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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)

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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]

6:26 am on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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These top stories is really hurting my traffic. My site is Google News approved, I have HTTPS but not AMP. Is there any way to get featured on top stories without AMP?
7:56 am on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This months end we see a loss in positions for higher volume keyterms, while low volume niche or long tail key words stay about level. The changes we made, last week, to two categories of product, haven't taken effect yet.

UK B2B SME (not ecommerce)
1:59 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have been investigating a particular keyword and have seen our ranking change from #4 to #9 #10 in the space of a couple of hours.
2:42 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I would suspect that US traffic may be down for some due to the tragic and major news breaking event developing, plus speeches from the president. At least in my niche (reviews,information US) we were able to notice major correlations between major developing breaking news events and traffic fluctuating.
3:10 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is there any way to get featured on top stories without AMP?

Most news agencies have adopted AMP, so you'll get the impression only AMP-powered stories appear there, but I think that's correlation, not causation. If you want to be among the top stories, make sure you have the top story, and be a trusted top story provider ;-)
3:19 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it just me, or is Google rewarding those strong domains more than ever.

For example, if you had a web page about "Hot fudge chocolate sundae with sprinkles" and a user searched for "hot fudge chocolate sundae with sprinkles", the first three results might be Wikipedia pages about "ice cream", "chocolate" and "sugar" and your page might be somewhere in the middle or below.
3:22 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The US traffic is down, only from the affected area though. It is however not as worse as it was when Hurricanes hit the country.
3:47 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have notice the same, looks like US traffic down, but dont know why
4:00 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Probably because the other part of the country is watching the terror attack? This is what happened when Hurricane hit the country.
5:46 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Everything down about 10%-20% every hour :-( not looking like a good month. Sept was awful and not looking forward to October. What have they done. If I search "apples and oranges" articles popping up about apples then oranges then an article which is titled "apples and oranges" on page 2. Not sure what they have done but this is not great user experience as finding it difficult to find anything now even for my private searches.
5:59 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes, about the same 10%-20% down compare to last monday, but its not just google traffic, its traffic over all
6:16 pm on Oct 2, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google is probably trying to fix their algorithm that gave fake news about the shooting by ranking 4chan at the top. Google needs to do a much better job.
12:43 am on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Have a site that appears to have been hit on the 29th. Traffic is literally 10 percent of what it was the day before. Google Analytics traffic is showing that traffic is 100 visits a day, normally 1,000 visits a day. Only thing that changed about that time was the site was "moved" to HSTS, and added to the Chrome preload list. So strictly enforcing https now, no http.

Haven't checked site's log files to see if it's a GA reporting problem, will check those soon.

Rankings don't really appear to be affected that much, as many of the rankings still remain for a lot of search queries. Of the keywords that SEMrush.com and SERPstat are tracking (about 100 keywords), they haven't gone down or changed.

Could it be a Google Analytics HSTS reporting issue? Site's on CloudFlare.
3:00 am on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@deriklogov: I have the same problem. My website drop traffic about 10%-20% down compared to last Thursday. and continues...Traffic from Google search traffic, Direct is all down. Some changes before I lost traffic: I have moved from http to https 4 days ago. Everything works for example redirect 301, A + SSLlab, add https website in GWT, change https in GA. I have placed ads automatically on the AMP version (Adsense), In-article ad (Adsense).
5:34 am on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Https move killing my website too - 10-25% down. Changed on 25th. Slowly loosing the traffic oh boy what a dilema.
7:56 am on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No negative impact of SSL here. Probably because as I had the Cloudflare SSL enabled since one year (my host did it, I had no idea, who checks cloudflare after all) without any fix for mixed content or even the redirection, Google was indexing most of my articles as https. A few days ago I properly moved to https, I'm seeing no negative or positive impacts. It is normal because most of my URLs are already https!
8:27 am on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We just did the move to https 28th so I will observe with interest.
12:34 pm on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have been investigating a particular keyword and have seen our ranking change from #4 to #9 #10 in the space of a couple of hours.

Am now thinking this is probably as a result of personalised search. :-/
1:03 pm on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What happens to the backlinks after HTTPS?
2:26 pm on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What happens to the backlinks after HTTPS?


done properly, backlinks should redirect to https automatically. But that is the subject of another topic entirely.

Tuesday October 3 2017 and it's as if the web is totally offline. Dozens of page one listings, zero traffic. Everyone must have their faces firmly planted in Facebook...cause they're sure not in Google...or so it would appear.

What I find really amazing is the most of my page one results are for the home page...but any traffic that does manage to trickle in is to obscure sub pages that barely rank.
3:17 pm on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For those seeing substantially lower numbers in real time traffic since yesterday and today, that's most likely a reporting glitch. I'll see real time traffic that's 50-60% less than normal, and I'll refresh 3-4 times in a row and it will show the traffic I'm used to seeing.

