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Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2018

     
11:34 am on Aug 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4909313.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:47 am on Aug 1, 2018 (PDT -8)

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HERE WE GO! Get your sit belts on:

Google Search Algorithm August 1st Update Rolling Out Now; Might Be A Big One
Aug 1, 2018
https://www.seroundtable.com/google-search-algorithm-update-26141.html [seroundtable.com]




[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:57 am (utc) on Aug 1, 2018]
9:16 pm on Aug 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a 20%+ increase in traffic since Friday. Health related (mostly) site. I did recently change web hosts (switched from shared to semi-dedicated), optimised the site and changed themes, so it could be related to that, or a current update. I don't get too excited these days, they can take it away just as fast as they give it, but it would be nice if it stuck.
9:40 pm on Aug 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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its not related to the hosting or the theme, I can tell you that for sure. i dont think there is a new update, you are probably getting ranked higher for the new keywords.
5:12 am on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Is it a good idea to disavow the sites that are copying my content?
9:31 am on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"@Subhnish even if all those changes improve your ranking you will not see any changes tomorrow. It usually takes weeks or months for improvements to happen. That is one of the reasons why it so hard to reverse engineer the algorithm."


its not related to the hosting or the theme, I can tell you that for sure. i dont think there is a new update, you are probably getting ranked higher for the new keywords.


The above two comments are NOT correct. I hear such arguments posted regularly everywhere but it simply is just not correct.
The google algo is a real time system it is NOT something that is done by tens of thousands of people in some buildings arraging rankings for websites.

Besides running my "normal" websites I keep several sites online to test things and have done this for years now. I have ny own statistics I keep as a referrence and from that I do testing. First, you all have heard about the 200+ ranking factors that the google algo uses, which is nonsens also. The algo probably contains many thousands of factors, some really important, some less and some not that important.

I know for about a dozen ranking factors that are really important and whenever I change one, or a few I can see the changes within a few weeks, sometimes within days! Not many weeks or months. Granted, it's not as fast as it used to be, but that is just because of a deliberate delay on the part of google.

Now, let's think about the statement google is putting out for the last year on websites like seroundtable, webmasterworld and searchengineleand, which goes something like this:
“As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”
"Google is telling us that there is nothing you can do to fix your site, so you should just focus on making a great experience, offer better content and a more useful website."

The above statements are not a coincedence and yet they are utter nonsense. Why is google telling everyone so prominently with every core update "there is nothing you can fix about your website and it will not help you rank better"?
The problem here is the sheer scale of the industry. If only 10 percent of all website owners started doing serious data analysis, and if only 10% of those would use tools like SEMRush or Hrefs, and if only 10% of them would start doing serious testing with all that data then you would end up with a serious number of website owners knowing how what to do and how to repair their website and rank better. And even though they might not know the complete picture they will still have a good idea of what works and what not and would have effectively reverse engineered the google algo at least in part. I know, because I have done it.

Again, the google algo works real time, if you know what to change, you WILL see results. In the beginning they might not be what you want but you will learn soon what will. This is google's nightmare.
1:23 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yep, however the problem with Google, as always, is the "accidental" collateral damage it causes to perfectly valid and relevant sites leaving their owners wondering what have they done wrong, nothing, and what can they do to correct it, again nothing.

It's downright farcical!


thats the problem - we are all just guessing and the info we get from google is just cryptic hints that don't really help. Trying to please google sometimes feels like trying to please Yoda's menopausal sister.
1:32 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Well of this is an algorithmic penalty due to quality then really nothing can be done like they said until the next update.
2:33 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone posted this yet?

THE AUGUST 2018 GOOGLE CORE UPDATE - SURVEYING THE AFTERMATH: [rankranger.com...]
3:28 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@HammerDown
That is an interesting article. As with most of these articles, I have my doubts as to whether any of this is truly applicable or representative. It is largely based on anecdotal evidence drawn from a few sites.

My sites was impacted by the update, I'm down about 20%. None of what was described as key factors are present in any of my pages. The only thing that may be an issue was the self promoting ads. In my case they are cross promoting ads to another website I built that is unrelated to the topic of my main site. I show the ads as back-up ads with the ad-balancer.

I've got nothing to lose by switching those ads off. So we will see, but I have my doubts.

