Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 35.175.182.106

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Featured Home Page Discussion

Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2018

     
11:36 am on Oct 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 10, 2018
posts: 114
votes: 15


The following message was cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4918232.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 4:08 am on Oct 1, 2018, (PDT -8)


I seem to have recovered most of my rankings from before my suspected mobile-first Fred penalty, apart from the very highest volume ones, where an annoying thin-content site is still pushing me down.

The traffic to my site has doubled to about 4K. Iím still well off the 10K figure I was at before the March update pushed up a bunch of low quality sites in my niche.

No corresponding increase in adsense earnings though. As Iím a viral site I see weird, unnatural adsense drops after traffic increases all the time. CPC is still the same but CTR has halved. I hope it settles down. If not, my entire niche may no longer be financially viable.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:11 pm (utc) on Oct 1, 2018]
[edit reason] Cleanup after thread split to new month [/edit]

8:33 pm on Oct 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 10, 2018
posts: 114
votes: 15


Just done some more checking and Iím seeing more of the same thing I described earlier. Generic authority sites overtaking specialised high relevance sites. Sucks for me. One of my best pages is now getting outranked by something mediocre from the BBC.

How many small businesses and mom and pop shops are they going to put out of business with this anti fake news culture wars crusade? I run a funny game site, for heavenís sake.

I donít know how those PBN sites are staying on top when all of my thousands of organic backlinks are getting discounted. My rankings in Bing, Ecosia, Yahoo, Yandex, etc are great. Iím starting to think of this yearís series of updates as ďGoogle hates stuff people like.Ē
8:44 pm on Oct 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 29, 2005
posts:2093
votes: 110


something mediocre from the BBC.


If you believe that then possibly that is the source of your problems.
10:21 pm on Oct 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 10, 2018
posts: 114
votes: 15


@nomis5 Iíd love to give you the urls to compare but since I canít youíll just have to trust Iím not some arrogant crazy British woman on an internet forum. :)
6:03 am on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 7, 2005
posts:283
votes: 47


Anyone else have a gap in their analytics reporting? Showing a whole hour with 0 data even though nothing in my logs to indicate any server downtime.
10:43 am on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:Sept 25, 2017
posts: 84
votes: 12


We've seen a bit of growth from the 1st October, but some of our terms have fallen back again this morning. Traffic seems okay, but the disappointment continues.

I honestly cant get my head around what is going on. A data set doesn't stick around long enough to be analysed. At the moment it just feels like I am chasing my tail.

I've never been one of "those people", but i am starting to suspect this might be the norm and that alot of webmasters will seek PPC purely for stability.

It's a really worrying future. I'm going to have to go back and start learning about cross platform marketing. Focusing on organic just isn't sustainable.
11:54 am on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 15, 2001
posts:1699
votes: 35


I've never been one of "those people", but i am starting to suspect this might be the norm and that alot of webmasters will seek PPC purely for stability.

Organic is 20% down on last year for the last 4 weeks. SEO costs money as do Ads, but at least with Ads there is some certainty to be at the front end of the SERPs.
12:26 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Oct 8, 2018
posts:13
votes: 1


Our site was affected on 26th/27th September, and as a result organic traffic is down 38% compared to last year. Initially I feared it was a response to being moved to Mobile First indexing as our site is not the most responsive, but I believe something more is afoot. I've tried fetching a demoted page and reindexing it, and initially it reappears where it was before the update for its search term - within a day or so, however, it disappears again.

Baffling.
12:34 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 18, 2018
posts: 14
votes: 2


The update of 27 september was worse than that of 1st august.
About health:
If there were some website no pharma, no newspaper, no magazines, now all the serp is PHARMA, NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINES.
I am so very disappointed.
No one recover, only little local websites.
The medium and great websites are all down! All down and no recover! No recover is possibile because you should become a pharma or a newspaper in 2 months.
Is it possibile? I don't think so.
That's why you can move to social or to the real life, there are no more space on google!
1:02 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 28, 2014
posts:154
votes: 22


Slight upswing today - anybody seeing something similar?
1:46 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3486
votes: 310


No recover is possibile because you should become a pharma or a newspaper in 2 months.
Is it possibile? I don't think so.


