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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2018

     
4:00 pm on May 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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System: The following message was cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4894234.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 11:34 am on May 1, 2018 (PDT -8)


We've seen a huge shift in traffic patterns today. Traffic and conversions are relatively stable, but destination pages are very different.

In terms of products sold, it is very similar to the pre-March profile (which is different to the various iterations over the last 6 weeks)


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:51 pm (utc) on May 1, 2018]
[edit reason] Split to new thread. [/edit]

12:50 am on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Reading this thread gives the impression that google is rolling out new updates so rapidly that their effects overlap in time, and nobody knows which update someone else is talking about. Maybe all these updates will gradually merge together and cancel each other out.
2:23 am on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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rolling out new updates so rapidly that their effects overlap in time, and nobody knows which update someone else is talking about

and if you know anything about G's original benefactors, that would make perfect sense..."creating and preventing strategic surprise."...a la complete confusion. ;)
8:00 am on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Are they rolled so quick and so often to keep everyone guessing?
11:16 am on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is doing much better this morning than it has the past couple of days. I guess May Day was the problem.
11:42 am on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday was a drop about -10% compare to last week in US traffic over multiple sources. Maybe May Day is the problem of it.
11:54 am on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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and if you know anything about G's original benefactors, that would make perfect sense..."creating and preventing strategic surprise."...a la complete confusion. ;)

This is so very true. I don't know about others, but my definition of a quality page has not changed much over the years. Yet Google rolls out updates that would lead one to believe they just can't determine what quality is, which is why they must rely on/rank big brands. Therefore, Google's updates are either a statement that their prior algorithms could not correctly judge quality or they are releasing these updates for some other reason. At this point I don't know how much it really matters in ecommerce. Buyers have left Google in droves which is what many sellers should be doing too.
12:03 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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their prior algorithms could not correctly judge quality
Googles algo is always their state-of-the-art determination of quality.

As they develop better techniques, more context, and more processing power, of course their determination of quality advances.

In that sense, each algo iteration is "better" at determining quality than the last.
12:18 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Can anyone tell me why spammers keep posting my website link to forums. Whats the point? Do you think it is competitor. I noticed I have toxic links when running a scan
12:24 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As they develop better techniques, more context, and more processing power, of course their determination of quality advances.

I don't know many people who believe this to be, and find it quite entertaining that some actually still do. In fact, such a statement could have been copied/pasted from one of Google's public statements. The SERPS paint a much different picture. There's no doubt advancements in judging quality does produce change. But does it change so much that a page ranking on page 1 gets booted to page 8, 10, etc.? Or in the case of specific products, even the manufacturers take a back seat to Amazon crowded SERPS. Stolen articles/text/pictures still often outrank their source, which means originality makes no difference in Google's assessment of "quality."

I prefer Bing's search results to Google. I receive a more diverse set of results for any given query which gives me choice. In my eyes, any algorithm that restricts choice via excessive domain crowding is also manipulating other aspects of the search results for their own gain.

[edited by: glakes at 12:26 pm (utc) on May 2, 2018]

12:24 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Samsam1978 - were links to other sites posted as well? Spammers often link drop a bunch of links to hide their own in the mix.
12:37 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@glakes "Stolen articles/text/pictures still often outrank their source"

How does Google determine which version of the content is the original and which is stolen? I've seen my articles copied and pasted on other sites many times, but to my knowledge, I've never seen those sites outranking my own. In fact, I don't see them anywhere in the SERPs. I usually only find out about the stolen content by following links in forums and discovering my own content on someone else's page.
1:05 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't know many people who believe this to be, and find it quite entertaining that some actually still do
Well, that's the problem with echo chambers and filter bubbles.
I find it depressing that a forum made of developers seriously believes a production algorithm is "perfect" and cannot be improved.
In fact, such a statement could have been copied/pasted from one of Google's public statements.
Because, if Google says it, it is automatically untrue? What else would they say? We're deliberately making our product worse?
The SERPS paint a much different picture.
What, so they did get it right, and now they don't? It seems abundantly clear to me that it has NEVER been right, and each iteration is just a different form of WRONG. In which case, why not keep iterating until they get it right? Of course, my version of getting it right is different from yours, especially if we share a niche.
But does it change so much that a page ranking on page 1 gets booted to page 8, 10, etc.
Yes. It was in the top 0.00001% of results, now it is in the top 0.0001% of results. Not a big change.
which means originality makes no difference in Google's assessment of "quality."
That's a different argument to the original "Google updates are for reasons other than quality". But sure, I don't understand that either.
In my eyes, any algorithm that restricts choice via excessive domain crowding is also manipulating other aspects of the search results for their own gain.
How many other algos do you deal with where excessive domain crowding is a potential issue? If "none" then your "any" is somewhat redundant.

Domain crowding seems a prima facie case of being unable to determine quality, so going with a proxy in lieu. It does not seem to be evidence of "manipulating... the search results for their own gain"- especially when their mortal enemy is the main winner. That seems to be making the evidence fit the existing narrative.
I prefer Bing's search results to Google.
Me too. My site also does better in Bing. I wish Bing was as big as Google, I'd be rich. But for some reason, normal people looking for things find themselves happy enough to use Google.
1:51 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So who has gotten GSC notices for mobile first?
2:02 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I find it depressing that a forum made of developers seriously believes a production algorithm is "perfect" and cannot be improved.

Apparently you did not read/chose to ignore the part where I said "There's no doubt advancements in judging quality does produce change. But does it change so much that a page ranking on page 1 gets booted to page 8, 10, etc.?"

Domain crowding seems a prima facie case of being unable to determine quality, so going with a proxy in lieu. It does not seem to be evidence of "manipulating... the search results for their own gain"- especially when their mortal enemy is the main winner.

