Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.162.152.232

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Featured Home Page Discussion

Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2017

     
1:43 pm on Jul 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:July 1, 2017
posts:1
votes: 0



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.
4:15 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 5, 2009
posts:1500
votes: 237


Like the beaches of Normandy, eventually some people got off the beach. A searcher can get to the top few positions provided they can get past the ads, the news blocks, the answer box and whatever else is coming above the actual "results". SERP changes these days are about Google injections above the actual results. Trip people up before getting to #1, #2, or #3 result. The mind set that the results are window dressing is actually reality. Down. Down, down, down she goes. I have no problem with it. It's how this is going. To invest in fighting that trend or suggesting the #1, #2 spot will find their way higher on the page? Fallacy. If there is no clutter above the results, then that's only because Google doesn't see the monetization, yet. When you see some returns, that's when clutter will happen. You will get boxed out. Google AI? It's whatever. It's funny more than anything. They can make people like Cutts irrelevant, so I guess in a matter of time they will AI themselves out of positions.
5:07 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member from IN 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 30, 2017
posts:423
votes: 63


And it again dropped drastically :(
6:37 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:June 12, 2015
posts: 3
votes: 0


On 14th July, 2017 there is a bug which shows increase in impressions, but also decrease in average positions in GSC. After 10 days, still not able to see the accurate data. Is there any way to get the real data? And how much time it will take to be fixed.

Is there any update happened on 15-16th July? I can see massive drop in traffic and conversion too.
6:49 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2008
posts:1510
votes: 176


On 14th July, 2017 there is a bug which shows increase in impressions, but also decrease in average positions in GSC

It's a feature, not a bug! Honestly!

GSC July 13-14 decrease in average positions is a reporting change [webmasterworld.com]
1:56 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 14, 2013
posts:2708
votes: 317


Well, well, well ... G really knows how to cuase confusion!

I reported here 2-3 months ago of a website I run for a friend, keyword1keyword2.com, that his index page disappeared and also his keyword1keyword2.jpg image, were not to be found anywhere.

Guess what folks it's reappeared back at #1 ... Where did it go G, for a holiday?

Obviously nothing had been changed on the site.
3:19 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member

joined:Sept 29, 2012
posts:27
votes: 1


Results are pretty terrible lately. For a niche product that's highly competitive (loads of ads), top 6 organic results is dominated by one domain... weren't they suppose to have fixed this issue years ago?
3:36 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 14, 2013
posts:2708
votes: 317


I reported here 2-3 months ago


Just checked my records on this, it was the 17th May 2017 update when it disappeared, new cache date 15th July 2017 therefore back a few days.
5:32 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:555
votes: 246


Google is a private company and we need to change to their preferences if we want Google traffic. SEO is about staying on top of changes and evolving with the landscape to optimize our chances of surviving.

I see things a little differently. For one, Google needs to do a self-assessment and determine why they are losing shoppers left and right. Until they do that, and make some real honest to goodness quality changes, I don't see much value in the traffic they send nor would it matter much to me if Google shut off the lights and went dark permanently. As far as SEO goes, there are quite a few well known people leaving the SEO industry. They are leaving for a reason, though that is beyond the scope of this discussion.

On another note, I'm surprised people are not reporting any changes in their sites. Most SERP tools are showing a major shakeup yesterday and today, and my site has about 50% less traffic today than yesterday. Not surprisingly, the massive loss in today's traffic has not impacted conversions. That's how crappy Google's traffic really is.
7:17 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 5, 2009
posts:1500
votes: 237


If there is a shakeup, the reaction is about what algo changed. What needs to be added (which isn't) is whether a new Google feature has been injected above the search results. Are they toying with a new block of something to enhance (lower) the #1 result on page one? Maybe Google added 2 or 3 more ads above most searches and that's the explanation? You cannot troubleshoot that. You can't SEO your way out of that. You can create amazing content out of that. SERP changes should also include new blocks of "stuff" above the fold because no question about it, that will see big impacts on traffic, overnight, instantly. Instead, there is this oh let's fix out site mentality. That's becoming more and more futile which is something that most people don't want to accept.
7:41 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 15, 2006
posts:246
votes: 3


I'm seeing a loss of long-tail rather than a loss of traffic. Traffic has increased. Silly searches from people who have just now updated their default search engine from Ask Jeeves.

