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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.
9:33 am on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Site that was hit by the Maccabees Update on December 12th was even hit harder now on January 15th.
10:40 am on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Seeing some drastic changes / reversal right now.
1:08 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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A lot of my terms have dropped in rank, yet overall traffic from Google has improved due to the ones improving receiving a lot more searches. Very much a mixed bag.

I may be incorrect here, but the ones that have moved up the rankings are those not promoted on social media. It's like Google has punished me for the ones that people like to share on social media. Now that would be a puzzling one.
1:18 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Jez123
We have had an excellent start to the year. That came to a shuddering stop at 10am UK time.

I don't think it's a reversal, because traffic patterns don't match a prior state.
1:21 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Shaddows I don't know what's going on as what I saw earlier has moved on! The usual rotating sets of results I guess.
1:34 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@sdksjdksjd

and oddly enough you read it, even though it was a waste of time. Crazy how upset you got about it. LOL.
4:24 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Quality is a general term. So general that it is useless for identifying what happened. You might was well say, "Google's update is about making users happy" and it will say the same thing and be equally of use for helping site owners for fixing their sites.

There is a lack of objectivity in the SEO world. If an SEO has basically the same thing to say about EVERY update, it's highly likely they are wrong.

Anecdotal Observations are Not an Explanation
A stopped clock will tell the right time twice a day and every once in awhile those SEOs may have it right, but they're still wrong because they haven't identified anything. They're just guessing by relying on anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal observations are unreliable.

  1. SEOs heavy into PBNs say it's about links.

  2. SEOs heavy into fixing UX issues say it's about UX.

  3. SEOs heavy into affiliate work say it's about targeting affiliates.

  4. SEOs who work for small brands say Google is promoting big brands again.
6:31 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@martinibuster what do you know!

The update is not about one thing. It is clearly about PBN's, UX issues (specially ecommerce ux) and Ad heavy sites or Affiliate links related to non-big brands. If your site is impacted it surely has to do with one or several of these factors. (Since that would cover pretty much 100% of the web excluding maybe Wikipedia)

Making these prediction or backward attributions is fun. The more factors you throw into the mess more likely you are to be not wrong. (!wrong !== right)
6:44 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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that's the most annoying things about SEO... trying to stumble upon the one thing that's wrong. i lost some traffic last year and i've definitely made my site better since then (when i look at my site now and how it was back then, it's like night and day) but i still haven't got all my traffic back. i keep improving the site but when you make big changes google seems to punish you for that as well. if you change the UI or site structure then google has to mull over your site from scratch. you dump hundreds of "low quality pages" that google apparently doesn't like and your traffic goes down even more because they were still bringing in the visits. you remove a few extra adverts and all that happens is your earnings go down because you're getting fewer clicks.

you're fixing, fixing, fixing and improving stuff but who knows what google wants -- when you look at the SERPs and the sites ranking above you they seem to be breaking every "rule" there is
7:18 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't write for the search engines. Just create content that's interesting and worthwhile for people to read and don't do anything that's clearly blackhat. Google changes it's mind like people change their underwear, so it's pointless trying to keep them happy. Eventually, they'll work out how to rank the best content at the top.
7:23 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hope the mods don't get too upset about this. :)

Writing the above response got me writing a fuller explanation of my ideas on this and I just published it over on Search Engine Journal. The article is an expansion on the ideas I posted here.

What is a Core Algo Update and How to Diagnose Ranking Changes? [searchenginejournal.com]

Thanks in advance for understanding.

:)

Roger Montti
9:00 pm on Jan 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks martinibuster, that was a good read.
3:22 am on Jan 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm a fan of spamming and blackhat tactics three years ago but not these days. I now write for my readers not for search engines. I don't even build links but guess what? My traffic doubled.
2:32 pm on Jan 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I love all the explanations that place the blame solely on YOUR SITE....from 20 years of observations, it's NOT your site that is to blame, it's traffic shaping and variations in traffic quality. When I see 50 diverse sites all exhibit similar changes within a short period of time, it's NOT the sites. My main test site which consistently ranks above the fold has recently been showing improved performance, but with absolutely no site changes. One day it's hot, then next day it's ice cold. That is NOT the site, that is the mechanics of Google's AI system at play. It becomes glaringly obvious when they release major system changes.

[edited by: samwest at 2:38 pm (utc) on Jan 18, 2018]

2:34 pm on Jan 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As our overall Google rankings get higher I notice that the keyword impressions gets lower. Much lower on some keywords (cut in half), but the keyword ranks higher. Ctr stays about the same. Resulting in lower traffic.

