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Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2017

     
1:43 pm on Jul 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 4 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4851947.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 6:51 pm on Jul 1, 2017 (PDT -8)


Seeing a lot of changes even on a daily basis specially with new URLs and pages that have got new backlinks. Some pages appear on top 5 and after a few hours they return back to page 2.

On the other hand, I haven't seen any movement on pages that have been already ranking on top 3 for months.

It seems to me like an algo refresh not related with Panda or Penguin which has not finished yet.
6:09 am on July 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Every update is pushing the branded sites up. I've seen many have annoying ads, less than 100 words content but ranks better than quality sites.
8:13 am on July 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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While Pinterest may be the flavor of the month, they are decaying in quality fast. I found a ton of my stuff indexed by Google on Pinterest that was scraped and pinned. What a mess.


Actually, Pinterest makes Google look like a total mess and is one of the main reasons why I lost my trust in Google. I mean, Google is constantly talking about "original content", "content is king", "quality content", "good user experience", ... and then they give multiple first page rankings for a "website" like Pinterest that won't show the content before you sign up and login, that is the biggest content thief ever, that lists lots of scraped content, ...

Same here, almost every image from my website (= thousands of them) is scraped by other websites and pinned on Pinterest. Some of my original graphics are difficult to find on Google, but the Pinterest versions leading to the scraping websites are all over the place on Google. Both Google and Pinterest are a total mess and I'm afraid that there's no way back. Google Search needs a new management ... urgently ...
8:13 am on July 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Wikihow is doing really well in my niche at the moment too.
11:47 am on July 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Seeing the biggest drop since panda 4. It is even worse than panda 4. I hope it is only the start of holidays in germany but as it started yesterday at point 5pm so it looks more like a new goonopdate.
Lots of domain crowding on the first page for big brands. My vertical is dominated by two very big resellers ( and this time is not amazon ).

And for some reason i disabled my ghostery and looked at this total mess. Wow, google is so confusing with all this ads above, under and right hand of the serps and with this light green ad label it is not clear that this are payed entries.
12:59 pm on July 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Martin Ice Web Im seeing a major update (not quality) aswell. Maybe its googles day of action "net neutrality" protest.. showing what would happen if internet traffic was throttled on the internet?
I get waaaay more traffic from shares and real people now than I do from fake traffic from google. Also after reading your comment about ads I decided to turn off ublock and eeeek :/
3:59 pm on July 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Really weird traffic today... this morning started normally, and then there was a rapid 20% drop for an hour.. now it is slowly creeping back up.

My site continues its slow Google descent traffic-wise, update-after-update, crawl-after-crawl, month-after-month... down down down... sites with no content that were made last week are beating it under a ton of terms now.

The "very old site" Google bug continues.... some invisible massive and growing with every crawl penalty.... that continues to get applied.. and re-applied... and re-applied... with no notices... no warnings...

We are at the point where we are seriously considering moving our extremely large site to a new domain to get out from the "old website bug". Clearly Google's old site bug is so extreme now that it is putting our business as a going concern at risk. Our existing domain has now been in use since 1994... 23 years... and our domain records and data at Google appear to be so bugged and screwed up and irrationally penalized that there seems to be no other option.
5:49 pm on July 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Are they testing Mobile first index? Because I see the totally different result on PC and Mobile for the exact same keyword. Strange!
6:51 pm on July 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For many years now, we've been in an informational guide market of a very specific niche with moderate volume highly targeted 1-3 word phrases, and low volume long-tail. The well-targeted shorter phrases were always our bread and butter and still are, with very few ranking changes. The long-tail however, which was always just icing on the cake that resulted in just as many visitors, related to those shorter phrases. We never targeted long tail, it just came naturally in reference to the thorough content.

What I've noticed over the last few weeks is that well-branded sites, higher authority, etc have taken control of the "generic" individual keywords that used to play a role in our long-tail traffic. Our higher-volume shorter phrase rankings have remained fairly static, but the long-tail is gone.

Those generic words within the longtail seem to be weighted to the more well-branded sites and their authority, regardless of the content on the page itself. For example, if we have a well-aged, often updated and well-linked from high authority sites, 2500 word, very detailed page... a higher-authority domain with generic content, very few links, and outdated content page can outperform us for the generic terms that make up the longtail. They also take up many of the (now) never-ending answer boxes as well as top 2-3 organic spots in search.

This could be something that was already out there in other markets, and just now making it to ours.
8:59 pm on July 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mhansen - nicely said, I'm noticing the same

scraped content sites with good backlinks are given more value for long tail queries than my sites that actually have entire pages about it
9:29 pm on July 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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mhansen, that's what I said in the other thread about leaving Google.

What I am noticing right now is super thin content with a major brand and I'm also noticing a lot of articles by charities moving up the ranks. Almost every search I've performed today, this brand is in the top five, but their content is almost non-existant.
12:32 am on July 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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yawn....
5:50 pm on July 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

My posts are indexed but they don't rank anywhere!?

Can someone explain this?
8:45 pm on July 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest are we keeping you up late?

