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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.
10:42 am on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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disavow file, it was always a waste of time
No, it was very useful- just not for the site using it. It seeded Google's AI for link sellers, which means link penalties are not really used any more.

Google steps up the link penalties as a FUD tactic when they are not confident of their ability to detect paid links. They then turn it down/off when they think they know what's going on.
10:57 am on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The disavow file pulled a couple sites back onto first page results a year ago. However, it no longer has any impact now with AI controlling an increasing amount of the ranking. I removed it without any affect.
2:09 pm on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Working like a donkey all summer for 4 years and now I get hit by quality update on 8 September 2017. I always respect users, always less ads, always clean and quality and self made content. I have a respectable website always clean always good content and updated 3 times a week with new original and self-made content. I think google make a big mistake and removed good quality content from serp search. Iím really sad and I think I lose faith in my project with this update, I pay so much for hosting/https/dnspremium and for better quality I lose all my summer to write in my room good quality content without vacation like others and I get now -50% of my traffic.
2:17 pm on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Do people agree that the latest update is a local change - [commexis.com...]

We are not related to local, but got hit hard on Sept. 20.

Makes little sense.
2:45 pm on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Something does appear to have happened this week, but in my case, the effect seems to be more disappointing than drastic. After several weeks of constant improvement, my traffic has now dropped a little bit, beginning on the 20th. Google was down 5% on Wednesday, but recovered slightly on Thursday with only a 3% drop. Today seems to be roughly the same. Numbers will probably be down a little from last Friday but still better than the week before.

From the comments on here, I'm guessing blogs were it hardest by this update?
3:04 pm on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@cralamarre - Very similar to me, but Thursday was the same as Wednesday.
8:56 pm on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Seeing a large drop in traffic yesterday and today (about 15% drop). Rankings have stayed steady. Also, would like to note that prior to yesterday, my site was seeing a steady increase in quality traffic. Now all has gone down the drain.
11:21 pm on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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did you have an Punchinello for breakfast?

This are by far the worst results they have ever presented. And we all know that this has little to do with compelling content or with quality. I bet this quarter will be much more successfull as all quarters before.


He,He, Now if you walked in on a surgeon in the middle of things it would look kinda a mess and you would be like "whats going on" , same thing with Google, they have boosted non ssl sites whilst they cleanse the index, many spam sites rising to the top but its only temporary my friend as all filters are off for non ssl sites which is where the spam lays.

A special thanks for my mentor @ mentor.corp.google.com, thanks for upping my bounce rate :)
12:07 am on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So the problem is, Google is having an index cleanse? I think someone may be having a "senior member" moment. :)
12:37 am on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So the problem is, Google is having an index cleanse? I think someone may be having a "senior member" moment. :)


You crack me up ! honestly , Ok so you have obviously not noticed the deindexing of subdomains on say blogger platforms, the mass deindexing of comment spam, forum member lists I could go in but whats the point if your going to just take the piss and offer nothing yourself
7:22 am on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I Asked at least 30 Webmasters, they also got hit by Update on 20 Sep 2017 with at least 30% drop in traffic.
11:07 am on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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GSS = Google's SERPs Sucks

TUG = Total and Utter Garbage
12:02 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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As expected, Google traffic yesterday was down 3% from the previous week, marking the third day in a row of similar results. So it does appear that whatever happened on the 20th has had a small impact. However, 3% is a far cry from the 20-25% drops I've experienced earlier in the year, so I'm trying not to be overly concerned about it.

It does sound like blogs were the ones hit hardest. The two terms that seem to be popping up the most in the comments are "blog" and "de-indexing".
1:42 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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He,He, Now if you walked in on a surgeon in the middle of things it would look kinda a mess and you would be like "whats going on" , same thing with Google


Note to self, don't allow Google to perform my next surgery.

