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Google Updates and SERP Changes - June 2017

     
3:35 pm on Jun 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following message was cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4847200.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 10:37 am on Jun 1, 2017 (utc -5)


Happy June! I'm seeing an increased correlation with technical SEO and improved rankings. Improving page speed and site crawl ability makes Google happier with the sites I am working on.

Most of the people that are coming to me for help are using outdated SEO tactics that Google has devalued. The good news is I've been able to recover many rankings for these sites using the old strategies just updating the tactics to 2017. The bad news is Google keeps taking away organic real estate in the serps so even top rankings are generating less traffic for me.


Please remember that off topic comments aka any comment that isn't focused on Google Updates and SERP changes will be split off to its own thread to make it easier for the community to follow the different Google SEO topics.
10:14 am on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Site 1 has lots of good relevant backlinks.

Site 2 has even more and excellent relevant backlinks.
That's the traditional differentiator
10:16 am on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar what about https? Have you any time submitted a disawow file? Any hidden text showing/hiding for different screen sizes?
10:29 am on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I agree with @Shadows, could be backlinks. Our site is yet to have any brilliant backlinks so we think this is a factor, although our competitors have near to no backlinks or bad ones... As i said Google isn't playing fair at the moment.

We have a very active social media presence online but this brings very little traffic compared to ad words, this isn't the best time of year to be in the automotive industry in the UK, so not sure if that's having a effect too, people don't seem to be selling or buying cars as much at the moment, but who knows!
11:58 am on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Looking at traffic this morning, all but one of the visitors Google has sent are from Canada, Australia and Ireland. My company is based in the USA and sells in the USA. If Google can't get the country right in the visitors they send, they sure as hell can't send any converting traffic when we don't ship to the locations of the people they are sending to our site. But this is one component of Google's overall shortcomings as they appear incapable of matching their users to my USA based ecommerce website.
1:26 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Looking at traffic this morning, all but one of the visitors Google has sent are from Canada, Australia and Ireland. My company is based in the USA and sells in the USA

Is that mis-matched traffic, or is it zombies? Please explain the difference
2:01 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else seeing continued traffic drops day after day this week... a slow grind lower?
2:33 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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what about https? Have you any time submitted a disawow file? Any hidden text showing/hiding for different screen sizes?


1. Both sites have https enabled
2. No disavow files submitted
3. Totally squeaky clean sites

That's the traditional differentiator


All the other sites that have seen a 50% drop have excellent backlinks, I don't believe it's that.

The strange thing is that these sites, like many others have reported, have seen a 50% drop, not 25% or 75%, what do all these sites have in common that incurs an overnight 50% drop?
4:20 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For those of you whose organic traffic tanked with no noticeable change in rank profile, check your direct traffic channel. I did just that on a hunch today; seems my direct traffic shot up around 50% the very same day my organic traffic tanked by that much. I recall something similar happening a few years back, and it had something to do with the way Google registered searches via the URL bar rather than the search bar on Google.com.

Correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation, I know, but for me, anyway, it seems half of my organic traffic is now being registered as direct. Why, and for how long, is the question...
5:41 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For those who lost traffic starting around Fred, have you looked into whether you had site speed issues around the same time? We discovered someone using slowloris attacks against us on March 13th/14th, and traffic plummeted right after that and has not recovered, yet. It shows up in Search Console as a spike in "Time Spent Downloading a Page" and shot up to over 600 ms there for those two days, and in Google Analytics as Site Speed Page Timings as going up to 22 seconds average load time on those days (that may be the worse metric of the two), whereas the site is normally quite fast.

Has anyone else had experience with this? I'm wondering if this could be a more highly weighted quality factor now.
5:44 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A question since I am beginning to wonder whether or not I have a pure coincidence occurring.

Would enabling https reduce the amount of junk traffic shown in my raw logs and Awstats?

I'm wondering if Site 1 B&M has a lot more junk traffic from old directories etc which is now not being counted whereas Site 2 Hotel which has loads of quality backlinks probably has a cleaner profile since it is a few years younger.

