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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...
8:29 am on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I keeping banging the same drum, but something is broken for sure. On mobile search, when clicking 'more results' on page 1, the first two results of the next page are repeats of the results in 9 and 10. Our own site sometimes appears, sometimes doesn't. I've never seen things in such disarray.
8:37 am on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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SEMrush sensor is really high this morning: 8.8 and 9.2 for the UK. Other European databases are similar.

In other news, it seems like the bug in search console regarding indexed images has been fixed. :)
8:39 am on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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SEMRUSH Sensor Mobile on fire today!
11:25 am on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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According to AccuRanker it's mainly non-US and mainly mobile.
1:28 pm on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@broccoli SEMRush is now showing 8.8 for desktop and 9.2 for mobile for the US.
2:22 pm on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing negative changes on one of my websites (not the best one, it deserves it). But the changes are happening.
3:17 pm on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Accurate reflection of our Google Rankings right now

[media.giphy.com...]
4:25 pm on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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An utter mess in my neck of the woods, this is what I get when clicking on the #8 result for a keyword1/2/3 search:


Secure Connection Failed

An error occurred during a connection to example.com. Peer's Certificate has been revoked. Error code: SEC_ERROR_REVOKED_CERTIFICATE

The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.


Awesome G!
6:23 pm on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Ah, now I see a few improvements in US rankings for my new pages.
10:10 pm on Nov 16, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If Google Updates and SERP Changes then what's the main term that should be focus more to get a bigger SERPs value?


I'm no expert, but I'd suggest to focus on providing your users with great, and unique, content.
1:02 am on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Don't be alarmed. It's just the typical holiday Amazon boost we see every year where Google gives Amazon an extra boost with even more domain crowded SERPS... If you want to shop with small businesses, click on page 10+ of Google's SERPS...
7:00 am on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Semrush in the red zone again. Since August Google seems to do never-ending patchwork. And every time you are not sure if you would be struck.

And yet they have failed to control the disorder that August update initiated. The disordered SERPs.
2:28 pm on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I imagine the fact that its "black friday month" as it has seemed to have turned into now will effect things. Obviously general shopping type traffic and sites with sales will get a boost over this period from naturally occurring increase in people shopping but my guess is this will have a knock on effect on other sites and areas also as the AI makes adjustments and tests using whatever mental logic the current algo is programmed to use.
I think since media update there seems to have been a key shift in the reliance on AI and that probably utilities a variety of different tests , nothing as simple as A/B tests but with a far larger range of inputs which is maybe what causes this now regular wave of fluctuations in the serps that we get.
6:49 pm on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"black friday month"


The world has gone stark raving mad. A year or two ago it was Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Now, as the quote above quite correctly mentions, it's the whole month. Totally absurd and meaningless now.

Stop buying all the totally crap and useless gadgets that no-one needs. Get a real life. At the very least, go for a walk and enjoy the colour of the leaves on the trees. Jeez, what have we come to.
6:55 pm on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Well in the old days everyone said that google always shifted to a special holiday shopping set of results at this time of the year, and then went back to "normal" results in mid-January.
6:12 pm on Nov 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The world has gone stark raving mad. A year or two ago it was Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


This was probably instigated by "near deaths" in the UK a couple or so years ago when many stores, quite rightly, became very concerned for not only customer safety but also staff safety, let alone the logistics of putting the entire fiasco together.

I had a daughter work through a couple of these events, plus January sales, and she said it was the scariest thing she had ever encountered ... people simply went manic!

Stop buying all the totally crap and useless gadgets that no-one needs.


I totally agree, the vast majority haven't a clue how to use them to their full potential anyway!
6:31 pm on Nov 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This was probably instigated by "near deaths" in the UK a couple or so years ago


Very much doubt it has anything to do with safety concerns rather more so that it is simply the result of businesses trying to get a step ahead of the competitors by starting their sales days before, then weeks before etc meaning others follow suit and you end up with this ridiculous situation.
7:29 pm on Nov 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Besides the near deaths it was also becoming a logistical problem for many of the companies partaking in Black Friday, certainly in the UK they acted in concert to alleviate their self-created problem.
6:02 am on Nov 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Is it real? Still any update?
3:19 pm on Nov 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Update: So we added the address, and phone number and decked out our "Organization" Schema Markup and we went up two serps for a difficult keyword. This is a trust thing. We are now working on the About us, Meet the staff and individual staff pages to measure impact. For each staff I am adding a Person Schema in which is already referenced on the organization Schema and it will also contain email, and linkedin profile. I will update as soon as I see changes :)
10:22 pm on Nov 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This is driving me crazy. I have a high volume viral page pinging in and out of the US serps literally every 12 hours. It appears at position 6, then it disappears again a few hours later, usually during peak traffic time.

I'm starting to suspect a trust issue. I have other high volume pages that are ranking pretty well now and they're stable. This page went viral on tumblr last year and gained about 4,500 backlinks there, plus a couple from big press sites. It always ranked really well until I switched to SSL. When I look in search console, the only tumblr pages actually showing up are from one site in particular which happens to have some adult content scattered through it.

Is negative SEO a thing again now? Can you get penalised for backlinks Google doesn't like?
10:35 pm on Nov 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Broccoli, I had a similar thing happen to one of my pages. It would be #4 for its target keyword, and then completely drop out of the SERPs for 12 hours or so. It didn't just drop to page 2, 3, 10, whatever. It was literally gone.

What's interesting is that if I went into GSC and did a "request indexing" on that page it would show back up in the SERPs within about 3-5 minutes, every single time.

That started happening with the March update, and it only recently seems to have fixed itself after I rolled out a new sitewide platform. It was very frustrating. I think Google introduce some kind of indexing bug in March but I was unsuccessful in getting anyone's attention on it.
11:11 pm on Nov 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@lostshootingstar Interesting! I'll have to try that.

