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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2017

     
10:45 am on Sep 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 4 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4860963.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:25 am on Sep 2, 2017 (PDT -8)


How do you compare your pages with those in the top 10?


User intent.
6:27 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well I have 9 sites... 7 with https and 2 without

the 2 without are up
6 with https are down
1 with https is up

all are different niche so I do see pattern... especially since the only one https up is the only non-English site and growing in content
7:04 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Don't worry, the ones without https will be down soon as browser warnings will be more visible!
8:43 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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very constructive M4
8:57 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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...the ones without https will be down soon as browser warnings will be more visible
Sadly, that's likely to be the case. At least all the browsers have been clear of their intentions for quite a while, well over a year. This should not come as a shock to anyone.
9:05 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@WhoKnows111 [pcworld.com...]
9:11 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Maximum44 : not what I meant... I know the warnings are coming. The two last sites will be moved to https too (one is being worked on, second is question of 20 minutes)

I commented to those who say http got boost in the past few days. I don't know if it's true but I sure see the same.
9:17 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Good catch :D

There is something going on. Thats for sure.
10:34 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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After weeks of big growth, we saw a downturn in ranking last week. We've been aggressively linked building the past months and it's been working well to be honest. We've gone through a rigorous redevelopment too and complete site URL re-write
1:55 pm on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So anyone see a story talking about what the Sept 20 update was about?
2:10 pm on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Also, as a quick note, I'm getting garbage traffic today from all sorts on unrelated territories. I've even gone as far as to put markup and hreflangs in place to further push UK traffic. Whatever rolled out last week has brought more non-UK based traffic (my target market) and more frustration.
2:36 pm on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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BushyTop: same here, my best earning site is focused on the US and I block a lot of countries from Africa/Asia from accessing the site

my US traffic is down by 35+ % while I get ton of traffic from Maldives and rest of the countries I don't block from Africa/Asia

and all my rankings in the US are same - ahrefs, semrush, serpstat, or manual search
3:50 pm on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My traffic distribution by country looks fine.

If you only want UK traffic then you need to do the standard SEO for that, UK domain, UK host, UK IP addy, UK inbound links, so on and so forth...
4:20 pm on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Just to mention, that I did also observed a significant decrease of traffic from Google last week, but as I said, I see this every year, at the same period. But now, all is back to "normal", and even slightly higher than normal.

As for targeting a country , I think there is an option in the GSC too. I don't know how efficient it is.
4:33 pm on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My traffic has been doing quite well today, even better than last Monday (before the update on the 20th). Not sure if all is well again, but so far, I'm not complaining.
4:37 pm on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Seems when a few of you have a bad day, we have a good one and vice versa. Pretty crappy today. Last week we had big gains. Not any more though :D
11:35 pm on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We have seen little change in traffic, but a 80% drop in conversions since middle September whether PPC or Organic. Assume it is nothing but zombie traffic. We have just decided to shift our PPC budget over to Bing for a while, cannot continue to lose our shirt while Google does an algo dance.

Kind regards,
Bill
1:44 am on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am hoping the end of the summer holiday season may improve our SME B2B site enquiry rate.
7:15 am on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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As for targeting a country , I think there is an option in the GSC too. I don't know how efficient it is.
It's pretty efficient. We accidentally turned it on a few years ago- got a increase in UK traffic, but a serious decline in international Google referrals.

And yes, I realise that "an increase in UK traffic" is not an orthodox expectation.
1:48 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Maybe we take it with a grain of salt...but the semrush algo gauge is showing 9.5 for all categories this morning.

Nothing seems unusual with our traffic today, so far. Rankings seem to be flip flopping quite a bit though. Whatever they are trying to push out over the last couple weeks seems to be difficult for them.
2:35 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sorry to bring up this topic again, but a week or so ago, there was a discussion about https and http referrers, and how a newer web browser which follows the "rules" would not pass the http referrer from a secure site (https) to a non-secure site (http). Without the http referrer, analytics software such as Google Analytics would report the traffic source as "direct", essentially meaning "unknown".

Since Google itself uses https these days, and my site uses http, does that mean that someone visiting my site from a Google search, using a newer browser that supports the "do not pass the referrer" rule, would be reported in my Google Analytics as direct traffic rather than Google traffic, even though they came from Google?
2:45 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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does that mean that someone visiting my site from a Google search, using a newer browser that supports the "do not pass the referrer" rule, would be reported in my Google Analytics as direct traffic rather than Google traffic, even though they came from Google?

In a word, yes.

But you could generalise a lot of that sentence to make it less Google-centric:

does that mean that someone visiting my site from {any https site}, using a newer browser that supports the "do not pass the referrer" rule, would be reported in {any analytics package} as direct traffic rather than {referred} traffic, even though they came from {an https-hosted link}

ETA - although, even when you are HTTPS, Google will still give you "(not provided)".
2:53 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Shaddows, Thanks. I was overly specific with Google and Google Analytics only because I've been trying to understand why GA seems to report an unusually high amount of direct traffic vs Google traffic on my site. During my site's peak hours, it's not uncommon for direct traffic to surpass Google traffic, at least according to GA. I suppose it's possible that more people simply visit my site directly rather than going through Google. But now I know that it's also entirely possible that GA is reporting a lot of Google traffic as direct traffic.

I guess the only way to know for sure would be to switch my site to https. Until I do, there isn't much point in trying to analyze my daily Google traffic performance since GA (or any analytics software) is most likely reporting it wrong anyway.
3:01 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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"even when you are HTTPS, Google will still give you "(not provided)".

Are you saying that the referrer is not passed even between two https sites? So even if I switch my site to https. analytics software still won't know where the traffic came from?
3:21 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It knows (and is allocated) to Organic, but you don't get keyword data. But at least you will know it's Google.

Please note that all your other traffic sources will likely be heading to https as well, so it is not just Google who is contributing to your "direct" traffic.
3:28 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks @Shaddows. At least I can stop fixating on my Google traffic for now, since I'm not seeing accurate numbers anyway. I'll just focus on overall traffic numbers, which I suppose is all I can really do.
9:27 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You know I was going to update as to current status of http vs https as there has been another change but I can't be arsed, after reading some of the mods comments on disinformation and other comments I think I'll not bother.
10:37 pm on Sept 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Are you saying that the referrer is not passed even between two https sites? So even if I switch my site to https. analytics software still won't know where the traffic came from?
@Cralamarre - HTTPS to HTTPS does not strip any data in the request string, however the data needs to be there in the first place.

In many cases much of the valuable (to webmasters) data was removed several years ago from organic search.
7:23 am on Sept 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Slow decrease since August 8th, September 20th things went down 10k users a day, I guess its an update? Noticed irrelevent results now while doing searches. Anyone else experienced same?
8:08 am on Sept 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This week was the worst week we have seen from google since panda 4. With all other updates we gained traffic but this one hit us with >50%. Sales form google organics, adwords and Shopping ads are off by 95%.
The serps seem not to be shaked up much, we stil have severall traffic pages in top 10. It seems that poeple donīt search for it from now to then. ( i donīt believ it )
Yesterday the first time i saw an mobile result in desktop search. Something is mixed up heavily.

ebay and amazon still rock more and more. We now shut off google spending and going to push our amazon business,

And no coment from google. I guess the only thing they have to say: it was an quality update.
8:25 am on Sept 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@martin_ice We have seen the same. We've grown massively over the past few months and this week we have lost ranking from positions 2/3 to 5/6. Its impacted us dramatically.

It's a tough world out there now. Frequent changes... blurred patterns... nothing makes sense. They've succeeded really because there is nothing to really aim to... just 'create great content' :/
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