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Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2017

     
7:14 am on Aug 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 12 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4856114.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 8:21 am on Aug 2, 2017 (utc -5)


Google is, or should I say has, just become or is closely becoming an actual website. You know. The place you go to get what you need and not go somewhere else. It's almost officially the era of the Google tax. They got a piece of everything that comes through the web.
5:38 pm on Aug 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm always seeing my pages bouncing up and down the SERPs. I follow my keywords in AHREFs and some days they're reported as being on the first page, other days they're on page 2 or even page 3. then suddenly they're back to page 1 again. it's almost like google doesn't know what the best page is for each query, or maybe they have loads of best pages and share the traffic out. who knows!
6:18 pm on Aug 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Day over day from week to week, our Google traffic has been pretty steady for a while now. If there have been any significant "Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2017, they haven't had any noticeable impact on the queries that bring in our Google traffic.
3:33 am on Aug 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Day over day from week to week, our Google traffic has been pretty steady for a while now. If there have been any significant "Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2017, they haven't had any noticeable impact on the queries that bring in our Google traffic.


Says the guy who apparently lives on the land while the rest of us live on the turbulent sea. lol great observation.
6:44 pm on Aug 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Says the guy who apparently lives on the land while the rest of us live on the turbulent sea.

It's the height of arrogance (and ignorance) to assume that one's personal experience is universal.

This forum's monthly threads are about sharing data points, IMO.
3:25 am on Aug 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Our traffic is up 10% week over week. This has been consistent since March. Once every 4 to 5 weeks it will flatten out for the week, but goes back to about 10% growth the next week.
11:42 am on Aug 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Don't know what it is with Google, but I am now noticing ancient pages on obscure sites showing up everywhere. Recently had a very frustrating issue with Wordpress that should have been quite easy to fix, took me all of 3 days to figure it out on some webpage I found through DDG.

On Google, they still thought sending me to pages from 2007 were relevant, and didn't have jack to do with what I was searching for. In fact, it was more of a mix and match between previous search results from a similar, earlier query. Google's irrelevance is becoming more obvious by the day.

On another note, the complaints about Pinterest taking up search results over more relevant pages is more obvious too. I came across countless useless pages with just the text, and an image with a picture instead of anything remotely useful for what I was looking for.

I have had a bit of a rank decrease this month, and am being replaced with older web pages too that are not even relevant for a number of important pages on my site. My content is around 2000-5000 words, formatted nicely, has images, and subheadings, written succinctly, but it gets outranked by articles hosted on "brand pages" which have clearly been spammed and not punished.
4:09 pm on Aug 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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they must have massively bumped up the weight of backlinks, surely.
and it doesn't matter how many backlinks the returned page has, it's the number going to the entire site that matters. how else can sites like Pinterest and Amazon keep topping out the results with pages that contain no relevant info

i think amazon can get away with it because people never bounce back to google, even if amazon's page is rubbish. the user realises that amazon probably do have what they want, even if google's result was way off, so they just continue searching on amazon's site search until they find what they want. maybe the same happens with pinterest.
6:21 pm on Aug 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think amazon can get away with it because people never bounce back to google, even if amazon's page is rubbish. the user realises that amazon probably do have what they want, even if google's result was way off, so they just continue searching on amazon's site search until they find what they want.

I don't know if your hypothesis is correct, but it if is, it just means that Amazon is doing a good job of delivering what searchers want--if not on the landing page, then on other pages that are easy to reach from the landing page.
6:31 pm on Aug 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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even if amazon's page is rubbish


Which surprisingly it is increasingly become. I spent hours on Amazon yesterday just trying to find a GPS unit that included enough complete and accurate information to ensure a purchase. In addition, when selecting a particular screen size and options, it would display something completely different in the cart. This was a listing that appeared above the fold in Google and was clearly never cross checked by either the major brand vendor OR Amazon customer service. In the end I wound up at e-Bay. Anyone who thinks Amazon is doing such a great job hasn't been to Amazon lately.
10:52 pm on Aug 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Anyone who thinks Amazon is doing such a great job hasn't been to Amazon lately


