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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.
9:17 pm on Feb 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@sam

You have told me you are competing with the beast already now tell me about speed.

Are you loading under 1 sec ?
4:21 am on Feb 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Oh yeah. Funny thing is, it's on one minute, off the next, as usual. Once I hit my quota for the week, it's all over.
10:38 am on Feb 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Every time a certain big adwords account starts to advertise on our branded terms we still get a lot of traffic but it is all non-converting. It’s like our property has been auctioned to this adwards account and gets all the human traffic, their prices are not great so we still should get some conversions.

Weird,
4:40 pm on Feb 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I agree, I think much of the flux we see is due to ads coming and going, but that still does not explain these wide scope ups and downs I see across diverse website niches. Traffic and conversions were "OK" until last Friday...ever since it's been a zombie apocalypse. 18 years of historical data shows that Superbowl weekend was always a hot time for us.
8:07 pm on Feb 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

When was the last time you changed your site to improve UX and conversions?
8:17 pm on Feb 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@SM - constantly. Like I've said a million times already, one day it's converting like crazy, they next day it's dead. While watching traffic patterns late last week, the "normal" page to page transition patterns stopped cold on Friday. Since then it's nothing but page sitters and very little transition that you'd expect from a human visitor. Page speed is fast and it's on a dedicated server that runs only three sites. Referral spam is quite high since Friday. That's not a site problem. That's a traffic problem.
8:30 pm on Feb 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm finding the current serps flooded by pinterest listings. It's great for those with pinterest listings, but it's terrible as l can't find what I'm seeking. I just hope this is a datcenter updating.
9:27 pm on Feb 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@eng - yes, I am seeing the same, especially on my long tail results. Prob why I am seeing this sudden disruption. Is Google eyeballing Pinterest as their next acquisition? They might as well be one in the same.
3:34 am on Feb 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Continue from last thread
How quick after you removed those Native Ads did your traffic climb back up?

From 2 occasion I tried, my traffic start to climb around 5-7 days after I remove it

Native ads from Taboola has a impact on performance, so if performance is pathetic then the SEO will also take a hit.

My site is quite fast, scoring 80-90 from Google Test
2:05 pm on Feb 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Going on three days of zero conversions. This started right after G's earnings miss last friday. Coincidence? [ibb.co...]

UPDATE: Minutes after posting this, the switch comes back on...traffic comes back, page transitions return to a "human" pattern and three conversions in one hour. Bizarre.
4:05 pm on Feb 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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...and an hour later, switched completely off again. Not one visit in the last 30 min.
4:23 pm on Feb 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@sam we have been seeing that off/on craziness the entire time this update has been rolling (since October with spikes in December). It's truly bizarre. Looking at GA Real-Time has been unreal. What vertical are you in if you don't mind me asking?
6:32 pm on Feb 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This is all so strange. My head is going to explode.
7:33 am on Feb 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@sam

Same here, but you know that these zombies are easy to create, they should be additional to human traffic and conversions should be a constant thing.

Why is the human traffic disappearing and all conversions with it could not figure that one out yet...
10:18 am on Feb 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just wish to mention that we have a relevant thread about Zombie Traffic :)

Websites Affected By Zombie Traffic - Observations & Analysis
[webmasterworld.com...]
2:15 pm on Feb 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@reseller - we know that...but we are not discussing zombies, just mentioning their current resurgence. Now it appears to be a combination of ON/OFF / Zombie / Back to Normal traffic patterns cycling rather quickly. It's like a casino slot machine.
2:27 pm on Feb 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Anyone know when SEMRush will get back to normal after their update?
5:53 pm on Feb 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@jhurwith - I think it updates all the time but they did mention they were updading their databases from Jan 15th onwards. The last few days have seen the biggest growth though.

Anyone else having their sitemap in webmaster tools constantly go back to pending at the moment?
12:50 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Since the change on monday we see every hour at 36 minutes the exact 4 URLs get from the exact same IP. It is every hour the same. Only when google switches something for 1 or two hours ( when conversions come in through google ) we donīt see this pattern.
2:49 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So I just did a google search looking for information about a particular subject. Clicking on the first result sent me to an article about it, and I started reading.

