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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]

3:57 am on Feb 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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BangkokBaby

your post just sounds too good to be true.

Cyril TechWebsites
So you suggest to go through all the older articles and update them does that mean add more content to them?
4:07 am on Feb 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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whoa182

lol thats funny too because on yahoo and bing my articles are ranked number one, yet nobody uses those search engines, google is the full controller of internet search everyone uses it.

you are correct, people who know seo will not rank or link back to me
All the links that I get are from spammy blogs or new blogger like you said people with little knowledge

but Ive noticed some very big news sites in my niche have Quoted some of my articles yet only do a non link mention of my website but whats weird is they link back to a higher profile company website in my niche

it seems they know about ranking links factor, so a smaller news blog like mine even though I break an original article or story they will not give me a backlink, they clearly hired an SEO. It would be nice if they linked back to my article.

And it feels weird as hell begging for back links, I know I have some people emailing me to guest post on my website but they come off as spammers, because most of the emails are media marketing domains and they trying to get their client back links via paid guest posting which Ive heard is a penalty, so I just ignore them.
4:36 am on Feb 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Did anybody notice traffic increase/drops from the 22nd-23rd? I see movements on a few sites but cannot find much info online, although the SEM Rush sensor states there was movement.

@Broaster, email them thanking them for the mention and if they could also provide users with a link to your site. Totally standard thing to ask, and a great backlink.
5:28 pm on Feb 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Theyíve definitely done something to mobile search. My mobile visitors have doubled in the last week and I havenít made any speed improvements.

There was talk of them fixing a bug in Lighthouse a couple of weeks ago that rated website speed very harshly. Wonder how long thatís been in play?

Also one of my pages that disappeared from a serp about 3 months ago popped back in again a couple of days ago at position 6. N/A to 6, no in between. A couple of other people I know have reported similar stories.

Iíve been joking about it but Iím genuinely starting to wonder if some of the tumult of the last 12 months has been caused by bugs in Googleís code, particularly around Penguin.

They let slip a few days ago that ďEATĒ is primarily assessed through page rank - presumably what you have left after having all your backlinks assessed by Penguin.

Re: whiny threads. Yes. So what? Thatís pretty much what this thread is for, isnít it? People need an outlet when their livelihoods get destroyed. You donít just lose your income, you lose your life, your sense of safety, your own self respect. No matter how randomly you might have been hit, you always take it as a personal failing.

Iím heading in an upward trajectory again, so I donít feel the need to vent so often. :)
5:44 pm on Feb 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I haven't seen any dramatic changes, at least not for a prolonged period. Traffic from Google and other sources has been up a fair amount over the last couple of weeks (not up quite so much in the last couple of days), but I think that has more to do with seasonal demand than with rankings.
7:05 pm on Feb 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So you suggest to go through all the older articles and update them does that mean add more content to them?


Obviously I'm not CTW, but regularly go through old content to see if I can improve it. Update information which may be out of date, plus my writing skills are considerably better now than they were even five years ago, so improve the quality of the actual writing, shorten some parts (sometimes I could go on and on and on), or add more content if I felt I hadn't provided enough, if I've quoted a fact '10% of unicorns are pink', I will add a link to where that statistic came from (from a credible source). Use photos, diagrams, graphs...lots of things you can do to update content.

For me personally, I have never built links, I don't know how people do it and always figured if I produced good content, people would naturally link to it. It might be naive, but I just focus on the content. Having added an internal link to one particular article on lots of pages last week, I really could see that a lot of the older content needs to be improved. Sometimes it's hard to admit that not all your posts are up to scratch.
11:09 pm on Feb 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Browndog

first sorry if my spelling and grammar is garbage im typing this on my phone from work, I have to work two jobs and don't have much time to focus on my blog.

I own a sports blog and have over 5 thousand articles dating back to 2008 so I should go through each one? Ive done so much with what google helpers told me firs they said disavow bad spam links did that and no issue
then they told me to use one of those checkers I checked my website no errors, and it was 90 percent SEO friendly compared to my competitors
I just dont get traffic anymore its depressing

It really was the worst feeling I was on cloud nine back in 2008 Id start my blog about something I love and then started making real money in 2011, when I added adsense to it, I was blown away I was in google news and getting traffic I had to pay for server and hosting costs but I felt this was awesome then 2013 came around and my traffic plummeted and never recovered.

I honestly think if im hit by a penalty Ill never recover but every helper I asked said my website was fine, I use those seo penalty checkers, the site speed checkers no issue

only thing I can think is maybe some technical issue in the coding but no my articles are showing in search when I type in full title.

At this point im scared to even change anything because some horror stories of tampering with your site doing more harm than good, its basically a guessing game since Google refuses to tell you why you lost rank for fear of helping out what they consider bad websites rank again.