I sure hope it isn't possible. Otherwise spammers would flood the sector with new sites and take over the top of the search results within two months
2:15 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2018
posts: 126
votes: 24


Slight upswing today - anybody seeing something similar?


Its early but today seems a bit better so far but not so significant that I would read anything into it
2:26 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from US 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 2, 2016
posts:94
votes: 16


@KaseyM

I had very strong traffic this morning. Something atypical for a Monday.

It looks like zombies because it was a very large volume of traffic and virtually zero conversion.

tourism, usa
3:23 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts:2266
votes: 603


Something seems to be rolling out this morning, some kind of testing. I've been hit pretty hard by the Sept 27th update, it erased my gains over the month of September and then some. But last hour I saw a massive spike in traffic 10x, but it was short lived, it lasted about 10 or 15 minutes and then fizzled. Traffic was coming from Google to wide array of landing pages, as is normal for my site. Bounce rate, time on page and Adsense CTR were all normal. So it appeared to be legitimate traffic. Now my traffic has resettled to where it was before the peak.
5:50 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member

joined:June 10, 2011
posts: 537
votes: 0


I have seen the same behaviour as you described.
Could be testing.
6:11 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts:2266
votes: 603


I just wish the testing would end at the point where they're feeding me 10x my normal traffic, but for some reason the test ends back at 1x.
7:24 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 10, 2018
posts: 114
votes: 15


Yes, on my highest volume keywords Iím seeing my pages appear and disappear from the search seemingly at random every time I check. Traffic is quite inconsistent and Adsense keeps having a fit and showing bad ads in response to the traffic surges. I assume it canít tell the difference between genuine traffic and clickbombing.
7:28 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Sept 28, 2018
posts: 25
votes: 1


My traffic is still down 80% since Sept 27. My site used to dominate until now.

Sites with low traffic, less keywords, less backlinks are ranking for big keywords. I noticed some of them are only a month or two old.

Also big publications are ranking.

My site is a distributor (ecommerce).

I'm noticing that certain keywords that used to be commercially-oriented now have informational content ranking in the SERPs.

My guess is, Google is favoring content that isn't trying to sell products. My problem with that is that I believe users actually search some of these keywords looking to buy.

I may need to make content that's less commercially oriented (if that's what I see in SERPs). On top of that, I may need to seek affiliate opportunities with media outlets for keywords I simply can't compete as an ecom site.

If things don't turn around, it will be a complete overhaul of content that Google once rewarded but now punishes.
8:05 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 24, 2016
posts: 70
votes: 19


@NickMNS, I believe I saw the same spike you mentioned earlier this morning (US east coast). There was a huge spike for about 45 minutes where my live view lit up like a Christmas tree, nearly doubling what would be normal, and then it completely died off back to what is now my extremely depressing "normal".
8:09 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3354
votes: 705


My guess is, Google is favoring content that isn't trying to sell products.

That's probably true for certain queries, based on perceived user intent. The big question, IMO, is how Google judges user intent and how personalized or granular such assumptions are. I know that, if I search for "widgetco wc-1 thingamabob," I'm probably looking for specifications, reviews, and other information. My next-door neighbor, on the other hand, might want that query to return e-commerce and promotional pages. Neither type of result is more "right" than the other if personalization isn't involved and there's no clarity of user intent. Still, one could argue that, if a SERP for such a query included both informational results and ads, it would have something for both types of user.
8:24 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Sept 28, 2018
posts: 25
votes: 1


@EditorialGuy

"The big question, IMO, is how Google judges user intent and how personalized or granular such assumptions are."

Perhaps KPIs like CTR, Bounce Rate, Time on Site? If an editorial piece gets more clicks and time on site than an ecom page, wouldn't Google notice?
10:21 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 18, 2018
posts: 14
votes: 2


All the websites in the firsta pagine has bad bounce rate and time on site because they have little article and often no title of paragraph.
Like a newspaper.
11:38 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2018
posts: 126
votes: 24


That's probably true for certain queries, based on perceived user intent. The big question, IMO, is how Google judges user intent and how personalized or granular such assumptions are. I know that, if I search for "widgetco wc-1 thingamabob," I'm probably looking for specifications, reviews, and other information. My next-door neighbor, on the other hand, might want that query to return e-commerce and promotional pages. Neither type of result is more "right" than the other if personalization isn't involved and there's no clarity of user intent. Still, one could argue that, if a SERP for such a query included both informational results and ads, it would have something for both types of user.