In terms of seo, customer service, ease of use, retention, affiliate marketing, customer loyalty, product range and market share - Amazon sets the bar. There is much to be learned from Amazon.
12:12 am on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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the complaints about Pinterest taking up search results


I have no idea what G's agenda with Pinterest is, apart from money, however their Pinterest SERPs results are absolutely the worst I have seen, ever ... in general terms Pinterest is serving unbelieveably diabolical, totally incorrect pages, their stuff is THE most inaccurate/misinformed I have ever seen.

Uninformed idiots are pinning/posting stuff willy nilly ... if this were a MEDICAL site people would be clamouring for it to be shut down since it is so incorrect.
2:01 am on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In terms of seo, customer service, ease of use, retention, affiliate marketing, customer loyalty, product range and market share - Amazon sets the bar. There is much to be learned from Amazon.


Granted, they DID a great job, but lately I am finding a LOT of problems with listings. As an FBA seller myself, I also have run into plenty of CS problems. As long time Prime member, I am finding the site getting sloppy in some areas. Inaccuracy in listings, dumpster diver products slipping in, this is not a good UE that always belongs at the top of the SERPS, especially when in many cases there are better alternatives and lower prices on M&P's or eBay. They are definitely the 800 lb Gorrilla in the SERPS....but more and more only because they are an 800 lb Gorilla.
7:51 am on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have no idea what G's agenda with Pinterest is, apart from money, however their Pinterest SERPs results are absolutely the worst I have seen, ever ... in general terms Pinterest is serving unbelieveably diabolical, totally incorrect pages, their stuff is THE most inaccurate/misinformed I have ever seen.


I know ... it's a joke ... a very bad joke.

A moment ago I was trying to find something and I used a 3 word phrase for my search. Superior Google returned 10 irrelevant result. It must be the "artificial stupidity" part of the algo that did this. For the 2 first results Google decided to insult me and crossed-out one of the words of my search phrase. Google's "artificial arrogance" knows better than myself what I'm looking for! 4 results were irrelevant Pinterest pages with junk.

I did not find what I was looking for on page one nor page two of the Google search results. Then I did the same search on Ecosia, Duckduckgo, Bing and Yahoo and found what I was looking for in just a couple of seconds. No arrogance, no Pinterest junk, no crossed-out words ... just clean and accurate results.

I'm afraid that being a good search engine is no longer Google's priority. Their priority right now is greed. Stealing content to use it in the answer boxes, hotlinking our photos (and stealing our server resources) in Image Search, ... Pinterest must be a part of Google's greed plan. It might take some time before we realize exactly how and why, but there must be something here that creates extra cash for Google. Remember how Panda penalized shopping websites and "coincidentally" drove more traffic to Google Shopping.

A major problem here is that Google is trying to police the internet, just like a sort of government. A government driven by greed is always bad news ...
8:33 am on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I just talked to some person who told me that he was searching an item on google. Half an hour later he couldnīt find any related item. He decided to switch to amazon ( he is not an amazon friend though ), Amazon presented him a bunch of related items. next user that google lost for transacional searches.....

And that is exactly what i personaly experience with google, ads, ads, unrelated sources, old sources,
1:28 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have no idea what G's agenda with Pinterest is, apart from money, however their Pinterest SERPs results are absolutely the worst I have seen, ever ... in general terms Pinterest is serving unbelieveably diabolical, totally incorrect pages, their stuff is THE most inaccurate/misinformed I have ever seen.
Don't forget Pinterest did hire the VP of Google's legal team a few months back. Also, Pinterest just hired a VP of Google's product team and will start at the end of this month. In the current environment, with politicians and regulators from the EU breathing down Google's back, I'm sure major algorithm and layout changes must get reviewed by Google's legal team before going live. With that being said, those in Google's legal group may have some knowledge regarding how the algorithm works. Pinterest is plucking off Google executives for a reason, and from all the reports from webmasters it is working out really well for them. Who it's not working out for are everyday people that use Google's search engine and the highly reputable businesses that get buried under the junk Google gives priority to. I don't think the blame should fall onto AI because it is controlled by humans. If AI really needs to learn, then Google should be running the AI index on the backend to save themselves from the embarrassing search results that are being returned now.
3:50 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Had there been any updates on 1st August? My clicks dropped since then. Clicks down by 50% while rank improved slightly. The CTR is 70% down and impressions dropped by 15%.

