Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.227.233.55

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2017

     
7:14 am on Aug 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 5, 2009
posts:1730
votes: 387



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.
3:57 pm on Aug 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 19, 2008
posts:1333
votes: 119


Yes, big drop in traffic. Remaining traffic is zombie traffic.
Anyone know what the changes focused on?


In my niche it is authority. Useless and user unfriendly sites from big brands are filling the top 10 results.
You can refine your search and will see the same sites. All about content, compelling sites site speed a.s.o. is nonsens.
4:55 pm on Aug 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3464
votes: 777


The only change in traffic that I've noticed lately was a slight drop in U.S. traffic yesterday (about 9 percent less than Monday of last week), presumably due to the solar eclipse.
6:05 pm on Aug 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:May 6, 2016
posts: 62
votes: 7


Good point about eclipse.
6:08 pm on Aug 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Jan 10, 2012
posts:508
votes: 29


We saw a dip yesterday because of the eclipse. This was after the 15% bump on Sunday. Everything returned back to normal today, plus the 15% gained over the weekend. The eclipse really only impacted our visits for about 6-7 hours on Monday.
6:08 pm on Aug 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member

joined:July 29, 2012
posts:251
votes: 12


Appears they are shuffling again from what I am seeing.
8:35 am on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 1, 2004
posts: 873
votes: 21


I'm seeing some movement in the right direction. This does often happen though, I get a bump when it starts to roll out and then it all slips back to where it was before. It never stops me hoping though :-)
10:18 am on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member

joined:July 1, 2011
posts:1
votes: 0


Hi, I usually only read this forum, but don't really participate.

I am managing the SEO team of a very big financial/news portal.

Since August 19th we have been experiencing a drop in traffic all over the different site sections, especially in traffic coming from Google News (mainly on the longtail keywords). Our site is multilingual (20 languages), we see a drop in most languages.

I'd love to hear any similar experiences to try to figure out what causes this drop in the latest update.

Thanks!
2:20 pm on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2008
posts:1717
votes: 263


We've seen two waves of changes roll though, one yesterday (2017-08-22), the other today.

Both traffic sets are distinct from each other, and both very different from the last month or so, which has not been great for us.
3:19 pm on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 19, 2008
posts:1333
votes: 119


@shaddows, i can confirm your observations.

Did you have a look in to WMT? We have a lot of 404s from very old pages that have been deleted for nealry 6 years now. Also we see 404s from pages that doesn“t exist and haven“t ever exist. If I look at the "Linked from" Tab, it refers to itself.
There is something seriously broken at the money plex.
3:23 pm on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 19, 2017
posts: 670
votes: 246


After watching my traffic dropping a little more every day for the past two months, this week I'm actually seeing an improvement. Yesterday my Google traffic was up nearly 10% from the same day last week. Today is also showing a similar improvement so far. It does seem like there was a Google update and for the first time in months, I actually benefitted from it.
6:15 am on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 2, 2016
posts: 343
votes: 59


Seeing a bigger drop in traffic for the 23rd... Been pretty stable with 2 percent drop over the summer. No improvement here.
9:57 am on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Aug 24, 2017
posts:2
votes: 0


Had to sign up to new account as couldn't remember my previous username.

Hugely relieved to see others experiencing a drop from 19th onwards, over 2 sites I'm seeing our biggest drop in nearly 7 years, 63 keywords dropped with some drops as large as 60 places, we're UK ecomm.

At this point I'm racking my brains as to what update is targeting, clean backlinks, fast loading, responsive, no ads at all, backlinks from some huge authority sites here, no significant changes to sites recently, stumped.
1:20 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts:1411
votes: 514


Well, yet another week with a warm start followed by a cold bucket of water to be sure it didn't exceed the quota. Incredible.
1:49 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 18, 2012
posts: 129
votes: 3


@samwest

"didn't exceed the quota"

that seems to be the point of all of that... "your website/ your domain gets traffic quotas"...

back in the day checking the weekly/monthly traffic stats was like opening a present, I was curious how much it would be... last few years G traffic is ticking like a clock, steady, continuously..no matter the effort (can get lucky with a freshness article that catches a non competitive term that will be searched because of upcoming events, releases, news or other happenings, but that's usually just a few days spike... and if one day traffics lacks a few percentage G makes sure next day it gets added to catch up the quota... same applies to sales made from G search referrals...steady, continuously no big ups and downs...in the quota :-)

That seen on 5 websites not related to each other, different age, content, owners, back links so on... but all have "traffic quotas" :-)
2:22 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Oct 5, 2012
posts:951
votes: 200