There does seem to be an attack on content going on from Google. They are dropping pages out the index, but not sure what the common denominator is. Well apart from Greed
10:41 am on July 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I also looked many people discussing about it, but i checked there were something changed between 7 to 10 July, I am still not sure about the name of this algorithm update or fluctuation. But it impacted lot sites that were ranking on after top 5 in 1st page.
3:46 pm on July 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We had a pretty noticeable drop in average positions for desktop only (mobile and tablet are virtually unchanged), starting gradually about a week ago and accelerating sharply on July 12-13. I haven't been able to discern any clear-cut pattern, although I have noticed that some menu or contents pages that formerly ranked high have dropped quite a bit. (Those are pages with nothing on them but links.)

Also, some--and only some--long-tail queries for obscure topics or archived pages have taken a hit. Organic search traffic (including Google traffic) has been affected little, if at all, and the sections of our information site that generate the most affiliate revenue are doing fine. Affiliate revenue has actually been up sharply in the past few days.
8:08 pm on July 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We had a pretty noticeable drop in average positions for desktop only (mobile and tablet are virtually unchanged)

Interesting! I experienced the same thing on the dates you mentioned. Things have slowly improved for us with the biggest improvement coming last night. Now, we're almost back to where we were at least in terms of total traffic. It does seem that not all, but most, desktop traffic has returned.
1:12 am on July 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Some of google's "answer boxes" have wrong or misleading answers.
3:14 am on July 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Some of google's "answer boxes" have wrong or misleading answers.


You got THAT right! Some are downright hilarious in their inaccuracy.

@skunk - yeah, I've been pretty sleepy lately. The 9-5 grind is really taking it's toll. :)
12:29 pm on July 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We suddenly returned to our best postilion for the first time in 3 months on Saturday just gone, we've made a few changes over the last few weeks and months... So have no idea what we did to get it back up from the depths of hell (low rankings), but i won't complain!
12:33 pm on July 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My goodness! :D The traffic doubled since 14th July. It was going really bad, last June update killed my site completely and a week ago, there was another update which reduced my traffic again. However, now since 14th my traffic is double, better than ever :D
5:09 pm on July 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My real estate site has been bouncing around like crazy over the last two weeks. My rankings got murdered in late May and hit a low in the second week of June. An authority site that starts with a Z overtook me and pushed me into position 2-4 for most of previous number one keywords. I'm having a monstrous increase in mobile traffic today. Desktop and tablet are the same. It started Monday in the afternoon US time. Bounce rate is over 50% for the mobile traffic. Typical bounce rate is 30%.

I have almost recovered to pre-late May levels. I don't know if it's an algo tweak or not. I've been working 12 hour days 7 days per week.
6:52 am on July 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For us there has been stability in rankings for the last few weeks, we did some work on one key phrase and achieved improved rankings on it. I only check our rankings once a week but we have stability at the moment.

Yesterday was however a very bad day for adwords, still reasonable impressions but yesterday we only had a fraction of our usual click throughs.
At the moment I have no idea why this was.
11:54 am on July 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I too saw a bump the last few days, but as usual, it was short lived. It's like the brief period between shifting gears that allows "normal" traffic to flow for a very short period of time. Loads of positive page insights, yet declining sessions...again.
7:54 am on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My sites have also been hit by the update that happened on the 12/13th of July.
According to GSC, Average Position has dropped quite a bit - and continues to drop, but Clicks have actually gone up!

Page views have taken a dip, but have recovered a little. However, earning have taken a big hit and continue to tank.

To me, it looks like Google have found another way to siphon off another chunk of monetisable traffic.
8:49 am on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm trying to rank for a keyword using the optimised page with no date. However, Google is ranking all articles from India today website and they are month old articles.

I wonder when I will get on the first page, will the rank of IndiaToday's website drop for the keyword?
10:07 am on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Those who've seen their average positions drop might find this thread, which I've just posted, applicable...

GSC July 13-14 decrease in average positions is a reporting change... not a rankings drop
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4858865.htm [webmasterworld.com]

7:10 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My pages are being dumped in WMT. They are half of what they were last year.

I experience huge peaks and valleys in traffic volume day-by-day and even throughout the day. One day I'll get a big increase in mobile traffic. The next day my desktop traffic will increase and mobile traffic decrease despite seeing no changes in keyword positions.

The biggest development I'm seeing is that the traffic I'm receiving is irrelevant. Google has decided that I am in an industry niche that I'm not in. There are no on-page factors causing this. My bounce rate is through the roof as people come to my site, determine that it is not what they were looking for, and hit the back button.

I'm generally in position #3. An authority site has two top links. The content ranking above me is buried very deep within their site whereas mine is only one level deep off of the index. The overall domain authority of the authority site seems to be more important than URL strength. Long tail searches are being directed to semi-relevant pages on the authority site rather than sent to highly relevant pages on my site. My site domain authority is not weak either. I'm a regional brand and brick and mortar business. It doesn't seem to matter.
8:57 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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If it's just a reporting change why are conversion back below dirt? Sunday and Monday were nearly normal, but now its been three days of zero conversions. That's another first for a 17 year old site.
9:53 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Those who've seen their average positions drop might find this thread, which I've just posted, applicable...

Aha! Thanks. That makes sense, given that our traffic and revenue haven't been affected by the decline.
10:05 pm on July 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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With the risk of getting bullied again I must say that in organic I see less and less zombies but more and more in adwards
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