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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.
4:32 pm on Sept 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This morning, I thought I would do a Google PageSpeed Insights comparison between my site and some competitor sites. My site always ranks on the first page of the Google SERPs for my main keyword, but some competitor sites rank above me. Here's the results:

My site's PageSpeed score: 81% (Mobile) / 85% (Desktop)
Competitor directly above me in the SERPs: 43% (Mobile) / 57% (Desktop)
Site directly above them: 28% (Mobile) / 34% (Desktop)
And the site directly above the previous one: 29% (Mobile) / 43% (Desktop)

In all cases, the competitor sites ranking above me had a rating of POOR for both Mobile and Desktop, yet they all consistently rank above my site on Google. More proof that Google no longer cares about many of the things they tell us to care about. Clearly, PageSpeed score is not a main concern.
5:14 pm on Sept 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In all cases, the competitor sites ranking above me had a rating of POOR for both Mobile and Desktop, yet they all consistently rank above my site on Google. More proof that Google no longer cares about many of the things they tell us to care about. Clearly, PageSpeed score is not a main concern.

I don't think Google has ever said that it's a "main concern," especially for non-mobile results. It might be a tiebreaker, though. Then again, maybe not:

[searchengineland.com...]
5:22 pm on Sept 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@EditorialGuy, I'm just doing whatever I can to check things off the list.
9:41 pm on Sept 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We saw a 10% bump Friday/Saturday. Based in the USA, It's hard to believe that our traffic is 10% better with a holiday weekend. Curious what the actual gain was, since there is always a 10-15% drop off during this holiday for us. Everything appears to be long tail.
5:57 am on Sept 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Had the best weekend but the USA traffic was way too bad. Anyone else noticing the drop?
9:07 am on Sept 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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USA traffic was bad all last week. I hope that this week it will get better.
12:27 pm on Sept 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Had the best weekend but the USA traffic was way too bad. Anyone else noticing the drop?

Please remember it is Labor Day weekend in the USA. Today (Monday 9/4) is the Labor Day holiday and most people are off of work and schools are closed. My website traffic is down some as well, as I would expect because of the holiday, but sales originating from Amazon remain quite strong.
1:13 pm on Sept 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have more foreign sales than US sales and I am in the US.. Their AI brain must be traveling.
3:38 pm on Sept 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing some really odd churn on certain searches today. It's like they are testing different sites in a particular spot. Anyone else seeing strange stuff today?
8:56 pm on Sept 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Major switch in competitors which has been a trend, the new competitors are larger less specialized outlets. Overall a benefit for me because customers want a specialized outlet and ignore the big brands for this product. I now only have three competitors listed on the first page.

Some of my other sites that are not fully developed would of relied on controversy to get a leg up ... I'm worried now that this method is DOA.
10:57 pm on Sept 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Definitely seeing new sites on the search results today. some of my rankings on some keywords where I was ranked highly on page 1 are gone completely today.
12:24 am on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We had a good Sunday and Monday. Nothing dramatic, but definitely an improvement over the same days last week. I'm guessing it's because the August vacation season is now over.
7:35 am on Sept 5, 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.
8:21 am on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Seeing two sets of results. One obviously one better than the other.

bad set: traffic about 5% no user action, no transactions, bounce 100%
good result: normal traffic, user action, bounce at 30%, normal sales

The daily overall traffic stays the same.

My foverall feeling is that goomazon struggles between content and popularity.
In most results the content rich and well researched sites are below the popular big brands sites.
11:50 am on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In most results the content rich and well researched sites are below the popular big brands sites.
This is because your average searcher clicks the big brand more often than the obscure site. Users don't know the obscure site has great content, and Google does not want to exclude sites the user might expect to see.

It has been a long time since Google switched it's focus to satisfying the average user, rather than returning the best content- way before personalisation took off in a big way.

You either need to cater to the lowest common denominator, or significantly differentiate your content and hope Personalisation serves you eyeballs that are more discerning.

Either way, it's not what I want from a search engine, but then no one here is an average searcher.
12:48 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@shaddows, i somethimes think that we are "to professional" in our niche. Poeple might think that we are b2b business. When i look at other popular sites ( no brands ) than this sites look more like "circus". Bling bling popups here bling bling ads there... we donīt have anything of this stuff. Just content, pictures and resources.
2:38 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In most results the content rich and well researched sites are below the popular big brands sites


It doesn't make sense because you may not be looking at it in terms of user intent. The pages are listed in descending order of popularity of user intent.

Pages listed are not there because of which page is using keywords in H1 tags or other obsolete 200+ ranking factors. Those still play a role, but if an SEO is limited to thinking in terms of 200+ ranking factors or how the keywords match search queries then that SEO is optimizing for a search engine that no longer exists.