The only other thing I haven't tried is article frequency since im a news blog, I was told you have to post a lot of articles a day to rank in news because they want fresh content but an employee back in 2012 told me dont post a lot of articles its spammy just make a few good detail news stories and you should still rank.

its confusing
11:48 pm on Feb 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm lucky I only have 1,000 articles, the latest 200 are pretty good. I just edit old ones if I find out new information (a new treatment or product), take or find a relevant photo that will benefit the article, or if I'm editing it to add a link to a new article, I might have a look around and see if I can improve on it. My main focus is new content (I add around 3-4 new articles a week), but probably check a further 3-5 articles. An edit might be small...such as a new image that will help the topic, or it may be a major edit.

But as I said, my writing style has changed too, I like to think it has improved, so sometimes if I'm adding a link to an old article, I might just go in and change a few sentences so they read a little better.

Sometimes I think it's good to have finally given up caring what Google does. I've accepted the site does not make the money it used to...and I just don't worry about what Google think anymore. They've already taken so much away, so I just focus on the site, and what the visitors think, not what Google thinks. It's like having a bad relationship with a boyfriend who treats you badly, and you just stop trying to make them happy. It's actually a nice feeling.
12:59 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Sometimes I think it's good to have finally given up caring what Google does. I've accepted the site does not make the money it used to...and I just don't worry about what Google think anymore. They've already taken so much away, so I just focus on the site, and what the visitors think, not what Google thinks.


Good idea. My rankings appear to have stagnated for months. I thought I got a rankings boost a couple weeks ago, but it appears everyone else also had a lift in traffic which suggests it may have been only a brief seasonal rise in internet usage.

The only growth I can envision now is non-Google related which will force me to focus on improving the quality of the site in general so that users will be enticed to return independent of Google.
1:09 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Do you guys run blogs or are you doing those affiliate marketing type sites?

It seems its harder to make a living off blogging, since many visitors have ad block or are already ad blind

I heard Youtube is easier to earn money from adsense than it is from blogs.

In the end Traffic is king Google is the top dog, and the other option is to try and get traffic from facebook or social media which now is hard to do as well, Facebook seems to have its own algorithm now too so its hard to reach on the platform
6:46 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The only growth I can envision now is non-Google related which will force me to focus on improving the quality of the site in general so that users will be enticed to return independent of Google.


I think when you take away the Google blinkers (and I'm not taking a shot at anybody by saying that), you actually start to really focus on what the user wants. My goal now is to make them as happy as I can and hopefully they will share. I wrote a really fluffy piece in September, and it went viral. I made around $x,xxx in the two weeks it was being shared. It has 95,000 shares (according to my share button on the page)...it was crazy. That had nothing to do with Google, it was just a hit among social media users.

I have push notifications on the site, so every time I post, they are notified (although it only has a CTR of about 2%), when I post links on my FB page, I get a few shares. I personally don't want to spend a lot of time on FB, IG, Twitter etc., I have enough to do. I need to streamline that, but am too stupid to figure out how to do it!
10:45 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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While Google is still king my Yahoo, Bing, and DDG traffic seems to be gradually creeping up and has been for several months now. Yes, it does not even come close to Google traffic volume but my conversion rate is much higher. I have pretty much given up on Google and am trying to get traffic from other sources which is a slow process but in the long run, I'm hoping it will pay off.
11:53 am on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My last two weeks have been a slight improvement over the previous weeks.
However in those two weeks G Organic traffic has only recovered to the level it was last year.
Since 01/01/19 I am still 16% down on last year.
8:09 pm on Feb 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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IF someone posts every little minutia detail which has no information- We dropped this week, on the 23th we went up a little. My main article is down.. Over the last week we went down a little. I am down i am up... How about give some reasoning to it. What you think the possible cause is for your results to drop or go up or fluctuate ?

So we can discuss solutions...
1:15 pm on Feb 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So we can discuss solutions...

@Rlilly If I had valid reasoning for the changes in the traffic on my site, and or solutions, I would be busy fixing it rather than pontificating on here!
:-)
8:50 pm on Feb 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I personally don't want to spend a lot of time on FB, IG, Twitter etc., I have enough to do. I need to streamline that, but am too stupid to figure out how to do it!

I don't spend much time caring about social media either. I have Share buttons on all my pages if anyone wants to share them. But generally, I find social media to be an unpredictable and ridiculous waste of time. Google remains my primary source of traffic.

In the past few months, my writing style has greatly improved, to the point where I'm now much better at providing my visitors with the information they're looking for as quickly and effortlessly as possible (the way I want to find it if I was the one looking). And in doing so, my Google traffic has responded with major improvements. Many of the older articles I've restructured and rewritten over the past few months have regained most of the traffic they lost a couple of years ago.

Traffic is up. Earnings are up. Life is slowly returning to normal after the devastating hit I took in early 2017.
12:21 am on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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That is great news Cralamarre. Well done, it's lovely to hear a positive. Yes, you learn how to cut out the fluff and filler and just get to the point. I think most people are time poor and have short attention spans, so it's important to provide information that can be found quickly, and you don't have to wade through paragraphs and paragraphs of filler to find what you want to know.

