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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.
5:19 pm on Sept 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing an improvement today as well. Unfortunately, traffic is still down 20-25% from what it was before the big Google update in May, but it's at least better than it was all summer, and it's been slowing improving all week.
5:45 pm on Sept 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar.

I am on day 8 no sales. I think it might be the hurricanes hitting the USA? I still have some rankings but no traffic and no conversions...
7:04 pm on Sept 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@seoskunk
You're probably right. We actually have canonicals in there properly and now we redirect the pages. The problem had been that our server would return a page even if the URL was sort of invalid. For example, example.com/Page=12 could be the last page in a series. If you requested example.com/Page=13, it would return Page 12, because it was the last page. There were no internal links to those pages, and the rel=next would only go through Page 11 (with a link to Page 12, but Page 12 would not have a canonical suggesting a page 13).

A negative SEO attack exploited this and linked to all kinds of pages this way, so there would be a example.com/Page=9771, for example, which was both thin (last page in a series with not much on it) and a duplicate of Page=9770, 9769, and so on. Unfortunately, Google indexed all of those pages. I think that shot our quality score through the floor.

They're slowly dropping from the index, but it's been months, and traffic is down enormously, so I'm eager to find any possible method of cleaning the index bloat, but it seems like Google has to recrawl all of those pages multiple times to drop them, and our crawl budget looks it dropped, too (probably because of low quality score). Traffic is down so much that we're operating at a loss, hence we're looking at anything we can do to speed up the process.
10:37 pm on Sept 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Huge number of zombies, can't stop them. Last month was better than this one in terms of quality of traffic
11:07 pm on Sept 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@martinibuster has mentioned the situation with the California company. I myself have seen most of the 1st page coming from one specific city. With Google's focus on local I wonder if their algorithm might be looking too much at local for worldwide results. I have thought this may be an issue before. My question is if anyone has used a virtual address or business location to make it appear like a local business to satisfy the local rank issue. I would like to know the results.

--
Mod's note: It's "martinibuster", but not "Martin". His name actually is "Roger".


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:28 pm (utc) on Sep 7, 2017]
[edit reason] fixed typo [/edit]

11:29 pm on Sept 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@NYCTech Ah that explains allot

Heres what I would do:
1. 404 the whole directory and use google webmaster search console to temporary remove all results.
2. Wait till you can confirm all content has been removed
3. Ensure you serve a hard 404 for pagination that doesn't exist ie. header("HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found"); echo "<h1>404 File not found</h1>";
4. Reinstate the directory that should be now cleansed of the pagination problem
5. Reinstate the temporary removed from results directory in google webmaster search console

Whole thing should be done and dusted within a week
Hope that helps
8:03 am on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am on day 8 no sales. I think it might be the hurricanes hitting the USA? I still have some rankings but no traffic and no conversions...


We are located in germany. And conversions and traffic dropped about 50%. It started at 18. august and with every day its getting worse. Actually this week is worse than panda hits.
They removed all buyers from organic traffic. Zombies, 100% bounce ( from google, bing still holds at 40%)
There are very short periods of traffic that is converting, bounce suddenly is lower than 30%. This holds in most cases for 10 min. once an hour.

We see amazon sales rise since 18.08 but amazon seems not to be faviourized too much in serps ( it is still to much ). It seems that poeple go right away to amazon without the journey with google telling them to click on ads.

I also realized that ads an organics are in no way to differentiate ( for a normal user ) since they only show a green ADS ( Anzeige ) in the same color as the link.

The allover layout looks very untidy. As next i expect google to do popups on their serps.
10:15 am on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Further losses in traffic yesterday, now about -75%, and this morning is looking even worse, however I can't see why!

I checked loads of my rankings yesterday afternoon and nothing seems to be out of kilter.

Have all these hurricanes, earthquakes, monsoons, whatevers, really stopped people searching for my widgets?
12:25 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It would appear Google has changed something, which further eroded the already poor traffic quality. Pageviews have been cut in half, which is a further signal that Google can't/won't match buyer intent with ecommerce websites. My traffic and pageviews from Bing and Yahoo remain stable, which discounts the impact of hurricanes on my site. For the most part Google's changes are a non-issue for my business as the majority of new customers find our products in the big marketplaces/retailers. The funny thing is that Bing and Yahoo easily crush Google in total conversions with only a very small fraction of Google's total traffic.
12:38 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm not seeing any traffic drops on my site (information-based), but my traffic is down a bit from what I was expecting for the start of the school year. It does make sense that the recent hurricane in Texas and now the new one about to hit Florida would have something to do with it.
12:54 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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glakes
The funny thing is that Bing and Yahoo easily crush Google in total conversions with only a very small fraction of Google's total traffic.