...shutting off ads now. I will report back soon...
4:05 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Dooku

The algo probably contains many thousands of factors, some really important, some less and some not that important.

I agree

I can see the changes within a few weeks, sometimes within days!

Many weeks, few weeks = the same thing since I had also referred to months as well in the same sentence. (I was referring to a number weeks up to a month)

Again, the google algo works real time

Sure some parts of the algo are real time and are determined after Google has visited your page but most of the algo I bet takes different parts of the site or the site as a whole into context (other content, links, UI, etc..) and are analyzed sometime later on a different set of servers and not when the google bot visits the content.

Sure I can add content or update content and have it show up in the SERPS within a few hours but the algo probably used an analysis it has done previously on the page (or similar pages) in part to determine the rank.
5:11 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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On unrelated note, this update is awful for health results, just googled hurts to breathe in upper stomach and first 5 results are useless same site links that lists 30+ diseases and does not help

same thing yesterday for few other medical queries, i can no longer find relevant results when using health symptoms, and i dont own health site, so could not care less from that point who ranks first.
6:02 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I noticed that some people are saying that this Aug 1 update had a really big overall impact on the web. I'm not so sure.

Yes, it apparently did affect a lot of sites in a few sectors such as healthcare and finance. But most likely that's only a small percentage of all the sites on the web. For example, there was no noticeable effect on any of my six sites, which are in other niches. I just spent some time looking at search results in those niches, and still see the same sites as before in the top positions.

I've mentioned several times that google has been working on its algorithm for 20 years and should have reached a point where no more big overall changes are needed. Of course the web is evolving all the time and google will have to adjust its algorithm to keep up. The healthcare and finance sectors may have been flooded with a lot of new sites over the past year or two, many of them of mediocre quality and/or unproven trustworthiness. So google took action to try to weed out some of them.

This may have been a bigger update than others we've seen over the past few years, but people shouldn't be comparing it to Panda.
6:39 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've mentioned several times that google has been working on its algorithm for 20 years and should have reached a point where no more big overall changes are needed.

On the other hand, the transition to greater use of artificial intelligence may have an impact on what constitutes the "core algorithm."

Also (and this has more to do with small changes than big ones), machine learning is probably making things more fluid than they used to be. The monthly "Google Dance" was a batch process, but with machine learning, testing and tweaking can be occurring (with minimal human intervention) all the time.
6:40 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In general, you shouldn't put nofollow tags on any internal links within your site.


Back in the days of PageRank sculpting I was obsessed with trying to divert "flow" by use of internal "nofollow."

Those days are long over. I did quite a bit of research and there is not one single reason you should use internal nofollow. If you see it in your source, get rid of it today. Even if you have a high number of "noindex" pages on your site, links to those pages should still be "follow." Google has stated this unequivocally.
6:44 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a 20%+ increase in traffic since Friday. Health related (mostly) site.


Very interesting!

For anyone who has a site that was impacted for better or worse by the update, Len at telapost.com is asking to have read access to Analytics as he's looking at the data and promises a comprehensive writeup in about a week. In exchange he offers to give you a quick site audit.

[telapost.com...]
7:01 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Im in the finance section which was the most volatile. Dropping from position 30 to position 135. A huge knock, organic traffic is virtually gone. The odd part is that only me and another website got hit out of all the competitors ive been monitoring. Its going to take more time for me to study this.

Early analysis shows google targeted specific keywords. I am seeing some recovery but if one page was 130 yesterday and not its 105 today I cant call that recovery. I dont think there will be any recovery from this unless google make another update.
7:13 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Not surprisingly, the data shows that Barry Schwartz was correct in dubbing this the Medic Update as health was the most significantly impacted niche.

"In this instance, Google has made drastic changes to the health industry's rankings. So much so, that on average sites moved four positions during the update period, which constituted a 72% increase when compared to the baseline data. Also similar to the position data showed above, the travel niche still, on average, only saw sites moving under three positions during the update (for a 37% increase in the average position metric when compared to the baseline data)." - [rankranger.com...]
7:17 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I dont think there will be any recovery from this unless google make another update.


