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Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2017

     
8:35 am on Oct 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4870905.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:13 am on Nov 1, 2017 (PDT -8)


I am seeing amazing conversion rates since Saturday night / Sunday morning. Traffic remains fairly normal but conversions are through the roof! I have never seen anything like it yesterday. Is this coincidental or has something changed? Is anyone else seeing anything like it?

UK ecomm.
1:11 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I notice the same drop from -10% to -20% compare to last week, but from over all sources, I can not blame only Google for it, so something going on and i check last year and it wasnt there so probably we can not blame Thanksgiving either. (thats all USA traffic)
3:40 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I can verify that (in my vertical at least) a big change has rolled through in November. One of my old competitors who never maintains his site and by pure dumb luck had been holding the top position for almost 3 years on a three word phrase has now been dethroned to below the fold on page 2. That's a big indicator. Something has finally broke loose. My site has slide one position for the same term and more so on others, there definitely are big moves happening. Speaking of big moves...my coffee just kicked in....later.
7:30 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@browndog @thedonald123 DO you guys use GA for stat ? I was thinking if everyone have same mystic traffic drop then maybe its not a drop at all, maybe its GA missing something .....
7:59 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think the biggest challenge for information-based sites these days is figuring how to streamline content to provide answers people are looking for in as few words as possible. Over the past several months, I've seen many articles with only two or three paragraphs suddenly outranking 2500-3000 word essays, and the general feeling has been "That's not fair!" But I've learned to accept that it actually makes sense. If someone can give me the answer I need in 100 words or less, and it takes someone else 2500 words to explain it, why shouldn't the shorter answer be seen by Google as the best answer?

It's easy to dismiss a two paragraph article with an ad banner at the top as obviously "Made for AdSense", but is it? Or is it just that the author only needed two paragraphs to explain what I needed to know? Does a 3000 word essay deserve to outrank it just because it took longer to write? I don't think so, and I'm pretty sure Google doesn't think so either, based on my observations over the past 6 months.

When the Googlebot is trying to figure out what your article is about, the more words you use, the more trouble it's probably going to have, and the less likely that your article will seem as relevant as a shorter, more compact article on the same topic. So, for anyone running an information site these days who has seen a significant drop in Google traffic this year, maybe it's time to put on your Editor hat and see if you can't streamline and shorten your articles. That's just my two cents.
8:23 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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That's why I've started to provide both long and short answers. Somebody may just want to know what wigititis is because their next door neighbour's cousin has it and they've never heard of it, the next person may have wigititis and want to research it. So I provide a summary at the top, and then go into the topic in detail.

deriklogov, I mainly use analytics, but also double checked with Awstats too. I think something is happening as I always watch my live traffic and one minute it is down in the dumps, the next every man and his dog is on the site.
8:46 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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100 words might be alright for one keyword, but 2,500 words can rank for so many more. so you'll get more traffic with it in the long run (...probably, but you never know these days!)
8:49 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Wouldn't you be better off writing separate articles for separate keywords? Wouldn't that make each article more relevant than a single article covering multiple keywords?
8:50 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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why shouldn't the shorter answer be seen by Google as the best answer?

Because there is no such thing as a "Best Answer". Google pairs a result to the user's query, if a user is looking for more in depth explanation for something then the "best" answer is an in depth article, whereas if the users wants a succinct answer then a short answer will be "best". Know your audience.

This is of course different from those that will take a short answer and add 500 hundred words to it, to make it appear "in depth" . This would be a situation of adding no value and thus will likely fail in both situations.

Changing your content to show a short answer may work to gain new users but it may be at the expense of cannibalizing the users that want long answers.
8:57 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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But how does Google know which type of answer the user is looking for? There is no "Short answer / Long answer" selection box.

I still have to think that if Article A covers all the important information in 300 words that Article B took 3000 words to cover, Google will see Article A as more relevant. If the short answer covers it, there's no need for a long answer. It's the same answer, just with fries.
9:30 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google will see Article A as more relevant.


Nope the user is less likely to bounce and gets their answer straightaway. Google might track that users behaviour differently based on the fact they didn't bounce due to bloated response in the landing page. And when I say bounce I mean immediately click off the page within 3 secs
9:36 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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But if an article shows a repeated history of people getting the answer they were looking for instead of bouncing, would that not make the article more relevant to Google? Or is there just no hope for information sites anymore? The traffic is gone and it's never coming back no matter what.
9:39 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes it should do, but we are dealing with an imperfect algo. Google is in transition, from a links based engine to a popularity engine
9:48 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The future is rather like that Black Mirror episode where the Girl tries to up her popularity. Those that have popularity will always be there, the have nots - well there pretty much screwed. Google's new algos remind me of trickle down economics....
10:33 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well I'm not interested attracting people who are looking for quick short answers. That's not the purpose of my sites.