Why do I ask this? Because I enabled https on all but one site on 16/17th May.

Although the only thing is that the one site I didn't enable https has been the biggest traffic loser which doesn't help me a lot!
6:08 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar - https is generally slower than http. As I analyze what caused us to get a penalty, I keep coming back to site loading speed. Maybe Google increased the weighting of this factor, but if I were you, I'd check in GA and Search Console to see whether your site slowed down a bit after implementing https.
6:17 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Actually I expected my sites to be a little slower however my server is extremely fast and there has been no noticeable difference even on poor mobile connections.

Trawling through my stats etc I'm wondering if responsive may have something to do with this since my three biggest losers are all non-responsive and these are huge rebuilds which is why I have not done anything with them as yet.
7:52 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Did you check page timings? I'm working on this right now, and the bumps that show up in GA aren't always all that bad, but then I drill down and find the problem. In our case, there's negative SEO happening. From what I can tell, they're running Selenium and an old version of Firefox that most likely has Goolgebar installed, so it sends data back to Google about site speed. They then execute Javascript really, really slowly, so the page load time is terrible (and it ties up connections on our server), but somehow Google believes that a bunch of people are really waiting 120 seconds for a page to load that normally loads in half a second.

It doesn't take a ton of that to trigger a penalty and/or ranking drop.
8:04 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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in my case my aff amazon website traffic is also down (30%) as happened on 17th. I'm suspecting I added to many aff links on pages. Most of my pages have aff links. I started to remove aff links to see if any improvement.

I have added new articles and for the target keyword I ranked on first page.

Some how G is filtering old pages for long tail keywords.
8:59 pm on June 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle

If I may also try to explain the international traffic as per glakes post

"Looking at traffic this morning, all but one of the visitors Google has sent are from Canada, Australia and Ireland. My company is based in the USA and sells in the USA"

Because quotas apply to the country you operate I would say that 90% of international traffic is not zombie but obviously is not great converting. So I would expect glakes to see at least 100 times more genuine traffic from USA if we would operate in a fair environment.
2:28 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Most of my pages have aff links. I started to remove aff links to see if any improvement.

Why? Google starts the first line of every SERP with their own affiliate links. That must mean they are a great user experience.
3:43 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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"Some how G is filtering old pages for long tail keywords"

That would explain why older websites appear to be getting hit hard.

Seems pretty arbitrary though. A lot of our hardest hit pages are indeed old, but also are constantly updated and have last modified dates fairly recently.

Just because something was first created 20 years ago doesn't mean it is out of date today.
5:45 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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how your home page looks like? My home page looks like a blog with 2 columns.
6:35 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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After diving deep into GA, I found out two things

> The search console shows a massive drop of around 80% for queries. Our CTR for main brand keywords have dropped by over 70% while the average position remained the same. Our impressions have remained the same for the past few weeks as well.
> The organic search channel under channels reporting shows that nothing has changed over the past few weeks. However, there seems to be a drop in % of traffic flowing through brand keywords. Most of the traffic is under (not provided)

Either way, seems like only the CTR for our branded keywords have taken a hit. I am still not sure how this is even possible as there are no ads for our brand queries and nothing changed in our schema for over a month.

Care to shed some light on this anyone?
6:58 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@venom906

Because of your stingy behaviour your branded, money making keywords have showed less to wake you up. You probably have been a bit too lazy lately and not advertised on your branded keywords.

Happy Bidding
7:34 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Mosuxu

We're bidding only on Mobile search and not on Desktop. We're sure that none of our competitors are bidding against us on mobile or desktop.

Both desktop and mobile shows similar CTR drops for a couple of weeks. Impressions have largely remained the same.
Nothing changed but only the CTR dropped for main branded keywords. Conclusion is?
8:48 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@venom

It depends how many searches are there for your brand, is your your brand a money term? Or an exact match domain?

