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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]
3:51 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hey,

This is a big update. We were impacted, but probably not for the reason everyone else was.
Alot of our traffic comes from Google News/Top Stories.
Whenever something big is rolling out, we have a drop in traffic from top stories. During the period, the Top Stories section for our keywords are very stale (like 1 to 3 days).
Then after a few days freshness returns and our site (and others) starting showing up with fresh results (sub 12 hours or less). Traffic then returns to normal.

I suspect Google diverts resources that usually keeps things "fresh" to allow for deeper crawling of the whole web when there's an update. I dunno.
3:53 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So AI does this, Amazon must be do it being the smartest player and now Facebook needs to know how much money you have in your bank account as well.
[wsj.com...]

Their algo probably thinks why waste my time with people with no money...

Keep spending money changing or improving a website, it is worth it if you have money in the bank account if not zombies would love to do business with you
3:59 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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im beginning to get some recovery day by day now and yesterday and so far today is looking ok. Something im noticing is that the recovery seems to be "Regional" wereby my increases seem to be coming from a certain region each day it improves. For example update day 1 I lost traffic everywhere, after few days started to get some US traffic back, then australia/pacific region, then Europe and today South America - it could make sense if the update is rolled out in stages, then takes time to reindex / reanalyse things that Im getting things "fixed" in each region as it happens.
4:13 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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To whoever said there is no difference between page 3 and page 15, my organic traffic dropped by 50%, It might change in the next few days but it is what it is at the moment. I am seeing some ranking changes in my niche although it doesn seem to be aggressive yer.
5:32 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing unusual ranking reshuffling again. Can anyone else confirm you are seeing this in your niche as well? Its starting to get more aggressive, Im not seeing anything on semrush yet. It could be limited to my niche so if anyone else can confirm that would be great.
5:42 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Can confirm, pushed even further down, with one site taking all serps

#2
#3
#10
#11
#12
#13
#14
#15
#16

Me at #17 from #4
5:48 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Its very similar to mine but I actually got to page 31.

#3
#9
#10
#31
#5
#10
#11

I cant even tell I bottomed at 11. Its fairly hard to swallow but it is what it is. I do see some changes, google is trying to push me back to page 9 in the past hour.
6:14 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps it's time to stop checking the serps every hour and start creating better content with actual takeaway value. That's the key.

Fancy scripts won't improve your site. Useful well structured content will. I've seen some other members sites that look to be straight out of 1995 yet they knock it out of the park with just good useful content.

[edited by: samwest at 6:20 pm (utc) on Aug 6, 2018]

6:19 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@samwest no it;s not, all top rankings are from high authority spam pages with few sentences of text, or unrelated info + pop up ads, like luxury and super expensive hair brand stuffing content with keywords just to rank for it, i google cheap hair extensions and see manipulation. For niches that i work, it's even worse as you have sites ranking #1 with unrelated content but thousands of footer [sitewide links] that were bought. 99% of that site links are like this. You have 40-60+ external links at the bottom of footer with random sites and one being this particular site. Yeah, this is what pushed that site to #1, getting 3+ million users daily. I can't post url due to WM TOS, but that;s google.

I might have found a reason for drop, or what caused some of it, does anyone of you here use gfycat on pages that got affected?

[edited by: givinguponlife at 6:22 pm (utc) on Aug 6, 2018]

6:22 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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high authority spam pages

that's funny
6:28 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

I don't think that you are new on the internet, google has been pushing quora that is full of spam for a long time now, with all answers leading to external pages selling garbage. "Best x camera" questions with 100+ answers of non-sense and it ranks. Why? Because of authority. What is that page for? For spamming sellers who answer and ask the same questions.

[moz.com...]

For other products it's even worse, as chinese are now spamming it left and right. That site deserves no traffic, like yahoo answers. And there are multiple top sites that rank because of bought links, it's spam everywhere.

And for google that says how important it is reputation and ratings, lol at this ranking [imgur.com...]

the top #2 spot for product that has 2.1 stars with all comments saying liar, fake, scam, etc. Sure, nothing to do with DA at all, it's all about amazing user experience and this product clearly delivers among 50000 others
7:03 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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the tag pages are ranking better now, authority ones ofc.
7:42 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My one article dropped to 85 position on 2nd August and returned back today.
7:59 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@givinguponlife - I found it funny because the way that was worded, it sounded like you then consider yourself the low authority spam site. If your content is winding up next to Quora, then maybe you're perusing the wrong niche's.

I have a few case studies in crossing paths with Quora content and we can beat them every time. You just need to refine your content. Include fully meta'd original pics, YT video, good references and informed content that stands out as authoritative, not just authoritative because of a massive back link profile. BLP is certainly not the only criteria for high ranking. If it was, it would be a pretty boring web. There are still many gold nuggets to be found out there...take the time to go find them....not wasting away watching fruit rot on the vine. Get er done!
8:48 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Traffic was so high today my server crashed for about an hour. Now I'm worried that my ranking will drop because of the downtime during an update.
10:33 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@halaspike - you might want to look at using AWS burstable servers if you continue getting problems like that.
10:37 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@givinguponlife - you , and others, might find this thread [productforums.google.com ] interesting on google webmaster crawl forum - it is from the webmaster of the site How to Geek that that you may have heard of. Pretty big site and he is pointing out some of the problems you are mentioning like quora posts that have copied his content taking the snippet results and higher places in serps.

