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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]

2:13 am on Feb 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing lots of discussions on crawled but not indexed pages... on facebook a lot of people are calling this some kind of crawl quota where google seems to be limiting how much of your content is crawled so a lot of people are deleting old pages and old content to try and get around this... seems backwards to me but i wouldn't be surprised if there is some truth to crawl depth being on some sort of score/rank/quality scale.

Well if there's a lot of worthless garbage still being indexed, how could anyone expect google to index all of it?
3:14 pm on Feb 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well they do, Google likes to index garbage pages that are generated automaticaly. That is a big problem.
6:00 pm on Feb 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Seeing some slight recovery from January changes. What I've noticed is that bloggers who guest blog on a lot of blogs seemed to have done well but those of us relying on natural links seemed to have been shuffled around a bit. Even people who do link trades saw some traffic boosts (basically people trading a link from post a to a b and then b to c)... Is this a hint that if you can't beat them, join them? I always thought Google wasn't a fan of guest blogging for dofollow links
9:34 pm on Feb 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Guest posting has been around before Google itself and basically there is no way for them to stop it because it's not illegal, the practice is fair game as long as the "Google laws" are not broken. Most Guest posting, or at least the ones that do it right, make sure that the dofollow links point to a related topic/website/content. Again, in this way, there is nothing Google can do because you are not breaking any laws thus people using these methods are gaining in traffic/SEO ranks and what not.
11:32 pm on Feb 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Looks like the Amazon index to me. Are Google and Amazon in cahoots?
1:00 am on Feb 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've been downranked anywhere from 30 - 70 plus for many of my articles which were usually in the top 10. I have absolutely no idea, it's been a constant battle for years now, despite upgrading the site, improving content, moving away from health to general (after EAT)...it just continues to tank. I'm no longer viewing analytics, it's too depressing.

Even my main competitor seems to have vanished into oblivion, it's now food and insurance companies as well as Pinterest who now dominate the serps.
5:21 am on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Juniya, just because something is not illegal doesn't mean it's fair game with Google, they have their own rules/guidelines for their own services. No one is entitled to Google traffic.
12:56 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I had a quiet Thursday and Friday last week, both G organic and PPC were down compared to usual end of week results.
1:11 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I had a quiet Thursday and Friday last week, both G organic and PPC were down compared to usual end of week results.


I am seeing the same. All weekend too as well as the start of today. I keep checking to see if my site is still online. What's the cause, any ideas? The weather in the UK has been pretty bad in certain parts. Are you UK too Mark_A?
2:44 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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HI Jez123 yes I am UK.
My site is B2B, so Monday to Friday is what I focus on.
But there was some snow at the end of the week it is true.
4:00 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Guest posting has been around before Google itself and basically there is no way for them to stop it because it's not illegal, the practice is fair game as long as the "Google laws" are not broken. Most Guest posting, or at least the ones that do it right, make sure that the dofollow links point to a related topic/website/content. Again, in this way, there is nothing Google can do because you are not breaking any laws thus people using these methods are gaining in traffic/SEO ranks and what not.


Google has blogged they don't like guest blogging... 5 years ago writing about the decay and fall of guest blogging but if you ask me its done nothing but make the mediocre win and that sucks... so much good writing is hidden a few pages down because there is one pyramid scheme after another owning the top of the SERPs because of guest post hierarchy.

The last few updates have nothing but seal the fate that if you're NOT guest blogging you're NOT ranking.

I could send mountains of evidence to google if they cared... facebook groups, twitter tribes, private websites where people charge for posts, sell links, bill out for guest posts, link swap, 3way swap - and they all rank well and have high demand because they show up on top of pages... but if you read the pages its people who have no experience what they're talking about, wouldn't pass any EAT review and do well because they're in groups that spam them and help perpetuate their success as a dream that others can achieve so they can sell them a guide book or get rich scheme too - which only perpetuates the links and hierarchy that Google seems to accept and prefer.

yeah, I'm bitter... I want to play fair but reality says Google doesn't give a crap and maybe everyone is much vainer than I give them credit for and they actually like the crap they see...
5:00 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Right now it's all about gaming the system, its all about links and old domains. Just in the last few months, I have seen sites go from not ranking to position 0 literally within weeks. I have several domains in different niches and they are all dominated by the same.

Everywhere I look they use a top 10 best of review a java menu, pages load slow yet they are ranking and banking. I too am bitter, I guess because I don't have deep pockets to do the same. I have launched a few new domains with a small budget (ranking less popular keywords) but they already have link juice and then I blast them with links and that's currently what I am doing to survive right now.

If this keeps up I guess its all about implementing pure BH sites in order to rank and just churn and burn for a while.