I don't think it is necessarily seasonal as i have seen plenty of drops occur within a week or data. Any ideas?
4:12 pm on Jan 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone noticed that their Analytics data from early 2017 isn't accurate? Our past 6 months are good, but for some reason, early 2017 has incorrect conversions compared to our sales software.
6:55 am on Jan 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Nice very useful but please explain more about Maccabees update is the latest update of google.
8:20 pm on Jan 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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YouTube videos are just killing sites. For example search for the term "how to connect inverter in house" and all the results on first page of Google are YouTube videos. Some of these videos are in Hindi language which means people who do not speak English wouldn't understand a word. Previously this search term would show 2 or 3 YouTube videos and wiring diagrams and details from different sites. If this just keep going on like this, I would just lose all my traffic. Already I have lost half of the traffic due to these YouTube videos from noobs. When I see their channels they just got few videos which you can count on fingers and most of those are not even popular. What's the use of 7 years work when a YouTube video can kill it in an instant!

No wonder it's all about 55% YouTuber's and 45% Google's share in revenue.
11:29 pm on Jan 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just realized a Google search for my website shows a snippet at the top from another website talking about my website. How stupid is that?
12:32 am on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone from the macabees update made any recovery?
4:43 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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YouTube videos are just killing sites

It should be obvious that a special provision has been added to google's algorithm to artificially boost youtube to far higher rankings than it deserves. Since this was done years ago, I'm surprised that anyone would only notice it now.
5:02 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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YouTube videos are just killing sites...


I'm saying the following to help anyone who's interested.

YouTube is how many people prefer to consume their content. So that is what Google shows searchers. (Slap! Slap!) Wake up to life around you... People prefer watching videos over reading.

Gosh, I've been saying this for the past couple years now, I'm surprised I still have to point this out. Google shows searchers what they want to see. It's not about keywords and PageRank. Those are just the means, the paths to get to the goal, which is showing searchers what they want to see. THAT is how Google's algorithm works. Forget links and everything else, focus on that and you'll know more about Google's algo than you previously thought you did.

Good luck,
;)

Roger Montti
5:19 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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People who want to waste their time on youtube should go directly to youtube's website. As I said earlier, if google would let us block specific sites from the search results, youtube is the first one I would block.
6:09 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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if google would let us block specific sites from the search results

If they let us block Youtube, then they would go broke. My biggest peeve is that they keep videos (and ads!) rolling long after you walk away from your PC or phone. No wonder Adwords ROI is in the dirt. Now THAT'S advertising to zombies!

There should be a law that says a user must click "play" on each video, or offer a way to opt-in or out of continuous play.
7:50 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As I said earlier, if google would let us block specific sites...


The meteor doesn't care about what's good for the dinosaur. Everything changes. Failure to adjust means extinction.
8:18 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@martinibuster I think you missed the point that it's 55% Youtuber's and 45% Google's share. Money drives everything. Money also changes everything.

By the way since you are from America and Google's most intelligent AI would also show you videos via Google search result which could be in Hindi, Tamil, Bangali, Urdu, Farsi, Arabic, Russian etc then what's the use of showing such YouTube results in main SERPs and kill the sites who may provide authentic details on topic but in English. I got the proof that Google search is showing such videos even in US which are in Asian languages. Today even a kid from some Asian country can make a video how to connect a power backup device to positive and negative of lead acid battery and believe me that video will rank above the authentic wiring diagrams published by renowned sites.

Similarly if someone wants to download something, he will also be shown 1 or 2 YouTube videos in Google search results which often got links in description. So that means Google can make profit two times once showing ad on video and then when people will click on website link in description then they will be again shown Google ads on website.

So why not I follow the trend and do this myself. After all no body is stopping me to make YouTube videos. No hard feelings.
8:26 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@martinibuster By the way according to your logic, newspaper sites should be shutdown too and instead news site owners should just make news videos because people prefer to watch videos instead of reading. (slap slap) What a joke!
9:17 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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>>>So why not I follow the trend and do this myself.

Bingo!
If the well is running dry, go dig where the water is running.
Everything changes. Failure to adjust means extinction.
9:44 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Look, I'm trying to help some of you and some of you seem like you're taking it personal. This is not personal. I'm giving you free advice to help you, ok? I'm not attacking you, ok? If you don't agree, just say so. But don't get upset because there's nothing here to get wound up about. :)

...according to your logic, newspaper sites should be shutdown too and instead news site owners should just make news videos because people prefer to watch videos


No. That is not what I said.

I said that Google gives people what they want.

Relying on old models of web content when consumer content consumption habits have changed is self-defeating.

Understand what users want Today.

You're going to love mobile index even less than today's desktop index because they're going to be showing MORE summaries, possibly MORE videos and most definitely you will not like the other things coming in the Mobile Index.

So good luck!

;)

Roger

[edited by: martinibuster at 9:58 pm (utc) on Jan 20, 2018]

9:52 pm on Jan 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As I said earlier, if google would let us block specific sites...


The meteor doesn't care about what's good for the dinosaur. Everything changes. Failure to adjust means extinction.


This is the second time lately that I was talking about my own personal search activity, and what results google shows me, but someone here thought I was talking about the rankings of my websites. My fault for not being more explicit. I just didn't realize the ways in which statements can be mis-interpreted.
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