This latest update certainly is causing to confusing results that are often very contrary to what googles guidelines tell us all to do or what they say they are trying to achieve.
11:13 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Milchan the link to productforum's isnt working.
12:11 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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im not sure why but the forum strips it out - try this one , seems to work

[goo.gl ]
12:20 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't use howtogeek myself but it seems, on the surface, like a reasonably good quality website (apart from the ugly banner right at the top), and some of his complaints, again on the surface, seem legit.

I just wonder if the constant flooding of new websites onto the internet will dilute your market regardless of how extremely low quality some of them are. It seems like even if you have a low quality site, if you just keep flooding google with pages, some of them will rank regardless (at least in the short term) at the expense of the better quality websites.

And the conspiracy theorist in me also wonders if Googlers have deliberately put a mark against his site because of his somewhat negative attitude towards them. In which case, it may be best to remain anonymous rather than to post loudly on Google's forums basically screaming, "Hey Google! What the heck is going on?!?!"
12:38 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think a major issue is the "quality" is very subjective but i just cant seen how googles algorithm can be trusted to interpret the content of a site to ensure that it is better "quality" than others in so many situations. For example (and this is a massive problem in my niche travel) someone can write a well written , good looking piece of content and post it on a technically well setup blog (fast, responsive) supposedly giving great advice about X destination or tips on Y in Z country and to your average consumer it might look like it is good, useful content but then an actual real expert in that area can take one look at it and see a multitude of factual inaccuracies, bad advice that sometimes could be downright dangerous, - yet google will not know about the things that are wrong - how can it? it cant fact check everything via algorithm (at least not yet) so the content at the top ends up being bad - the opposite of what google says it is trying to achieve.
I actually think that there should be more weight give to sites from entities that can prove they have some legitmate proof of being knowledgeable in an area. Maybe using some kind of new EV SSL wereby a medical professional could have their credentials checked and authorized and issued an certificate in the "medical domain" , which google could then recognize as some form of authority to write content on that subject and be given a bit more trust.
12:43 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've found so many helpful articles on How To Geek over the last 10 years, it's hard to imagine anything else that is higher quality in that niche; I feel really bad for the owner.

I think this highlights another problem in that there's no way to know if you are affected by an algorithmic penalty, and if you are, how to fix it. It seems Google is shooting themselves in the foot here with How To Geek. They are surpressing one of the most useful and highest quality sites on the web. That alone should trigger a red flag that something is not working right and needs to be reviewed.

One thing How To Geek has going for them is that they are high profile enough, and people like them enough to maybe get some help from Google on this either publicly or behind the scenes.

Unfortunately we don't all have such a luxury and are left to make wild guesses and hope something sticks.

If you're reading this, Lowell, best of luck!
12:50 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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i agree , whilst we all have been commenting and thinking there is something "wrong" I agree , this does highlight it a lot better because of the profile. Simply put , I would much rather be served an article from How to Geek at the top than a spammy page that has copied them or part of their content and im sure most people would which is some proof that the update is not achieving what they want it to do , at least not across the board and seemingly in various niches.
4:24 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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< I actually think that there should be more weight give to sites from entities that can prove they have some legitmate proof of being knowledgeable in an area

this is actually explained a bit in google search guidelines and they do that, just seems not well enough

Thanks for the link,
6:29 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Every automated feature that Google has created should be legally removed. It's killing the internet. Businesses. People aren't taking it seriously.

"Similar question" after the featured snippet box pushes other sites below the fold on mobile. Who's going to click on them? The giant Google logo should be removed as well.

Nobody is safe.
6:59 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing similarities between How to Geek and 2 of my own websites that got heavily hurt by this update. They have a lot of good content, but they are also running Adsense to finance the website and to make it all possible. They are running Adsense ads of similar sizes and on similar locations as on my websites. Just like me they are running the "Powered by Google" similar pages search app at the end of their pages.

I think that the quality of the Google quality raters is a huge problem for Google. They "help" Google to decide whether an algo is good or not. Quality raters might not like sites that need ads to stay alive. They don't care about the quality of the content, only the visual appearance of the website is important to them. Also, how can a quality rater decide about the quality of content on different subjects like cars, houses, parenting,dogs, ...? Are all of them walking encyclopedias? How can they detect stolen content?

You don't need to invest in "great content" to rank on Google. Just steal content (like for instance Quora) and put very little advertising on your pages. You will rank like hell on Google (but not on Bing, DuckDuckGo, ...). Your income per visitor will be low, but since you didn't invest in content this won't be a problem. I sometimes work an entire day on one article. By stealing content I could probably add up to 100 articles per day.

Another thing I've noticed, on mobile, is that a lot of AMP pages disappeared from the serps. Maybe quality raters don't like the look of AMP pages?
7:26 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Chrisv1963! I noticed that too. All the content regardless of its shallowness, which is placed at the top does not have pages with ads.
And Google seems to go berserk here. Its displaying .docs. pdfs, commercial pages with the product for an info keyword.

Just now, more baffled than yesterday, I saw a dissertation from a university with all its scientific language topping the SERPs for a YLYM query.

Google wants you to read the original research for the little info that you thought would quickly scan through.

Someone somewhere has pulled few wrong strings. What was intended to be a Waltz has turned into breakdance.
7:26 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Post update or vertical is seeing more multiple listings from the same domain. This update is a mess. I'd like to hope they will have realised that.
7:27 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Big mess. Quicksand rather.
7:50 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@arunpalsingh Bhai, what is your niche?
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