The weekend looks dead and I really have no idea why :( Yesterday I switched to https, hopefully, I will see positive results as my competitors don't have https.
4:44 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Another total disruption of conversions even on relatively normal traffic volumes. Whatever traffic we are getting must be very poorly targeted. Mostly positive insights being reported, but just the opposite in results.

A recent DDoS attack on the hosting provider increased bounce, which G is reporting as an insight. Wonder if that is figuring into the absent conversions. Too much AI overthinking all this me thinks.
5:42 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Same here. I have been getting about 20% more traffic since last month, but conversions remain low. Pretty much the last 24 hours have been completely dry, even though my traffic numbers are higher than usual. Pure zombie trash, couldn't give them a gold bar for free if you offered it to them.
6:19 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Pretty much the last 24 hours have been completely dry


Precisely, now the question of WHY?
How can we be seeing parallel results in totally different niches in lockstep?
This is evidence of an overall controlling mechanism at play, not individual natural site behavior.
7:37 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Anyone have experience recovering from an exact match anchor text keyword penalty (in a widget)? We just discovered that a widget we'd deployed had links with "keyword" as the anchor (normally it would have been an image with no anchor). Because we control a lot of the code for this widget, we were able to make it "nofollow", and we switched this last week. It would not make sense to change the keyword (it actually does provide value to the user and wouldn't make sense with another word there), but a number of other sites have embedded this widget and show up as links in search console.

So, first, will making these links nofollow eventually lead to this penalty being removed (assuming we got penalized)? Second, does Googlebot have to recrawl all the instances of this, or, because it's in a widget which is consistent, will recrawling it a handful of times be enough to make these links nofollow everywhere? Finally, once it's been crawled properly, will the penalty simply go away, or will it require a Penguin refresh (I know that's now automatic, but presumably it still updates on a schedule of some kind)?
8:04 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So, first, will making these links nofollow eventually lead to this penalty being removed (assuming we got penalized)? Second, does Googlebot have to recrawl all the instances of this, or, because it's in a widget which is consistent, will recrawling it a handful of times be enough to make these links nofollow everywhere? Finally, once it's been crawled properly, will the penalty simply go away, or will it require a Penguin refresh (I know that's now automatic, but presumably it still updates on a schedule of some kind)?


No - Yes - Maybe
Not to be the harbinger of bad news, but, I'll venture to guess that none of those actions will do anything substantial. I may be wrong, but I wouldn't hold my breath for any type of recovery...you could be waiting for 18 months before you see any results...if ever. Seeing a recovery these days is about the same as seeing Bigfoot in the wild.
8:50 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Just had to report this.... another huge surge out of the blue. Site was just sitting at 1 or 2 visitors all day...suddenly one of my sub pages, the same one as usual that ranks pretty well for a two term phrase gets SLAMMED with over 115 instant visitors. Mostly mobile (91%). Within 3 to 5 minutes they were all gone. Totally bizarre. BTW - not one of those alleged visits clicked on any other site page. A total Zombie attack. lol
10:05 pm on Aug 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@glakes I reported the same behavior occurring in the May 2014 thread. The Pinterest results returned to being normal (one slot on the first page in a lower position like 3 or 4) rather than all of the top 3 to 5 spots. This change happened in our niche in late August - early September 2014. Waiting to see if it happens this way again or if the dominance of Pinterest remains this time.
I resist the urge to state my thoughts on why this happens because it is pure speculation but if there is anything inappropriate going on it will probably be found out and disclosed eventually. The whole Pinterest/VC animal is very unusual compared to others from what I have seen over the years.
4:02 am on Aug 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Samanthatouch