Seems similar to another cut and paste statement from Google's webmaster blog as a method to explain away the rationale for choice. The reason why I started selling on Amazon is because Google was ranking Amazon category pages above any of ours. Keep in mind that the keywords/products I was searching for did not appear on most of the category pages Google was ranking. To some that is quality, to others it is manipulation.

There's no point in discussing this with you anymore as it is clear that you take Google's word as gospel. I don't. I let the SERPS speak for themselves, and as I stated previously, I don't see Google's SERPS as quality driven. I see Google's organic SERPS designed to limit choice, leaving what little choice there is to be found in the ads. Even then, those that can afford the paid ads are often those that directly benefit from being included in an exclusionary set of organic search results, which once again further limits choice. Regardless of what I say, shoppers say it in their actions every day. With only 15% of online shoppers going to a search engine first, it's clear that they gave up on Google and the other search engines quite a while ago.
2:12 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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While this thread is a great place to vent frustrations and share observations, it's never been or going to be a place where we "figure out" exactly what's going on within Google's ominous black box. Resistance is futile. Write and create content for your users and let it go at that.
2:26 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Write and create content for your users and let it go at that.


Agreed.
2:35 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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While this thread is a great place to vent frustrations and share observations


I think the key here is "share observations" @samwest Every must know by now they need to write unique relevant content.

I've observed things and patterns outside of "write good content for your users" that is very valuable. For example: the placement of your adsense ads and the number of ads you have on a page in general can significantly affect your serp. This is the kind of stuff/conversations I look for in forums.
2:38 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Crazy... we're STILL seeing huge changes and flips......

When will it end? Someone asked me yesterday whether I thought it would be like this permanently... I said no... starting to think I might have been wrong.
2:39 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As they develop better techniques, more context, and more processing power, of course their determination of quality advances.
I don't know many people who believe this to be, and find it quite entertaining that some actually still do.
There's no doubt advancements in judging quality does produce change.
Apparently you did not read/chose to ignore the part where I said
I did, but since you were in the process of mocking me for saying the same thing, I just ignored your cognitive dissonance.
There's no point in discussing this with you anymore as it is clear that you take Google's word as gospel.
Oh look, a filter bubble!

For the record, although I'm sure my body of posts can speak for themselves, I am pretty Google-sceptic. But you know, I don't constantly fail in SERPs. My success is based on rational observations, not tin-foil theories. Sometimes I'm wrong. I'm happy to discuss things with people, no matter how moronic I think they are being.

Rational discourse between disagreeing parties in the spirit of mutual good-faith is how progress is made.
it's clear that they [online shoppers] gave up on Google and the other search engines quite a while ago.
I guess my 20-person company is just in my imagination. Possible, I suppose, but unlikely.
3:53 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Googles algo is always their state-of-the-art determination of quality....As they develop better techniques, more context, and more processing power, of course their determination of quality advances.

Also, Google's ultimate goal isn't to define quality, it's to please searchers. Defining and measuring quality may be tricky, but objectively measuring how searchers respond to listings on a SERP shouldn't be an insurmountable challenge for Google's search team.
3:57 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Having a very slow day today after a couple of weeks of being very marginally up. I'm back closer to where I was in early April, which was not very good. I don't see much change in rankings though, based on the set of keywords I track.
4:07 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@lostshootingstar Same here, very very slow , going about -10% from multiple sources compare to last week
4:39 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Our Google traffic and overall traffic have been up in the past few days, which surprises me because of the May 1 holiday weekend. (Most of our audience is outside the U.S.) Nothing dramatic, though--overall traffic on May 1 was up only about 5 percent from the previous Tuesday.
6:50 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm always skeptical when I come to this thread and see people talking about new updates. If I check my own sites, I almost never see significant traffic changes on any of them.

Actually what I suspect people keep seeing is just random shuffling of the search results. They think it's an update, but it's just ordinary random shuffling of the results.

My advice is to ignore short-term traffic fluctuations and focus on the long-term trend. That's what really matters.
7:01 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This thread is to share SERP changes (And I assume traffic patterns by extension), so that's what I like to share and what I come here for. With that said, the changes I see very often line up with SERP tracking tools, and in particular both of the last two confirmed Google updates. Today is actually an exception, I am seeing about -10% shift with no other indicators. Could just be "one of those days".
9:16 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm always skeptical when I come to this thread and see people talking about new updates. If I check my own sites, I almost never see significant traffic changes on any of them.

Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. It's important to remember that an algorithm change may not have an impact across the board (especially when, as Google has announced on occasion in the past, a change may be aimed at certain types of queries or sites).
11:24 pm on May 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I believe two things are happening with Google at the same time,

1.Continual rollout of the April major update - No new update at all - Expect a few more weeks of turmoil
2.Mobile First is going live much faster than the notifications

I also think that Google are suffering from the Microsoft Syndrome - Even when they are doing something right, no one trusts them. And they are doing something right with this algo, well lots of things tbh.
6:15 am on May 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu - I don't want to convey this in any negative way but Google does not give a damn about us wandering. They roll out what they roll out and they often do it close/during international holidays so that we don't see double dips and further skewing of traffic. So no Google does not care whether you, me or anyone else is guessing.
8:34 am on May 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This update is the worst update we have ever seen.
Within 3 weeks we lost about 95% of google traffic and this is across several domains in different verticals.
And on a daily basis the domains on the first page change.

All the domains are very big brands. All the domains have Low site speed, nearly no html optimization, no mobile page and do everything against googles rules.
This updates had nothing to do with quality but with brands.

From my users point of view the results give a lot less choice.
I guess we will see googles ad clicks have risen significant next quarter.
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