That is what I want to hear, it supports my present intention to broaden our traffic base as much as possible!
3:37 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Customers are buying in spite of the hurricanes. Just customers from Google are off. Nothing to do with the hurricanes for the most part. Focus on other avenues besides Google. A simple email to prior customers does wonders.
4:33 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Huge drop in traffic on a large and very consistent data set of traffic, none of which should be impacted by unfortunate weather and political events. Bing and yahoo traffic still consistent. Very strange drop even taking into consideration other documented G algorithm changes that have affected our sites in the past 6 months and beyond.

Anyone else with a large amount of traffic (size all relative, but at least 10,000+ visitors a day) seeing anything similar?

Thank you.
4:40 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No drop here. Overall traffic is actually up 15% from last Friday.
4:51 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Steady here. Up a bit some days, down a bit on others. Never more than a few percentage points off the baseline, although (because of our topic) I expect to see the usual seasonal decline by the end of the month.
10:15 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Seeing a huge (downward) shift in rankings in the last 12 hours. Dropping 4-8 spots for major keywords. Down, down, down, down since whatever started in February. The bleeding won't stop.
10:20 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@NYCTech

Do you find your contented outranked by other sites? Duplicate content within the same website should not be such a big concern the most popular page would still rank.

Wonder if you still have users slow loading pages of your site and if you made any changes to server settings?
3:26 am on Sept 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing slight fluctuation on my ranking. Traffic drops only 5% then previous report. Let's see how it will impact our business ad revenue.
3:04 pm on Sept 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Seeing a high uptick in rankings but SERPs still changing by the minute. Sth. is def. going on and looking good here if it stays.
3:29 pm on Sept 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Last night, my site suddenly jumped up 3 spots for its main keyword on Google, putting it almost at #1. Two sites that have always ranked above me suddenly dropped down and nearly off the first page. But this morning, everything is back to the way it was before. Google was just playing musical chairs.
6:43 pm on Sept 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think there's an update going on with a fairly slow roll out.

1. Seeing sites with poor quality or hacked backlinks reaching top spots, filter=0
2. Seeing indexed results dropping for hacked sites
3. Seeing feeds from Google excluding sites that rely on hacked backlinks

Apart from the annoyance of seeing sites that rely on hacked backlinks go top (hopefully temporary) this looks like a good update and when its fully rolled out if results replicate syndicate results I think its a big improvement.
10:22 am on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Another big drop today. About 25% again. Allover drop at 60% right now. Bounce 100%. 100% non converting traffic.
Germany
1:13 pm on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hello the last week I have started to recovery from the FEB UPDATE. I have just been dropping since that date. Starting Last week my traffic has started to go up... 20% up so far average over those days ... and today we are showing another 30% traffic today!.

For the record i should never have got hit in Feb update. Ive changed nothing on my site and had no more links since last year... . Ive only posted more posts..

[edited by: 30K_a_month at 1:18 pm (utc) on Sep 11, 2017]

1:17 pm on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It's still early here (9 am), but so far my traffic today is up roughly 20% from a typical Monday last month. Things do seem to be improving a little more each week. Of course, I may have just jinxed it.
1:19 pm on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@cralamarre, when were you first hit ?
1:34 pm on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@30K a month, I've been slowly losing traffic for a couple of years, but I suddenly lost 25% of my traffic back in March, and then another 25% in May. Traffic is still down, but at least it's showing signs of improving.
1:55 pm on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Crala...I avoided both the March and May updates.. I only got hit by Feb only.
2:08 pm on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Just a tip for those wondering whether US hurricane traffic is/has had an effect on their traffic. Go to Google Analytics/Audience/Geo and select US as the country. Then you will see a breakdown by state. Set the date so you can compare before and after the hurricane dates. You can further breakdown each state by city if you want. You might also want to compare immediately after hurricane Harvey (Texas impact) to the last day or two. If you normally have traffic from that area, you may see it starting to come back as they recover from the hurricane. I suspect because of how many have been hit by Irma, it will be even longer to see traffic from Florida coming back.
3:10 pm on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What % of the latest ranking changes relate to having/not having html5 and/or responsive website.

What % may relate to having https:// or not?

What % relate to "toxic" backlinks as discovered by various tools?

Obviously, there are hundreds of factors, but I see these as common themes of late in sites that rank high.

There is no polling here (that I know of), but wonder if I am looking in the wrong place (I know all three of the above items should be and should have been addressed, but some of our sites take time to convert).

Thank you.
3:23 pm on Sept 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@honestman, I don't know about the backlinks, but as for your first two questions. I changed my site to a responsive, mobile-friendly layout last March. The very next day, I was hit by a Google update that took away 25% of my traffic, which I have not recovered. So based on my experience, I would say that being mobile friendly, at least at the moment, has little to do with it.

As for https being an issue, Google has stated that for now, it's only a very small factor in the rankings. I see plenty of sites that are still using http outranking https sites.

Maybe others will disagree, but I would say that rankings at this point are determined by a site's usefulness more than anything. Technical improvements to a site's structure won't make any difference if the site isn't giving people what they need.
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