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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.
12:04 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@zita

Pretty sure that is just a continuation of the updates from December. Glenn Gabe from GSQi has a good post on it [gsqi.com ]. Only posting the link since he is a reputable source for this info.

Looking at the trackers, it appears like it could be fluxing again today. I'm not seeing any changes today, but we did see a 15% increase on Jan. 4th-5th.
1:07 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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big update, my rankings are crazy right now. SEMrush is reporting a 9.2 on the google update scale.
2:45 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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my son pretty much never visits websites, everything he knows comes from Youtube.

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.

I wish that google had a personalization setting that allows you to block specific sites from the search results. The first site I would block would be youtube.
3:08 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I wish that google had a personalization setting that allows you to block specific sites from the search results. The first site I would block would be youtube.

I agree and have been saying for quite some time that sites with their own search engines, like Amazon, don't need to be included in the general SERPS. In a perfect world, Youtube results should appear only under the VIDEOS tab while Amazon, eBay and the like should appear under SHOPPING. Pinterest should appear under Images. Remember when eBay and Facebook pages dominated the SERPS? Pinterest was the most recent flavor of the day, but that seems to be waning a bit in my vertical. Since G owns Youtube and is highly monetized with ads you can bet it's exposure will never be moved to the back or reduced in any way...Gotta admit, Youtube can be very useful, it can also be quite irritating. They need to stop the continuous play. This cheats advertisers all the time. I frequently walk away or reduce a browser tab while the videos just keep chugglin along.
4:13 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"-youtube" works.

I think (not sure, but think I can recall) you can add parameters to your default search engine in most browsers.
4:32 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@shadows, probably so, but resets at every browser update
6:03 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@zita You must have missed my post. Yes, there's been an update. A really big one, too. There are certain aspects of it that occur at about 6 month intervals. I believe many factors were updated at once. So, I wouldn't be looking at any one thing. But most of these updates seem to involve the quality of your site. I've seen major movement in my SERPs. And about time, too. There was a sit locked in the #1 slot for 6 months that's now begun to slide down.
6:48 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Massive SERP changes today according to SEMrush.
7:18 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't like Youtube results showing in the results either, but that's Google for you. They continue to promote their own sites. If I search for something, it means I want a website to read. From time to time I do want 'video' results, and I will select that choice, I don't need Google to decide for me.

But...my point is that my browsing habits as a middle-aged individual are different to that of a 13-year-old boy. My niche caters to people of all ages, but it appears (if my son is an example of his age group's search habits), that kids prefer to actually watch their queries vs older people such as myself who prefer to read about it.
7:26 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It's even more annoying when a YouTube videos want us to open link from the description lol.
10:07 pm on Jan 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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On mobile I am observing that YouTube videos often appear in a slider instead of results thus leaving space for search results from websites. I think Google should implement the same on desktop as well i.e. YouTube results should appear in a slider leaving space for other sites. No wonder Google can make more money with YouTube videos due to their higher share but It does not make any sense to show YouTube results on top if someone is looking for wiring diagrams and related information. Can YouTube videos have those wiring diagrams? Nope. Similarly a student is looking for informative articles for his research paper and he is forced to watch YouTube videos that usually do not give him anything he is actually looking for.

Besides it's the time Google should introduce infinite scroll feature for its search results instead of sticking to that ancient 10 results per page thingy. Because internet is growing on daily basis and there are many good results that get buried in the crowd. When people will scroll down the new results should automatically start appearing giving more sites a chance to get visited. Google may show its ads in between the automatically appearing search results.
2:22 am on Jan 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a 180 change in user behavior from highly interactive Buying Humans to Page Sitting Zombies. Last Friday, incredible sales...this Friday, zip. Looks like nothing stuck. Does it ever?
10:26 am on Jan 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@sam

Talk to the people at Project Zero,
5:40 pm on Jan 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@mos - not sure I get the connection with Project Zero...care to explain further?
8:55 pm on Jan 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sorry Sam,

You can contact them and say look your own systems are compromised. By the way did you know that you are sending a lot of fake traffic?

I mean the world really appreciates the discovery of Meltdown and Spectre but what takes you so long to shut the zombies loophole down?

