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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...
9:17 pm on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Our increased traffic has held since this update apparently ended. I have no idea what Google liked, and suppose it could be an old penalty of some kind finally expiring, but I'm happy to see a boost in traffic, for once.

On another note, my senior citizen mother recently complained to me about the quality of search results in Google being far worse than they used to be. I read it here all the time, but always assume those seeking Google traffic are a rather biased lot. If my own mother sees it - and she was emphatic that results are much, much worse than even a few years ago - then it's probably real.

With all those employees, shouldn't Google be improving instead of going the other direction?
9:46 pm on Nov 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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With all those employees, shouldn't Google be improving instead of going the other direction?

"Improvement" has many faces.
7:37 am on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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For the past three days, there is a surge of traffic to my homepage as seen by Jetpack. That is almost 20% of the traffic. In the best of traffic days, I received a maximum of 5% of visitors to the homepage.

Not sure why. I have changed nothing over the years. It is all the same.
7:48 am on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I didn't get three pages, I saw several ads at the top which weren't all booking.com, but the next 1.5 pages were all links for them.

As to the person who replied to me yesterday. User experience should extend to search results, not just on-site experience. If I 'Google' something, as a user, I don't want to see domain clustering.

As for me, I've been just fixing a few issues this week and from occasion have had to search for 'widget, my site' and even then, Google are returning other results. If I do the same with Bing, it gives me what I want.
12:00 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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And still we continue to slide. I'm thinking something is seriously wrong in Googleland. Our site has a clean link profile, pagespeed insights for our site yields better results than every one of our competitors ranked above us, we write our own content, and we still lose a position or so every day for our main search term.

I'm not sure what else can be done now but wait.
12:02 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My organic traffic is growing 8% in the last days. November is being a good month for me.
1:05 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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And still we continue to slide.


I have to wonder if some of what people are reporting is related to the "mobile first indexing" switch over. It seems to have been a long and drawn out process moving every website to the new indexing. Hard to believe they couldn't think of a better way to do it...
1:19 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Seen a downturn today after having had a big boost over the past few weeks.

Google News seems incredibly slow to index our new pages at the moment.
7:03 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't think it's related to mobile first indexing (that happened to me months ago) and I've seen huge volatility continue. Something like what is seen in the below link (although my site is much smaller, it has the same pattern).

A site that I follow had a huge drop in November after recovering from the August update a month ago. [semrush.com...]

Dr Axe is still falling as well.

My keywords ar all over the place. Jumping to several positions by the hour.
8:40 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google News is not showing all of our articles :/
9:06 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't think it's related to mobile first indexing (that happened to me months ago)


While your site may have been included in the mobile first indexing months ago the "migration" is still in progress. There's no telling how this is affecting search results. For example, are links from sites that have not been included being counted differently? Another, how many sites in the niche have been migrated? Might be as bad being the first in as the last in.
9:59 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how much of the Dr Axe drop relates to Chrome user experience stats and/or a site-specific prejudice in the machine learning algorithm based on feedback from the search quality raters. Whenever I read articles on the site they seem to be gushing endorsements of various herbs etc, with no balanced view of the potential downsides. I do tend to scan them and then ping back to the serps to find something more skeptical. I don't know how many of you do this, but I tend to look at three or four different articles when I'm researching something. However, the last one I read definitely isn't always the one I think is best, it's just that I've read enough to satisfy me that I'm aware of all sides of the argument. I'm not sure how Google could divine anything useful from that, but maybe I'm an exception to the rule. Do any of you search in a different way?
10:45 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It depends on what I’m searching. If it’s say ‘what’s the capital of England’, one answer is enough. But other times I like to read several articles to get a balanced view.

I am very wary of content that never cites its facts as well as those which just regurgitate from other sites in their niche.
11:15 pm on Nov 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am very wary of content that never cites its facts as well as those which just regurgitate from other sites in their niche.


True. I think you need to make your content stand out if you want to rank (although I understand it's never guaranteed).

For example, Google recently released a new product/feature (API related). Top result was obviously Google's own polished promo, usage instructions, etc. Then the rest were just posts telling us Google just released this feature (yes, I know, that's why I searched for it) and repeating the same info.

To stand out, I would have liked to have read a post from someone who had actually taken the time to try out the new feature and given us some balanced thoughts on how good or bad it was, or whether it was worth using or not.
8:23 am on Nov 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It drives me crazy, there's a good 30 'niche' sites out there, and many of them just quote what other sites are posting. So essentially they are scraping, but referencing the other sites. Personally, I prefer to actually go to the source of the information, and quote them directly.

Just now I was on a Murdoch site (yes, low bar), which quoted a stat as 'according to widget.com'...but no link in the phrase or no link at the end of the article.

