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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Most of the people that are coming to me for help are using outdated SEO tactics that Google has devalued.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.
9:42 pm on June 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

Lick your wounds, get some income coming in again and take stock. Google is incredibly competitive for ever decreasing returns. Quite simply, why try to climb a mountain when there is nothing to see when you get to the top anyway. I am not sure about zombie traffic I just think it's non-converting traffic but have to say conversion rates are at all time lows. Sometimes it's best to walk away and come back with a different perspective.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein
9:49 am on June 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Samwest Getting away from this stressful and damaging situation is great news, I hope you have a great time at your new job.
10:13 am on June 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@seoskunk - no more wounds to lick. As I was finally relaxing last night, I came across a good article titled "The death of organic search (as we know it)" dated March 29 2017. Here is the link in case anyone is interested. [searchenginejournal.com...]
It pretty much nails all the causes of what is seen (or not seen) today. It also suggests a new direction in which to proceed in hopes of renewed success...for now. It's a very different world.

BTW - I will admit, after 17 years of working for myself online, the 9-5 gig is just what I remember and nothing to envy. Place your bets on how long I make it. skunk is probably right, I'll be back but with a totally renewed POV and plan. Time to scrap the old work entirely and re-engineer it for mobile / VA and dumb it way down for the upcoming generations.
3:55 pm on June 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

Wishing you the best on your life after this retirement from Google Updates and SERP Changes :)
6:18 pm on June 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest, wish you best!

"The death of organic search" - good article, BTW, thanks.

The only comment I have is this. Mobile "surpassed desktop", but it is flattening. There's no US growth. And you can't spend 8 hours a day on mobile like you do on desktop / laptop, so attention span is way shorter. Google+Apple are heavily pushing mobile as they have complete control over it, no privacy whatsoever, no adblock, nothing.

(don't look at mobile searches statistics, I don't use it but it pops up on my phone all the time, you can't remove the darn feature, it's built in. Probably hard-wired to some alphabet datacenter too)

But the closed app market, such as games. And the Voice, will seriously impact desktop searches.

For the voice, I am seeing songs sites, recipes and such may have already been hit now, as "give me recipe for pasta" is a natural voice command than really needs no "top 10".

What I also see is that they will cut out 95% of the internet , with their AI and "machine learning" . Because with all the "machine learning" you can't predict what I am going to look for next, and if you predict based on other searches...you are very likely to guess wrong and build incorrect silos where information that's non-trivial or non-common won't be easily found. Hence, a need for DuckDuckgo and a new distributed search engine or two, non politically correct and non-biased.
7:06 pm on June 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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On non-politically correct and non-biased SEs. Statcounter is showing Yandex above Baidu on desktop worldwide, in last 12 months, (both Yandex ru and Yandex combined, they have russian and english SE). Everywhere else Baidu is 3%-7% of desktop, worldwide, with Ask and other small ones below 1%, and Yandex is NOT shown. I would guess that's deliberate with "russians did it" meme and sanctions. And DuckDuckGo is not shown either, although they do well, on my ecommerce they are by far above AOL, at least 4 times. Baidu on our ecommerce is the same as AOL, with AOL sliding and Baidu gaining.

People are tired of PC and commercialized web.

So there's still hope.
4:58 pm on June 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Our information site has affiliate links, and the biggest change that I've noticed in recent months (in terms of affiliate revenue) has been an increase in transactions from tablets.

Everybody likes to talk about mobile search, and a lot of people seem to think that tablets are yesterday's fad, but we get a lot of search traffic and revenue from tablet users.
5:26 pm on June 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed that both RankRanger and AccuRanker are showing high level of SERPs fluctuations on June 24 and June 25, 2017 . Let's keep watching :)
7:47 am on June 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This weekend and today I feel a shuffle of Google results with a lot of spam into the light.

1,2,3 position = fixed brand positions, after that a lot of garbage.

