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Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2019

     
8:52 am on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The following 11 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4934804.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 4:52 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (PDT -8)



biggest hit last night into the day.
Refs from google are down by 99%.
Seeing it across several domains.
And again serps are full of shops that i would trust a penny. If it is this that google tries to compete against amazon, google is lost



[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:11 am (utc) on Mar 2, 2019]
[edit reason] Cleanup after thread split to new month [/edit]

6:19 pm on Mar 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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While it's important to be found in search engines, they just don't drive a lot of sales and they can't when shoppers go to places like Amazon first.

Even when I try searching for a product on Google rather than going straight to Amazon, it seems like no matter which product I'm searching for, Amazon has an ad for the product right at the top of the page. So even if you search on Google, Amazon pays big bucks to make sure you still end up on Amazon.
9:06 am on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm showing drops of 30-40 places, for a non spammy site, original content, original images, optimised, no black hat, no link-building. Absolutely devastating to see it trashed for no apparent reason.
10:14 am on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@browndog

Pretty sad, but since August things have continued to get worse (for me at least), it looks like organic search is going the same ways as YouTube. People used to make a decent living there but no longer do. Sigh...

I would have to think that these crazy updates are not only affecting webmasters, I wonder what the collateral damage will be with hosting companies and domain name providers. It cant be good.
12:31 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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what the collateral damage will be with hosting companies and domain name providers


i think you donīt get to far onto this.
Think of all the small business that spend money for aid organisations. If they donīt have the money to spend then the aid organisations have a real bad perspective.
Our do you believe that big companies will absorb the loss?

But it is pretty important that the rich get richer..... and google is rich and wants to get richer
2:06 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So even if you search on Google, Amazon pays big bucks to make sure you still end up on Amazon.

I'm not so sure Amazon is paying the big bucks that smaller businesses are paying. What originally forced our hand to sell on Amazon was Google ranking Amazon category pages above ours in Adwords. Those category pages did not even have the keywords on them that were used in our Google search queries, yet our pages did. By all accounts Amazon's category pages should have had a poor quality score since their category pages were largely irrelevant, yet Google gave them preference even when we tripled our bids. Our conclusion was Google exempted Amazon from the same quality and bid standards applied to other/smaller advertisers, and to this day that preference remains. I believe this same set of double standards applies to Google's current organic search results, which also boosts Amazon's rank without just cause, as we are experiencing the same problems in Google's organics as we did paid results. Regardless, these days Amazon can offset some of the costs of advertising in Google since they have bolstered their own advertising program. Click on one of Amazon's paid ads in Google and one is taken to a product landing page with a minimum of 8 paid Amazon ads.

It's just an ugly mess, and something I don't see changing. But the free market has spoken. Very few people use Google to search for products anymore. With the preference to display Amazon pages in Google, along with some seriously crazy domain crowding for years, Google helped to educate shoppers to bypass search engines entirely when looking for products. The problem with selling on Amazon is high marketplace fees (15% of each sale) and buyer fraud. To offset these expenses in the Amazon marketplace, we jack the prices up on shipping and do not offer quantity discounts as we do on our website. If Google wants to send their users to a site where they pay more for the same products, that is their choice.
3:27 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Trying to bring this thread back to its intended purpose... I've been seeing a slow and steady decline in rankings since late February. I'm kind of ready for it to bottom out now, the slow burn drives me crazy. It's much easier to deal with when everything drops at once.
3:43 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre Sure it is an option but you don't want to rely on one company for all of your income, at some point Amazon will require you to do something that you will disagree with. I would always host my own store where I have full control and not relying on any one company for my business. This doesn't mean you cannot have a Amazon storefront at the same time to take advantage of what they offer.

I see that it is being reported that Wikipedia lost 21% of their traffic after Google introduced featured snippets. [seroundtable.com...]
4:17 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Wikipedia lost 21% of their traffic

link [seroundtable.com...]
4:26 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If true (snippets being the cause of the decline) that's pretty telling since (in the SERPs that I see) Wikipedia is used quite often for the featured snippets information.
5:07 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@glakes

I wouldn’t trust Amazon that much:

[bloomberg.com...]

For now is good they do not send fake traffic. You only pay if you sell.
10:19 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu
I wouldn't trust them at all.
We've personally never sold on their platform, but several business associates have. Once you place an image or content on Amazon, they own it, it's in the contract. So you decide you don't want to sell there anymore, they own your image and if they can source it they will sell it with your image and content themselves.
11:15 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Once you place an image or content on Amazon, they own it


I've never understood why webmasters have a problem with this. Stick your logo, loud and clear, on the image and rejoice in the fact that Amazon will then be promoting you.
4:24 am on Mar 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@lostshootingstar have you made any changes to your site in the past few months? If so what where they.
1:47 pm on Mar 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu

I don't trust Amazon, and I limit what we sell there to just lower cost items. Amazon has a history of giving away products to their customers for free, all at the sellers expense. Plus Amazon is incompetent on so many levels, which is why I do not have Amazon pack/ship our products (Prime) and manage returns. The less Amazon is involved in ones business, while still maintaining visibility in their marketplace, the better.

