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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]
5:57 pm on Aug 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just ran a two day experiment on a vacuum niche with potential volume. Withing two days my test article ranks on page 1 for several variations of the target query, so yes, there are still opportunities out there. Some variations have it at #1.
9:18 pm on Aug 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Current Zombie index is high. Conversions terrible the last few days. Algo seems to have gotten better at delivering junk traffic and tire kickers..


Zombies since Friday on my end as well. Probably a little refresh going on. I had amazing conversions on Aug 1 (Day1). I was overjoyed, then trepidation set in. Knew it won't last and sure enough... Haven't been as good since but the past few days have been the worst. Need to check search console to see if my kw's and geo have changed.
10:21 pm on Aug 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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im still confused as to what google are rewarding here - I was just trying some test searches and ran a search for a basic keyword combo and found number one position was tripadvisor (thats expected as they seem to top everything in travel now even though they dont offer really any content and are basically just a directory listing of tours) then the no 2 was a relevant result but not good content on a site that was incredibly slow to load but I can even accept that one - it was relevant but the 3rd result was actually in a completely different language to what I was searching for apart form have in the title !KEYWORD HERE! in the first part. How on earth can google be serving me results in the wrong language! And to make things worse the actual page in the wrong language looks like it was built in the 1950s - its beyond terrible. I just dont get what this update has done at all still.
The only thing im holding onto is that im getting some conversions recently that is keeping me going but I cant even tell you why anymore.
11:00 pm on Aug 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It does seem that the core update did de-rank websites by domain. If in theory you launch a new website with similar content you will outrank many websites just because you are new. Is anyone else seeing new websites that were just created in the past 3 months with little pages outrank them?

This observation is 100% true. I've been seeing websites that were created 3 months ago, doing very well in some niches, like the entertainment niche.
7:29 am on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I the automotive area, I see two evolutions:
- a lot of boxes from Google (with specifications), some really bad => long tail traffic is affected a lot.
- the intent slider is now heavy toward buying. If you try to find something about a car, most results are now classified sites.
7:44 am on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Our conversions are great at the moment, and traffic seems steady (ish) - We've lost around 20% organic and picked up 15% direct - But like other members here, i'm confused as to what this update is rewarding. I see a mixture of old and new domains coming through. I see slow loading sites. I see pages with no content whatsoever - pages with lots of content and pages overly optimised. I see alot of link schemes, EMAT from truly horrendous domains, but none of it is consistent. Each vertical is different.

I hate to say this, but my only strategy isn't going to deviate. For better or worse, i'm going to keep doing what i am doing and hope for a reversal. I would never normally say that, but based on these results, I cant believe that this is going to stick around for long.
9:31 am on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Regarding all the shatter about medical sites been hit with this update.
I just noticed that in google merchant center is a news ( jaahh is from juli 2018 ) but it says

Die Google Shopping-Richtlinie zu Gesundheit und Medizin wird sich im Juli 2018 ändern. Nach der Aktualisierung müssen Händler keine Zertifizierung mehr für die Werbung für medizinische Geräte beantragen. Lokale rechtliche Einschränkungen für Medizinprodukte müssen weiterhin beachtet werden.


It means that you now can buy ads from google shopping without approveal for medical itmes.

Upps! This means there are millions of new ads customers for google now! How do we get them to buy ads?
10:55 am on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I cant believe that this is going to stick around for long.


Then I'm sorry to say that you may be disappointed!

Why would Google change its strategy when it is probably having THEIR desired effect of driving companies to AdWords.

Think about it, Joe Public is that used to using Google and clicking on its ads that the majority of JP is probably totally unaware of the SERPs mess. Sure deliver garbage "unrewarded" sites top spots for those who do look at those results, JP will soon say "the ads are better" and not even bother with looking at the SERPs.

Google has not been a search engine for a long time, it is a shopping channel just like Amazon and Ebay, Google does not want to serve anyone quality results simply because it would be like "giving potential sales away".

And forget calling it the "medic" update, I'm seeing it across many different sectors, I would suggest "directory update" since many affected sites, whether directory specific or sites with lots of quality niche information which could unintentionally to an algo, appear to be directory sites ... they are like that because it is an efficient method of constructing a site with many different products and its related information.

It's been said before however listen this time, Google is not your friend, it is your biggest competitor and has been for several years now.
11:02 am on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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JP will soon say "the ads are better" and not even bother with looking at the SERPs.


