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Google Updates and SERP Changes - January 2018

     
6:30 pm on Jan 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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System: The following message was cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4879278.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 2:37 pm on Jan 1, 2018 (PDT -8)


In the past few days I am seeing more search focus on my home page and less on landing pages. Also, the binary or drip traffic pattern seems to have improved to a more natural looking "multi visit" pattern...encouraging, but not converting to help the bottom line. I'll say this, if the bottom line numbers would improve, I'd kick the adwords campaign back in. Google raked a cool 100k + from me in ad fees back when natural, unfettered traffic patterns were the norm. With their odd traffic patterns and poor ROI the past few years, they haven't received scratch from this camp...or many others for that matter.
10:36 am on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@snowman,

what vertical you are in?

Remember there are verticals that you can´t offer deeper information, Just because the items are generic.
I think of a screw right now! Material, Metric or UNC, Lenght
There a millions of this small parts. Adding content ends up in unrelated text.
google needs to understand this.
11:39 am on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What's the best course of action to take against WordPress comment spam. Always disavow?
2:38 pm on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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We have not seen the trends mentioned in here.
3:39 pm on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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We've seen heavy fluctuations in some rankings in our industry since the Maccabees update and again from last week's update.

I have no idea what Google are doing, but they seem to have gone a bit mad with their latest update.

What's strange is that we've seen a page with no content (literally just H1) start to rank for a different brand name (it's an old portfolio page for that brand) in position 13 with a ridiculously high search volume. It's seriously messing with our search vis and my head.

We've had no organic landings on the page and we have never built links to that page. The whole site has hardly been touched in a year, so it's a nice case study as is fairly static.

Here was me thinking that Google were promoting good content?

We also have another example of an odd orphan page that's started to rank for odd terms (no internal linking etc), so it's not even a one off.

Anyone else?
5:44 pm on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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what vertical you are in?


Ecommerce - Home and Garden (Sell b2b and b2c)

Remember there are verticals that you can´t offer deeper information, Just because the items are generic.
I think of a screw right now! Material, Metric or UNC, Lenght
There a millions of this small parts. Adding content ends up in unrelated text.
google needs to understand this


I would say this is not true. Are your customers asking you questions? What are they and how can you answer them better than anyone else in your space. Do that and you will win.
6:56 pm on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What's strange is that we've seen a page with no content (literally just H1) start to rank for a different brand name (it's an old portfolio page for that brand) in position 13

i suppose they must be looking at the original content of the page -- content that no longer exists on the live site. i wonder why they would use old crawl data
8:42 pm on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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just delete it, why would you want to retain comment spam? Install Askimet
11:18 pm on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@samwest - it's not on our blog, someone else's.
8:45 am on Jan 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@londrum - it's not technically a page, it's a fault of the way the site has been built so I was surprised it was crawled at all. So it's never had any content on it, not even images.

Bizarre to say the least.

In my mind, it feels as if the last update had at least something to do with brands/names... with the findings of official celebrity sites decreasing rankings and the fact that I have a few pages that are now ranking for other brand names (where it isn't relevant), it seems as though Google may be trying to show a wider range of resources for brand searches (almost as if it's showing what other people are saying about the brands/people rather than the people themselves?

Just a thought...
9:24 am on Jan 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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A relevant post from Search Engine Roundtable of Jan 8, 2018
Google Search Algorithm Update Tweaks Continue Into January
As you know, the Google updates towards the end of December were pretty aggressive and Google even somewhat confirmed some of them. These include what we called the Maccabees updates that seemed to target keyword permutations as well as Fred like stuff and even hit some celebrity sites. We also saw a PBN penalty roll out and maybe a featured snippets/knowledge graph algorithm update.
[seroundtable.com...]
9:35 am on Jan 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Very big shake up right now.
Sites never been seen are now in the top ten . Most of them with lousy pictures, now descriptions and very low trust rank.
We see foreign sites and even books.google in serps.
After pages 8 google says no more results.

It hit big brands except amazon ( like every update ).

One of the worst updates we have seen so far.
Transactional queries are now 95% informational and low content eshops.
5:47 pm on Jan 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The sites that were penalized before for negative SEO are hit once again. I can confirm that because I got one site that was under constant negative SEO attack previous year and I trusted Google to discount those bad links (this is a premium domain name and over the years people contacted me to sell it to them but I rejected their offers. So I am suspecting someone is really furious or jealous and attacking me over and over again. This site even faced DDoS attack twice previous year. Hackers/Attackers are smarter than Cloudflare. They always find new ways to overload your servers). Instead that never happened and backlinks piled up to 900,000+ in few months and bam! Site tanked. Now despite of regularly updating disavow link file with new spam links that are constantly piling up under "links to your site" site is again tanked (it recovered all its traffic previously). What's the use of this Disavow tool anyway when it would just stop working with new updates that Google just keep shoving in search algorithm every other day. (I am suspecting this has got to do something with new Search console that Google is rolling out that might have broken Disavow tool?)