@nomis5

Stick your logo, loud and clear, on the image and rejoice in the fact that Amazon will then be promoting you.

Doing this is a violation of Amazon's policies. Images which display watermarks, logo overlays, etc. may result in a product suspension or ones selling privileges being revoked. However, if the logo, business info, etc. is part of the product packaging or product itself then it is ok.
6:39 pm on Mar 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I mentioned before how I published an article before and it used to rank in #1 on google for many months. A site linked to my article as the original source and copied about (I think) 2-3 paragraphs from my article. The anchor text on the link says that my site is the original source. Yet, Google is still ranking their article, and not the original (mine).

Is there any way I can show this to Google? Clearly, there must be a bug or something going on here...

I've also just noticed that quite a few articles that I deleted and used a 410 a few weeks ago have reappeared in search when I do site:domain.com after these recent updates.
7:27 pm on Mar 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182 As far as your articles this does not surprise me I had an exact match domain I removed back in September because of the T&C of the product I was promoting had changed.

I redirected the domain to a brand new one in September and the old domain still ranks position #1 even though it has been redirected for over 6 months the new redirected domain still does not show up anywhere in Google.

I have noticed that most of my competitors have now lost their rankings and I see a lot of social networks showing up in their place like Medium, Scoop.it, Pinterest etc I am now completely lost.
9:42 pm on Mar 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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old domain still ranks

Was just looking at an old EMD we're re-purposing. Site was 301'd to main site over a year ago and taken completely off line (even shut down the server) 4 months ago. As of this morning site still shows in google search results...
9:52 am on Mar 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google SERPs are full of 404s or 410s or even unconnected domains since about 2 and a half weeks - this is getting Bing quality (Bing is good in many aspects but not in unlisting 404s or dead domains). And it shows that relevance is not rewarded in the last two or three updates (as opposed to the one end of jan). I'm also seeing established news outlets here in Europe loosing rankings while mediocre (or worse) sites gain. So I'm waiting for corrections...
9:15 pm on Mar 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Here is what we are dealing with today (Sunday week over week): [i.imgur.com...]

I've dropped from #1-4 to #8-15 pretty much overnight in many of our big and medium sized cities that we target. I've done everything I can at this point, I just don't know what else to do to stop this; it feels like a penalty but nothing in GSC.

The only thing I've changed in the last week or two is adding aggregate review schema which I verified was done correctly, and I am seeing stars in the SERPs on most of our pages.
1:36 am on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Was/is there an update?
2:03 am on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I don't think so.
2:58 am on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing a drop in traffic since yesterday, but I made a change at the end of the day on Friday. In my haste, while making the change, I made a mistake sending 404 errors for a portion of all my pages. I fixed it Saturday morning but I'm not sure if the traffic drop I'm seeing is due to my stupidity or an update. The drop in traffic appears to only be affecting the group of pages that had the errors.

But, that is not conclusive. Since the August update I have collected data to determine where my ranking woes were coming from. Last week the data clearly showed what was causing the issue.That is what the Friday fix was targeting. So the fact that these pages dropped further may simply be a further demotion of what Google deemed poor quality pages, because it would be impossible for Google to realize that these pages have been updated so quickly (there are hundreds of thousands of them).

Conclusion, I don't know.
3:40 am on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS it's most likely the 404 error, put them in Google Fetch so Google can re-crawl and place your link where it used to be.
3:50 am on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BangkokBaby There are way too many to use the fetch tool. I've learned that one needs to be patient with these things. Regardless of the 404s, its likely going to take about 3 to 6 month before Google starts recognizing the new page layout.
6:02 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Looks like folks are still chasing their tails here...hope you are all having a good 2019 so far.
12:32 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I believe spring break for a significant number of universities has affected my traffic slightly.
1:15 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If a site has some pages that don't bring in any traffic, google's algorithm may rate them as low quality. By lowering the overall quality of the site, they could increase the chance of getting hit by panda. These pages are probably doing more harm than good, and should be removed from the site. It would be like pruning the dead wood off of a tree.
1:52 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Are people here determining success on rankings or organic traffic to particular landing pages?

Both can be hard to properly attribute.

System

10:52 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The following 23 messages were cut out to new thread by brett_tabke. New thread at: google/4938447.htm [webmasterworld.com]
8:43 am on Mar 13, 2019 (cst -6)
2:44 pm on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@browndog

I am thinking I've got this wrong, and am trying too hard.


Something i allready put my focus on. But in the end, i want my customers to be happy and not google. Shops that outrank us donīt have datasheets, more than one pic or even self written content. But they rank very well.
So there must be one extrem important ranking factor that pushes us down.

So if google decides to push quality sites in their serps, we get high converting traffic with happy customers.
And while google totally mismatches with current serps, users immediatly leave.

Unfortunatelly google promotes sites with where bad UE, very long navigation and nearly no EAT. It looks like they want to show their users: Look at organics only trash sites, no need to click on organics. Try click on our ads.
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