I doubt JP even differentiates between the two that specifically. For them, those are just clickable links to the desired destination.

Google is on the way to becoming Classified Ad site.
11:49 am on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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semrush is picking up volatility in UK database. Anyone is seeing any ranking changes?
12:17 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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semrush is picking up volatility in UK database. Anyone is seeing any ranking changes?


yes, in germany and not for good so far.
1:17 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google is on the way to becoming Classified Ad site.


Surely it is, or almost is already?

I have been posting about this since last year and the noun everyone needs to comprehend fully is localisation.

All of my sites are non-US business registered and non-US hosted and all the .coms have been affected, some having lost 75-80% of their traffic and nearly all having been replaced by US business registered and hosted sites.

Why does this matter? Google wants the local results in its SERPs in order to sell AdWords to those local businesses. In its national SERPs Google can sell AdWords to national companies yet for local results, and for searches that Google currently has no sales offer, it wants local results which they can sell to locals to compete with each other.

Google is not interested in your, or my, national directory or product site, all you, and me, are doing is competing with Google for the same advertising Dollar therefore why should they bother with our sites? Just check a few of these so-called "unrewarded" sites, they're mostly utter garbage however I'll bet the ads on the SERPs page are usually spot on.

I have seen immense changes in its SERPs this month, not only to my sites but also to huge US company wholesale importer and distributor sites some of which have lost 50% of their regular traffic.

Re-read and thoroughly digest the above, I could go into more detail however understanding what G is doing and why ought to help you think more like it is doing and how it is doing it thereby, hopefully, giving you an idea of which way forward you may need to go.

Personally I am not actually altering any of my sites however I shall be focussing them differently, in other words my stategy will be changing.
2:02 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Good news for health sites like me worried about lack of E-A-T tweeted by Glenn Gabe.

via John Mu of Google about "Creator Reputation" & the 8/1 update: Don't get confused by the QRG. We don't have a list of authors ranked by reputation. Our algorithms aren't checking the reputation/authority of every author on the web & using that to rank your site: [there's a Youtube video but I've been asked not to post links]
2:10 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If EAT does not mather, then what the hell is this update about?
2:10 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@redbar studies still show the contrary though. Consumers are far more trusting of an organic result than an ad.... so Google still has to and should tip its cap to organic - otherwise it will lose searches to Bing.

All this BS about Google being too big is nonsense. Brands dominate and fall away if they don't keep up with the times...Remember Nokia?!
2:25 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Consumers are far more trusting of an organic result than an ad....

If they succeed to differentiate them! At Google's SERP, it's more and more difficult to make the difference. I know plenty of people who do not realize the first links are ads!
2:35 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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studies still show the contrary though. Consumers are far more trusting of an organic result than an ad.


Really, where? I'd like to see that report.

I'll give you a small example of what has changed. I live in a very small market town, the scond-least populated area of the UK yet nearly every small business now has a website.

So what, one may ask? Sure the larger ones have their bespoke brochure and ecommerce sites yet 90+% of all the others have business FaceBook pages and Joe Local is interacting with them and most people I have spoken to have a very positive attitude towards a free FB site.

FB business pages are one of G's biggest competitors, localisation is one of the few ways G can fight against them, against Amazon and against Ebay, it gives them a chance, a possible foot in the door.

Local is where the battle is for many businesses now, sure there is specialised stuff on Amazon/Ebay/SERPs that a local shop may never consider stocking, yet many of our local shops are surviving and thrivin despite this.
4:53 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Via Adwords Rep:

50% of sales come from Google shopping
30% top 3 text ads

20% whoever
5:05 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have been posting about this since last year and the noun everyone needs to comprehend fully is localisation.

All of my sites are non-US business registered and non-US hosted and all the .coms have been affected, some having lost 75-80% of their traffic and nearly all having been replaced by US business registered and hosted sites.

Facts right here, results are now strongly localized.

That's why when adding a site to search console, you will be asked to choose a country where you want to target.

Looks like new sites that were created some months ago that are performing well in some niches are using the targeting tool in search console.

[edited by: Halaspike at 5:18 pm (utc) on Aug 22, 2018]

5:15 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My website is US registered and US hosted and I got hit by the update so I have no idea what you are talking about.
5:22 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@yollo03 a US registered & hosted site won't be taken more seriously than a site using the targeting tool in search console to target the US.

