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Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2018

     
5:34 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4880306.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 2:13 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (PDT -8)


I've pretty much thrown in the towel on presenting my content alone in hopes of making a sale these days. Now, like many sites I am seeing lately, I've succumbed to Amazon affiliate links. They convert well, add value and Google does it so why shouldn't I? I am however noticing a slip of one of two positions soon after placing the ad blocks. Figures. It's OK for them, but nobody else.

Recent trend: Traffic slow during what was always the busiest time of year for us. Conversions scarce and quotas appear to be holding tight. Exact same conversion totals (+/- 1) the last 6 weeks. Almost magical how that can happen.
8:13 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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i don't know if this is new, but i only noticed it the other day... if you click on the no.1 listing in the organic serps and then immediately click the back button google have started inserting a load of extra 'people also search for' keyword suggestions underneath the no.1 listing that take you to another google search page.
so if you've got a site in positions 2-10 it probably drops the chances of someone clicking on it just ever so slightly.
8:41 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So instead of giving the site in the #2 spot its fair chance, Google now arrogantly assumes, I guess, that if the #1 result wasn't good enough for you, you obviously didn't search for the right thing.

My Google traffic was down nearly 8% yesterday from the previous week. I was hoping it was just because of Valentine's Day (somehow), but today it seems to be down as well. Maybe this new People Also Search thing is the reason.
8:43 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@londrum I noticed that as well for the first time the other day. I hit the back button and just below the first search listing you got a list of extra search terms under the heading "people also search for"
8:46 pm on Feb 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Londrum
I started a thread about that yesterday here:
[webmasterworld.com...]
3:45 am on Feb 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is pretty flat this week vs last, with a small dip for V day.

Sales from organic search are strong and steady. On the 15th day of Feb 2018 we have already passed our sales numbers for all of Feb 2017.

81% of our organic search volume now comes through our blog first vs. only 25% in Feb 2017.

We are an eCommerce site that sells B2C.
8:26 am on Feb 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Traffic on both my websites continuing its decline. All week -8%, today is even worse. Seems like the update happened. Guys who noticing drop these days too - what kind of things have you implemented last days? Maybe, some fixes? Will be very appreciated for the answers.
1:00 pm on Feb 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sales from organic search are strong and steady. On the 15th day of Feb 2018 we have already passed our sales numbers for all of Feb 2017.

Our sales originating from Google have increased slightly, though on substantially lower traffic. We too have a lot of information on our website, in addition to our products, though these visitors are mostly just in the beginning stages of the purchasing cycle. I'll call that stage "discovery" when some may learn they may need/want what we sell.

The real B2C driving force for new customers, at least for us, is Amazon. Gone are the days of ranking well in Google for products or paying for Adwords and getting tons of sales. I have not seen any data for 2017 as a whole yet, but considering only 15% of initial product searches started at a search engine in 2016 I'm expecting a slight drop in 2017. Since Google has a tendency to rank Amazon pages for product queries, oftentimes with domain crowding, what little buyer traffic Google has these days quickly gets directed to Amazon anyway.

I'm not saying Google is utterly useless, but the vast majority of traffic they send is of the non-buyer variety and of course many zombies. If nothing else, what real traffic we get from Google helps build brand recognition along with a very low percentage of sales. I'll take it because it's free. But the only time I can tell there is a major Google update is for a day or two when either filters get shut off or when Amazon is temporarily dropped from Google's SERPS during the initial stages of an update rolling out. Once the update has fully rolled out, the impact on monthly earnings is not even noticed. But that's to be expected as Google is responsible for only a very small percentage of our total sales.

Despite Google's absence in driving sales, our growth is solid. December 2017 sales were 83% higher than December of 2016. January 2018 sales increased over 100% compared to January 2017. We're waiting for our accountant to wrap things up for 2017 to finalize our tax liability, and plans are to expand into a new/larger facility with more staff.
9:03 pm on Feb 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Did someone pull the plug on the internet again or is the entire population murmurating around one or two trending news stories or a hallmark holiday? I find that hard to believe.
9:05 pm on Feb 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@glakes

Great to hear that you are doing well outside Google. Thinking about that every card transaction is reported to G, they can easily see how much you are making with Amazon why would they display you and Amazon in the same time to anyone who is thinking of buying your product?
9:31 pm on Feb 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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For me -20% this weekend on all domains.
There is no major holiday - checked - (except Chinese New Year, but I don't have so many Chinese visitors).

So, it must be another Google big update.