But after a few seconds the browser interrupted my reading by jumping to the top of the page and freezing on a big banner ad. All I could see was the ad and the headline of the article. The browser remained frozen. I waited about 5-6 seconds trying to scroll downward, but couldn't, so killed the page.

why would google send me to that kind of site?
4:37 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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why would google send me to that kind of site?

Check back in mid-March:

[developers.google.com...]
8:43 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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How can I save and ranked up my site to this update any one tell me
10:06 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Raj38 The major themes I've seen (and these are by no means across the board) is that sites performing well have the following qualities: - fresh content (talking 10+ new items a day), localised content to language, AMP integration and Google News (this seems really important).
11:27 am on Feb 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@KaseyM

I agree that fresh content helps with traffic growth. 10+ new items a day is definitely not a requirement though. We publish 2 or 3 times times a week, with content that varies from 2000 to 3000 words on average. Some can be a little less, maybe 1500-1800 words on the light side. Others can be as long as 9,000 words. There isn't really a benchmark, just making sure to answer the question the best we can. Each will have custom pictures from our studio and some will include a video to highlight certain features of a product reviewed. We never solicit for links and have seen tremendous traffic growth over the last 13 months. Comparing our January 2017 to January 2018, we grew our Google organic traffic 420%.

We are not part of Google news and do not have AMP integration. We are a fully responsive site with above average site speed. I think what helps is that we think about SEO from the standpoint of the technical aspects of our website. Also understanding that we can target a keyword or two, but not to solely focus on that. Writing naturally and always going well above and beyond what your closest competition does. Using this content to interlink to other related posts that the user would naturally want to read based on what the current topic is about. The length of our content also gives us the opportunity to rank for a lot of long tail phrases. This provides plenty of traffic growth opportunity.

We've been online for a little less than 15 years. I've seen quite a few changes with Google. This is by far the best we have performed and it makes sense. Being a resource, while everyone else is trying to just be a store. Being honest and transparent to build trust with users that don't know your brand. Giving users a reason to come back and/or share your content is key. Eventually they get pushed through the funnel and many become customers. Others don't and that is okay too. If you want to do well with Google search moving forward, you HAVE to be seen as the expert in your field. Stay in your lane though and understand what your field (industry) is.
1:17 pm on Feb 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Is anyone else seeing some shake ups happening at the moment? I am seeing some changes, up and down.
4:02 pm on Feb 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@jez - yes, it's on and off. SERP's haven't changed much for major keywords, so it's either drastic changes in longtail, ad cycles or pure AIFM. In fact, I am seeing minor POSITIVE SERP moves on major KW's, especially on mobile results....yet it still cycles ON / OFF and sticks hard to the weekly quotas. Never any natural variation.
1:28 pm on Feb 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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total drop today; zombies; no conversions; any one else? or is it only me?
2:22 pm on Feb 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@ion, if you read backwards you will see that is all I have been reporting this month. It's totally FUBAR ...again. Hot one day, ice cold the next...but always within weekly quotas. I've said it ad nauseam; In the past, you could set your watch by conversion regularity. These days it's a casino.

In reply to SM...
Being a resource, while everyone else is trying to just be a store.
So what's wrong with being a store? You can 't keep blogging on the same scope forever without becoming tagged as web spam. New is not always better, but takeaway value is the real gold. Google, social media and its associated stupid humans focus on the current "dumb and shiny object de jour" that is trending. It's really that simple...however, when 10,000,000 sites all blog about the same trend, it's a wash and only one or two wind up in the front row winning.
2:41 pm on Feb 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I had a couple nice conversions a couple days ago for a while..now its back to being dead! When I started getting good conversions my rankings where all still awful on page 2 for everything etc.

Doesn't matter how much great content I write... just all becoming a waste of time and energy.
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