Besides results are greatly messed up again. These updates are niche specific as far as I am observing. Because my other sites are unaffected.
6:46 pm on Jan 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Looks like the bi-yearly index rebuild is done or nearly done. Sites that lost mini sitelinks 6 months ago during the last rebuild have them again. Plus there are some ranking changes. I am really disappointed that an old Google partner is still #1 for some very lucrative keywords they have no business ranking for.

But I think it's all still in flux. Every time I refresh I get one of 3 different SERPs.

Maybe it sticks this time. Maybe not.
8:01 pm on Jan 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This alleged update is really producing some odd results. GA still going offline and freezing occasionally... During those periods, "normal" converting traffic instantly returns. Four conversions within an hour of GA "flakiness" this morning, followed by nothing the rest of the day. What a strange coinkidink.
11:39 pm on Jan 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Oh, there's been an update all right. This one occurs or has been at about 6 month intervals. The most noticeable aspect of it, for me, is when mini sitelinks appear, disappear, or change. There are ranking changes, too. Some of them pretty dramatic.
11:04 am on Jan 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I see updates to all my clients sites. Very positive ones. My company website got hit last month and dropped across the board but seems to be flying up in serps today. There is something going on today. Even SEMRush SERP volatility says its 6.3 here in the UK.
11:27 am on Jan 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There are ranking changes, too. Some of them pretty dramatic.


Search for a popular product:
under the first 20 results are 10 times books.google.com ?

Yes, this is dramatic.
1:16 pm on Jan 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Definite change: my site which has been hit dec 19-22 now pushed down more, despite the perfect user experience i provide in my niche.
1:36 pm on Jan 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@marcus224 in your opinion of course.

Traffic isn't as bad as what it was week after Dec 12th but still seeing SERP's all over the place and changing hour to hour.
8:04 pm on Jan 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What does it mean when your domain name does not appear on search console ?
9:45 pm on Jan 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What does it mean when your domain name does not appear on search console ?

Probably means it was never added and verified as a property....or did it just disappear?
10:07 pm on Jan 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Samwest It just disappeared.
10:39 pm on Jan 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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despite the perfect user experience i provide in my niche.


Ha ha ha! If you believe that, then that is exactly why you have a problem.

Join up to Webmasterworld Pro Membership, submit your site for review and then, maybe, you will get some insight into some of the failings in your user experience.

Not one single person on this forum provides a perfect user experience. We all need to improve, and if we don't understand that, then we are doomed to obscurity.
4:35 am on Jan 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Brands every where. Google will uplift brands and then doom them to earn from adwords. Small sites like us are only for Google testing its revenue potential.
No change from last updates, brand sites with thin or poor content still ruling the SERP.
7:44 am on Jan 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Has anybody had scenarios where your certain KWs completely vanish from the SERPs? not just drop, but completely gone? No penalty or anything…
9:27 am on Jan 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Not one single person on this forum provides a perfect user experience

More than that- no one site can even theoretically provide a "perfect" experience for all users. My preferences will be different to your prefs. Millennials seem to like a highly-funnelled approach, whereas seasoned professionals like a power-user, many-pathway approach.

Everything is about trade-offs.
4:35 pm on Jan 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My preferences will be different to your prefs. Millennials seem to like a highly-funnelled approach, whereas seasoned professionals like a power-user, many-pathway approach.

What's more, some people like to read lots of information about a topic, while other people's minds begin to wander if they're faced with more than two sentences on the topic at hand.
7:51 pm on Jan 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What's more, some people like to read lots of information about a topic, while other people's minds begin to wander if they're faced with more than two sentences on the topic at hand.


Yes, I like long and detailed articles, my children (teens) tell me they prefer short articles. In fact, my son pretty much never visits websites, everything he knows comes from Youtube.
8:22 pm on Jan 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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i was talking to my niece the other day and she gets all her stuff from youtube as well -- she uses it like a search engine. when she wants to find out how to do something she doesn't bother with google, she just searches for a video on youtube instead.
9:51 am on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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We have experienced a huge drop down in SERP may be b/w Jan 5th- Jan 10th, 2018. Almost all the keywords from 3rd page dropped to 10th pages and some disappeared even. Haven't been practicing any Negetive seo or anything which violates Google's SEO policy. is there any recent google penalty or update? been searching sicne 2 days but no update is found on this. Please advice.
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