Sites that have outranked you are probably using the targeting tool, you might as well use it too if you want your target audience to be US
5:26 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My website is US registered and US hosted and I got hit by the update so I have no idea what you are talking about.


Then try re-reading my posts and understanding localisation plus you obviously also missed this:

I have seen immense changes in its SERPs this month, not only to my sites but also to huge US company wholesale importer and distributor sites some of which have lost 50% of their regular traffic.


Which bit of that do you not understand?

I am talking about USD 1+ Billion companies, not USD 1+ Million.
5:55 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So Google AdSense have thoughtfully sent this email:

Dear Publisher: It looks like your AdSense earnings have dropped recently, and you’re missing out on revenue. But don’t worry: we can help. Share the main reason for the slowdown with us and we’ll be in touch with some help to get you back on track.

Dear Google: The reason AdSense revenue has dropped is because you've cut the legs from under my site and my traffic has fallen by 70%. Duh.
6:24 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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via John Mu of Google about "Creator Reputation" & the 8/1 update: Don't get confused by the QRG. We don't have a list of authors ranked by reputation. Our algorithms aren't checking the reputation/authority of every author on the web & using that to rank your site:

Years ago google tried to use an "author tag" to identify qualified expert and authoritative writers. It was a magnet for spammers and the project turned into a fiasco and had to be abandoned.

An earlier failed google effort at identifying authority was the google "knol".

So Google has recognized the importance of expertise and authority for a long time. But by its nature it's a very difficult thing to determine, as those earlier failed efforts show.
6:59 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If EAT does not mather, then what the hell is this update about?


Much too simplistic opinion but mine nonetheless: I think there was some significant tweaking of the algorithm synchronized with a manual rewarding of a handful of sites. It perfectly explains what happened in health (if the E-A-T theory is BS).
10:02 pm on Aug 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think there was some significant tweaking of the algorithm synchronized with a manual rewarding of a handful of sites. It perfectly explains what happened in health (if the E-A-T theory is BS).

Or maybe it's just the types of inbound links that the health sites are getting. A site like WebMD or the Mayo Clinic will attract plenty of links from sites that have solid reputations and track records, while a health site cobbled together by someone with no credentials is likely to rely on low-quality links (such as those from PBNs).
9:59 am on Aug 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@redbar Alot of Digital Marketers believe that Ads are having a huge impact on their CTR organically, but the truth is much more nuanced than that.

Sure, ads CTRs are becoming more prevalent, however, Organic still dominates [imgur.com...]

And further more, searchers within the 18-35 year age group are even more less trusting of ads.

Additionally, there has been an increase of Ads targeting branded search terms since 2015, which has inflated the industry wide paid CTRs growth.

There is still hope for organic at the current discourse. However, if Google continue to add more ad results, then that might of course change that behaviour.
10:05 am on Aug 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Ive got a UK lead-generation website targeting just the UK but it's on a dot-com domain. The root domain has been page one on google.co.uk since February 2017 and generally in position 1 with 40,000+ search queries per month. The August update hit it hard and its now position 65 on Google UK and traffic dropped by about two-thirds. It looks like competitors that have gained are all .co.uk domains.

But on Google.com (USA) its still in Position 1 even though the site doesn't even target the US.

Is this normal? Its a gamble but should i change the domain to a .co.uk?
11:31 am on Aug 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sure, ads CTRs are becoming more prevalent, however, Organic still dominates


I'm not saying that graph is incorrect per se simply because not everyone is shopping, for which ads are generally aimed at, plus the deterioration.of the Google SERPs could lead to a higher general CTR since people are being unable to find what they are seeking.

If all the above-fold stuff that Google does did not work, they wouldn't do it.

I tell you what, as an experiment clear your cache and try a few searches based upon where you tell Google your location is. I've done this loads of times over the past couple of years and it has been very revealing as to what they are doing.

Google's SERPs are directed towards Joe Local easy peasy land.

Here's a true story from yesterday. I was checking the logs for a hotel site I run and one visitor on an Android phone had 839 previous visits! How much garbage is on that phone and how slow is it, but at the same time when people operate devices like this it's no wonder G has so much data with which to work.
11:34 am on Aug 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Earlier Google had Ads which looked different from SERPs.
Now, these have same display as SERPs with only differentiating feature being small [Ad] text on the left side and I am sure many people are clicking them thinking them to be genuine results. {I doubt though how many of them are concerned about the difference}.

Not only this, these Ads follow you to the second page too.

That's a lot of push for ads.
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