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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]
10:56 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@arunpalsingh your english is pretty good. @jmorgan tagged you wrongly.
12:04 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Long time lurker but decided to chime in on this one.

1. Do not get discouraged. I have been hit by numerous Google updates and always managed to get back stronger.

2. The best thing you can do - wait. Do not panic or start changing things on your site. Wait till the algo fully rolls out and big guys come up with some data and analysis. SEO is a game of patience.

That being said, my observations on the update so far:

- it is NOT a penalty update( think Panda, Penguin etc). More of reshuffling of the results. E.g if you drop from post 1 to pos 5, you will still lose like 50% or more of your organic traffic. That does not mean you are penalized. It means Google has adjusted their algo to reward different sites.

- what I see rewarded in the SERPS - Aged content and authority domains; Pages with good links; Sites with good silo structure and onsite relevance

I will be running a few experiments, but I ll be glad if you chime in and approve or disapprove my observations.
12:38 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@George_G +

That's my observation too, March update rewarded unappreciated sites with less authority but higher quality content. Now it's back to links, links and more paid links.
1:26 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@arunpalsingh your english is pretty good. @jmorgan tagged you wrongly.


Thanks for saying that. Maybe @jmorgan wanted to stress on that the articles that appear to be written by non-native writers are not liked by people.

But I doubt people have semantic issues unless you write very badly.

Language could be an issue in Language and English writing niche but hardly elsewhere.

I think people and search engines are more concerned with readability and info contained than the subtle nuances.

Lastly, one should not be judged for the standards of articles from analyzing the language used in the forum.

Afterall, we are to help here. There is enough happening already.
1:39 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@George_G i 100% agree with you. Your observations are on point.
2:00 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@skynet84 sorry for the situation mate; do not give up. Is your website .com or .ctld ? Where your revenues based on Adsense or affiliate ?
2:20 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@skynet84

After seeing your website I would take a hard look at the QRG again. After that look at the big sites in your industry like WebMD that show for your major terms. You need to build up your credibility, no where on your site did I find any info why I should trust it, who the expert was and why they are an expert.

If I were to go to your website I wouldnt trust the information. Even if your content is infinitely better it looks spammy to me. With large blocks of content, ads that blend in with the page and no author info, I can see why you have experienced drops.

WebMD does a better job at laying out the content, providing ways to quickly locate a section of interest and makes links to other related content more obvious. Same thing is true for the other big players in your niche.
2:23 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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- what I see rewarded in the SERPS - Aged content and authority domains; Pages with good links; Sites with good silo structure and onsite relevance


In my vertical, what I see rewarded is Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest...

While my own listing have stayed pretty much stable, I am still seeing wild fluctuations in traffic volume and user behavior. This seems totally independent of search position. Last weeks spike "anomaly" has passed and this week is off to a very slow start. Weekly patterns are very hard to figure these days.

Desktop traffic is very thin.
5:52 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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SnowMan68 -- There's a lot of medical quackery on the internet. If someone is writing articles about the possible benefits and risks of various nutritional supplements, they should base their information on the results of clinical trials, using reports in the original research papers published in professional journals.
6:53 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Aristotle: Gwyneth Paltrow and her wasp-nest suppliers would beg to disagree. :-)
7:00 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google decided to trash my website a bit more in the past 24 hours. I dont believe I will recover until the next core update. I am going to have to do some serious work on quality. I have no ads, no paid links, good content, good domain age, ssl, load speed less than 3 seconds etc. I did make some changes and that reduced the bounce rate and increased the visitors duration on the website and page views but google didnt care yet.
8:31 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@yollo03 while at it, you can check your TF-IDF (the WebsiteAuditor free version does that) and check your content structure with PageOptimizerPro (it has some free reports when you sign up).

Also, try building some more supporting content to your main articles and link to them.

Im running some tests myself, but I am curious if this will help you. Cheers
8:40 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@George_G+ Thanks for the help, I will look into this. I dropped from page 3 to page 11 for my main keyword. I know that i wont recover until the next core update in a few months. I will do my best to survive until then. Thanks again for help.
1:29 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@yollo - being on page 3 is virtually the same as being on page 11. I have yet to dig three pages in to get a suitable answer to my Google queries, and page 11 only out of morbid curiosity.
1:50 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am going to have to do some serious work on quality. I have no ads, no paid links, good content, good domain age, ssl, load speed less than 3 seconds etc. I did make some changes and that reduced the bounce rate and increased the visitors duration on the website and page views but google didnt care yet.

yollo03, I don't know whether "care" is the right word, as Google is a machine. That said, when did you make the changes, what kinds of changes did you make, and how long have you given the machine to react? ;)

How long does it take for Google to respond to site changes?
- Google has said that it may well take them more time than webmasters expect for site changes and improvements to be reflected in rankings. Most information that I trust puts the time range at somewhere between three months to a year... with four to nine months being the most likely range. If youjr site doesn't get a lot of traffic, chances are that Google doesn't crawl it often, and that's likely to make the bottom end of the time range longer. Ditto with regard to crawl frequency on sites that link to you.

