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Google Updates and SERP Changes - November 2018

     
9:14 am on Nov 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 18 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4922186.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:04 pm on Nov 1, 2018 (PDT -8)


Facing with big changes. Something is happening again? I'm pretty tired of Google updates for the last few months... Niche: IT how-to's, technology...
3:04 am on Nov 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I was just looking at analytics, one article had 16,000 visitors this time last year, and is down to 1,000 for the same period this year. It's dropped from no. 1 to no. 9, overtaken by an international pet food company (the article is nothing to do with nutrition), followed by WikiHow...the remaining sites above mine are all niche specific and the content is good. I'm gobsmacked.
6:02 am on Nov 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Console is broken with 500 error for anyone else?
8:07 am on Nov 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday i read an article about booking.com and that they approx. spend about 1.3 billion EUR the last quater for google ads.
Anyone any doubts why current serps are dominated by this large companies?

in german we say: you don´t bite the hand that feeds you.
11:09 am on Nov 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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For the first time in a long time, we're not really seeing alot to be honest... Not sure if thats a good or a bad thing :/
12:44 pm on Nov 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Massive crawl on 11/3, seeing increase in "Mobile" impressions and average position starting this week. Desktop has flattened.
2:24 pm on Nov 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday i read an article about booking.com and that they approx. spend about 1.3 billion EUR the last quater for google ads.
Anyone any doubts why current serps are dominated by this large companies?

in german we say: you don´t bite the hand that feeds you.


I can't understand the thing in your statement: if they are spending 1.3 billion EUR last quarter, why should Google give them some preferences in the SERP? The G goal should be inverted - they should downgrade their rankings in order to motivate them to spend more money on Google Ads.
9:42 pm on Nov 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Is this last update over yet? It often seems like we get a boost during an update, then drop after it's done. So far, we've been getting a decent boost, but I'm not sure it's done, yet.
12:29 am on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think the update is over and was only small from where I am. They seem to roll stuff out to the states a day or two before the UK. UK has been calming down today. I was in the middle of transfering a handful of new pages to shorter urls. I noticed Google stopped the transfer half way through and rolled back a few of the urls it was displaying just before the update began. The process started up again today and most of the pages have transferred (with no loss of rankings!) I only saw one site in my niche get hit, the one I mentioned with the 4MB homepage. I wonder whether they got transferred to mobile indexing recently.

If you’re getting drops after updates are over could user experience stuff be involved?
7:49 am on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sudden rise in mobile usability error for anyone?
9:36 am on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Cyril, easy to explain.

Booking has allready bought the top position because ads are above organics.. If g fills spot 1-5 with booking.com then there are less choices and users will click on other ads on the right side.
And i guess 7 of 10 users will Click on booking ad first and as they see organics are crowded with booking they click as second choice on an other ad.

G did reduce the number of sites in organics since years and will continue to do so. For very popular queries with high PPC domain crowding is very high.

I see this in my niche. As soon something is popular g fills serps with amazon results and PPC is going up.
It the same that amazon does with their resellers. As soon as they see that some item sells well, they are going to sell it too.
10:05 am on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Huh. I wonder if synonyms were involved, I’m seeing a bit of keyword cannibalisation I wasn’t before - google confusing the terms “european american” and “african american” on a couple of my pages that talk about the history of such things. I guess I could add more keywords!?! Also they seem to have made steps to fix some of the dreadful domain crowding I’ve seen in my niche, which is something that affected the site that dropped quite a lot. It often had 3-4 results of unnecessary/overlapping/long tail results at the top of the serps pushing me down into no click territory. Now there’s a link carousel under the dominant page instead, so I’ve gained a few rankings here and there. It isn’t happening everywhere though. Still getting domain crowded out of some higher volume serps by a different competitor.
10:32 am on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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MayankParmar

Sudden rise in mobile usability error for anyone?

One of my sites keeps getting "content too wide for the screen" error. But requesting a live test says "This page is easy to use on a mobile device"
Checking with actual devices, everything is ok.

It's been happening for the last week or so.
12:47 pm on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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One of my sites keeps getting "content too wide for the screen"

This can happen because of responsive ads ... yes , I know the purpose of responsive ads is to adapt to the available space, but this is only the theory. So be sure to to include responsive ads into a div with max width set. and if needed with overflow hidden.
2:14 pm on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks justpassing, I'll give that a try.
4:28 pm on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Some_bloke
I get that same thing all the time, like 3 to 6 pages with content too wide or some other issue - passes the checks etc. After submitting for it being fixed it goes away after some time only for it to happen on other pages.
I started looking at it deeper using the lightwave audits tool in developer tools in chrome and that gives you much more detail to work from but I never had time to really try to get to the root of the issue and as I am redesiging my site 100% I wont waste time working on it, but it might be useful for you
4:34 pm on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Cyril, easy to explain.