Analytics graphs are pretty. Conversions are down more than 1000%, however. I'm not penalized, just shuffled around in an unfavorable manner.
8:10 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 14, 2013
posts:2708
votes: 317


Conversions are down more than 1000%


How does that equate, you're giving 9 out of 10 products away for free?
5:13 am on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 3, 2015
posts:291
votes: 125


I can confirm that I have also been seeing some rank losses, although I don't know why. I haven't built any links lately, which is probably why and I build them on/off to stagger it.

However, traffic is up while conversions are WAY down.
8:01 am on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2008
posts:1510
votes: 176


I'm seeing a loss of long-tail rather than a loss of traffic. Traffic has increased

That's killer for ecom.

It's incredibly hard to convert generic phrases, those that can be considered "vanity" phrases.
more than 1000%
What most people would call 90%, but using the wrong number as the denominator?
Most SERP tools are showing a major shakeup yesterday and today, and my site has about 50% less traffic today than yesterday. Not surprisingly, the massive loss in today's traffic has not impacted conversions
However, traffic is up while conversions are WAY down.

Noisy SERP tools without widespread SEO reports is generally a Personalisation / User Intent change, which gets reported by Mainstream SEO publishers (MSS?) as a "quality" update sometime after the event.

Not surprisingly, when non-buying traffic cohorts get switched from one ecom to another, conversions (sales) do not change, just traffic and conversion rates get messed around.
11:17 am on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:555
votes: 246


I'll propose a name for this update called "The Squeeze." Though Google has been pinching ecommerce sites for a while now, so "The Squeeze" may actually be on version 50+ already.

Here's what I see that's new:

1. I see a slight reduction in domain crowding.
2. Affiliate marketers moved up dramatically (the all sale paths lead to Amazon mentality Google must endorse).
3. Losses in longtail traffic related to products (the main theme of my ecommerce website).
4. Increases in traffic related to non-product application pages.

This morning my traffic quantity has returned to normal, with much less traffic going to product related pages and more going to loosely related application type pages. Though it's nice seeing a little less domain crowding (not by much but some), I can already see that the type of visitors Google is sending will not convert. For me, the loss in product related traffic has all the signs of squeezing ecommerce sites even harder.
1:48 pm on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member from US 

5+ Year Member

joined:June 14, 2010
posts: 606
votes: 4


I'm not in ecom, but our sites and those we manage have an ecom flavor to them in the form of buying guides for very specific and complex types of products. Our most productive and high converting terms have all but disappeared since late June, early July.

It's not a case of zombie traffic, just that G have clearly figured out which terms converted for us, and now they display more ads on top of the fold. In fact, between text ads, shopping ads (which were not there 2 months ago), and now the endless accordion of "people also ask" questions which they scavenge our content under fair use and show the answers there, we're lucky to see 50% of those higher value terms anymore.

We ARE getting the traffic, but its from people who have scrolled well down the first page to find us in the same serp position as before, just well below the fold. In other words, it takes much more effort for a search visitor to get away from a Google property ad/product/question than it did before. Google is walling its visitors in and extracting as much as they can from them. Actually, I do the same thing, so I don't blame them. :)

On another note, using cloudy SEMR data, we can see that the site who ranks in 1-2 organic for almost all related queries in the specific market, also runs about 10,000 ad variants on broadly related topics, and shows up in every query.

It appears to me that the #1 organic result, is nothing more than an extension of a paid advertiser. Whether that's an extra-strong branding signal or G is just making sure they feed the advertisers that feed them with ad-spend, its making organic ranking quite harder. The advertiser can have a 200 word generic page, and outrank much more thorough and detailed content too easily.
4:22 pm on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts: 1057
votes: 240


One day is great, the next day is completely dead. What happened to natural traffic patterns? Use to be able to set my clock by traffic levels and conversions.
5:21 pm on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:555
votes: 246


It appears to me that the #1 organic result, is nothing more than an extension of a paid advertiser.

This is not the case in my industry, though on some personal search queries I have noticed the situation you speak of. During these updates I typically activate my Adwords campaigns with high bids to see if anything changes in terms of traffic quality. Despite ranking at the top in both paid and organic, Google has yet to send one converting visitor today. This has been the norm since September of 2015 though, which is why I don't fret much. In fact, it is common these days for me to exclude all Google traffic when taking a quick look at my site's overall health. Google's traffic, for the most part, muddies up analytical data just as bad as bots and scrapers do. When I exclude Google's traffic and known bots, my conversion rate hovers around 4%. Including Google's traffic drops it to nearly 1% since Google sends a ton of non-converting traffic. Yes, Google's traffic quality is really that bad.

