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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2017

     
7:27 pm on Oct 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The following message was cut out of thread at:
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4866125.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 2:26 pm on Oct 1, 2017 (PDT -8)

---

My site is plummeting in rankings today under most keywords. Anyone else seeing this?


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:42 pm (utc) on Oct 1, 2017]
[edit reason] Splitting off from September thread [/edit]

3:26 pm on Oct 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Traffic was down about 8-10% for me yesterday as well, and looking about the same today so far. This is after 3-4 weeks of our best traffic levels of 2017.
3:41 pm on Oct 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My traffic has rebounded back to normal today. No sign of whatever happened yesterday.
4:14 pm on Oct 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Things are back to normal... the US traffic is back as well (a sigh of relief).
7:22 pm on Oct 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Telling people to create something with the potential to go viral is like saying "Write a song with the potential to be a hit".

I'm not "telling" anyone to do anything, I'm just stating the obvious. Of course it's not easy. If it was, well, you know the rest... my point is that the ridiculous "viral" and "trending" garbage dominates all of the old organic results. It really shouldn't, but it does.
8:35 pm on Oct 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@sam

What is going on? Have you been the first to receive the first alien radio signal and all media is reporting on it?

AI should be already in communication with aliens where is all that intelligence coming from?
12:18 pm on Oct 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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UK ecomm, hit by then end of August update, seeing huge increase today across 2 sites, back to where we were prior to August update
1:06 pm on Oct 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@chardanna,

that are good news. I hope it sticks. We are seeing the opposite today. german ecom
2:13 pm on Oct 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Normal Friday here for my site in the US (information site). Still no sign of whatever happened that caused a traffic drop on Wednesday. Traffic recovered yesterday and continues to be normal today.
6:55 pm on Oct 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It seems that Analytics is down.
8:00 pm on Oct 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think reporting is delayed. Either that or my site's traffic took a massive hit within the past hour, and I don't think that's the case. Reporting was delayed earlier today as well.

Edit: Yep, it's just delayed.

System

3:17 pm on Oct 14, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Mods Note: Let's remember to keep each thread on topic. That means the posts in this thread should be directly related to Google Updates & SERP changes.

If you want to ask questions or talk about something else, like I don't know... maybe asking for Wordpress Https Migration Help [webmasterworld.com] then you should start a new thread instead of going off-topic. That aint cool :(

Your unpaid volunteer moderators thank you in advance for not making them work on the weekends!

[edited by: goodroi at 6:25 pm (utc) on Oct 15, 2017]

3:26 pm on Oct 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My website seems to hold up in the serps for my keywords that I aim for, no matter the algorithm changes in google. I have seen some small changes in a one word keyword that I aim for in my industry and it's up and down, but for the most part I see improvements on long keywords or steady standings. I have seen competitors who seem they hired a seo company to handle their website and do well on the serps or even out rank me, but then they start to drop after a couple or few months. I also check my updates when I see a difference in ranking. Updating my site does seem to help.
7:07 pm on Oct 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hi Shogun73 and welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com]
8:17 pm on Oct 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have to agree with samwest the reporting here lately is not bringing much novelty and has not even prompted the highly paid fan boys to make a comment at least.

You need to put more effort to excite the fan boys brain computer interface...
12:15 am on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have to make a comment:

1. Realworld business fine

2. www traffic non-existent

3. WTF is going on? Has there been a fundamental change in the way The Net is being used?

I am a primary global producer to major importers, my sites rank well, my keyword products rank well yet traffic is dropping even though genuine orders are up, many of my widget trade competitors are experiencing the same.

I have one theory!

www 25 years on, I reckon there are many employees who are not allowed to do anything diffferent to their current status quo ... i.e. The business is doing ok, don't rock the boat and definitely do not take any risks.

My conclusion? Commercial order has been restored after several years of turbulence, read post-dot com/noughties, and Joe Public/tied-down employee buyer, has had to revert to company policies!

The result? That was fun for a while however it's simply thrown a whole load of pressure ... where?

You may be thinking I am writing a whole load of gonads, let's have your opinions, please.
1:58 am on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Red - Hopefully my recent experience can help - the use of Google and similar search engines use to be the only way to find an online entity. Today that's all changed. I keep saying that they moved your cheese and they certainly did. Today the SERPS play a secondary role to social, mobile apps and of course monster sites like eBay, Amazon, Pinterest and a constellation of news aggregation sites.
I've proven this to myself last week when one of my clients sites went from ~ 500 views per day on October 4th to over 49,000 on Oct 14th. How did that happen? A news aggregation site picked up on a very compelling article and it went viral, making it all the way to Fox News and dozens of newspapers. Then every other wannabe news outlet picked it up and ran with it. It was very entertaining watching this happen and a very good education for me on the truth of how search engine traffic and viral trends happen...or don't. Here's a screen shot of the nearly logarithmic traffic trend that occurred last week: [ibb.co...] - almost a million views in that time frame.