Booking has allready bought the top position because ads are above organics.. If g fills spot 1-5 with booking.com then there are less choices and users will click on other ads on the right side.
And i guess 7 of 10 users will Click on booking ad first and as they see organics are crowded with booking they click as second choice on an other ad.

G did reduce the number of sites in organics since years and will continue to do so. For very popular queries with high PPC domain crowding is very high.

I see this in my niche. As soon something is popular g fills serps with amazon results and PPC is going up.
It the same that amazon does with their resellers. As soon as they see that some item sells well, they are going to sell it too.


After medic update I saw that booking.com basically now owns the word "booking" in the serps - i did sample searches "hotel booking in CITYNAME" and in pretty much every case booking.com has every single serp entry on page one in some cases had even all of page 2 and half or more of page 3 .
There is no way that is good for the users. Have the top spot sure , thats relevent and it is a good site but fact is many of the hotels on there can be booked direct with the hotel for cheaper on their own sites but those sites stand no chance now of getting in the serps.
5:09 pm on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Oh wow, I just did a search and the first 9 results were for booking.com, where’s the variety?
7:19 pm on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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where’s the variety?

In the ads...
8:38 pm on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Google's priority was user experience? Don't they say that all the time? How is nine results for the same site a good user experience? Oh wait...
9:22 pm on Nov 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing wild fluctuations in traffic on a daily basis with about a 50% decrease in traffic every other day.
1:30 am on Nov 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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How awful would it be to be the last website "moved over" to the mobile first index?
3:09 pm on Nov 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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still haven't got my mobile first notification, but have been getting a ton of traffic to AMP pages recently from discover.google.com
3:39 pm on Nov 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Google's priority was user experience? Don't they say that all the time? How is nine results for the same site a good user experience? Oh wait...

I don't remember Google ever mentioning content as part of user experience. Google talks about speed of page, readability, ease of navigation, technical elements like that, but not the content itself. Also, variety is not part of the user experience, if 9 results from a site, are delivering the answer, then...
5:09 am on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yes, there is some drop in ranking.

What is this update about?

How to recover from it?

Thanks
2:34 pm on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hey folks, it's been a awhile...
Just looking at my test site, and with no apparent changes in SERP's, traffic is dropping during a time when it is historically on the upswing.
Still seeing distinct ON/OFF traffic and conversion periods. The never ending slow slide continues, ever since Mayday 2010.

Has anyone ever seen an update that is NOT punitive?
4:12 pm on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@samwest I see the same thing, I have for months now. I'm surprised no one has really definitively figured out what is causing these weird on/off periods exactly.

I have 10 years of data that shows this is not just "the way things are". Something changed for sure this year.
4:29 pm on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Oh wow, I just did a search and the first 9 results were for booking.com, where’s the variety?


It has been like that since media rolled out . First 9 is actually quite low amount of results - try "hotel booking in lima" - it gives me the first 3 pages all booking.com results. None one else stands a chance.

Also I have noticed results often being far less relevant for alot of my own searches, for the first time im finding sometimes I cannot find what I need from pretty straight forward searches. Since medic it seems to me that "user intent" is being interpreted far less accurately than before and the results are worse than they have been for years.
8:06 pm on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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( @Milchan thanks for the info about analysing with chrome)

Is this something new - I hadn't noticed until today.

Searching for a keyword brought up the suggestion box at the top with 4 rows of suggestions. I clicked on one, then closed it.
Several more rows were then added below. Opening and closing others resulted in the same thing. The list kept growing, And the organics were getting pushed down all the time, I got to 49 suggestion rows before giving up. It took up the whole screen and more, of a desktop. (I find it also happens with the word paracetamol - just a randomly chosen word.)

This has to be a glitch! I just checked again. Opening then closing a single question repeatedly makes the list grow endlessly

[edited by: Some_Bloke at 9:10 pm (utc) on Nov 12, 2018]

8:20 pm on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Milchan, it seems like Google thinks "hotel booking in Lima" is a branded search term for Booking.com even though it's a generic, common word.

What an awful user experience that is.
9:02 pm on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Some_Bloke Wow, I see what you mean. That’s quite a data scraper.

@lostshootingstar I think the same thing is happening in my niche with a couple of sites that have exact match domains. It’s almost like they switched half the spam filters off this year.
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