I see a lot of talk about "throttling" and "quotas" and I'm curious as to how one comes to the conclusion that the traffic one's website receives is based on this and not "market size/share"?
2:27 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 19, 2017
posts: 670
votes: 246


I was wondering the same thing. My traffic numbers are fairly consistent from day to day, but I've seen nothing to indicate that Google is "opening and closing the flood gates".
2:49 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 18, 2012
posts: 129
votes: 3


well good for you! I monitor this behavior since years... happens to some webmasters and to some not... who knows why...
2:51 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 18, 2012
posts: 129
votes: 3


@Cralamarre

"are fairly consistent from day to day" <<< that wasn't always like that, duno how long you are in www business tho... as said today you can adjust your clock on G traffic... days, weeks, months, years :-)
3:10 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 19, 2017
posts: 670
votes: 246


Well, I've been running my website for 11 years now. My traffic numbers have dropped quite a bit from what they were a couple of years ago (with the biggest drops being from Google updates over the past few months). But I've never seen any sort of patterns that imply my Google traffic is being throttled. Weekdays are always better than weekends, summers are always my slowest months, and certain hours of the day are always better than others. But I've never seen any sort of "peaks and valleys" patterns that would imply that my traffic is being artificially controlled.

This week, for the first time in two months, my traffic has increased. It's been consistent all week. There's nothing to indicate throttling on G's part. I'm curious to know how it could be proven that G actually throttles traffic. And also, what would their reasoning be for it? How would it benefit Google to do such a thing?
3:18 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 2, 2016
posts: 343
votes: 59


I do see signs of a pretty consistent pattern. But no throttling per se.
3:46 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2008
posts:1717
votes: 263


I'm curious to know how it could be proven that G actually throttles traffic.
And also, what would their reasoning be for it?
How would it benefit Google to do such a thing?
Great questions!
You can't prove Google throttles traffic, not without sight of their data/process.

You can, however, be convinced by empirical observation, whereby traffic over a given period never exceeds a particular number. Normally site owners feel this when a big traffic spike is cancelled out by hours of below-average traffic. And this happens after every traffic spike. It's hard to persuade others, because only the site owner has seen thousands of days of site data, so perceives both the spike, and the dip.

As to reasoning, that makes an assumption that it is intentional; it may not be. But assuming it is, one reason could be "wear levelling" - spreading the traffic around so that no single page/site wins the "SERP lottery" for a key phrase. This would mean there are more potential destinations to keep searchers happy over the longer term, and mitigates against good content providers from going bust just because they are marginally pipped by one or two sites, pushing them below the fold.

Another reason would be that it is just a control variable when Google is running multivariate testing, matching personalisation cohorts to potential sites.

I see no way that Google "benefits" if you mean "extract extra cash today". They only benefit is as part of AI training.

For balance:
Google is on record saying there is no quota.
No plausible mechanism has been proposed, or found.
Any Google-centric "reason" could be trivially refined to remove this effect.
There are no mainstream SEO bloggers or practitioners who support this theory.
Sites who report throttling are disproportionately affected by every other major or minor update.

See also: "reversion to the mean"
4:27 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 19, 2017
posts: 670
votes: 246


"Google is on record saying there is no quota. There are no mainstream SEO bloggers or practitioners who support this theory. Sites who report throttling are disproportionately affected by every other major or minor update."

So if I'm understanding correctly, "throttling" is really just a theory to explain traffic behavior that some, not all, site owners experience. And, it's a theory that Google itself denies.

Lately, it seems that there are a lot of comments on here implying facts where none exist. My site traffic has been negatively impacted over the past few months by the recent Google updates. But when I read comments implying that Google now exists only to put small business out of business, or to force site owners to pay for AdWords, or that Google is now just plain evil incarnate, none of that makes sense (except maybe for the AdWords thing). In my own case, there are certainly sites with bigger names and more recognition than my own which I'm competing with. And yet, my pages still do extremely well in the SERPs, often beating out those bigger, more well-known sites. How would that be possible if Google was out to put small business out of business?

My own observations, at least when it comes to information-based sites like mine, is that Google now favors a certain content structure. Google prefers pages with short, well structured, clearly stated answers. I've always written my articles in more of a personal style, but Google doesn't seem to like that anymore. They want me to write "Do this, do this, do this, you're done". So, I've been spending my time restructuring my content to fit this new, preferred style. And this week, for the first time in two months, my traffic numbers are up. Coincidence? Maybe. But content structure sure seems like a more plausible explanation than Google is now out to get me.
4:28 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:721
votes: 385


In whatever update Google pushed through on the 19th, page views from Google traffic are way down and conversions sit in the dumpster where they have been. On the flip side, sales on Amazon are way up, so I'm okay with this update if it is responsible for the increased sales on Amazon - whether directly because of more domain crowding or because Google is just such a cluster mess people leave Google and go to Amazon.
4:55 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2008
posts:1717
votes: 263


