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Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2019

     
2:22 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4937425.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 11:52 pm on Apr 1, 2019 (PDT -8)



Today traffic is 35% up. This site wasn't affected by these previous updates in march, in august had an increase in organic traffic also, and since then has been fluctuating


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:58 am (utc) on Apr 2, 2019]
[edit reason] Cleanup after thread split to new month [/edit]

2:56 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre I saw similar pattern. I saw less traffic yesterday and today appears back to normal. I should say that the difference yesterday was not statistically significant, but was larger than I had seen in while.

My second website has seen a big boost in traffic that seemed to start yesterday. This morning this increase appears even more pronounced, it is up by 4% compared to last Sunday and it isn't even noon yet. Moreover, all the metrics are positive, bounce, time on page, pageviews. There are two caveats, this site doesn't get much traffic and I made changes to some of the landing pages on Friday.
3:00 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@broccoli, I don't think it was an update. Everything is back to normal today.

@NickMNS, Saturday's are usually very slow for me, so yesterday's traffic drop looked more severe than it really was. It just seemed strange that the drop happened around noon and remained down for the rest of the day. Yet today, everything is fine again.
3:20 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well, I guess weíll learn something if my home page drops 20 places after theyíve sorted things out.

Like I say, it isnít from other peopleís pages going missing, itís more like a reshuffle. Also I think thereís been a link update. GSC says Iíve regained 7K of links that disappeared across all my pages before the March core update.

Which is kinda weird and makes me wonder how long this deindexing issue has been going on and what impact itís been having on backlink profiles.
3:28 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This was not a small update...It's complete shaking up of the SERPs in my category and all of my competitors that I track on SEMrush had significant shifting. I am seeing all new sites taking over and major brands took over the top spots with smaller sites being pushed down.

This update is very targeted!. The main landing page on my site, which I have been ranking at the top for over ten years, was always top three but now dropped 32 positions in SEMrush and lost 3/4 of all the terms associated with it in SEMrush. The subcategory pages that also ranked at the top for years lost ALL but one term...so we are talking about losing maybe 120+ terms all at the same time over two days. This strikes me as a demotion of the page, but why?

The terms all included the exact same keyword, which is the name of the city where I am located...so it's local in nature (it's a very big city). The rest of my site was largely unaffected, so it was laser focused on exactly one landing page on my site...the one that brings in by far the most traffic to my site. I have never seen anything like this before and if it doesn't correct itself quickly I will be mostly out of search...losing 60%+ of my placement since September of last year.

One thing that could be affecting it is the closure of Google+. I had many followers there with 500+ backlinks reported from the posts that all vanished overnight. It wasn't supposed to affect sites with lots of G+ following but it is. I am also seeing other inbound links disappearing from Search Console even though the links are still there, while thousands of spam links that I disavowed weeks ago remain. One site added almost 3,000 spam links to my pages in about two months and the site has vanished but the links are still counted! Google is a total mess now.
3:50 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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One comment about this search chaos with Google right now, I don't know if it's just in one particular niche (beauty) but I noticed I have been bumped down several spots from a couple of websites who have literally cloned competitors websites and are now ranking on top, very disturbing.

Also, there is still a lot of chatter from a couple of hours ago on Seoroundtable about sites being deindexed today.
3:52 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ichthyous Did you try resubmitting your pages that have dropped via GSC, to see if it brings them back up? Just in case itís related to the deindexing bug.
4:06 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@broccoli Yes I did...I submitted the page that lost the most terms last night at 11pm. I checked last night and I was in the number one spot for some of these terms. However, I definitely dropped from #1 to maybe #4-#5 for the broadest terms that brought in the most traffic and they are all replaced by huge corporate sites.

I am now checking each term that was reported as lost completely...on one very high ranking subcategory I lost 55/56 terms in two days. On the other most important page on my site (other than the home page) I lost 34/48 terms in two days. Both of those page titles include my local city name...all the keywords also include the city name. It's incredible how I dropped only for those terms. If you are correct and those pages were de-indexed and it just snaps back I will be a very happy man...but it has gone down for two days straight now and that is not a good sign.

One thing I have noticed is that my site is always at the top of the local pack results now because I have so many 5 star customer reviews...and wherever I come at the top of local pack I seem to have dropped several spots down in the SERPs...as if Google didn't want to reward one site too much!
5:08 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I can confirm that the deindexing issue has not been fixed. Among the pages that drive the most traffic to my site, a few of them have been deindexed by Google some time yesterday. I noticed a significant drop in traffic today (about 20-30%) compared to previous weeks. I tried to search for these pages in google and they do not appear even though Search Console claim that they're online. I've requested reindexing and the pages have reappeared in search engine. This isn't the first time. I remember that Google has deindexed some other page of my site before as well and it came back normal some time later. This obviously is a bug which Google has not really fixed.
5:40 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Semrush sensor is 9 today.
6:12 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@"However, I definitely dropped from #1 to maybe #4-#5 for the broadest terms that brought in the most traffic and they are all replaced by huge corporate sites."