@yollo03 It appears Marie Haynes was correct when early on (I think the 4th) she said it "may be difficult to recover" a YMYL site that's been impacted. The only hope is to re-establish trust by building E-A-T.
7:29 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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That or launch a new website, this is beyond repair in my opinion. I am going to make some drastic changes in my website. I will report if I see any significant improvements. I am aware of YMYL and EAT but those that rank above me dont. I find it hard to believe this is the only reason. Some of them are just pure trash.

Just a small question to everyone, I was mainly hit in desktops. Mobile also took a hit but not as big. Is it the same with your website?
7:45 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@yollo03 no mobile and desktop appeared to be impacted equally in my case.
8:39 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am aware of YMYL and EAT but those that rank above me dont. I find it hard to believe this is the only reason. Some of them are just pure trash.


@yollo03 Google's E-A-T algorithm is apparently pretty complex. Have you looked at their backlink profile? Maybe it's strong?

I'm in a real holding pattern. I have tons of work I could do on content, but what's the sense as long as Google has decided my site is not E-A-T? I'm hoping to have something more concrete soon from the insiders I trust. Til then I'm tuning out all the hyperbole being posted in this thread such as "all the experts are wrong. This update is 100% about..." or "Google is lying and trying to screw the world."
8:57 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I keep seeing tons of bulls#!t eBay links in health-related SERPs and see they're up over 20% since the core update which completely flies in the face of YMYL-related E-A-T. Makes no sense!
11:52 pm on Aug 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My organic traffic is up by 30%. Some days ago i deleted over a thousand very old posts that weren't getting any traffic & used a 410 gone error code so Google will remove the pages ASAP.

I don't know if it has anything to do with the increase in my organic traffic or it's just a coincidence.

Has anyone ever experienced growth by pruning thousands of old posts?
3:16 am on Aug 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Halaspike Yes, low quality pages decrease the overall quality rating of a domain.
3:31 am on Aug 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"Overall quality" or "Site wide quality" is a bit of an enigma for me; I don't fully understand why it would have much weight. Ive always felt that each page should be evaluated in more of a vacuum.

Say a website has 100 pages about wigets. 98 of the pages are "thin", or otherwise low quality. Not terribly useful to anyone.

But two of the pages are objectively the highest quality, and most relevant information about wigets that exists on the internet.

Why, in theory, would Google demote the best results for a query because other pages on the site people don't care about are not as useful? It seems... spiteful? Cutting off their nose to spite their face.

For example, who cares if a website has 4000 thin user profile pages without much on them? If the pages aren't useful, then don't rank them. It seems quite simple.

What am I missing? Has it ever been confirmed by Google that a site wide "quality score" exists?
6:47 am on Aug 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"Yes, low quality pages decrease the overall quality rating of a domain".

The sub tag and category pages are supposed to do that.
7:10 am on Aug 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Desktop traffic has technically disappeared after this update, the mobile traffic is about local shopping and not mcommerce [apnews.com...]

Location is important on mobile nothing to do with quality content
7:54 am on Aug 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

During this month i see what, my websites are not crawling even there Sitemap.xml file exist.
At the same time tried to submit fresh Sitemap.xml file but not reflecting. Please suggest any alternative.

Thanks.
8:00 am on Aug 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@lostshootingstar I think it was to prevent authority sites like ebay, etc. dominating the SERPs with thin-content pages. You know, the stuff us lowly webmasters would complain about. :)

I know where you're coming from. But in a way, it does force us to think about what we will, and won't, allow Google to index.
9:13 am on Aug 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Last friday some new quality update started in our niche. Lets say all is upside down. Serps are a total mess.
winners are:
-brands with only little content
-brand pages that have only the keyword on the page and that do not cover the topic
-sites with not E.A.T.
-sites with little html code and very little content

Conversions from google are down by 90%.
Amazon sales are up by 70%. ( <-Thanx google)

To the last updates i posted that it couldn´t be much more worse but this one hit the ground.




"Yes, low quality pages decrease the overall quality rating of a domain".

The sub tag and category pages are supposed to do that.


I think i should depend on the vertical the site is in.

if you take a serach engine, then the serps pages are like kategory pages but they are most important for the SE site, even if they are full off links, scraped content and ads.

12:04 pm on Aug 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google is ranking now all pages as one. If you have thin content pages they will affect the overall ranking of the entire website. Anyone has the guts to de-index thin pages and see if the ranking improves? I dont.
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