It's not a case of zombie traffic, just that G have clearly figured out which terms converted for us, and now they display more ads on top of the fold.

It's more than just paid ads diluting the value of organic traffic IMO. Since Google has far less buyer traffic then they did just a few years ago, I think they are rotating what little buyer traffic they have to different sites. That's why many of us in ecommerce see days without any conversions then one day a lot of them. Google appears to have some ecommerce sites on different traffic quality rotation cycles though - hourly, daily, etc. And with ad blockers being more sophisticated, many are able to search Google and not see any ads at all (I'm one of them). As you noted, Google probably figured out which of your keywords were converting and added them to a rotation cycle just as our ecommerce sites appear to be stuck in.

Being mid-day my organic traffic from Google is comparable to what it was on the 24th and prior. Yesterday's major drop in Google traffic appeared to recover mid to late afternoon but left the whole day down. But conversions from Google traffic, as scarce as they were on the 24th and prior, have yet to return.
6:59 pm on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 15, 2006
posts:246
votes: 3


I advise all webmasters to add device related information to their analytics dashboards and check it regularly. It will help make sense of the peaks and valleys you are experiencing. I've determined that I am bouncing in and out of several #1 positions in the mobile index. It makes the "visits by device" ratios wacky and also accounts for my huge fluctuations in traffic. Conversions are now down a staggering 2000%. Confusion among British people who have difficulty deciphering sarcasm is up 77%.
8:17 pm on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 14, 2013
posts:2708
votes: 317


Conversions are now down a staggering 2000%. Confusion among British people who have difficulty deciphering sarcasm is up 77%.


Quite simply your figures mean absolutely nothing in the mathematical world. How can you be down 2000%?

If it's your way of pretending to joke, fine, however if you really believe you are posting meaningful metrics, then you do not make any sense whatsoever.

And if it's an attempt at sarcasm, it needs to be a darned sight more construed.
9:58 pm on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 14, 2011
posts:882
votes: 87


Confusion among British people who have difficulty deciphering sarcasm is up 77%.


Sarcasm rarely works online as I've found out myself. Must be something in facial expression when delivering sarcasm that the internet can't deliver.
9:59 pm on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member

joined:July 29, 2012
posts:248
votes: 12


I personally do not think that Google even really crawls sitemaps anymore. From what I see Google only looks at your pages that it finds from links from other sites. That is what makes the PBNs so beneficial. Seems that adding content might bring in people linking based upon a word and then Google might find you because of that. Google is surviving because of their brand and not the fact they are providing quality results at this time.
10:11 pm on July 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 14, 2011
posts:882
votes: 87


Google even really crawls sitemaps anymore


It crawls everything, what it chooses to index though..... well that's another matter
1:39 am on July 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:July 1, 2015
posts:15
votes: 0


Almost every Google update over the last few years hit my site including the latest one last month. I only run one site and spend over 10 hours on the site everyday, but it's still hit and hit again. It's hard to say that Google completely put its eye on site quality even though they always emphasize it because I also found many sites with thin content always get high traffic from G even though a page just contains arrays of products, there several simple sentences below every product image, or a page only has a youtube video with dozens of words. My viewpoint, Google is giving up those sites that are operated by single webmaster. They're moving traffic from small sites to those big guys with many employees and big brands.
1:42 am on July 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator This Forum from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 11, 2000
posts:11913
votes: 297


That is what makes the PBNs so beneficial.
I'm assuming sarcasm here. The wink emoticon can also be helpful, though it can be a bit of a spoiler as it tips off the joke.

INS (If Not Sarcasm) ;) ...
...PBNs are precisely what Google does not want to influence its indexing and rankings.

3:25 am on July 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:555
votes: 246


I advise all webmasters to add device related information to their analytics dashboards and check it regularly.

That's definitely a good point and will become even more important as time moves forward. For the sake of sharing, this is how today panned out compared to a good converting day last week before the update.