That's exactly what happened with my site after many years at the top. I'm seeing massive sites like Quora and others outranking me now for key phrases that are in my article titles.
8:19 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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No sign of the same drop in traffic as yesterday, so that's good. Traffic is still back to normal.
10:23 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Our traffic has been up 12 percent or more (sessions, visitors, and pageviews) compared to the previous week since the beginning of the month. I suspect that's just because of our travel topics and seasonal demand, though, because Easter week is approaching and all of our major traffic sources (not just Google) are trending upward.
11:15 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Have been experiencing the same in Germany for 3 sites. Its nerve wrecking.
12:56 am on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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absolutely terrible all weekend very few conversions, pages dropping out of index gradually coming back in . Seems to be the norm with google now though were by they make some change , everything is messed up for days then you get some hope when things start to recovers a bit just before everything gets messed up again. Of course google doesn't care that this massively effects peoples lives and all we get is a tweet brushing it off.
7:31 am on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ubound : that is third party tool. high volatility does't mean any update in google. semrush sensor showing high volatility due to google bug in indexing.
8:14 am on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think now its partially fixed. 50% of the traffic is back as previous week.
8:53 am on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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See further comments on Google bug fix thread re status and suggestion from JohnMu for expediting important pages....

Reports of Google Dropping Pages Out of Index... possibly a bug?
"Not fixed yet, but close," per Google
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4941198.htm [webmasterworld.com]

9:01 am on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Massive fluctuations again this morning. Seems like Semrush is reporting the same too in the UK
9:04 am on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ubound : that is third party tool. high volatility does't mean any update in google. semrush sensor showing high volatility due to google bug in indexing.


Maybe. But it coincided with traffic changes on my main website too. I am not so confident that things will stick though. These days you need to wait at least a couple of weeks to confirm traffic gains or drops.
10:10 am on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Will we all be compensated for this? considering this has happened a few times over the past year.....I'm sure we all know the answer to that question :-)
11:09 am on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I can't remember volatility like this. Every week seems to bring a huge new update and today is no exception.
12:34 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I suspect this has to do with the pages dropping out of the index?
1:29 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Monday is normally my best day for sales too :( I've had to submit a lot of my pages to get them back on the SERPs. They appear back within a minute or so after submitting.

I'm also seeing a lot of movement in the SERPs. One minute my articles are on page one, the next it's on page 3, and back again...

Since August, the roller-coaster never ends.
2:09 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The 'request indexing' has worked on Friday but has reverted on other of my sites. GSC doesn't even recognise some of the URLs I'm trying to submit in other properties. So I wouldn't call that a 'fix'. Fun times. Anyone else struggling with the same GSC issue?
3:06 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I had 80% drop in sales over the weekend and so far today nothing. I hope they fix this nonsense soon.
The facts are that when customers can find me through google they buy from me, usually preferring my site over our competitors as we offer better or equal pricing and better service. It has been that way for years and I work hard to try to make sure we offer the best service.
Now google seems to be able to turn on or off my sales at whim without me changing anything. - I just cant see how that is right that they have the destiny of my livelihood in their hands and are not held accountable to any entity in that respect.They literally control if my site will get sales or not and it seems that I cannot not effect it , only them - how is that fair?

Facebook makes most of the news currently over their privacy scandals and ability to be manipulated to influence societies but googles power is likely far more influential that facebooks and I hope it starts to have a much bigger light shone on it. The internet is now so entrenched in our everyday lives that search should be an internationally managed public service and not a privately owned monopoly with such power.
4:38 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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They literally control if my site will get sales or not and it seems that I cannot not effect it , only them - how is that fair?


It has never been fair. I've been struggling all these years to create quality content to get genuine backlinks, only to see brand new sites with very thin content, very few backlinks with lots of ads (more ads than content) climb to the top of SERPS within a very short time. At first I thought they were using backhat SEO and would be punished eventually, but it's not the case. Far from it, they seem to be rewarded by Google every time they update their search engine. I have no choice but to continue trying and hope that people can distinguish between good content and bad one.
6:34 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My traffic is absolutely wild today, some hours exceeding week and some hours getting 10% of that
8:05 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google has been working on their search ranking system for more than 20 years. By now they should have reached a point where the results are close to stable, with only small shifts from day to day.

So can someone explain why big upheavals in the rankings still occur, and why large numbers of high-traffic pages could suddenly vanish from the results.
8:14 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google has been working on their search ranking system for more than 20 years. By now they should have reached a point where the results are close to stable, with only small shifts from day to day.

So can someone explain why big upheavals in the rankings still occur, and why large numbers of high-traffic pages could suddenly vanish from the results.


I'm talking about that for some years already.

There is no more slow progress or slow fall, graphs are ridiculous, vertical line drop or rise after update, then horizontal line stable. During "stable" periods, I can add content like crazy but nothing will move until another big or small update decides to recalculate whatever it recalculates.

Regarding big sites vanishing overnight - isn't it like google admits they were 100% wrong before?
8:38 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing quite a few sites with extremely nicely designed templates incorporating two or three good images, some basic yet brief flowery text and that's it ... Hardly any product information, no technical details and for users in my trade actually quite useless.

Yes, they look very pretty, are well-constructed and work across all platforms but what the heck are they doing ranking so well ... Is it style over substance at G now?
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