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Google Updates and SERP Changes - February 2019

     
2:01 pm on Feb 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4931890.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 7:24 pm on Feb 1, 2019 - (PDT -8)


Just to update on the AMP issues, it appears that the issue is solved on my end. My traffic has gone back up to the pre-AMP-errors levels.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 3:32 am (utc) on Feb 2, 2019]
[edit reason] Cleanup after thread split to new month [/edit]

10:49 pm on Feb 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The google serps these days are a complete joke. Google are just getting greedy. Its plain to see what they are doing. Pushing organic listings down as much as they possibly can in the hope businesses and webmasters will spend or spend more on adwords. They are just trying to make as much money as they possibly can off ads.

There are only 5 or 6 organic listings for some search terms now. They arent doing whats best for the user they are doing whats best for themselves in terms of generating more income. They are becoming less of a search engine and more of an advertising engine.

Dont be evil? They are as evil as they come and care about one thing only and that is making as much money as they possibly can via paid ads. If it wasnt for content creators google would not even exist.
11:04 pm on Feb 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I don't chase any links and only do 100% white-hat SEO by creating good and original content (including media). Unfortunately, it hasn't done anything positive for search rankings in the past couple of years. In fact, it now gets difficult to even have a page indexed in Google. It is discouraging seeing spammers having thousands of garbage pages indexed (because they have links pointed at them). Most webmasters here talk about ranking, but there are some that struggle to even have their pages indexed. I don't plan to do any kind of "link building" and still hope Google will find a way of rewarding webmasters that try to do everything by the book.
3:36 pm on Feb 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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and still hope Google will find a way of rewarding webmasters that try to do everything by the book.


You've got to be joking? You are "hoping" that Google is going to "reward" you?

After all these years of experiencing Google steal your information and images, adjust their layout so that fewer organic listings appear and that you still "hope" Google is going to turn ts back on all those ad revenue Dollars and give you/me/us/everyone a fair return for our time, knowledge, experience and investment?

Time to wake up Selen, it is never going to happen so long as things continue the way they are, G and DC are far too much hand-in-hand no matter what either may say.
7:20 pm on Feb 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google's days as a search engine are over. Old sites, new sites are all done.
Today I did a search on the price of "red apples" and Google chose as a snippet a site with a price list of 2014, with an image that was not in the destination url and with a caption to another site. A real mess. I didn't even mention the ads and all the crap before and after organic results.

Here's what happens with a website this weekend: [ibb.co...]
There are no server side issues and the site has not changed since the beginning of the year. I believe it's another update.
7:51 pm on Feb 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Maybe I should've said that I hope for a glitch (could be temporary or periodical) that will reward honest webmasters that do nothing except creating original content and following the white-hat rules.
8:19 pm on Feb 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Malanje, that graph is quite a steep dropoff. Have you noticed any big ranking drops that correlate to that loss of traffic?
8:33 pm on Feb 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm still seeing sites ranking well with articles on '6 best things about unicorns' or '7 facts about unicorns', with 40-50% of results returning these types of article. Is anybody else noticing this?
1:05 am on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@lostshootingstar
Not yet. I'm waiting to gather some data from GSC. I have no manual actions. This is a lang pt-BR website.
2:13 am on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I can understand the frustration to a degree. I myself have seen my CTR drop steadily over the years which I attribute to Google increasingly placing ads and very large snippets/answers (or whatever you call them) prominently at the top of the SERPs. These large snippets/answers pretty much take up almost the entire screen on a mobile! Which means for some search queries, CTR would be close to zero!

But what can you do, really, besides just continuing to focus on improving your website? You can at least build a loyal user base that appreciates what you are doing and returns regularly independent of Google.
4:44 am on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've just found (via Google alerts) that an article I posted in 2011 was copy-pasted, word-for-word, on another site in 2015. My article is nowhere to be found in Google and it was replaced by the site that stole it. At this point I don't even want to check other articles to keep blood pressure at a steady 160/100 :
9:44 am on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I don't chase any links and only do 100% white-hat SEO by creating good and original content (including media). Unfortunately, it hasn't done anything positive for search rankings in the past couple of years.