Update is still in progress
- Until this update has been fully rolled out and received some adjustment, I don't believe that you can make any judgements now about how you've been affected.

"Quality" of your inbound links
- I think that, going forward, link quality is going to be far more important than link quantity, and that suggests that the quality of your content has got to be so good that it attracts those high quality and relevant links you're going to need.

2:38 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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link quality is going to be far more important than link quantity,

Quality is subjective, what qualities should a link have?
5:29 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Quality is subjective, what qualities should a link have?


From my point of view, there are a lot of factors determining the quality of the link. Here are some short list:

1. Overall authority of the domain;
2. Authority of the specific page from which the link is placed (PR, quantity and quality of the links which are linked to the page from other websites, quality of the content, etc.);
3. Overall quantity of the outbound links on the page (if you have a single authority page on authority website with one single link to your website - that's great; if you have authority page with tons of links to other websites (one of them is yours) - that's not so good, but still can work);
4. Anchor of the link (in case it contains an exactly keyword - that's great, if not - it's not so good. Of course, if you have a majority of anchors in your link profile only with exact keywords - you'll be penalized, you should be accurate on playing with this);
5. Is link sending traffic to the website? (I mean if this link is "alive")
5:47 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Massive drop in rank but traffic is same. Interesting.
6:11 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The decline generally follows the drop.
6:42 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My gf's blog got decimated - she lost 70% of traffic. Non English, mostly travel related content, in language where spam and forums rule (bloggers are just starting to pop up).

Her content is several leagues above the competitors, getting emails, FB messages with thanks from people daily.
11:12 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar Same here. My average ranking has dropped worryingly, but impressions are up and CTR is steady so traffic is still stable.

I'm just wondering if I've started to rank, on the low end, for a whole new range of keywords which is why my average ranking has dropped.

Or maybe this is just the start of something really bad? Hopefully not.
11:50 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Aristotle: Agree about the medical quackery. Yet my site has tanked this week, despite providing evidence-based expert advice (I'm a doctor) with links through to pubmed RCTs and meta-analyses, I've gone from 3,500 visits a day, on average, down to 300. I was number 1 for many keywords, now disappeared from view. If this continues it's no longer worth my time or effort to provide self-help advice. :(
12:04 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My ranking has improved but my traffic has dropped because of 30% less impressions. It doesn’t make sense. I run a health website.
12:04 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I just wanted to say thank you to those that pmd me with support. I dont have the time to reply now but I will later. I was pushed down even more down the chain so the bottom is not over for me. What I did notice that google appears to focus more on short articles that provide the content for what was searched. I dont know if this is the new era, short content with 'precise' match to queries or this is google experimenting. Whoever followed google's recommendations to provide rich content got screwed. What I will do once I am certain this is over is to begin cutting content from the homepage and see if it makes a difference.

For those that got hit like me, what I think google did to compensate is to give new ranking for other keywords so the impressions is stable-ish. This update changed the weight on SSL and page speed load for sure, backlinks to me dont seem relevant with this update.

Semrush is showing ranking changes on mobile devices, my site still ranks well on mobiles, I hope that wont change. What I am working on at the moment is reducing the bonce rate and increasing the duration on the website.
1:10 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If your page has completely disappeared from the SERPs, you might want to try fetching the page. I've had to do this for several articles, and then they reappeared near the top of Google within a few minutes.

I've also noticed that my ranking in Search console and SEMRush is about the same, but way fewer impressions and almost half the number of clicks. I've lost about 6 weeks of gains. Can anyone else check their search analytics in SC?

I've also noticed that my informational articles have faired a lot better than some of my affiliate content, although not always the case. I normally cite PubMed, Journals, and University press releases on my health blog.

This isn't the first time I've seen decreases for certain keywords that I ranked well for before, only to rise back to the top again. So, I guess if the content is good, then it will rise again. Or that's the hope. :)
1:31 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Gee, so many people running health websites.
1:49 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182 Same here. Ranking is the same, 35% drop in impressions and clicks. Are you saying that this has happened to you before and you've eventually bounced back? I write high-quality, well-researched health articles with references. Hope it all bounces back.
2:29 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It's been touched on in this thread already, but one thing to keep in mind is that as we approach the middle and end of August, more and more kids are going back to school in the USA. At least in our industry, that always correlates to a noticeable decline in traffic. YMMV.
3:22 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182 Many thanks for your suggestion to try fetching the page - just did that and it worked; back on page 1 for that keyword and above the spammy 'Is this a scam' articles that were edging me out before. Maybe there is hope! ;)
3:36 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Lucky you. I fetched and rendered my homepage and noticed googlebot couldnt access all scripts. I fixed it besides font awesome script that I cant be bothered doing now but the page loads fine from the perspective of the bot. Lets see if I get anything from it, fingers crossed.

Also for mobile phone I used animation that brings the text from the left when scrolled. I wasnt sure the bot can actually crawl it so I removed the animation and fetched as google (mobile smartphone) and requested indexing. Lets see how that goes.
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