There are clearly real time traffic reporting glitches in google analytics for the past 24 hours.
3:34 pm on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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RE: http backlinks.

I found this recently:
FAQs for all site moves with URL changes
...
Do I lose credit for links when I redirect to new URLs?
No, 301 or 302 redirects do not cause a loss in PageRank.
[support.google.com...]

And for added clarity, Google classifies the https move as a "site move with URL changes" per the above FAQ. Sources here:
Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS

If you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, Google treats this as a site move with a URL change
[support.google.com...]
What is a site move?
...
2. Site move with URL changes
The page URLs change. For example:
  • The protocol changes http://www.example.com to https://www.example.com

[support.google.com...]

Apologies for the eyesore. Hard to retain semantics conveyed in the original presentation with limited style codes
3:58 pm on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yeah. It was an analytics bug, it was showing different results on Android and desktop!
9:04 pm on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

Have you recently moved your site to https? Or you have been all along https?

I am puzzled that you are reporting traffic drop and less zombies, generally when zombies take over it does it to compensate the disappearance of genuine traffic
5:29 am on Oct 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mos - nope, been https for many years. I did recent upgrade to a new cert tho. Shouldn't affect anything.
Zombies are a daily occurrence...it's called mobile traffic. Traffic for me is on and off all day. No consistency whatsoever, except that I get the exact traffic every week no matter what...and it drops a tiny bit each quarter. Season fluctuations have gone flat and don't exist anymore. It's just one big 7 year downhill sled ride....oddly serps are still in place. Page one still shows many above the fold and even domain crowding for some terms...in one case, three pages on page one! With positions like this and documented volume, it confounds me how I can sit at zero traffic during daylight hours.

For the results I see, either nobody uses Google anymore or the keyword trends volume numbers are bunk.
6:39 am on Oct 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@sam

How much competition do you have? Are they also dropping each quarter comparing their traffic with yours?
3:04 pm on Oct 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mos - Since 1997, I HAD two competitors. Both copycat sites who follow my every move and mimic my products and naming. However....one site, who completely plagiarizes my USPTO registered service mark in their title has sunk to page two and beyond, only occasionally peeking back to position 10 on page one. The other site oddly enough holds only one, three word phrase. Even stranger, that site has not updated their scripts in over two years, has broken, mixed SSL content and is keyword loaded, yet is dug in like a tick at position #1 for that three word phrase.

My site is #2 for that phrase and my listing enjoys a nice carousel of all my home page images.
Same with other 2 word bread and butter phrases. For one search, my site has THREE consecutive position on page on on the fold. Regardless, traffic is pretty much non existent. With these listing, I should be seeing some respectable traffic. Not the case.

So in a nut shell, I have no direct competition. They are both backsliding. No newcomers. Only G partner content farms and Pinterest....oh, and Google's own "shop for [search term] on Google" at the top of every search. So in a way, Google itself is my biggest competitor. They want to monetize as much traffic as they can...and by the looks of quarterly results, they do it very well.

I design and host over 100 other sites and my observations can pretty much be summed up as an across the board 7 year pattern of decline. I only have one site that see's occasional boosts, but they are featured on an HGTV series so they get the offline traffic in BIG weekend spurts. It's funny to watch how even that traffic is "shaped" back into line between episodes. It seems nothing is allowed to go viral without Google's blessing these days.

Traffic today on my test site is in "drip mode" again, never more than one or two at a time. Occasionally it opens up and gets more and on a very rare occasion see's surges of over 100 instant visits to one sub page...which I've reported on many times in the past. As Johnny used to say; Weird Wild Stuff.

PS - it's very odd that most times, right after I post these WebmasterWorld replies, my traffic opens up for a short period of time. I no sooner hit "post" and my traffic jumped. Wacky indeed. [youtu.be...] lol

UPDATE: and minutes later, after 48 hours of no sales...one sale comes in...lol. Coincidence, right?
UPDATE2: Now seeing an incredible rush of traffic to all pages... over 38 visitors and climbing on diverse pages...what happened? Active pages does not match actual display count - looks like a major glitch! All traffic is from Sao Paulo...BOTS...lol
Two minutes later, all gone.
4:51 pm on Oct 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@sam

For a minute one would think that visitors to your site are mind controlled but I think they all are just controlled bots.

The fact that you are in direct competition with God it may explain a few things but those bots have any unusual behaviour? 100 to a page if you can get locations in real time of that page are there close to 100 cities or is inflated analytics ghost traffic if it is coming from one city only.

The ghost traffic is used to hide the real bots where they may try to fool God that your site is not working or something?
5:58 pm on Oct 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My internal figures show -30% of traffic, so a big and BAD update is in full swing right now.
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