That's not even old-school SEO. It's zombie SEO, dead SEO walking.

It's not about relevance to the keyword phrase. It's about relevance to the user intent of the majority of users when that phrase was typed.
4:35 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In most results the content rich and well researched sites are below the popular big brands sites.

That might be true for e-commerce queries. It isn't necessarily true for informational queries. We aren't allowed to talk about specifics here, but in my informational searches, I often find independent sites outranking the big brands. The days when Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, etc. ranked no. 1 for nearly everything are over, at least for the time being.
5:00 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Pages listed are not there because of which page is using keywords in H1 tags or other obsolete 200+ ranking factors. Those still play a role, but if an SEO is limited to thinking in terms of 200+ ranking factors or how the keywords match search queries then that SEO is optimizing for a search engine that no longer exists.


? Did i wrote anything about SEO? H1? ... I wrote well researched and content rich. I did not say SEO optimized.
5:03 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@EG, i was indeed talking about e-comm queries. Forgot to say it.....
Informational queries are not of interest for big (selling) brands, not now but may be it will change in future.
5:29 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@EditorialGuy, it's been my experience as well, with information-based sites, that the well-known sites are not automatically ranking above lesser-known sites. The content itself, and especially the content structure, appears to be more important in the rankings. If Site A and Site B both offer articles covering the same information, but the information is more structured and streamlined on Site B, then Site B usually appears higher in the SERPs even if Site A is the more recognizable site.
8:37 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Martin on the sites that are above you on page 1, do they seem to be locked in. Like almost it is a bought position? In my niche everything moves except the first 8 positions. 4 from one site 4 from the next site. There is absolutely no way some of those pages are very popular. Then there is so much movement the next few pages it is insane. What I am seeing is in no way natural. Then if I go into sub categories it seems to be much more natural. These positions on some main keywords are either bought or fixed by google.
9:11 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@awarn, it is not the first 8 but the first 4 positions that seems to be stucked. Now way get into it. In most cases ( in my niche ) it is domain crowding from 1 or 2 sites.
10:01 pm on Sept 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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yes I have 2 sites that hold the first 8 positions.
4:25 am on Sept 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Awarn, re "Martin on the sites that are above you on page 1, do they seem to be locked in. Like almost it is a bought position? In my niche everything moves except the first 8 positions. 4 from one site 4 from the next site. There is absolutely no way some of those pages are very popular. Then there is so much movement the next few pages it is insane. What I am seeing is in no way natural. Then if I go into sub categories it seems to be much more natural. These positions on some main keywords are either bought or fixed by google."

--

Same in my niche. I think organic top ten are the same people that are paying for ads. It is that way in my niche. Spend big money on ads and get free organic traffic. Everything else is a rouse. I've done lots of things right and we just keep sinking. Now we just lost another 70% of sales. Basically out of business. Have had two sales in 7 days.

The other thing is how come with so many people in the world I have the exact same number of visitors every day. Usually +/-4 or 5. It's astonishing to me. That Google knows to give me 22 people, then 23 the next day, then 22 etc. then a month or two goes by, and then it's cut in half again. Been doing that to me for two years.
7:15 am on Sept 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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As someone with an ecom spending lots on Adwords, I can 100% confirm that Adwords has no direct impact on Organic. I am not the first to do so, either.

Do feel free to test your assumptions - buy Adwords and see what happens (or rather, what doesn't)

Typically, sites that can spend heavy on Adwords already have a functioning business model- that's why they can afford the ads. OTOH, business that use Adwords as a launch mechanism rarely see Organic success straight away.

I'm not saying Google is not unnaturally locking out organic positions, just that the criteria for doing so has nothing to do with Adwords.

Final tip: where we dominate Organic, we deliberately create campaigns that target the same SERPs, so we have as close to 100% coverage as possible.

Correlation != Causation.
9:49 am on Sept 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Something's just gone through the image results and Google's best friends are now dominating this SERP in my widget industry.

An image I have that has been #1 for years has been whacked to #10, guess who's the favourite now?

6 results from Houzz
1 from Pinterest
1 from yet another Houzz-type site
1 genuine site
1 from me

Awesome Google, freakin' awesome!
10:05 am on Sept 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Furthermore checking some more image results I have found for one search that one company has 44 out of the top 50 positions including 1 through 19 where I appear at #20.

The actual original company supply for this product does not appear until #41, we both used to be #1 and 2.

And also, guess what, the page and image are absolutely STUFFED with keywords. farcical.
10:52 am on Sept 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Whatever they did but today we have a drop of 50% right now with bounce at 99%.
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