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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.
7:53 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure what to fix.


Have you considered that there is nothing to fix, that the "issue" is Google itself with its myriad of algorithms conflicting with each other and the only thing it can actually decide is that overtly spammy pages with keywords repeated over and over again is the only "true" result/answer?

I jest not :-(
8:27 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well, I actually decided to ignore and not make changes back in August when I was first hit and the YOY loss was only 15%. I hoped it would recover on its own.

I've been hit and recovered so many times since Panda in 2011 and I can't keep on letting it affect my mental health and my relationships and family. I have the accept the risks of working in such a volatile field since I don't want to move on.

Now it's -30% YOY and I'm not panicking but it's concerning.
8:44 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'll make you feel happier, since the Googke image theft of a few years ago, my traffic loss is about 99%.

The more Google tries to make things "local", the worse it will become for those of us with global sites. 20 years ago I thought that widget trade exhibitions would become a thing of the past, how wrong Google has proven me to be since we now have more of them and even bigger and it's precisely because of the search engines localising results that has driven this.

I'm in Poland right now at a trade widget show, the fair is heaving, there are potential new customers every hour on our stand and one of the questions we keep being asked is "Why are our exclusive widget products not to be found on Google.pl?"

Quite simply G hasn't a freakin' clue how to serve-up relevant results for my industry other than local, pathetic.
11:42 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have lost a lot of organic traffic too, from 17,000 SE visitors / day to 900 / day. And same happened for other projects, independent of each other. I did not change a thing on websites. What was good on the website that attracted 17,000 daily SE visitors is now considered bad.

Everything I search now is filled with a lot of junk results. Not saying mine were perfect, but at least to see in top spots quality results, no problem with that.
And I am not talking from webmaster's view only, but from surfer's view as well. Not sure if Google intended to be so, or they are planning a bigger update to filter the junk from top positions.

Anyhow, Google traffic must be considered as bonus only and focus on other ways of getting traffic. The days of stability have passed, now Google is a Russian roulette. Today you have traffic from it, tomorrow it disappears with no logic whatsoever.
1:52 am on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It looks to me like google decided to put more emphasis on trust and authority. Most likely they're also trying to improve their measurement of trust and authority. A series of algorithmic updates reflecting these changes may have begun last spring.

Websites could be falling in the search results if they don't show the signs of trust and authority that google's algorithm is looking for.
1:59 am on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We need to create that list of authority signs, i belive there are much more then just links and content as everybody talk about , i think if all of us will contribute into the list all their opinions we can build nice list
2:47 am on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@ionguy @thedonald123 I thought my traffic drop on Monday the 20th was everyone starting their vacation early. I was wrong. I'm down about 15% of my traffic like the rest of you all. Conversions are #*$!. Maybe zombies and Google in another flux and testing phase.. So much for Google not making Algo changes during a holiday. Pretty sure I read on seo round table that Google made a statement about holiday times. The temperature according to Mozcast has been in the 90s and 100s this week. Will be interesting to see how my traffic is on Monday. A Monday after a vacation week is a good indicator. But still as long as I don't see a manual review email from searchconsole come into my inbox the day is still a good day.

[edited by: penitentman at 2:53 am (utc) on Nov 25, 2017]

2:48 am on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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the past 5 days has been a horrible rash of zombies and trickle "binary" traffic...0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1 - after 20 years online it is now seemingly impossible to get more than 1 person on the site at a time. ridunculous. not much to be thankful for here.