Many of my product pages seem to be sandboxed. I cannot find them anywhere!
3:32 pm on June 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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RankRanger and AccuRanker are also showing high level of SERPs fluctuations on today June 26, 2017 in addition to June 24 and June 25 which I have already mentioned in my previous post.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if some WebmasterWorld friends have already gained/lost some organic traffic as a result of the said high level of SERPs fluctuations :)
3:38 pm on June 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Here is a relevant post from Search Engine Roundtable of Jun 26, 2017:

Google Algorithm Update Brewing? Maybe.
I received a few emails yesterday, saw some comments on this site and on WebmasterWorld and the tools are still pretty high in tracking volatility - there may be a Google search algorithm update brewing right now. It is way early, the SEO chatter at these levels do not convince me fully that there is an update versus a blip for a couple of hours in the search results.
[seroundtable.com...]
8:08 pm on June 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@NYCTech

are you finally recovering, wonder if you have put any new measures in place but still it is hard to believe that google is that stupid to accept speed latency from browser and not take googlebot for granted
8:34 pm on June 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Everybody likes to talk about mobile search, and a lot of people seem to think that tablets are yesterday's fad, but we get a lot of search traffic and revenue from tablet users.


Exactly the same for me.

I do think that tablets may be on the downturn in general, but my stats show a healthy return from them.
10:11 pm on June 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yep at 3.5% conversion rates Tablets have over double the conversion of mobile devices.
11:26 pm on June 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Most responsive websites place text above sidebar text/images. And with many sites relying on sidebar image/text to drive revenue (upsells, highlight popular products, etc.), it is never being seen by mobile users (phones) with tablets as the exception. Still, many people have dumped their laptops and desktops for tablets as their primary device.

In regards to an update, I did notice very light traffic from Google this morning. However, traffic has since picked back up. With the July 4th holiday approaching, and many people already on vacation, I would not be surprised to see an update from Google while people are busy doing other things that don't involve the internet.
11:29 am on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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which day of the week are tablets converting at 3.5% ?

credit card companies report any transaction back to GOOG based on this we assume quotas are spread to companies on their ability to spend their way through recession

good luck bidding higher on tablets
1:32 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu

I think we may be seeing the early stages of a recovery, though given reports of an update over the last few days, it could be that. The site also appeared slow for quite some time, so I'm not anticipating a rapid recovery. My best guess would be that, once it's been stable for a while and any algorithms that take speed into consideration are refreshed with data showing a sufficiently long period of fast loading, we'll see a nice recovery.

I'm totally guessing here, but let's say an algorithm needs 30 days of consistent speed, and it gets refreshed once a month. If that were the case, it could be another two months before we see all that much movement, though I hope I'm wrong and it's faster than that.

We also have a related index bloat issue. The entity attacking us hacked lots of sites and pointed links to pages on our site that sort of don't exist (parameters that created a unique URL that got indexed but which is duplicate of pages lacking those parameters). We've fixed the issue that made that possible, but there are still tens of thousands of pages in Google's index that shouldn't be there, and no good way to remove them, as we don't know all of them. Between the apparent slow site speed and index bloat (of what would appear to be thin duplicate content), I'm prepared for this to take a while.
1:40 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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God... what has happened to my site? The articles just disappeared which were ranking on 1st page! Just yesterday, the rank of one article (which I published yesterday) was 1st and now I don't find it anywhere, I can see when I manually put the link.

Plus. Views down by 60% on 24th and 25th according to Google Console.

Life sucks : (
2:53 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Views down by 60% on 24th and 25th


Rest assured you were not the only one seeing such a number, I saw it across a swathe of sites however I assume that many were out enjoying themselves since a hotel/pub site I run had its busiest day of the year and this is easily explained by the fact that we have been having a large music/arts festival in the region.

One person's loss is another one's gain.

Monday 26th came back to normal for me.
3:27 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A relevant post from the Search Engine Roundtable of Jun 27, 2017 :

June 25th Google Search Algorithm Update Legit
Yesterday I reported about the early chatter and reports of a Google algorithm update brewing. Well it seems to be the real thing based on the feedback I've received over the past 24 hours or so.
[seroundtable.com...]
4:21 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Looking at the SERPs i'm still seeing lots of domain crowding. This is a major problem for months and one that Google does not appear to be able to fix.