Mobile Traffic: +100%
Desktop Traffic: -28%
Total Conversions from Google: 0% (not one conversion from all that organic traffic and I have Adwords running too! lol)

As I see the net effect of each Google update, it reinforces the decision I made a while back to move on. I will turn off Adwords as the test produced expected results (no conversions and an utter waste of money). It's a shame because the exact same campaigns in Bing do rather well. But the level of manipulation going on inside Google is just so great that it sucks the value out of those campaigns and my top organic ranks. Amazon sales seem unaffected (about the same quantity of sales) by Google's update. I'm not surprised by that one either as Google is steering as much buyer traffic to Amazon as they can, including those searching for USA service providers like plumbers, electricians, etc.
7:07 am on July 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2008
posts:1510
votes: 176


Confusion among British people who have difficulty deciphering sarcasm is up 77%.
And if it's an attempt at sarcasm, it needs to be a darned sight more construed.
And anyway, we prefer irony. Last seen in certain countries circa 1781 :p
9:35 am on July 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 10, 2017
posts:154
votes: 60


Sorry, I had my vent and then slinked off. I see Barry made a thread about me, and tried to respond but you need to be logged in and I'd rather anonimity.

My problem is twofold. A slow decline in traffic, with brands constantly outranking me, despite me trying to do as Google says and create detailed content with the reader in mind. That has always been my goal. So when I have a 1600 word article which is outranked with a 120 word article, and it's a topic that NEEDS detail, I lose faith.

On top of that, I upgraded my very old site and my income plummeted by 2/3rds. Admittedly there were glitches with urls breaking etc. But they were eventually fixed. Traffic dropped, but not significantly. When I spoke to Google they said it's down to 'invalid mobile traffic'. So overnight the majority of my mobile traffic became invalid. They said I should add more content and spend money on marketing. I went from $xxx to xx overnight.

The frustration is I always tried to follow Google's best practices, I have never, ever participated in link building (I honestly haven't asked a single site to link to mine), I have always put the user first, I create detailed content and am now outranked by absolute rubbish.

I have asked them to review the drop in Adsense and my sudden 'invalid traffic' and they're no longer responding.
11:49 am on July 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 3, 2015
posts:291
votes: 125


Traffic was up 30% today, but I had very few conversions from what I would normally expect from this level of traffic. Turned my budget back up on adwords on known converting terms that have historically made sales regularly, but no cigar.

Zombie traffic is back and it is squeezing every last red cent it possibly can. All this rankbrain, enhanced bidding, and AI BS and they still can't manage to get reasonably good traffic quality even from their MAIN source of income. Google is an absolute joke, I cannot believe this isn't resolved yet.
1:53 pm on July 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:555
votes: 246


Google is an absolute joke, I cannot believe this isn't resolved yet.

Somewhere along the line Google quit categorizing the web and displaying them in the search results to become a winner or loser engine. Those ads pay their bills, but Google has introduced so much fluff into the mix that those ads have been substantially devalued. It's possible Google will never resolve those issues and return to their core purpose/usefulness. Regardless, the market will and is adapting to Google's shortcomings which I see in the exodus of shoppers. As more shoppers leave Google, the ROI on those ads will continue to fall and advertisers will move on knowing that the CPC can't be supported by such a poor ROI. Hopefully the hit in the wallet will send a wake up call to Google, but my guess is they will make no wholesale changes and rely even more heavily on traffic rotation to make it appear they are more relevant then they actually are. A higher number of sessions and the collapse of conversions are symptomatic of such a scheme where Google has so little relevant buying traffic that they must artificially spread it around.

Except for Algoroo, it appears all the serp flux tools show stability this morning. My share of desktop traffic from Google this morning has returned to a normal range (around 60%). Still no converting traffic, but Google has so little of that to give so I don't expect much.
2:12 pm on July 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts: 1057
votes: 240


Strange observation: In my niche, for the past 24 months an abandoned non mobile responsive site that hasn't been updated or maintained for years with expired security certificate, outdated scripts, secure page warnings and fewer back links ranks #1 for a competitive three word niche term. I checked the site's SEO score using a popular online tool and it ranks a 44. I ran the same tool on my regularly maintained, secure, mobile responsive site and I get an 89 and yet I'm slipping every month, now at #4 right below the images block. The outdated site is holding tight. How does THAT happen?

The answer box belongs to a non authoritative content farmer.
For over 15 years I held the #1 position on Google for that term. For what's it's worth, I am still #1 on Bing tho...lol.
Google results are getting worse, and not just because of my losing rank for this term. It defies all logic.

Oddly enough, if you remove the first word for that term I do still rank #1 on Google for the two word term.
The AI really has semantic results on it's ear....if it even exists anymore.
This 179 message thread spans 6 pages: 179
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members