I had a friend review my site (in her experienced view) and provide feedback. It was nice to hear that the content is good quality (she's a journalist by trade), but speed was a factor, and my social media need more love (urgh). This is some of the info she provided...

Layout and design Ė Straightforward design and layout on desktop and mobile. Some articles have anchor links which is helpful for long articles.
Speed Ė Google Speed tests indicate that desktop article pages load below average. As optimal score is 90, this could affect SEO rankings.
Content Ė Content is in-depth, well written and good quality. Pages with a Ďsnapshotí are useful for SEO as well as being handy for time-poor visitors. As mentioned previously, it would be beneficial to group content together in subcategories, and encourage users to explore similar topics by use of more hyperlinks within articles as well as manually added to the end of articles.


I'll stick with FB, and a bit of IG. One thing I do is change the FB header monthly and include a list of 'unicorn themed days' in the banner 'Feb 1 is purple unicorn day' etc. That always gives me a) topics to start on the page FB page and b) new article ideas.

Finally checked my analytics after a mental health break from looking, and my no. 1 article, which brings in 25% of traffic, received a good old Google whacking on 30th January. I've searched for G updates on that date and can't find anything. It's significantly hurt my traffic though.
11:21 am on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anyone seen a drop overnight into this morning?
1:24 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@KaseyM yes, Monday and Tuesday were good days for G organic for us, but Wednesday morning has not been so good. I am wary of writing the day off completely though because often afternoon visitors boost the numbers up quite a bit. As far as I am aware there are no holidays to chalk a poor day down to though, so no idea what is occurring.
2:55 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I saw some moderate shifting happening last night before going to bed. SEMRush is back in the yellow again too.
4:08 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well, I am currently been outranked by a 404 page - its been like since the previous update on the 22nd Feb. Not funny!
4:09 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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International news and business website, 10 years old, from last Friday a pure disaster. Can't find articles from my own domain, there are some a few days old and that's it. Some serendeputy site among top search results, wtf. Page load around 1s, have schema and amp everything for ages, no manual actions, nothing. There are no results for our domain just like that. G is crawling the site like mad, search console data a few days old, shows amp errors when there are none. A real mess.
4:49 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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O my god, am I the only one that is annoyed by 'the possitive thinking theory' of browndog+. Ugh, sorry... I don't like people that are always promoting the possitve thinking theory, it has to be in balance.
5:23 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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O my god, am I the only one that is annoyed by 'the possitive thinking theory' of browndog+. Ugh, sorry... I don't like people that are always promoting the possitve thinking theory, it has to be in balance.

Balance? This entire thread, month after month, is nothing but people who are being negatively impacted by Google updates complaining about it and accomplishing nothing. As has been pointed out by others in the past, the reality is that people who are doing well with Google generally don't come here.

The name of this thread should really be "People Negatively Impacted by Google Updates and SERP Changes", because that's all you'll find here.
6:46 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Histerius it wouldn't just drop like that I wouldn't have thought. Any penalties or crawling issues?
7:03 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm not too sure what has happened to one of my sites today however a de facto trade article I wrote in 2004 seems to have gone viral on Facebook today and at the same time suddenly reappeared at #3 in the G.com SERPs.

Now G, sort out all the other copycat scraping sites!

I wish!
7:14 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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O my god, am I the only one that is annoyed by 'the possitive thinking theory' of browndog+. Ugh, sorry... I don't like people that are always promoting the possitve thinking theory, it has to be in balance.


Do you really think that is a good way to behave? To practically invite other members to put my way of thinking down?

I actually don't always promote the positive, if you read my posts, more of them are negative than positive. What I am saying is that I have pretty much given up, but on that note, it has enabled me to re-focus on the user and stop stressing out so much about what Google want us to do.

Back to Google, I wrote an article which has always ranked number one, it's now in number three position with a Flickr thread taking no. 1 which paraphrases my own article.
7:29 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The name of this thread should really be "People Negatively Impacted by Google Updates and SERP Changes", because that's all you'll find here.

As the saying goes, "misery loves company."
8:46 pm on Feb 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just a theory, but in the past, when we see a nice steady upward trajectory, it would often get disrupted by major world news. Today for instance, also started off a bit lower than we'd like to see (although not terrible), and Cohen's testimony is being broadcasted live as well as major news and develops with Trump's summit and meeting with North Korean Leader. Not sure how it is in other niches, but over the past several years, we have noticed that our traffic does temporarily get affected by such major news and events transpiring.
1:24 am on Feb 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Seeing some small shifts in this latest update (27th). Iíve got a handful of pages in fragile balance that go up and down depending on what Google have tweaked. LSI/keywords seems to have become less important and authority more important. Not simply link authority to the page, more like total site authority, or perhaps something to do with branded links. This seems to have been a big brand update. I noticed a massive link update in GSC. Google now acknowledging a mere 8% of my backlinks!
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