In doing some basic searches today and following the suggested searches, I keep popping up on page one above the fold. However, my Google analytics real time shows "drip traffic" of one or two at best with long periods of zero runs. With hundreds of millions of internet users out there and proven keyphrase volume (thanks to G trends), how is that tiny bit of traffic even possible? CLEAR!
4:20 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Http sites are doing really well in this environment, or at least mine are. One of them has gained about 25% in google traffic over the past few days.

One reason for http sites doing well now is that many of the sites being switched to https are suffering significant google traffic losses, at least temporarily, and some of the traffic they lose is going to http sites.
5:01 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Great news Aristotle, we go to https next week :(
5:10 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My site uses http, not https, and I've lost 3% of my Google traffic since the 20th.
5:50 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My site uses http, not https, and I've lost 3% of my Google traffic since the 20th.

That doesn't prove anything. How do you know that your site wouldn't have lost more than 3% if it were https?
6:01 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You're right, I don't know. But after you stated that http sites are doing really well, my immediate thought was, "Well, my site is http and I still lost 3% of my traffic".

Would I have lost even more if my site was https? Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? But a 3% drop is certainly not what I would call "doing really well".
10:33 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've been htpps for years. I run all sites secure. Does not seem to make a difference traffic wise.
10:48 pm on Sept 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest, Of course, that begs the question.... If you've been running all your sites secure for years, how do you know it has no effect on traffic?
1:39 am on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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UPDATE - Google now enforcing the same algo on non https sites - watch them fall... There is no longer a boost for non secure sites.
2:08 am on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My site uses http, not https, and I've lost 3% of my Google traffic since the 20th.

Our main site uses http, not https, and our Google traffic has increased slightly since the 20th. Not by enough to make me fantasize that Google favors http over https, however. :-)
8:52 am on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Just to say that since 4-5 years, I've always noticed a significant decrease of traffic (-30%) from Google in the second half of September, and then it has always recovered "by itself" (without any action from my part), within 1 or 2 weeks. I assume that, during summer, Google is experimenting all kind of things and that after, it was doing some kind of "reset", and integrating these experimentation into it's cooking recipe. This reset, and then progressive adding / removing of ingredients causing the initial lost of traffic, then the return to the "normal" *Just sharing a thought*
9:33 am on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Again, I've seen absolutely no evidence of any filters applied to either secure or non-secure sites. AFAIK there has been no announcement from any official source. There has been quite a bit of misinformation expressed in this thread.

The normal up and down flux can appear more significant than it actually is when one over-analyzes through constant examination.

As AI is implementated to a more significant role with search, the role of keywords diminish. Comparing where a site ranks today compared to last month or even last week by searching for keywords is almost useless.

Results vary depending on geolocation, language, search history, browser, whether you are logged into your account, etc.
12:42 pm on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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As AI is implementated to a more significant role with search, the role of keywords diminish. Comparing where a site ranks today compared to last month or even last week by searching for keywords is almost useless.

Which is why a better gauge of Google overall are the quantity of visits, page views and conversions (ad clicks, signups, unique purchases, etc.). Judging by the number of unique purchases produced from Google's traffic, the role of keywords is not the only thing that has diminished. The overall value of Google has diminished and quite substantially. Many of us are witness to high bounce rates (low page views) and few to no conversions (unique purchases) from Google, though we can compare data to other search engines where our sites perform quite well - meaning it's not our sites that are the problem but rather who or what kind of traffic Google is sending to our sites.

AI is said to make it possible to personalize results on a per query basis. In the context of different results for different people, I would argue personalization is synonymous with manipulation. If AI interprets a user is likely to click an ad, the SERPS are constructed with a heavy concentration of Adsense bearing websites towards the top. If AI interprets a user is likely to make a purchase, then Google returns Amazon domain crowded SERPS. In other words, AI returns results that are best for Google, not necessarily the user.

I will say whatever happened with Google's SERPS around the 20th resulted in an increase in traffic for my website. What has not increased are page views and conversions. Therefore, the increase in traffic really has no net gain in my bottom line. The traffic quality from Google is comparable to pop-under traffic, for those that were familiar and/or used that type of advertising back in the day. In other words, the traffic may be good for brand recognition but is almost completely useless in producing sales. Shouldn't we not expect better from a dominant search engine that allegedly is "the best?"
2:28 pm on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Whilst I am not disagreeing with what you are saying:

As AI is implementated to a more significant role with search, the role of keywords diminish.