Importantly, there's very little room for organic as it's getting crowded out by errors, maps and ads.
Example - a popular search term (you can do your own with topics of choice)
1. Four ads
2. Three organic
3. One Map three website's and directions
4. Three domain crowding entries
5. Four other organic
6 Then three ads

Take a popular product search and it's even more interesting with fewer organic, with "top stories" crowding the measly five organic SERPs on one search.

No wonder we're seeing less organic traffic. And, no wonder you're seeing traffic going up and down as the ads fill the slots and then drop out.
5:01 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Okay. Google seems to be drunk. They are not indexing my posts even when manually publishing! I'm losing my 4K traffic because of this, ugh! :(
5:27 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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And here we go again... :(
7:08 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@NYCTech

good to hear you are confident and things are getting better, sounds like a really nasty attack with all the negative seo ingredients, parameters should not cause duplicate issues if canonical is in place.

I wish you a speedy recovery,
7:32 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu

The parameter issue was mostly pagination. We had rel="prev" and rel="next" set up properly for pages, and if you got to the last page (for example, say page 9), there would be no "next" button and no rel="next" canonical. However, if you typed in page=10, you'd actually get page 9, which would have a rel="prev" going to page 8, but would load as a URL, making it technically a duplicate of page 9. Since that would also always be the last page in a set of documents, those pages would also be quite thin relative to other pages, and the attackers built links to pages as deep as 9774 (across lots of documents that had pages). Needless to say, that created a lot of index bloat, and there's no good way to remove it.

I'm hopeful it's now moving the right direction. This attack has been extremely stressful and expensive.
8:11 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@NYCTech

I see the attackers are not stupid
10:33 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Take a popular product search and it's even more interesting with fewer organic, with "top stories" crowding the measly five organic SERPs on one search.

No wonder we're seeing less organic traffic. And, no wonder you're seeing traffic going up and down as the ads fill the slots and then drop out.

It does not matter what Google does because so few people shopping for products are using Google's search engine. I have many, many page 1 ranks in the top three spots and buyers just are not there. I've tried paid ads by bidding high, and still few conversions with high bids. My guess is Google will have to cram in more ads to offset the losses from product advertisers dropping out of Adwords because the lack of buyers. Google is cannibalizing itself, which will likely increase the pace at which shoppers flee to Amazon and eBay where they can find the products they want based on the product search and not the highest bidder. In the end, Google won't be worth much for those of us trying to get converting traffic out of them for products. Google's that way now (not worth much for converting buyer traffic), in my opinion.
11:16 pm on June 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Since that would also always be the last page in a set of documents, those pages would also be quite thin relative to other pages, and the attackers built links to pages as deep as 9774 (across lots of documents that had pages). Needless to say, that created a lot of index bloat, and there's no good way to remove it.


Hi again NYCTech, sounds like a nightmare, just wondering if you could write a small script to handle your pagination problem, something like

$total = "total number of items per category";
$perpage = "items per page";
$pageid= "page number";
if ($pageid > ($total/$perpage)) {
$metarobots = "noindex,nofollow";
} else {
$metarobots = "index,follow";
}
echo $metarobots;
4:23 am on June 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I see there is some "chatter" about updates here and on SER. I haven't seen anything particularly negative yet for my own site, however, I know that an update is taking place because earlier I had a HUGE string of actual converting traffic. To the tune of 6x my regular "non zombie" day traffic which is enormous for me.

Several people have said this before, but this is a solid indicator that something is going on - whatever filters they have for funneling off profitable traffic gets turned off and you have massive surges of sales coming through during updates.
6:07 am on June 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@masterjoe

Dito! Sales skyrocks when uldates rolling out. Spam mails tripple in volume. After that, everything goes down to normal. Zombies are back in town...

So this said G is able to send converting traffic! But just when he wants to or when he is temporary out of control ( looks to me like during update there is no trafic filter working by G). And I'm very convinced there is traffic filtering ongoing.
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