google algorithm update. Well, what they technically track are changes in the positioning of rankings for the top X thousands of keywords they track. So either the UI changes, which many of these tools try to keep out of their tracking metrics OR the algorithm shifted a bunch of URLs around in the rankings.
[seroundtable.com...]
3:09 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the article. The mystery continues, I guess. Between yesterday and today, I'm seeing a 30% drop in traffic from Google, so something big has happened. At the moment, I'm desperately trying to compare my pages that are ranking higher than mine to see if I can spot the issue. From what I've seen, the number of ads on the page has no impact, since some competitor pages have ads plastered everywhere are still ranking higher.

From what I've observed since the big March update, Google seems to have become a "Quick Answer" machine. My own articles have ranked at the top for years because I covered the subjects in so much detail. But lately, I've been bumped by articles with, in some cases, a single paragraph that basically says "Do this, then this, then this, goodbye". These are the articles Google now favors. The search query is the question, and the article that offers the fastest, most direct answer is the winner. Quality content? That doesn't matter anymore.
4:01 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I’m almost sure that all the things that are happening all these months from the start of 2017 – is some kind of unsuccessful tries to implement new core update(s), but they can`t make algo to do the job that they want it to do. Take a look on algo`s tools (MozCast, Algoroo etc.) – they are showing SO MANY fluctuations and updates with BIG movements within these 5 start months of 2017 – it`s much more often than in any of the same periods of any of 2010-2016 years.

When will it stop? Or these crazy carousels are now a normal thing?

We see a lot of innovations by Google search team (hotel search, job search, event search, new images search, short answers in Serp and so on) – but we also see that a lot of this innovations do not work properly. Maybe it`s time to say stop for Google team and concentrate their attention in one place? Having a lot of cool and innovative options that are NOT working properly from one side and Search (main source of money for G as it seems to be) that is full of doorways, low quality websites and other useless links in TOP 10 from another side – is that the things that makes Googlers happy? I hope not.
4:12 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Cyril TechWebsites Well said.

I just wish that, in this latest case of Google putting the icing before the cake, someone would figure out what this latest update targeted so I could see if there's anything I can do about it. Does anyone at Google even care when they wake up in the morning and think "I'm bored, let's change something" that they're playing with people's lives? There are real people at the end of those search results.
4:35 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I just wish that, in this latest case of Google putting the icing before the cake, someone would figure out what this latest update targeted so I could see if there's anything I can do about it.

The update targeted profits - Google's and not ours. There's no other sane reason why webpages rank on top one day and can't be found anywhere the next, unless Google just can't figure out what quality truly is. Blame those big losses in ranks on penalties? Once again, quality should trump all but an over-reliance on easily manipulated signals make it easier to return the best optimized results and not the highest quality results. The only stability Google wants us to feel are in Adwords, and that too is useless for buyer traffic.

@samwest

Google is dead to me.

Could not have said it better myself. No commercial traffic of any value from Google these days.
4:53 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre +

Thanks. But I can`t agree with one of your statement – Google do not play with people’s life. You are free to quit online business at any time and find an offline job, you will always have this choice.

Another thing that is important to mention (and to think about for Googlers) – that WEBMASTER is a power that gives them a big part of their money. In case we all will quit online business – who will be doing those great websites that they are USING FREE to get the money? I’m not talking about huge monsters of ecommerce or other 100+ team websites – I’m now talking about majority of the websites that are not so big, but give a great value to users? What Google will be doing when all these webmasters will stop working on their website and quit them because they lost all their revenue due to “updates”? And that’s pretty possible scenario in case such updates will continue – I’m sure that 90% of people of this forum will agree that these 2017 updates dropped traffic on A LOT OF white hat websites that were following quality guides from G (and lost huge portions of traffic, I was one of them).

What will Google be doing in such case? Amazon, E-bay etc. – cool, there’s no question. But will Google get enough working only with these websites? Will Google users stay happy if they will get only such a small choice?