Best regards,
2:32 pm on Jan 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My site is specific to a single niche and all content of high quality. However SERP positions are regularly going down. For keywords I used to rank on 1st place are down to 3rd position.
A brand site with thin content is taking top 3 positions. Google is losing quality every day.
9:45 pm on Jan 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Capulkit Money drives everything
Like for example search for the following term "battery inverter connection" and top 7 results on first page are from YouTube. Some of these videos have 1000-30000 views during past several years which means sh*t videos but hey who am I to complain?
12:42 am on Jan 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Capulkit Money drives everything


I also think it's about giving more weight to brands. I've mentioned before how a Nestle owned company was (it's not such a huge problem as it was a few months ago) constantly outranking me in my niche with their generic 200 word articles vs my detailed ones, but you know, they're a huge global identity so they performed better in the search rankings. Thankfully, Google seem to have dialled down on their love.
9:29 am on Jan 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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When the mobile first thing started to roll out, my site went top ten for a fairly competitive phrase (in my niche, anyway). Last week it's gone back to where it was. This leads me to wonder if this last update was something to do with mobile first. A rollback or a major tweak of mobile first perhaps?

All other keywords that were not affected by mobile first have stayed where they were.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:38 am (utc) on Jan 15, 2018]
[edit reason] Fixed typo [/edit]

4:38 pm on Jan 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing lots of movement in my niche (and not in a good way for me personally!) However, I've spent far too much time watching (obsessing) over the SERPS over the past ten years, and there's no point trying to second guess what Google wants so I've given up worrying, and will just go with the flow!
4:59 pm on Jan 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Seeing a big dip in both ranking and traffic today. Feels like a dialing up of whatever happening in mid December where we also got nailed.
5:04 pm on Jan 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Definitely seeing a bit of an increase today - not much but noticeable. We were worst affected on December 12th and it's been steadily poor since then.
1:46 am on Jan 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I just ran a search (for a type of animal) and the first SEVEN results were classified ads on the same site.
8:23 am on Jan 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Anyone seeing more changes today? We saw some good lifts after an initial lull. Automotive, UK.
8:55 am on Jan 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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today i have seen some AMP sites are getting on good rank.
4:28 pm on Jan 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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today i have seen some AMP sites are getting on good rank.[/quote

A site I monitor that went AMP a few months ago has been falling like a rock through a wet paper bag. Some others that went AMP have not improved. I'm just not seeing the value.
11:06 pm on Jan 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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We're seeing some evidence that it's mobile-first for some phrases. One of our clients has tanked in ranking for a few phrases. However, when we run a ranking report specific to desktop we still see their strong ranking. When we run a mobile ranking report it shows the lower ranking and is more in line with what we're seeing for their live ranking. Our client's position is currently bouncing around between what our reports show as mobile and desktop ranking. It's like Google is switching between mobile-first and desktop-first results for these phrases, perhaps in response to mobile v. desktop search volume. It's like the site is ranking better when there are fewer mobile users searching. According to analytics, mobile usage for the site has increased to about 41% with a +5% increase since Dec 5th. Interestingly the ranking started to drop around the time the mobile usage was on the rise. They've gone from #3 for a big-money term to #15. It's awful. There is a seasonal up-tick for them in mid Dec then from Jan - March. It looks like maybe more people are using mobile to search the big term this year and Google is responding with mobile-first results across the board.
11:07 pm on Jan 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Another day, a lot of movement. Maybe this new algo is designed to change on a daily basis.
3:46 am on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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re "Glenn Gabe from GSQi has a good post"

Waste of time.
Water is wet, sun is shining, I saw this, I saw that - usual SEO BS.

Especially I liked this - "you need to objectively analyze your site through the lens of quality"
O'Realy? So, no sites with broken code? No pages with just one curse word in the center? No 50 p*rn pop-ups? Hmm, strange. Unexpectable, to say at least.

Another pearl - " sites that shouldn’t be ranking well for those queries dropped". Yeah, this is really new.

"both rich snippets and featured snippets have a quality component" - Oh, that's why not every site in SERP shows this ... not because the SERP will be too long with the snippets for everyone. Good to know.

Sure, at the end is a great advice as a bonus - "Make sure you are not employing any tactics that can cause serious damage." ... Ups, this is what we usually do. What now?

Who is this guy writing for? Pops & Moms doing web stuff? Do they still exist?

"It’s hard to say." :)
7:29 am on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Bigger drop of traffic for us yesterday (tuesday).
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