along this line, something I noticed is that in my niche (travel) that I do better in queries that have clear buying intent , such as with the word "tour" in the search but if I just put something that was more informational for the destination for example I now come no where near the first page when I used to top the results for most of my areas. The ones that do come on top for the "informational intent" queries are marked with schema as "articles" and run on wordpress usually (where as mine are offer type and using an eCommerce cms).
This is where I question the ability for google to correctly analyse both the user intent and the site content - the sites that beat me are all without exception sites that are trying to sell the same tours and options as me - just that my site is presented in a store format and theirs in a blog with links out to a place to book. Mine has as much and imho better information but googles seems to discount the info part because I think they label me as ecommerce / YMYL site and the competitors as informational so holds them to a lower standard as per the quality guidelines.
Regarding user internet - as you were eluding to - there is massive cross over. For example if someone is searching in english for "things to do in X PLACE" for example, likelihood is they want both general info that includes what kinds of tours and attractions there are but the results vary massively between that and "tours in X PLACE" . I can have a highly detailed quality article about X PLACE and all the things to do, tips , advice , details etc on a category page that out shines anything else available but it wont get ranked any more for the informational searches when before it used to.
Google interpretation of user intent seems to be too black and white when the reality is that often both searches and websites are "hybrid" mixes of both informational and transactional.

Something else I spotted recently was in the advice google gives in the new "Your site on Google" boxes they are displaying in the how to improve part whereby it states "Be descriptive: Use accurate, descriptive titles for your pages. We recommend focusing on one topic per page." - I think that is something that has changed in recent months. Before long form content was doing well but now it seems far less so and short , single topic articles seems to win out.
6:02 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 7, 2005
posts:283
votes: 47


Spikes in traffic may not necessarily be related to any updates or algorithm changes.

Maybe a prominent news channel happened to do a story related to one of your high ranking keywords and a whole bunch of people decided to Google it and come to your website. Or perhaps someone on social media with a ton of followers found your page, liked it and decided to share it.
6:42 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3354
votes: 705


Google interpretation of user intent seems to be too black and white when the reality is that often both searches and websites are "hybrid" mixes of both informational and transactional.

Sure. A hotel or product review would be a great example. Most people reading such reviews are likely to be interested in purchasing, but they may be looking for information at that point in time. There was a study earlier in the decade called "Research Before the Purchase," as I recall, that showed the average purchaser conducted multiple searches over a period of time before committing to a purchase. (The amount of research varied by type of purchase---something like a car or a major appliance wasn't bought as casually as a cheaper item, I assume, though I can't remember the numbers for the different product areas.)
7:02 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3354
votes: 705


Before long form content was doing well but now it seems far less so and short , single topic articles seems to win out.

Our long pages continue to be our top landing pages. They do tend to be highly focused, as they have been all along. For example, if we had a long article about the most popular pets (a purely hypothetical example, I should add), we'd probably break it into logical subtopics (with their own comprehensive pages) about dogs, cats, and--I'm guessing here--birds and fish.

This would be good for the reader, but it would also make the content more focused for queries on those subtopics. The approach would be a perfect example of how serving users with editorial "best practices" can yield SEO benefits even when that isn't the intent.
9:33 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts:534
votes: 78


informational v transactional

Such type of personalisation should not exist just imagine if you are especially paying for ads and your site only shows to ďresearchersĒ the informational only and transactional is not included...

[edited by: mosxu at 10:10 am (utc) on Oct 9, 2018]

9:42 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:Sept 25, 2017
posts: 84
votes: 12


Traffic slow for me so far today, after two big days.... :(
9:43 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:June 12, 2015
posts: 33
votes: 10


On 7th SEMRush visibility is up, but no conversion till today.

The update directly affect to the conversion.
9:47 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Oct 8, 2018
posts:13
votes: 1


Traffic slow here today too. Not ideal, given that we're at the start of a typically busy season.
10:09 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:June 12, 2015
posts: 33
votes: 10


SEMrush Sensor score 7.5/10. Could be an update. Any confirmation?
This 553 message thread spans 19 pages: 553