Needless to say I have one very happy client. The trick will now to repeat the exercise on other sites.
The bottom line is that no amount of tweaking and fretting about each algo update will bring you free organic traffic. You gotta feed the social / news monster these days and hope it likes your stuff. As an old school webmaster, I'm not thrilled about these changes. It was so much easier back in the day when staking a claim on that new soil was so much easier. Once "they" (who is basically EVERYONE in the news aggregation / scraper business) saw the post dot com bust potential again, the struggles really began. Just my take on the situation.

For those who say it's impossible to get free traffic these days, I now have to disagree....but the way you get it has really changed. The pressure comes from every direction. Once greed and capitalism kicks in, you better stop resting on your laurels and join in the fray.
Success stories are so rare here these days....but as I said before...it will start to decay very quickly...time to rinse & repeat.
This of course is only one method. There are countless other ways to drum up free traffic...I openly shared mine, I'd love to hear others.
7:49 am on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There's been a fair amount of chatter about recent Google updates, so I did a year-over-over comparison of Google traffic for our main site since September 1. We've had two noticeable increases in that time: one around September 20-21, and another on the weekend of October 6-8. Each has held, and the YOY increase since October 7 has averaged around 9 percent.

On SEO Roundtable, Rustybrick has speculated that Google may be testing its "mobile first" index more aggressively. I don't know if that's true or not, but I can say that a graph of our Google traffic increases since September 1 is almost identical to our increases in mobile traffic during that same period.
10:29 am on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Today the SERPS play a secondary role to social, mobile apps


For several years I have been mentioning one specific app that has completely changed the way my global industry works and that is WhatsApp.

This gives me the ability to avoid emailing and searching, this morning I received an enquiry from a potential new client for some 30 container loads of specific widgets per month. Within 5 minutes of receiving it I had copied into my supply group for pricing and availability. I didn't need to search for a supply source, this group are all companies I trust and have known for years, if none of them had the widgets available then I was not going to fret about it however, of course, within the hour I had several offers and the new client was quoted.

Could the new client have done the same? It's doubtful he's ever heard of any of these companies, these are contacts I have personally built-up over the past 49 years and the previous 130 years by my parents/grandparents/great grandparents etc, it's a specialised, niche widget thing.

I also know that hardly any of the companies that do have their own websites actually mention that they can produce this specific widget therefore searching for them usually only turns up results that include me:-)

Of course this is all quantity B2B stuff, not one-off B2C ... actually, re-reading what I have written has just answered my own question, I should have done that before!

Is there anyone else here that purely deals in large quantity B2B experiencing similar i.e. a reduction in traffic yet an increase in realword business?
9:31 am on Oct 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar
First to declare: I have no insight into Info.

As far as commerce goes, it seems B2C is a hiding to nothing. Amazon and ebay are where it's at, forget Google. B2B reached Peak Google around 2012-2014, according to numerous offline contacts. Quite a lot of companies predicated continuing growth on that paradigm.

We aggressively switched our model into chasing repeat business, which meant investing in staff and expertise in order to differentiate ourselves from other companies. This both requires and justifies the higher margin we make. While Google is still the #1 source of customer acquisition, it is much, much less than 50% of our sales. As we have high levels of interaction with our customer base, it means we are valuable to our suppliers too. Both as a gatherer of end-user intelligence, and efficient disseminator of marketing messages, we can extract various concessions not available to your average box-shifter.

In actionable advice, I appreciate this boils down to "start changing 5 years ago" but there you go.
3:04 pm on Oct 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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While Google is still the #1 source of customer acquisition


That's interesting, whilst we do still get random enquiries through search engines, my entire industry has re-booted to the 80s/90s with widget trade exhibitions easily generating the vast majority of new customer acquisitions for B2B.

Where search wins is with architects and specifiers being able to see new widgets, latest trends etc without having to go to the exhibitions, the thing is with some projects is that they can go on for years and years before any decision is sometimes made.

The longest I have ever known was almost 20 years, the first enquiry was in about 1987/8 and was finally ordered about 2007/8! One benefit they definitely had was a huge reduction in production costs.

Since there have been no other responses I'll have to assume I'm a loner here:-(
3:24 pm on Oct 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sorry @RedBar, I know this is off topic from your question. I just have a quick question about HTTP referrers, Google traffic and Analytics. If you've set up 301 redirects to the HTTPS versions of your pages, but Google is still listing your old HTTP URLs, what happens to the referrer information when someone visits your site from Google? Does the referrer get passed along in the browser because the page was redirected to HTTPS? Or does it not get passed, regardless of the redirect, because the URL the person clicked on was still the old HTTP version?
6:39 pm on Oct 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For what it's worth, my site has endured a DEVASTATING loss in search traffic over the past two weeks. A few things seem to be at play:

-- As I wrote in an earlier thread, there have been some issues with Google News indexing across many sites within our sector. This has definitely hurt us, although I'm counting blessings, because we're still seeing a good portion of our content indexed.

One of our competitors -- a very well-known site -- hasn't had a News article indexed in ten days.

