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Rankings Dropped. CTR could be a factor

     
9:08 am on Aug 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My rankings dropped big time a few months ago around the time mobile first started to be confirmed as being rolled out.
My site is a .co.uk and recognized in the new beta search consule as UK visitors.

I didn't worry at first as the site is mobile responsive and I hoped it would return in time, but it didn't.

Since then after some investigation, I have noticed that my sites CTR dropped form 2.4% to .8% a huge drop and would be a big flag to Google as poor quality.

Looking deeper to it, I have noticed that international. visibility is 5 time more than my UK one.

Twice as much impression from India alone than the UK, and of course no clicks from the international searches.
But my UK only CTR is still similar to before, if not better.

Has anyone else noticed this issue?
Has anyone had a drop in rankings since March/April and noticed an increase in non wanted impressions and so lowering their CTR?

A final observation,
This is happening on a sub domain of the main domain.
The main domain, has remained constant, only the sub domain has lost traffic and suffers from a lower CTR.
11:09 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Click bots can be responsible for some (most?) of that.

Most all report software doesn't identify these malicious agents because they masquerade as human browsers.

Adsense will negate any credits, but the affect on indexing is unknown.

Related: Most of Your Traffic is Not Human [webmasterworld.com]
11:44 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just to clarify, this is not traffic affecting bounce rate.
I have my analytics/htaccess etc set up for bot sites

But impressions on a google search, where my site appears with no clicks, because it is totally irrelevant to that country of search..
12:00 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Twice as much impression from India alone than the UK
Look in your raw server logs (not Google Analytics) to find the source of the issue. GA, and other report software, is clueless.
2:10 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@keyplyr
Look in your raw server logs (not Google Analytics)

Flanok is not looking at GA, but rather referring to the figures reported in GSC (Google search console, Search Analytics Report) so server logs would be useless in this respect.

@Flanok
What you are describing is not entirely clear to me. But let me just explain an important thing to note about how what must interpret the GSC report. CTR is the based on the number of impressions your site received. Impressions are only those for which your site appeared for a given keyword. There is no account for the total number of impressions that a keyword sees. At the same time your rank is reported only on the impressions that your website appeared for and since one doesn't know the actual number of impressions or where one should have ranked for those impressions one has no real concrete idea of our true ranking.

Say keyword "widget" gets 1M impressions, this information is not provided in GSC and is difficult if not impossible to come by from other sources. Your GSC report shows you that your received 1000 impressions for the "Widget" keyword and 100 clicks thus your CTR is 10%. Then after a Google update you now receive 2000 impressions with 200 clicks your CTR remains at 10%. No change in CTR but double the traffic. Now this seems obvious. One would now assume that this is the result of an increase in ranking, but that is not necessarily so. The difference is in the impressions, you are now appearing in more results. But you may be ranking in the same position as before.

To complicate matters even more the top level numbers are averages across all your keywords so you may rank higher for some lower for others and still no change. To some degree those numbers are meaningless. The numbers to watch are impressions (the more the better) and clicks because these are the users coming to your site through search.

So if you are getting more impressions for some other region, this is probably a good thing (provided you can get an ROI) and if the your main region is constant than I would not sweat it.
2:56 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS - actually, that's the point. Any Googly Analytics, whether in GSC or GA, can reflect misinformation (and often does.) It can give the user a false sense of what is actually occurring (and often does.)

The only true account of what is taking place is to get it from the source, not software.
3:11 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@keyplyr yes sure. I know you love to hate on GA, so lets agree to disagree on that point. But the difference here is that GSC provides insight into Google's search results that you simply cannot get from any other source. The information provided is half-baked and mostly smoke and mirrors, but it still provides useful insight when the bias and skew is taken into account.
3:23 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Agree that Google tools gives insight on what Google sees. The problem is that Google sees misinformation a lot of the time.

I know you love to hate on GA
Not hate... if you assume that I "hate" GA, then you probably miss what I'm saying. I just try to make it clear that GA misses a lot of important information & I remind those who may think that it is accurate, that it isn't.

I used GA for a couple years. I installed it on a couple dozen client's sites as well. As I learned more and more, and as the web kept changing, I realized how much GA misses and misinterprets. If the user doesn't understand this, they get a distorted impression of what really is occuring.

Twice as much impression from India alone than the UK, and of course no clicks
In all indication, this is likely a bot coming from an India IP(s) pretending to be human by using browser UA(s.) Google (GA or GSC) almost never catches this, and reports it as some type of traffic from India. Could also be a high traffic discussion forum with Indian members following a link(s) to the OP's site.

But the only way to know for sure, is to examine the server logs and do the research, which is what I recommend everyone do on a daily basis.
6:28 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed that my sites CTR dropped form 2.4% to .8% a huge drop and would be a big flag to Google as poor quality.


It's not a ranking signal. It's not a flag to Google of poor quality of the site.

It may be a flag to Google of the poor quality of Google's algorithm, which is how CTR is used for ranking purposes.

It is not a direct ranking signal. Never was. All research and patents confirm this. Numerous statements out of Google also confirm this.

The evidence that CTR is not a direct ranking signal is overwhelming.
1:17 pm on Aug 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guy for the responses.

OK CTR is not a ranking signal, got it, I just had thought it would be.

Maybe I hadn't explained the question well enough.

Prior to 3 months ago 90% of my impressions in google search (according to search console) where only UK based searches as I have a .co.uk site aimed at the UK audience (recognized as such in the search console). My CTR rate was about 2.6 to 2.8%.


But over the last 3 months (according to search console), searches/impressions have been appearing in around 25 other countries including India and Russia in a relevant high quality, 192 countries in total in low quantity.
Only 30% of search impressions are in the UK, 70% of search impressions are happening across the world, where the site has no purpose.

As my site (search terms) are irrelevant in those countries, the CTR is abysmal, bringing down the over all CTR to .4% this morning.

What I cant get my head around is why anyone in India or Russia would use these search terms in this sort of quantity anyway.

I can look at it country specific and my UK CTR is still around 2.6% this morning.

Other countries are a flat 0%

If it does not affect ranking then there must another reason for lost rankings.

Thanks

Mark
2:46 pm on Aug 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There was a broad core algorithm update. Google's Danny Sullivan recommended reading the quality raters guidelines for ideas of why other sites may have jumped ahead of sites that lost rankings.

Good luck!
;)

Roger Montti
 

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