From what you described, the Pinterest crowding was around for three months. Hopefully Google will cleanup the search results faster this time around. I know for many, including myself, the back to school season kicks off our most active months of sales. Looking at Mozcast's daily big 10 (90 day history), there was a spike in top 10 influence in Google SERPS on June 30th that lasted for just a few days and returned to normal. Another spike started on June 29th and has remained elevated ever since. This latest spike in influence does coincide with Pinterest's lens update. Though the big 10 influence measures nine other sites, I have yet to see increased crowding from any other sites Mozcast measures so I feel that Pinterest is the main driver of what Mozcast is reporting.
8:10 am on Aug 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it normal for google to show wrong results in the featured snippet? As of yesterday it's showing my image with ebay's URL and technical info! Misleading or what?
8:39 am on Aug 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it normal for google to show wrong results in the featured snippet? As of yesterday it's showing my image with ebay's URL and technical info! Misleading or what?


I've seen this happen a lot and it's unbelievable that Google is doing this. The "good" news is that if someone clicks on the image it will lead to a Google Image Search page with the full size hotlinked (= using your bandwidth) version of your image. Thus: Google is using a thumbnail of your image to illustrate an ebay result and if someone clicks on the image Google will use your server's bandwidth to show the full size version of the image. Two things that "do no evil" people wouldn't do.
10:55 am on Aug 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it normal for google to show wrong results in the featured snippet? As of yesterday it's showing my image with ebay's URL and technical info! Misleading or what?

Not a featured snippet, but Google lists one of my product pages in mobile with a picture of a Chinese competitor's product right next to it. I'd like to get it corrected, but the problem is more widespread than just me. If nothing else, what Google is doing is deceitful and in my case associates my brand with a problematic Chinese product.

And some of us wonder why Google's traffic sucks. Since Google can't associate correct images with products, imagine how users respond when they land on the page and see a product different then what Google led them to believe would be there. Many users will be like WTF and bounce, adding to the poor conversion rate (zombies). Associating an image with a landing page should be easy enough for Google to do, and if they can't manage to do that then imagine how many other components of search they are also dropping the ball in.
9:20 pm on Aug 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it normal for google to show wrong results in the featured snippet? As of yesterday it's showing my image with ebay's URL and technical info! Misleading or what?


I've seen it (and reported it, but nothing happened) and other people have mentioned it in here too.

I'm glad that probably 80-90% of my articles require a click through, and the question can't be answered in a short paragraph.
11:09 pm on Aug 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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With all this talk of Pinterest I thought I would chime in. I had 128K backlinks being reported in Google Search Console from Pinterest three months ago. I've noticed that the count keeps dropping and dropping in the last few months, now down to 55K. Recently there was a massive drop in backlinks counted from Pinterest from around 90K to 55K in one shot. All during this process my positioning was going up steadily until July 22nd when it started to fall off a cliff as reported by SEMrush. It stabilized on the 30th and has stayed the same since. Search console reported a big decline in impressions starting on the 22nd, with a big increase in CTR starting on the same day, so traffic stayed the same. Has anyone else seen this drop in backlinks reported from Pinterest and how has it affected your traffic?
2:00 pm on Aug 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@ichthyous We experienced something similar, though I don't know whether it was Pinterest, as there were a lot of other issues at the time as well.

In our case, we showed almost 3 million Pinterest links in the beginning of March. It dropped like a rock, to a few hundred thousand, and traffic dropped rapidly as well. That number has since dropped further, to 2,750. As far as I can tell, a lot of those links were from different regions (Pinterest in France, Italy, et cetera), so they were largely duplicates. Traffic has, generally, continued to trend down as well.

I don't know whether the drop was tied to that, but maybe? The total "Links To Your Site" dropped from about 3 million to just under 20,000. Thinking about it, that really doesn't sound good.
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