BTW - the viral rash on another site just a few weeks ago has gone from 50k visits per day to about 500/day today. Got a ton of back links, but guess what...they don't help.
3:16 am on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest The site you have backlinks from.... How do you know so quickly their traffic volume? Does the owner tell you? Do you tell from the traffic you get from that site? I usually can't see how my competitors or other sites are doing until alexa publishes a change. Maybe you use ahrefs?
7:35 am on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We are getting mixed signals. But there has been growth in traffic since my new backlings are getting indexed slowly.
10:01 am on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle The speculation seems correct. I believe this is why I have been dropped from Android search app news feed and I even asked some bloggers, they too believe that at least in news sector, Google is now favoring the authority site - because of fake news!
2:22 pm on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Kinda funny question, but I'll ask anyway...
So, I spent last few days changing mails between one "seo news guy" with his own site about it all (pretty famous in seo community, so to say). I've also sent a few tweets with similar related questions to google guys (@methode @johnmu) - those went without an answer.

What I did is:
- asked if anyone from google is aware that google spiders are crawling and indexing entire site clones (copies via proxy.. check my other thread if you're curious what exactly it is), and that it is demoting the original site, without the possibility to report it at all (thousands of indexed pages)
- I even went as far as to create a clone site of that above mentioned "seo news guy" and I showed it to him in full, 100% clone with spoofed details (for display purposes only)

However, entire "seo community" is currently discussing "Importance of internal link anchors".
My display of total google MESS isn't worthy to be mentioned at all.

Am I crazy to optimistically expect that something that defies all google logic about quality and originality is at least mentioned as an issue?
10:10 pm on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@sikosaurus

Actually you made me laugh but in the same time you are so right google still doesn't get it who is the copyright owner of a copy. CTR is important not the author
10:22 pm on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

You are right, zombified sites are popping up and down fast in the rankings but the funny thing is to see yourself at the top of the rankings and still get no conversations or way too many to call yourself the winner...
12:04 am on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle
It looks to me like google decided to put more emphasis on trust and authority.


I agree. Spent the day thinking about it and came to a similar conclusion. In the Google rater guidelines it's Expertise, Authoritativeness, or Trustworthiness (E-A-T) so I would add expertise as well. I think those first 2 are areas my websites have deficiencies in.
It's difficult for a website to fake their level of expertise or authority on an subject. And It seems likely that a maturing Google algorithm would get better at identifying the signals of expertise and authority among a bunch of similar websites.

Websites could be falling in the search results if they don't show the signs of trust and authority that google's algorithm is looking for

I need to go through those rater quality guidelines again, but "growing" a non-authoritive website into a legitimate Authority website will be difficult if not impossible.
Trust seems less of a challenge. I'm not sure about expertise. Depends on who your competition is.
12:58 am on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Does anybody researched the weekly winners and losers on [algoroo.com...] A week with the highest serp volatility and this is what we get. Bunch of garbage all around. For example a weekly winner is <snip> The homepage has a 100 ads on it.. What is google doing? Jesus...

[edited by: engine at 4:53 pm (utc) on Nov 27, 2017]
[edit reason] we can see that on the serps watcher, no need to help it with a link. ;) [/edit]

10:16 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Oh my goodness, what is going on?Just checked 30% down now since Aug 8th when they started to do these changes. My 7k word article that ranked for years is now replaced by a spammy site with 5 lines. The competitor even has a pop up! Years and hours of work down the drain. I don't know what has happened but I hope they sort it out soon. I am just going to keep writing for the user and wait for the big G to sort it out :-) Conversions up being Dec...but i have applied for a job because I just cant take the mental stress anymore. I am not spending time with family. Sorry guys just had to have a moan after working 16 hours today! Lol
10:26 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@thedonald123 yes, that is my pattern of traffic loss.
10:31 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Actually checked some serp results and I'm up on loads of things, making very little difference though, ever get the feeling you are climbing a mountain only when you get to the top there is nothing there to see?
10:43 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This is funny...
So I was checking one of my older blogs. Simple blog really, each post is a pic and short text about it. Each post image is my own and got my big watermark on it.
That blog used to have 1000+ google hits per day.

So.. I randomly tried a few images today and I tossed them in google images (search by image) - on average, each image I tried gave around 10 results. NONE from my original blog, all from scraping websites (some of those even with a redirect, classic googlebot trick to display one for surfer, other for bot). Lost my google spot for my very own original stuff.