This is the insult added to injury after the low revenue Adsense disaster in progress.
9:54 pm on Feb 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Isn't it a long weekend in the US because of President's Day on Monday? My traffic has been down today during the peak US visitor hours, so I've just been assuming it's because of the long weekend. Direct traffic, and even Bing, is down by the same amount as Google.
7:01 am on Feb 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My traffic started to drop Thursday.
It is for sure a long weekend component in the US, but the drop is too dramatic in traffic and multiple countries are affected.
3:01 pm on Feb 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Cralamarre and Mentat, we are in the same boat.

Since Thursday, our YOY traffic is not what it was for the rest for 2017. I see this this chome ad update, but this shouldn't have affected any of our stuff - [blog.chromium.org...]

Has Barry seen anything else since Thursday?

Hoping it's a follow up from Vday as well as the long weekend.
3:52 pm on Feb 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My Google traffic started to drop last Wednesday, the same day as the Chrome update. But oddly, my AdSense earnings actually increased. So, less traffic but higher earnings. I can't help but think that both are related to the Chrome update, but how I would lose traffic from a browser update, I'm not sure.
4:20 pm on Feb 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Same here Cralamarre
4:25 pm on Feb 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can't help but feel we've had a combination of "events" resulting in much lower trafiic for some of us e.g. Chrome update, China New Year, Presidents Holiday, Google image search change plus whatever else we do not know of!

If things go back to relative normality Tuesday, fine, however if this lower traffic continues then I shall be flumoxed, for the moment.
5:04 pm on Feb 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There was also the school shooting in the US, which coincided with my sudden traffic drop. So lots of things happened recently that could have contributed to it.
5:17 am on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can't help but feel we've had a combination of "events"....
I think that RedBar has nailed it. Also, the Olympics, though not huge, will be ongoing for another week. In many Asian countries, Lunar New Year is also an extended celebration. So possibly only a partial rebound on Tuesday.

5:44 am on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Had google update goes to normal?
1:27 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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One client site that was seeing 1k traffic per day has jumped to 5k/day in the past three days. Today at 7 am it's at over 2500 already. No site changes whatsoever in 6 months.No matching uptick in lead conversions. Probably bots. At least the shiny numbers make the client happy.
2:58 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Redbar and others. You all make good points.

SamWest - The fact that your client saw a boost despite no SEO work makes me hope Google made an error with an update and hopefully it will reverse itself soon.
3:03 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@samwest anything that particularly boasts as a characteristic that you haven't optimised yourself... performance?
3:27 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Anyone seeing an improvement in traffic today over last week? It seems like things have improved for me but it's still too early to know for sure. Looking promising at least.
3:46 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre - seen a bit of a bump since last Wed/Thurs onwards. Nowhere near back to normal levels but does seem to be on the rise.
4:36 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@KaseyM - So you saw a bump in traffic at the same time I saw a decrease. That smells like a Google update, but traffic does seem to be improving today, so I'm sticking to the idea that last week was just an unfortunate series of events, not an update.
4:41 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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From mid-week to now I have recovered a few visitors. From December to January -60%.
4:43 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@KaseyM same here. It started since last Thursday and yesterday 25% boost compared to same day last week. No changes for more than a month, no new content added.
4:48 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@dollarsound and @kaseyM - I take it you are US based... what industries are you in?
5:18 pm on Feb 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Bushy - the only real change I see is a huge wave of Russian bot traffic across many sites. Any forms not protected with CAPTCHA are being hammered big time by *@.ru email addresses.
1:41 am on Feb 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Great to hear that you are doing well outside Google. Thinking about that every card transaction is reported to G, they can easily see how much you are making with Amazon why would they display you and Amazon in the same time to anyone who is thinking of buying your product?

@ mosxu

As long as the sales are coming in, it does not matter much to me whether Google shows our Amazon products or our website. Though the products on our website are cheaper, and shipping is much cheaper. We've gotta cover Amazon's 15% take on every sale, so we build it into the cost of products and shipping within Amazon so that the buyer offsets these expenses. I don't know how reliable credit card data would be for Google in our case. We accept orders via email and fax. The good ole fashioned checks are nice on large orders where bypassing the credit card fees leaves a little extra left over. But give it a few years, Google may buy some banks and the Federal Reserve. LOL But seriously, I'm sure Google is feeding their AI a heck of a lot more than just webpage data as you touched upon in your comment. On that note, if you have not read the recent NY Times article called "The Case Against Google," see [webmasterworld.com...]
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