It's funny you should say March, because that was when I lost a significant amount of traffic. About 1,500 views per day, which tipped my adsense RPM down into a lower bracket. My rankings didn't appear to change, but the traffic went away. I'll have to investigate and see whether I can track if it's associated with that particular page.

I was planning to upgrade my platform radically in the next 2-3 months, maybe a big overhaul will make a difference.
1:00 am on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I was planning to upgrade my platform radically in the next 2-3 months, maybe a big overhaul will make a difference.


Do you therefore believe whatever you do will have an impact on this current crazy-assed algo?

IME and advice it would be better to retain whatever you have and leave it alone, do not mess with it whatsoever.

BUT, if you really want to see if an overhaul could make a difference, then launch it on a totally new domain and see what happens. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't HOWEVER you will have to allow several months to see IF your radicalisation re-work bears fruit or not ... it will take several months, it will not happen overnight such is the "nature" of G these days.

Honestly, G is so slow these days, I am seeing website "upgrades" taking 9-12 months to gain traction whereas Bing/DDG/Yandex/Ecosia/Baidu are getting there in 3-6 months for good rankings.
1:41 am on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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im doing a complete overall also but the primary reason is not to please google it is firstly to improve the user experience and secondly to automate more of my processes so that I can ultimately reduce costs (read costs as staff) - not nice but required if the business will survive.
But during the overall I will be designing things so that there is a split of articles and products schema , much more so than before so that my product category pages , that currently have good content on them will pretty much just have product lists and have links to guide articles etc in separate sections. The idea is to maintain my current good performance for transaction based searches but improve things for informational based searchs with the articles which is where I struggle more. No idea if it will work but I have a hunch it is a possible good tactic.
2:12 am on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar Yeah, I know. They can destroy you in a matter of days without telling you why, because they don’t care about the collateral damage or the edge cases. They put out misinformation about what they’ve done. Then when you scramble to comply with their arbitrary quality rules, they take months to re-rank you. I suppose that’s the nature of monopoly.

Have you heard the latest thing they’re going to do? Allow users to comment, like, and dislike on sites in the serps. Like they’re Facebook. The black hats are going to have a field day.

I have thought about making a second site. Partly to test my theory that I’ve been blacklisted for something I don’t understand. That’s part of the reason I need to upgrade my core code / custom platform. The other reason is to improve my speed further.
8:44 am on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@lostshootingstar & @Broccoli - I have exactly the same thing, even down to the Fetch as Google and reindexing, only to disappear again soon after.

Have you concluded anything? For me, the above situation occurs with three of our most popular pages and it suggests to me a possible manual intervention even though we have no notification in Search Console.
9:06 am on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed the same thing over the last few months. I've had to fetch the page again and then it shows back up after a few seconds or minutes. If you look at your search console in search analytics, you can probably see the times when your keyword was dropped.

I only made a huge improvement to my whole website about 2-3 months ago, so I'm going to just continue working on things until the new year before I make a decision whether or not I put my time into a new project that isn't related to health. I see that it can take 6 + months or something to reevaluate a website.

I want to try to explain what I'm seeing with my own results:

Before, if you went with a keyword that was generally underserved and very little on it, you'd easily rank high in the SERPs just after posting. But now, I think they've reduced the relevancy in favor of authority and trust, even if not an exact match (although this can vary depending on the type of keyword).

So for example, if I wrote an article on the following (this is just totally made up):

Keyword phrase: "How many spoons of honey for a sore throat"

I'd probably easily rank for that before August... And some months later I'd rank for "honey for sore throat" and then "honey sore throat"

Now, keywords like: [How to] or [How many] seems to be devalued, and the algorithm is erring on the side of caution and ranking to authority sites like healthline which might write a topic/title like "Health Benefits of Honey" and have one paragraph on the fact that study A and B said it's effective for a sore throat.

Whereas my fictional article (in this case), has a 1000-1500 word review on multiple randomized, placebo-controlled studies looking at whether or not honey is effective and how much honey is needed for a sore throat that is caused by a virus, bacterial infection, fungal infection etc.

In the past, content was king, now it's: do you have a Ph.D and or plenty of money to hire Ph.D's to review your content (but even that can be faked).

The problem with being a niche site now is that Google is really starting to err on the side of caution and rank sites with credentials, even if your website might answer the question more specifically and better.

So, is there any point in anyone starting a blog about anything health related if Google won't even give them a chance? One of the ways to start ranking a site before was to target low competition and long tail keywords until you build trust with Google and then it started to rank you for more competitive terms on that same article and new ones. So if Google is only prepared to show sites like healthline on the first page, where does that leave everyone else other than having to rely on social media? Which converts poorly from my experience.
10:33 am on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The most frustrating part about these trust signals is they’re so arbitrary. I should be concentrating on making content for my users, not stressing about whether I need to put my email, phone number, and address on every page of a meme website!

Is it possible they have a script that runs every few hours and quietly removes results from the serps if it decides the page doesn’t have enough trust/authority/whatever, based on some kind of sliding scale that calculates a trust requirement metric?

e.g. trust requirement metric = how high is the traffic volume for this keyword, is the search term YMYL, etc.

Or is this a bug like the Google News indexing bug that is stopping sites from showing up in Google News? (Which they claim is fixed but people are still complaining about.)

Or is the Google News indexing “bug” actually another arbitrary trust metric designed to prevent “low trust” sites from disseminating news stories? (Based on the somewhat false assumption that fake news sites have lower trust signals).
11:45 am on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Looks like we now know why Google News has been rocky these past few weeks. They've added rounded corners!

[imgur.com...]
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