Also, I've always written my articles for my visitors, not for google's algorithm. So far it seems to be working out pretty well.
10:41 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Wouldn't you be better off writing separate articles for separate keywords?

That's the perfect description of a content farm
10:46 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My point with my initial comments about streamlining content wasn't that we should all start writing two-sentence answers for the benefit of Google. The article I just published today is 1350 words. My previous article from a couple of days ago was 1991 words, and the one before that was 2291 words. I only know the word count because WordPress shows the word count. I don't actually count words as I'm writing, or target a specific number of words.

My point was simply that if you're going to write a 2291 word article, make sure you actually need those 2291 words. If it's possible to provide the same amount of detailed information with fewer words, it would be better for everyone, both Google and your readers, to do some editing. It's fine to be conversational in a printed article, but writing for the web is very different.
10:49 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it the perfect description of a content farm? Or is it a comment from someone who sees that this topic and that topic are actually two separate topics and could better be explained in separate articles for the benefit of people who want to learn about them?

I don't really think in terms of keywords (which could be my problem). My articles teach how to use computer software, and I always think in terms of topics, and how to isolate topics to make them easier to learn and digest. My comment about "writing separate articles for separate keywords" wasn't meant the way it came out. What I was really thinking was "separate articles for separate topics" for the purposes of teaching.
11:25 pm on Nov 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Look the average internet user has the attention span of a goldfish if your lucky, Write your indepth answers and they I am sure will gain an audience but if you wanna write for the masses keep it short and sweet. As for "content farm" my god who invented sht labels like that
2:33 am on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Look the average internet user has the attention span of a goldfish if your lucky, Write your indepth answers and they I am sure will gain an audience but if you wanna write for the masses keep it short and sweet.

On the other hand, if you want to reach an educated, upscale audience that's genuinely interested in your topic (and is willing to spend money via affiliate links, for example), the New York Post / Daily Mirror approach may be short-sighted.
10:10 am on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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the same thing happen to me as well, i'm shocked by the results...
the CEO of Company give me bonus of this sales...

Sorry For Posting Link. But it's happening, that's why i can not hold myself to telling others...

<snip>

[edited by: engine at 11:15 am (utc) on Nov 23, 2017]
[edit reason] No specifics, please see WebmasterWorld TOS [/edit]

1:57 pm on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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If I remember correctly, the first time I saw the term "content farm" was in association with the original Panda rollout. Someone at google said that one of the main targets of Panda was content farms, and the examples included sites like Hubpages and Ehow. Basically, these are sites containing large numbers of low quality articles, each of which is intended to rank for a specific search term.

For example, you could have an article called "How to Lick Stamps" and another article called "How to lick red stamps", etc

A content farm doesn't have to be a huge site -- You could create a niche content farm with separate articles targeting all the common keywords related to a specifric niche.
12:28 am on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Someone at google said that one of the main targets of Panda was content farms


So google invented the term. Figures...
9:13 am on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm 17.6% down on this time last week. I've not seen drops like this since Panda.
9:39 am on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@browndog me too; this week is terrible; we r loosign up to 20% of our traffic since a begining of this week; conversions dead :(
storm weather at algoroo and mozcast
whate ver is happening it hits us very strong
11:06 am on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing really strange stats this week - my traffic overall is down around 10% but the drop is uniform across all search engines so it doesn't look like a Google update.

Thanksgiving may be a factor but I only have around 50% US visitors so it shouldn't make this much of a difference, historically it never has done anyway.

Guess I'll just have to wait and see what next week brings.
2:25 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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classic example of content farm, ezinearticles dot com. loads of verbose. keyword loaded contributor articles design to rank for key phrase searches. I digress.

In my niche, I am now seeing totally different results between mobile and desktop searches. Traffic and conversions are way down during what used to be the start of the busy season.
2:33 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest I think that there have been more tweaks, especially around the 22nd..
6:11 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My site seems to be bouncing back, at least in live preview, if anything it may even be up a little. I hope it sticks.
6:15 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No recovery yet. I really have no idea why my news site has been removed (not appearing anymore) from the Google Android app and Chrome suggestions!

:(
7:31 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I now have 2 sites being clobbered by these November updates. Both down 15% now compared to last week. 50% US traffic, but drop in traffic is global so not related to thanksgiving.

Some observations:
1. Demotions in the SERPS are effecting my primary phrases, in the past it's been the long tail that's been effected the most.

2. The 2 sites are in the same niche, and similar type of content. But, very different layout, ads and user experience. Mobile experience on smaller site 2 is extremely fast. The common denominator is the content of both sites would not satisfy a specific subset of searchers. But, a majority of searchers are extremely satisfied.
I'm not sure what to fix.
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