Another fun test I tried.. for that very same blog.

I searched in google images search for what used to be my #1 keyword. I found around 20 of my pics (with my watermark) at the very top of the results. NONE from my own blog that published them first some years ago :)

Before anyone asks - blog was never hacked, I never did anything shady or spammy with it. I never even built backlinks for that site, traffic just - came, was stable for a year or so, and vanished, for whatever reason.

Also, the reason why I like to emphasize the line above..
Every single seo guy I encounter, always answers to such issues that "there must be a problem with the site" to lose it's rank like that. Nope, it's just that google doesn't care at all for WHO is the owner of the content, or at very least - WHO put it up FIRST, so running a small site with no crazy budget for backlinks is next to impossible.


Quick comment about few posts discussing expertise / authority / trustworthiness:
It all comes down to backlinks. It really is that simple. Heck, sure ain't writing and publishing original stuff, I can vouch for that with multiple sites (I'd be a very rich dude if it was so).
10:57 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hi again sikosaurus without going too far down the rabbit hole, these things are very deliberate on Google's part, I suspect there is a common factor here. Look again your missing something. It's very typical behaviour that all your properties are affected + any important links.
11:08 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@sikosaurus - yes I agree.
11:12 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It all comes down to backlinks. It really is that simple.


Here are the top 3 signals for google imho:

1)Trust
2)Backlinks
3)Content
11:17 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Please, by all means, define what would you put as trust factor of a website?
11:25 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No one knows for sure but Branding plays a part as does user metrics. Off the top of my head these would be my top 5:

Branding
Authority Links
User Metrics
Historical Data
Interactions
11:57 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Isn't it a bit funny that you put #1 signal on your list for something that you don't know what is? :)

You forgot content all together in your second list :)

Branding.. I honestly don't believe that is a ranking signal at all. Pretty much every website with a specific name (even small) is #1 for it's own WackySiteName query.
One MAY get an impression that google rewards branding, but that is just because since 6 months ago, they sort of killed off long tail searches, so big sites get even more traffic.

And big sites are big in first place because of... backlinks 88%

Content.. considering I'm seeing sites with barely any content in my niche still ranking high, I don't even know where to value it. I'll put 10% just for fun

User metrics.. maybe 1% impact
Historical data.. probably, 1% impact
Interactions.. well, that is the same as user metrics, or I don't understand what exactly you mean?
12:03 am on Nov 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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If I knew how Google determined "trust" then I'd be on holiday, not on here :)
I didn't forget content it just didn't make my top 5 as a "trust factor" hence the thin content you see in results for authority sites
Interactions includes reviews, citation and social media
Historical Data = 10%+
User Metrics = 10%+
5:08 am on Nov 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Anyone lost news traffic from Google search app? ANYONE?
1:53 pm on Nov 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google may try in infer differently however "content" means almost nothing:

hence the thin content you see in results for authority sites


Regardless of what anyone says G is still spammed to the moon and back and especially so with keyword stuffing.
2:03 pm on Nov 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@seoskunk
Well, I always look at such stuff with programmer philosophy, as in - how would I do it if I had to.
So, example being - user metrics, that one would be tricky as hell.

Examples:
Cookbook / recipes kind of site - I presume many housewives click around to browse such sites like crazy and then actually keep that website open for full hour or so while they cook. User metrics would be off the scale for such stuff.

And..
Site where you download drivers for hardware - you pop in, type in your graphic card, you close the site as soon as download starts. Almost no interaction with the website.

What I'm saying is, to apply user metrics in some advanced way, google would actually have to have a set of rules for EVERY kind of website (and there are thousaaaaaaands of types).

ONLY user metrics I could admit it probably means for a tiny puny little bit of something is bounce rate.
But ONLY if it's "open site - close site" relation (leaving the website as soon as you load it). That would be a clear signal that website is bad.
Every other bounce rate measuring again returns us to the fact there are thousands of TYPES of websites :)
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