Check for relatively new, or previously dropped, competing sites that have a HUGE number of newly acquired backlinks within the past two years and go visit some of those links. You may find that those pages don't link to your competitor's website, they link to 3rd party sites who are now redirecting visitors to your new competitor via 301, which passes on all the backlinks those much larger sites had acquired.
10:58 am on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anyone seeing these changes from the 13th Feb revert back in the UK?
12:31 pm on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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german serps are full of domain crowding from brands.
this last update gave our ebay and amazon orders are real good push again.
12:55 pm on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm still seeing sites ranking well with articles on '6 best things about unicorns' or '7 facts about unicorns', with 40-50% of results returning these types of article. Is anybody else noticing this?


In the travel niche? Most certainly. I assume that RankBrain has determined that users are more likely to click on these results.
1:28 pm on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Rankbrain doesn't seem to like individual opinions or individual brands on multi-brand products. It prefers instead to show pages with multiple sources of opinions or brands on these. Mashup is back.

It's also a stickler for facts. If you write "Everyone loves blue widgets" and it determines that some people don't then your article is less trustworthy, even if you were being tongue in cheek. I'd be weary of comment spam stating things as fact when they aren't verifiable.

Negative SEO 2019? Comment by Acme Products - "Elvis loves yellow widgets but he hates singing". Wrong and Wrong, lower rank for you!
3:06 pm on Feb 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In the travel niche? Most certainly. I assume that RankBrain has determined that users are more likely to click on these results.


I hate those posts in the travel niche... 99% of the time they're listicles from people who haven't even done/used/experienced what it is they're writing about. They seem to have huge traction on Pinterest as well but Pinterest traffic is so high bounce rate it amazes me advertisers bother chasing it.

I've been watching my analytics and traffic like a hawk lately and noticed EPMV on twitter traffic is almost negative - advertisers don't want anything to do with that even though my limited twitter traffic is strong traffic. If traffic comes from Pinterest well lets bid it up through the roof even though the bounce rate is like 99% on the first second because they meant to just preview the picture so they could steal the large size.

back to google - I'm seeing google all over the place. I got hit hard with growth in January, stalled all the way through this week and now i'm back up to seeing growth uptick on some posts... My rank went from average 9.1 to 27 and is back up to 21... seems long tail keywords just don't show up in SERPS anymore unless that is the primary keyword/intent of the page... synonym/plurals be damned, you have to optimize for that specific keyword it seems. Which i guess opens up more room but also limits reach/breadth
6:57 am on Feb 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In the travel niche? Most certainly. I assume that RankBrain has determined that users are more likely to click on these results.


No, pet niche.
12:07 am on Feb 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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whoa182
Same with me I put honest work into my blog, and ever since they started doing those algo updates in 2012 onward I have never been able to receive traffic or earn money again

I was happy before that thinking I could be a full time blogger, thanks to spammers who were gaming the system the honest bloggers all suffered.

My website is in google news and the past two weeks all traffic disappeared, most of my traffic comes from me posting my articles links to facebook and twitter and other social platforms.
1:37 am on Feb 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I was a full time blogger for years, but found a part time job 2 years ago to supplement my dwindling income. I still add content on the days I'm home, but traffic just keeps dropping. I don't know if it's just how the Internet is now, with Google taking a bigger slice of the pie, people looking for information via Youtube, Facebook, and just more sites out there. My site has gone from low $xxx,xxx to well just about nothing.

I'm no longer writing to make money, I just continue to work on the site because I actually enjoy it. But its days of making money are long gone.
2:47 pm on Feb 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just curious, the people who were blogging to make money. Was the money coming from ads or sponsors on the site or were you actually trying to sell a product?
4:07 pm on Feb 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@browndog I made six figures from my site for years, starting in about 2005. There was a lot less competition and also Google these days clearly wants to devalue the organic SERPs and force us to pay or move on. The average user doesn't know the difference so it will only get worse, and never return to what it was. I finally decided to open a bricks and mortar location for my business and will spend most of my time marketing that.

The truth is, no matter what you do these days it doesn't move the needle with Google. Google cut my traffic by a good 35% last September and it's been in a suspiciously close lower range ever since, with long periods of no inquiries or conversions through my site. Social media does not work to attract paying customers to my business so I won't waste time there either. I plan to partner with affiliate brand sites, which means they'll take a good chunk of the sale unfortunately, but at least there will be a sale. It's adapt or die now...was good while it lasted but I no longer want "Google drama" in my life.
7:35 pm on Feb 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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hurwith2, I made my money from Google Adsense.