So if I'm understanding correctly, "throttling" is really just a theory to explain traffic behavior that some, not all, site owners experience. And, it's a theory that Google itself denies.
Yes, exactly. Google also denies breaching competition law, but at least one regulator disagrees.
Lately, it seems that there are a lot of comments on here implying facts where none exist.
Woah there. Google denying something doesn't mean it's not true (see above). Empirical observation is as good as it gets in many disciplines, you can't just dismiss it out of hand.
But when I read comments implying that Google now exists only to put small business out of business, or to force site owners to pay for AdWords, or that Google is now just plain evil incarnate, none of that makes sense
I could not agree more. But what is particularly annoying is that pointing out that this makes no sense tends to get you labelled as a shill or fanboy.

While there are a lot of people who are unaligned, it is patently true that there are two very distinct tribes on the monthly thread in particular- the Haters and the (smaller) Panglossians. Both the tribes have a lot of interesting things to say, but I personally find it hard to extract the value due to the inherent bias in their reported observations.
5:19 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 19, 2017
posts: 670
votes: 246


@Shaddows Plus, it's always easier just to see yourself as a victim than to look for the cause and work towards a solution. I refuse to believe that there is not a logical, impersonal, AI-driven reason for why a Google update resulted in a loss in traffic. Google wants to drive traffic to the most relevant results. The end. So why does Google now consider this page and that page to be more relevant than my page? Its not Google's job to tell me. It's my job to figure it out.
5:26 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Oct 5, 2012
posts:951
votes: 200


Still the question remains unanswered, how does one make the determination the traffic is throttled as opposed natural market size/share. Not trying to be antagonistic here, seriously want to know. We see very specific patterns of traffic. To me this is normal, a natural course based on availability of traffic in the market. Wild fluctuation in traffic would seem unnatural in my opinion.
5:31 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts:2680
votes: 813


@Cralamarre
So if I'm understanding correctly, "throttling" is really just a theory to explain traffic behavior that some, not all, site owners experience. And, it's a theory that Google itself denies.


Throttling occurs when traffic is bound by an upper range over an extended period of time. The time period is determined by looking back at your stats and picking a time period in which this scenario occurs. Should your traffic increase outside of this range at some point, then you are no longer being throttled, but as soon as there is an extend period of range bound traffic you are once again being throttled. So the theory is simple, easy to understand and it can never be false, therefore it is fact.

@shaddows
Empirical observation is as good as it gets in many disciplines, you can't just dismiss it out of hand.

Empirical observation are simply observations, in and of themselves they have no value. It was very easy for religious leaders and others of the day to make the claim that the earth was the center of the universe, based solely on observations. After all for centuries, day after day, they empirically observed the sun circling around them in the sky. The earth was obviously the center of the universe.
6:01 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 19, 2017
posts: 670
votes: 246


@NickMNS "So the theory is simple, easy to understand and it can never be false, therefore it is fact."

The "idea" of throttling is easy to understand. No explanation needed. But you lost me on the "it can never be false, therefore it is a fact" part. I see no evidence of traffic throttling. Others see no evidence of it. Google denies it. SEO experts dismiss it. You went on to dismiss someone else's comments about empirical observations by stating that simple observations have no value. Yet you want me to believe that your conclusions regarding throttling, based on simple observations, are, in your case, facts.

I don't buy it. There is nothing to be gained by Google throttling traffic. It may seem like an obvious explanation, but that doesn't make it a fact.
6:27 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from GB 

10+ Year Member

joined:July 12, 2006
posts:74
votes: 10


I see a 50% increase in organic traffic since the 19th. Shame it it is mismatched and non converting though. Give me back the smaller numbers pre 19th please. At least I was making some ££s.
6:33 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 20, 2017
posts:35
votes: 10


I have seen similar patterns to what some are describing at "throttling", but I think there's a more benign explanation. My theory is that Google's AI performs tests to maximize the value of the SERP results for a given query. Lots of sites might be competing for the bottom half of page one and be within a narrow range of one another with respect to pagerank, relevance, et cetera. Shuffling them around, occasionally removing one or two and inserting something that might sometimes appear on page 2, or otherwise moving things allows the AI to gather data on different combinations of results that it could not otherwise gather in any other way.

The result of this would be, for many sites, and particularly for queries outside the top one or two results, a shuffling around that results in spikes and dips in traffic. If this explanation is correct, it's not throttling of individual sites, it's just shifting the results around to test different combinations and ordering to better holistically optimize Page 1 results.
This 215 message thread spans 8 pages: 215
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members