I honestly thought that when this all started in August it would be short-lived but it seems that this new algorithm is here to stay for a while.
10:00 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I suspect they’ve never been able to weed out guest posts algorithmically and have to rely on the manual action team if something suspicious bubbles up to them.

If anything they’re rewarding the kinds of links guest posts provide - links in blocks of main content that have the same subject matter as your site.
10:09 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The way a lot of people are getting links is quite sneaky. I'm always getting emails from people saying things along the line of:

I have a great article which I think would be suitable for your readers. I have a proposal: If you link to this article (URL), we'll share your post on our Facebook page and our newsletter! To most people who don't understand SEO, it probably seems like a good idea, but they don't understand the power of backlinks and what is actually going on.

I was looking SEMRush on some sites I find very useful...And these updates are destroying many high-quality sites. What is Google thinking? Dr Axe has been destroyed (Well, I'm sure he's not going hungry, but wow!). Selfhacked has gone through a roller coaster, and one of my favorite sites TTMIK which I and many others probably spend hours on! has been hit hard. The graph for my site looks like a rollercoaster, too. I used to see steady and consistent growth, but I've had none since August, despite putting up a lot of new articles.

My rankings start to improve, and Google kicks me back down again, and again, and again. Maybe it's just the machine learning and eventually, things will settle.

Why not just give all the keywords to healthline and get it over with? I'm sure rich people need more riches.

And as for getting links: I was starting to acquire links naturally when I actually ranked well... but now, I'm barely getting any quality links. It's mostly rubbish. So, do I need to start link building?
11:23 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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How long is it taking ya'll to get traffic on new posts? I used to see a little roller coaster as posts bounced around in position and finally landed somewhere but now i'm seeing new posts take a LONG time before showing up in any keywords...
9:36 am on Feb 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Agree with southernguy, it is all about the links and old domains. A nasty surprise in the title is enough to bring up to 100K views if the domain is old ;)
12:31 pm on Feb 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Something is up this week. I saw a huge spike in traffic on Sunday which was unusual. And now the regular traffic of Monday and Tuesday are also not the same. The numbers are pretty low.
2:47 am on Feb 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Ugh, Chinese/Lunar new year. Now I have to disregard my stats for almost two weeks, or maybe even more.
9:48 am on Feb 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Its difficult to understand what is going on at the moment. Right or wrong, I check my rankings daily and its total madness. Up and down like a yoyo!
12:34 pm on Feb 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Facing with low traffic numbers for 2 days (~-12%). The main thing is that rankings weren't hurt. Is it Lunar New Year related? It doesn't seems like this, I'm facing drop of traffic from US, UK and I'm pretty sure these nations aren't celebrating Chinese New Year in a massive way. I'm also seeing that the drop happening on all traffic sources (Google, DuckDuckGo, Direct etc.). So it doesn't looks like a Google update. So what is happening?
2:42 pm on Feb 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Remember a friend who spent tons on a Freight Tracking site - did ok until the Monopoly GOOGLE delivered thier own snippet with Tracking right up at the top... needless to say, he lost all his money.. Google is not our friends... they are our enemies. If they can encroach into your business, they will and push you out...
10:30 pm on Feb 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It doesn't seems like this, I'm facing drop of traffic from US, UK and I'm pretty sure these nations aren't celebrating Chinese New Year in a massive way.


Chinese people are everywhere, dude.
10:28 am on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Chinese people are everywhere, dude.


Yeah, I know that. But it's hard to believe that UK or US folks are consist of 12% Chinese people... :)
10:32 am on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Semrush showing high activity again in the UK.... brace yourselves [semrush.com...]
11:36 am on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@jmorgan

I made some research. For my website right now Canada has the highest traffic decrease rate these days and I checked how many Chinese live there and, yeap, a lot of them - about 3,9% of all the population. So Chinese New Year could be the reason.

@Bushy Top
Already seeing significant changes in UK traffic for last 2 days. Take a look at the screenshot:
[imgur.com...]

My conclusion is that Google hiding the update under the Chinese New Year as they always do through holidays. So I think we will see some significant changes soon not only in UK.
1:23 pm on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Cyril TechWebsites, NYC closed most Public Schools and alternate side parking is suspended for Chinese Lunar New Years for 2 days
2:53 pm on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For my website right now Canada has the highest traffic decrease rate these days and I checked how many Chinese live there and, yeap, a lot of them - about 3,9% of all the population. So Chinese New Year could be the reason.

I've seen no drop at all in Canadian visitors lately.
2:58 pm on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Rlilly

Thanks for the info! Now everything is clear and I'm stay cool with these shifts.
3:00 pm on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm noticing some spikes in traffic over the last few hours. I just checked the US and UK database on SEMRush and there could be an update going on. It's at 8.5 for UK mobile.
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