AI is now delivering garbage results based upon people's searching criteria. I got fed-up of Google trying to predict ages ago however when I do check its SERPs personally I am appalled at the quantity of single page sites with one single pathetic keyword image, the keyword in the title bar and keyword stuffing scattered around the page and no freaking keyword product information whatsoever and the amount of "This product is no longer available" is beyond a joke.

For all intents and purposes Google has consigned the quality informational sites to the trash can and as for ecom, hello my financial friends take over the first page of the SERPs, the rest of you can wait until page 2/3/4.

Yes, I know some people are still doing well however just ask yourself, for how much longer before they consign you, too, to the trash can, since they have already scraped your sites therefore you are mostly surplus to THEIR requirements.
2:53 pm on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure if we're allowed to post links to other websites here, so I'll just say that there's an interesting article on the SEORoundtable site that talks about how there is no such thing anymore as the "top 3 ranking signals" on Google because Google varies the importance of signals dynamically based on what it is the user is searching for. So, what Google sees as important for my niche may be very different from someone else's. And I think that's the way it should be. To quote the classic tv show Diff'rent Strokes, "What might be right for you may not be right for some".

Whenever there's a Google update, it seems like someone on here declares "This is the problem!" and everyone else jumps on the bandwagon and says "Then that's what we need to focus on! That's what we need to fix!". But if my site sells computer parts and your site teaches people how to knit sweaters, and someone else's site reports on politics, it seems unlikely that there is a "one size fits all" problem and solution.

With regards to http vs https, Google itself has said it's a very minor ranking signal for now. Maybe in the future it will become more important. But to say "My site's traffic increased and I use http, therefore that's the reason for the increase" is like saying "My site uses Helvetica for its font and my traffic has increased, so everyone switch to Helvetica!". Maybe if you were searching for the "history of Helvetica", it might matter. For everyone else, probably not.

[edited by: Cralamarre at 3:01 pm (utc) on Sep 24, 2017]

2:59 pm on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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FWIW - yet another exact conversion totals week. The week can start hot or start cold but in the end it always evens up. Funny, every Sunday begins with the same conversion at 6am...then nothing all day..every single week. Precision traffic shaping still in action here. The long documented season upswing is not happening at all this year.
4:10 pm on Sept 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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because Google varies the importance of signals dynamically based on what it is the user is searching for.


And herein lies the precise problem, Googe is trying to predict what the user is searching for.

In my gobal widget industry when one searches for keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 that is precisely what they are seeking since the entire industry uses standardised keywords so that we all know that we are referring to the same thing. This is not something that has happened in the last few years, my company is 180 years old and there are many older.

Secondly, if Google is so darned clever at "knowing" what people are searching for, then just why does it serve USA companies in non-Google.com results when those companies it is "promoting" don't have a cat in hell's chance of supplying to those countries because they have IMPORTED those products from those countries?

In my global multibillion Dollar widget industry in the early noughties one could find loads of different companies and suppliers, these days it is the same old garbage repeated ad verbatim across most G.tlds.

If you want to try this out take your favourite keyword 1/2/3 product and try it in google.co.in and see the results you get, in general you will find them utterly pathetic since it will most likely be dominated by USA companies.

"What might be right for you may not be right for some".


Absolutely therefore why should we tolerate the bland garbage Google keeps serving us.

Honestly, believe this or not, I have been in my industry 49 years and this last week I had to WhatsApp a colleague in India to find out the name and address of a supplier I knew a few years ago yet couldn't find anywhere. He duly supplied that info, after contacting the supplier I asked why he had no website etc and his response was "Why should I? I closed it since it couldn't be found however you've found me without it!"

Has Google actually sent us back to word-of-mouth recommendation since it is so useless?
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