I only produce content, I don't sell a product, but I would be wary of opening a store anyway. Bricks and mortar shops here in Australia are hurting due to online shopping. It's hard for them.

The problem I have is it costs money to run my site, I have monthly fees for hosting, buying images, creating infographics, and it's getting to the point where I can't afford them anymore. I no longer check my numbers with analytics because I was constantly stressed and angry. Stopping checking helped my mental well being so much.
9:58 am on Feb 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone, I'm a new member but I wanted to share something weird that I've noticed, in the hope that you could help shed some light on this!
I've recently won some featured snippets for a page that converts really well, and for three of the four main kws the snippet returns quality content. However, for the fourth variation (which has almost no searches yet but is expected to grow over the year), the snippet has pulled some of the text from the menu instead of content from the page.
No one can seem to work out what's going on. My first thought was that perhaps we over-optimised for the fourth term, so we've scaled that back - but has anyone ever seen this before?
I've seen random bits of text be pulled through for featured snippets before (which you could argue were super relevant), but never the menu!
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
3:20 pm on Feb 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Interesting disparity today with the SEMrush sensor. Mobile is 9.1 and desktop is only 4.3, usually they are a little closer. I wonder if it's just some bad data.
4:59 pm on Feb 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Can anyone give me advice on this problem I see?

I published an article in June 2018 and within a day or two someone linked to it (they have the domain name of the vitamin in question). Edit: it was actually 6 days later.

It's "Best widget supplement" and it's around 1800 words long. The site copied a few paragraphs of my content and then linked to my post with the anchor text: "article source".

However, Google has gone and indexed their copy of MY article instead of mine, the original. I used to be number 1 on google for it, but I've just now realized that they are number one with my article... but they are linking to me as the original source. I've tried to fetch my article but it's no longer getting indexed by Google.

What the hell?
6:53 pm on Feb 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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whoa182 -- what you describe might be a sign that your site is under an algorithmic penalty.
10:57 pm on Feb 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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whoa182, have you made sure that the link isn't using nofollow?
5:30 am on Feb 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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browndog
Yeah I lost all my money thanks to the algorithm updates they introduced in 2012, was never able to recover my traffic in fact these google employees ruined it some of my articles were getting stolen and the thief was out ranking me during these times, I used to make good money and was doing something I love and happy I wasn't making huge money but enough to survive

I was also hit with thousands of bad back links and got punished, Im just a blogger, I just wrote articles, did no seo but was able to rank from 2008 to 2012 and had a lot of people commenting on my website and visiting, no back link building or nothing, but now my traffic is zero, when I post a new article I get like 5 from search or google news, 5 visits tops, all my traffic comes now from social media and if I post an article on my twitter or facebook feeds, Ill get maybe 50 to 100 visits a day and earn 15 to 40 cents on adsense.

I went on the google help forums back in 2013 to 2014 to find answers and those helpers but no luck all they said is just continue to post good content and traffic should come, and all links should be organic.

Once my traffic dropped, my rankings dropped, and I made no money anymore from adsense which was my sole income at the time, I had no social media during those times everything was organic, I just recently added social media and all my traffic comes from there, I no longer rank for single keywords in my niche like I used too, and now Google has punished news sites too, you cant even rank in google news now unless you are a major corporation.

I currently work a manual labor job now and a retail job to make ends meet, but I still dream hopelessly that I can see traffic come back to my website and be able to earn a living doing it again and not have to work a strenuous two job shift
5:35 am on Feb 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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hurwith2
When I first started my blog, I made adsense money that was my sole income it was doing good, the average daily earnings I made was like 30 to 40 dollars, some days I would get as high as 400 bucks in one day, the most I earned was 3 thousand dollars in one day from an article I had in google news that was on the In The news box it was an event I covered.

This was all back in 2008 to 2012, after that I have made nothing

my traffic went to zero, and my adsense earnings are like 15 to 40 cents a day.

I was making like 30 to 40 thousand dollars a year and now I make nothing, I was actually able to finally cash my first 100 dollars after two years, it took two years from my blog to get to the 100 threshold on adsense
10:57 am on Feb 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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You should be doing actual SEO then.
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