-- The real "damage" seems to be coming from Top Stories.
*Google seems to be showing fewer top stories in general, at least for topics in our sector. It used to be a given that a search for any major news figure would yield a Top Story carousel. Not anymore.

*Google doesn't seem to be including us in as many top stories.

We're credible, on HTTPS, AMP-compliant and generally original with content, and we used to appear in the carousel even for super-competitive terms (think "Hillary Clinton" or "The Rock"). Now, we're not even making the carousel for news that we break.

The thing is, I can't determine what algorithm Google is using to decide which sites qualify. I've seen plenty of local news outlets (low traffic) get in Top Stories, as well as sites that literally just copy-and-paste press releases (scraped, unoriginal content).

---

Mod's note. The above report has its own dedicated thread, and related discussion about recent news serps are best discussed there...

Recent Google News Indexing Issues
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4869538.htm [webmasterworld.com]

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:03 pm (utc) on Oct 17, 2017]

5:57 am on Oct 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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< moved from another location >

Hi

We are seeing a weird thing happening on one of our sites in the last couple of weeks. Whereas the desktop and mobile index tracked pretty much the same rankings, the mobile index has become hugely volatile. It is literally a case of the site's main home page keywords flipping in and out of the index a few times a day. This has a significant impact on traffic. Hundreds of clicks per day.

This is happening for numerous variations of "online widgets" on the home page. Really weird. Speed test is not great but it is not awful either.

It happened for a bit in the desktop index as well, but that settled down now.

The ahref graph looks like a houndstooth for these keywords with spikes and throughs, where the site temporarily disappears out of the index.

(Don't think I can post an image, or can I? May I post a link to an image with no site reference or keywords?)

Anyone else see this?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:00 am (utc) on Oct 18, 2017]
[edit reason] Moved to this thread [/edit]

10:32 am on Oct 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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welcome back stgeorge, long time no see.

Yes, you can post an image - use imgur

I've been running a number of searches to certain topics today and, for an unknown reason, Google continues to waste SERPs with domain crowding. I've compalined of domain crowding quite frequently, but, really, it's getting out of hand. I can see why it's happening, but what I don't understand is why Google cannot seem to filter it.
Why can't the search have an option to choose to show all the other pages from one domain!
Not on advanced search, but on basic search.
10:30 pm on Oct 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hey engine

Never really been away. Just a man of few words :)

Actually, that is another really interesting topic. Crowding has gotten worse in all our niches (some rather spammy) over the last month or so. In our space the crowding is mostly occurring with sites that have huge brand authority. This was very much the case a few months back, and then google seemed to dial it done a little, but it is as bad as I can ever remember it. What is really, really annoying is that the multiple pages that rank for a particular domain are highly related in their keyword targeting. So the blue widget and the light blue widget pages from Domain A site at 2 and 3, adding ZERO user value.

This flies squarely in the face of all the preaching from google about semantic variation and LSI. In theory, google should work out which page is relevant and be done with it. What is the point of all of us following sound logic in building "deep" pages that are semantically rich with careful consideration for LSI, and some bloke who still follows a "keyword per page" strategy from 10 years ago gets two and even three positions in the SERPS. It's maddening.

I am kind of tempted to add keyword "branch" pages to one of our authority domains to see if we can squeeze out extra positions but I am more worried about breaking a site architecture that's generally working.

To me it is an obvious case of algorithm fail.
10:52 pm on Oct 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So here is an example of our mad "in and out of the mobile index" graph from Ahrefs.

We have asked Ahrefs for their opinion. Never seen this happening before:

[imgur.com...]

The red line is the mobile index.

The only explanation we have been able to come up with is that google is testing two different datasets for this geolocation and we are seeing two different result sets.
4:16 pm on Oct 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So... what is the general opinion, https migration, yes or no?
Asking for my 2 old sites that were devastated with recent google updates...
4:33 pm on Oct 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@sikosaurus I migrated my site to HTTPS one week ago today and it has been nothing but positive. No issues with Google, and traffic has actually increased a bit. My site is relatively small (roughly 500 pages), but in hindsight, migrating to HTTPS was such a simple process that I regret not doing it sooner.
3:34 am on Oct 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Anybody noticing any SERP movement or is it just me? We migrated our relatively large site fully to https a few days ago...
1:37 pm on Oct 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@sikosaurus It's worth it. You shouldn't really need to if your site is purely for information that doesn't require the user to login, but to prevent the security warnings and the small ranking boost is enough of a reason for most webmasters.

Plus most hosts now offer SSL for free so the only things you really have to worry about is redirects and making sure all your internal links are https along with any external images (Ads, etc...)

One downfall is it is just one more thing that can go wrong. You have to make sure those certificates are updated as required. I had a client, their webhost script failed for some reason to update the certificate and then all of the sudden the site became inaccessible for about 6 hours. We didn't discover it right away and then it took time to contact the hosts customer service and for them to fix it.

BTW anyone noticing in the last few weeks older youtube videos ranking higher in the search results? It's been happening in my niche.
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