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Google Updates and SERP Changes - December 2017

     
9:00 pm on Nov 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 4 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4874973.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 10:29 pm on Dec 1, 2017 (PDT -8)


Now I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel I have a ton things that need doing, writing content, social media, more backlinks but can't seem to get focussed... I end up on some wikipedia journey or writing cr@p in forums, I saw a video on youtube called "How to stop Procrastinating", I clicked Watch it Later
4:55 pm on Dec 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is everyone affected using wordpress?

Our main site consists entirely of static pages. (No Wordpress.)

We had a dip of 4 percent in Google traffic on Dec 12-13, compared to a week earlier.

However, our Google traffic has climbed by 11 percent in the last two days (Dec 19-20 compared to Dec 12-13).

Our traffic normally starts to climb after New Year's (and sometimes after Christmas) following its annual low point, so it's possible that the dip and subsequent rise aren't entirely due to a Google update.

ADDENDUM: We switched from http to https on December 6, so that's another variable.
10:14 pm on Dec 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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50% drop in traffic. 100% mobile responsive site with same content as desktop. I really don't know what's going on with google but I'm pretty sure the problem isn't from my site. My SEO is fantastic so why is this happening to me? :(
10:33 pm on Dec 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Our site in on shopify
1:42 am on Dec 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@halaspike - you're not alone. Traffic is horrible. No seasonal upswing at all. The AI magically harvests all the seasonal traffic...or so it seems.
My SERP positions don't change yet traffic changes drastically. My guess is that fewer and fewer people use Google...that or the Zombie apocalypse has begun.
4:01 am on Dec 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Someone mentioned wordpress above so..
Out of curiosity, BY DEFINITION OF - wouldn't ALL wordpress tag pages be counted as doorway pages?

Still, I very rarely see a blog with noindex tag search pages. Am I missing something?
8:13 am on Dec 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am Wordpress too, switched to https about 6 weeks ago.
3:10 pm on Dec 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Would you guys call this a doorway page -<snip>.

Direct traffic to it took a dive Dec. 15 and I am trying to determine if it was this recent update.

Thank you.



[edited by: not2easy at 8:09 pm (utc) on Dec 22, 2017]
[edit reason] no reviews please - see ToS/Charter [/edit]

7:43 pm on Dec 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No seasonal upswing


I have a site that always had a huge increase of traffic during a certain holiday, it's mostly flat now since the past 1-2 years, during this particular season, the first positions in the main keywords are temporarily replaced with more mainstream media site articles. It's frustrating to see a site fully dedicated on a certain topic get replaced by top 10 click bait articles.
12:00 am on Dec 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Looking at my stats, my content is down between 20-50% on a month ago.

I just don't understand, I have done everything Google says to do, I work 12 hours a day on the site and get hit over and over again. It is so depressing to see my website trashed.
2:47 am on Dec 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@browndog While there were some changes made by Google, I would say the traffic drop would also have a lot to do with less people being on the internet during the festive period.

You'll probably get a more accurate picture of how big the drop is after New Year's.
2:49 am on Dec 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@koan Yes, I do notice sites with a lot of 'Top 10 this and that' articles being rewarded with high rankings. And their top 10 articles usually make the users page through 10 or more pages full of ads to see each item in the list.

I guess it's a gimmick used by sites to exaggerate their pageviews (and ad revenue), and subsequently lower their bounce rate which Google then interprets as being a quality site.
6:25 am on Dec 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My traffic remains much the same throughout the year. I compared this period to the same period in 2012 and I'm 50% down, despite having several hundred more articles. I used to rank no. 1 or 2, now I rank 7 or 8. What is absolutely killing me is the domain clustering. There is one topic in particular...signs of XYZ, and the same article has places 1, 2 and 3. I see domain clustering so much more than I did even six months ago and it's really hurting me.
4:49 pm on Dec 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Looks like the big G has come up with a new way to funnel traffic towards its ads.

I am seeing featured snippet blocks that start out with "According to this wonderful site dot com" which links to the article.
Followed by images that relate to the featured article but do not link to the article. Instead, they link to another search page about the topic with you guessed it, ads on top of the results.
Next up a list of items in the featured article.
Finally a link to the article at the bottom of the snippet.

I imagine that a good percentage of the traffic click on the images sending them off to another page with another opportunity to click on an ad supplied by the Big G.

And if your site is number 2 -10 on that search result page "dude you're screwed"

Of course, its Googles site and they can whatever they want. After all, you can never get enough billions of dollars.

Merry Christmas.
10:00 pm on Dec 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My traffic remains much the same throughout the year. I compared this period to the same period in 2012 and I'm 50% down, despite having several hundred more articles.

Our numbers for sessions and users have held up, compared to last year, but pageviews are off somewhat. I see two reasons for the PV drop:

1) A continued increase in mobile traffic, with a significant drop in tablet traffic (too bad, since tablet users have always been very "sticky" for us).

2) We've consolidated many of our most popular multi-page articles into single pages (to make them more mobile-friendly).
10:23 pm on Dec 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think my numbers are down for a few reasons.