The fact that there is no competition bidding is not productive and you should spend a few cents on desktop and tablet too.
8:54 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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All that have been affected by "unkown" Updated, could you please answer some questions: The more take part the more we get a pic of this update?!

1. do you have a responsive design or a desktop and mobile version?
2. Is the content of desktop and mobile 100% the same?
3. in webmastertools: is the indexed pages the same for desktop and mobile?
4. in webmastertools: do you have issues for the mobile version?
5. Is your mobile verison full rated as mobile friendly?

Our answers:
1. mobile + desktop
2. no. just as 90%
3. desktop > 8000 pages, mobile less then 500 pages
4. mobile issues: growing 404 pages ( i acutally pages that donīt exist )
5. yes

i have the felling that google switched to a fully mobile first index. We took a look at our desktop version. No issues. But on mobile we have to fix some bigger things.
What makes me really confused is the mobile index pages are just 1/5 from desktop pages. This would explain the no traffic times over the day and when they switch bakc to desktop index we see the surges of traffic.
Unfortunatelly google does not give any information about mobile indexed pages vs desktop indexed pages.
10:35 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I didn't observed any significant variation of traffic the last months, but since a couple of days, I see a nice increase (+10~15%). My site has nothing seasonal.

My site is fully responsive, same page, same content no matter the plateform.

At Google PageSpeed Insights it scores 91/100 for mobile and 93/100 on desktop. (if I remove Adsense, it scores 99).

I switched to HTTP/2 last June and to PHP 7 last week. (I am using Nginx on a dedicated server).

My traffic is roughly half mobile, half desktop
10:56 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Quite simply I haven't a clue what's going on, it's utterly bizarre!

I'm 12 hours in to a 24 hour day and I have many sites that have not seen 1 visitor as yet. Ranking positions do not appear to have changed plus Googlebot and Bingbot are all over my sites.

I am so pi$$ed off I feel like deleting everything and walk away from this farce and get my life back.
11:06 am on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Do people who lost traffic are operating plenty of sites ?

I only have one site :">
4:40 pm on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For those who lost traffic starting around Fred, have you looked into whether you had site speed issues around the same time?


@NYCTech - Yes, I have seen this issue too. Site usually runs about 2 seconds, but suddenly saw spikes of up to 10 or 15 seconds post Fred, then back to normal for the last days of May, then spiked again on the 1st and 2nd of June. Funny thing is that my Google Site Speed data does not match my GTMetrix data.

From a user stand point, the site still seemed very fast. Site uses CF CDN.

System

5:12 pm on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Mods Note: This thread is about Google updates and serp changes. Off topic comments will be deleted.

If you want to debate whether it is smart SEO to imitate Google then go to this other thread Why Emulating Google Isn't Usually Good SEO [webmasterworld.com].

If you want to go on a tangent with your own Google SEO topic then please START A NEW THREAD.

If you want to complain about life being unfair then go to your local pub :)

[edited by: goodroi at 6:18 pm (utc) on Jun 3, 2017]

6:16 pm on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google doesn't start the first line of every SERP with its own affiliate links. Or with ads, for that matter.


Really? Maybe not in your vertical, but in mine every related query is preceded by a big "Sponsored" ad block with the title "Shop for [search term] on Google" that pushes all but the first two organic results below the fold. I don't see that in the trav** eur*** results which is probably why you enjoy continued positive traffic results. Welcome to my world.

BTW - if you just think those sponsored ads are not income for Google, I have news...

edit: Whoop...looks like the mods stepped in during my reply...sorry, not intended to be OT or argumentative.
7:47 pm on June 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I would like to bet that every site that has been hit in the May 2017 changes has Google shopping as a player in their niche. IMO they are turning the screws on anyone who competes with their "shopping service". Maybe they need to recoup some of the $9Bn fines that they will be facing from the EU?
The first page in my niche is now dominated by the big players only, doesn't matter if they don't satisfy the specific query, they are there anyway with domain and of course with amazon taking up 2, 3 or 4 spots. All smaller websites/business have been removed.
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