Basically what I'm getting at is how sites who just scrape content (not in its entirety) are doing well, but they're not actually quoting the original source, just where they got their info from. So, 'according to widget.com, 40% of unicorns like fairy dust', but the original source (a university, or a researcher) don't get any credit. But that's okay, apparently.

Rant over.
8:57 am on Nov 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If these sites are quoting their "sources", there is a "risk" that Google favors the source over them :) This is how scrapers can outrank the original content.
1:10 pm on Nov 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just saw a test on the SERPs, dark green bold urls in the ads and organic listing. Really makes them pop and look very consistent between ads and organic, almost indistinguishable...
3:08 pm on Nov 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing uptick in traffic since about midnight last night (EST). I'm seeing a more than 20% increase, but this has been through the morning hours so it is impossible to say if this will stick.
3:58 pm on Nov 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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30% increase in organic traffic here for last 2 days

In my case, it's probably related to this
[seroundtable.com...]
10:44 pm on Nov 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm going through all my main keywords for about 130 articles and about 80% of them are in the top 3 (most in #1st spot) on Bing and Duckduckgo. Even articles I published just weeks ago.

On Google, my rankings still aren't the same as pre-august, although I had a temporary recovery in October. I'm starting to wonder if I'm still being pushed down and affected by panda. I had to clean up over 100 articles with thin content, bad grammar and bad spelling. They were from a long time ago (as far back as 2006). I deleted the majority of them and cleaned up and improved the rest. I massively improved my website.

I'm confused why I rank so highly in other search engines except for Google. My rankings in other search engines match closely to how I used to rank in Google.
10:52 pm on Nov 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm confused why I rank so highly in other search engines except for Google.

May be because search engines are not using the same methodology for ranking sites.
11:52 pm on Nov 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just found this excellent resource (provided by Google - go easy on me) for News Publishers. Provides some pretty good insights.

[newsinitiative.withgoogle.com...]
10:11 am on Nov 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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worst traffic so far this month in our 20 years.
google keeps switching between sudden traffic surges and very big times of none traffic.
Keywords are ignored or misinterpreted on purpose. ( e.g. left = right )

Yet our second site that we don´t even touched for a year right now and that has no EAT not extra information filled with manufacturer information and descriptions is outpacing our main site.

The realy anoying thing about this mysterious traffic is, that our main site has top rankings. We allways seem to be on first page for our top items.
As for this, we moved away from google shooing ads to amazon ads. We will see.


Someone like to bet with me that this quater google will have abut 25% in growth again?!
11:35 am on Nov 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Martin_Ice_web

google keeps switching between sudden traffic surges and very big times of none traffic.
Keywords are ignored or misinterpreted on purpose. ( e.g. left = right )


The realy anoying thing about this mysterious traffic is, that our main site has top rankings.


Weird loss or gain of traffic despite rankings for target keywords staying the same, and search results off topic... That sounds a lot like the kind of behaviour I've been seeing that I think could relate to the super synonyms / neural matching algorithm (see the thread on synonyms).
12:29 pm on Nov 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@broccoli

i saw and read the thread.
But is google realy this ignorant and arrogant to ignore or change keywords (with synoyms)?
They really play with their trust they had.

And how broken is the system that if u look for a LAN Cable and google shows results for power cords? ( in most cases amazon results )?

Are they really thinking we are to stupid that we don´t know what were are looking for?
1:36 pm on Nov 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Finally some improvments in the SERPs for me.
A huge competitor (big big company), who ranked above me for a particular query as finally been wiped out. It is true that they were ranking with an q&a "answer" like :

"can i buy a blue widget from you"

and the answer : "no".

Nothing more. And it was ranking well above all the websites selling or speaking about the blue widget.

Let's hope they will stick to this.
5:47 pm on Nov 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Martin_Ice_Web I think it’s broken. I have to assume that they’re using machine learning because “neural matching” is a machine learning concept. The problem with machine learning algorithms is they can’t learn in the same way as people. They can’t clearly define objects or borders between things so everything bleeds into everything else and categories jumble up and become overly broad or too narrow. They can’t reason on the difference between correlation and causation so they make spurious connections. Plus, if you train an algorithm to recognise something, then you add an anomaly, the algorithm will no longer recognise what it was looking at. The New York Times had an interesting article on it recently.
5:48 pm on Nov 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Ho, they reverted it, it is all like it was before. A/B testing ? :(
12:10 am on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There is something seriously wrong with this new algorithm: [searchenginejournal.com...] If content in a dead language ranks for US queries, it looks like content itself doesn't matter at all any more and it's just about external signals that make the algortihm assume the site is relevant. I wonder what would happen if some authority site starts publishing content in Middle-Earth elvish language....
8:18 am on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanksgiving coming soon. So many things disrupting traffic in November.
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