1) In 2012 another site was launched and Google always ranks them above my own content, even if my content is better.
2) People don't automatically get their information from a page, they might ask on Facebook or go to Youtube (I couldn't imagine my two teenagers 'Googling' much information.
3) Answer box. Even in my own day to day searches (not related to my niche), I'd estimate 20-30% of what I'm looking for is in the answer box, so I have no need to click onto a site.
10:12 am on Dec 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Numbers are pretty flat at around 20%-40% less than what they were pre-December 12th updates. Not going to tweak to site until after holidays in case the SERP changes revert otherwise going back to the drawing board with changes.
11:05 am on Dec 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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One of my site started dropping in ranking from December 12th and it is still dropping on the daily basis. I switched to https on December 3rd. Although all my pages are now indexed with https but I am suspecting this is the one factor that my traffic has started dropping with recent algorithm update. After switching on 3rd and till 12th traffic was pretty much stable and there was no major fluctuation. Transition to https was also smooth.

Some pages of my site were on Rank 1 on Google which have now dropped to 3-10. The really crappy sites (especially niche based) have gone up. SERPs are also flooded with useless YouTube videos which have pushed down my site. (Google is pushing YouTube results upwards because Google makes more money with YouTube. Their share in revenue generated with Youtube is higher compared to Adsense for sites)

There was one site that stole an image from my site and it was ranking higher than me (could you believe that?). Even I see Wikipedia dropping in ranking. (My site is education based so I know Wikipedia has gone down too for the keywords with which results appear for my site and Wikipedia) Unfortunately my this site has got very few backlinks and all the backlinks were made by people over the past couple of years who shared links of my site over forums and blogs. So few backlinks could also be a reason that competitors have gone up while I have gone down!
2:20 pm on Dec 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There was one site that stole an image from my site and it was ranking higher than me (could you believe that?).

It happens all the time. It's a proven fact that Google could care less about the intellectual property rights of others. Google will monetize the images/content either way and profit from it. Your best bet is to use what tools may be available to you in an effort to have the offending image taken down (ie. send a DMCA takedown notice, etc.).

Merry Christmas to all!
3:45 pm on Dec 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It's all dead here, nothing to see!

Happy Chirstmas everyone.
6:32 pm on Dec 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, "they" really know how to clamp a site down to the "binary traffic" pattern.
One of my client sites that recently went viral and obtained a truckload of backlinks has now decayed back to binary traffic (meaning zero or one visitor at any time you look at Google analytic's real time (GART).
So, in about 8 weeks, that particular site went from over 50k visits per day to less that 500 per day once the social and news outlets pushed the link down with fresh meat. I can understand that, but back to zero / one? SERP positions improved, but clearly nobody is using the Google these days, only viral social pages and news outlets. Chasing that "shiny object" is the new holy grail.
Merry Christmas to all!
10:10 pm on Dec 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Mr Eric Smidt steps down,

All we can hope for in 2018 is full transparency and be allowed to compete for searches that humans perform.

Merry Christmas!
1:01 am on Dec 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What bugs me is I had an article that ranked no. 1. It was 'causes of X on Y'. It listed multiple reasons, and how to fix it. This has now been pushed down by another article, which covers one cause of X on Y, not the many causes, which my site lists.
2:32 pm on Dec 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Here it is, December 26th, historically in my niche the biggest sales day of the year....and there is one lone zombie visitor on the site. Traffic is single file. For the most part, main keyword SERPS are the same as they've been for years, minus any longtail of course. My oh so useful Google insights also predict a slow decay of death trend that must also reflect the number of people using Google, because my keyword trends all show positive ground. Makes no sense...no, makes PERFECT sense.
3:54 pm on Dec 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Today is Boxing Day, the shopping sites will be having a great day in UK!
3:11 am on Dec 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Whoah, my numbers are starting to climb. I don't know if it's a temporary glitch or if all the work adding schema to my pages (500 finished, 300 to go) is starting to work.

Numbers still well down on 2012 (my best year). Approx 8,000 PV's compared to 24,000, but any upward movement is good. Touching wood it sticks.
8:28 am on Dec 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Today I also see an improvement after this daily drop.
9:50 am on Dec 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Things improved here as well :)
4:08 pm on Dec 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Same here jump in traffic starting on the 25. Yesterday back to "normal". today too early to tell but looks promising.
6:14 pm on Dec 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For those of you who have come to the realization that doorway pages exist on your website, how concerned are you about a manual action penalty? If your site dropped on December 12 it's pretty conclusive that Google found doorway pages on your site which are a violation of the webmaster guidelines. Let's not forget a manual action penalty is a death sentence. It's a guessing game trying to recover and takes time and money. I've been there. I do not want a penalty on another website. I've abandoned one already that was very promising.
6:24 pm on Dec 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Can anyone help me what might have happened, it was happening from 20th-22th December:
Webmaster tools chart is showing: clicks on left and keyword position on right of the chart:

[oi68.tinypic.com...]
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