Hope that all these changes are just a unsuccessful tries and we will notice a great changes that will back our WHITE traffic on our websites. Good luck to all of you, guys!
5:09 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Cyril TechWebsites I agree that it is my choice to run an online business. However, when that online business was growing year after year for 8 years, and then suddenly Google starts making random changes that drop my business down into the gutter, somehow it just doesn't seem right. It seems, to me at least, that Google should be held to greater accountability. It may be their search engine, but their search engine would have nothing of value to offer if it wasn't for people like us. People who listen to Google, who do what Google tells us, who play by Google's rules. And then Google just changes the rules because they think they're not accountable to us. They won't even tell us what the rules are anymore.

If you think about it for no more than 2 seconds, you realize that these days, Google owns the web. They own the search engine that everyone uses, they own the ads that appear on millions of websites. They own YouTube and the ads that run on YouTube. Hell, we might as well just rename the internet "Google". Where is the accountability for having that much power?
5:55 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sorry but I do not think that complaining here would help us, as you can see not even the fun boys bother to manipulate the opinion in AI favour

I think the clear message sent by all webmasters here was very clear: "allow us to compete and if you run out of traffic do not send us zombies instead"
6:00 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, I wasn't complaining, just thinking out loud. :)
6:31 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre

No blame, I do appreciate your contribution.
7:24 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm currently checking my pages for any markup errors that might be causing problems in rankings, and I'm noticing that when I do a Fetch and Render in the Google Console, the render is not displaying the pages all the way to the bottom. There are no errors, and everything looks fine in the render, except for the fact that the pages only renders so far and then they just end.

Does anyone know if this is normal? Does the render option only display so much of the page? Or is this something that might affect rankings?
10:48 pm on May 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No significant boost or loss here. Compared to the previous Thursday and Friday, our Google traffic yesterday and today was up slightly more than 1 percent, but I don't think that's a meaningful change.
3:07 am on May 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No significant boost or loss here. Compared to the previous Thursday and Friday, our Google traffic yesterday and today was up slightly more than 1 percent, but I don't think that's a meaningful change.

Seeing about the same thing. Traffic has been up a couple percent with income almost identical to last week.
3:21 am on May 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Do you mind if I ask which type of website(s) you both run? Are they blogs or something different? My site is essentially an education-based blog which was doing fine until the 18th when I lost nearly 30% of my traffic.

What I can't figure out is that when I do a search for my most popular keywords, my articles still seem to be ranking very high, often in the first or second spot on Google, just as they were before. Yet many of these articles have shown a 20-30% drop in traffic. How can they still be ranking in the top spots and yet losing traffic? Is Google throttling my traffic somehow?

For me, the drop started roughly mid day on the 17th. That's when I suddenly noticed a drop in traffic. Yet when I check SEMrush and the Google Search Console for stats on the 17th, they show no sign of a drop. So I am completely lost as to what's going on.
4:08 am on May 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Okay, I just did a Google search for one of my site's most popular keywords. I actually have two articles for the keyword (an original one that I wrote a few years ago and a more recent, updated version). The articles appear in the #1 and #2 spots in the Google results, AND one of the articles is even in the Featured snippet. So technically, the first three spots on the page are my articles.

And yet, one of the articles shows a 20% drop in traffic on the 18th compared to the 16th (the day before the update), and the other article shows a 23% drop. I don't understand how this is possible. How can articles that are still in the top spots have lost so much traffic? Is Google broken?
5:36 am on May 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Cralamarre , I'm in the same boat, my website is amazon affiliate, I have checked the impressions and which are also less with 30%, check yours
1:08 pm on May 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@traiana I'm not an Amazon affiliate (or any affiliate). All I have on my site is Adsense, and my Adsense impressions were down 15% yesterday from the same day the week before.

According to Google Analytics, my Google traffic was down 19% overall on May 18th from the same day the previous week, and 17% on the 19th. Yet again today, when I do a search for my most popular keywords, I'm seeing my pages appearing in the exact same search positions that they've been in since forever, yet traffic for these pages has dropped. Unfortunately, Google Search Console is still stuck on the 17th so I can't see any stats for 18th or 19th yet.
2:30 pm on May 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think you (and I) have a long tail issue. Google is not sending us traffic anymore for long tail keywords.

Why?
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