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What's happening with Google? Poor Unrelated Results

     
3:10 pm on Apr 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I wonder what has been going on with Google over the past several weeks. Well, I woke up on the 22nd of February and the first thing I did is search for a product I had written about a few days before which I was ranking #1 for the keyword I was targeting. To my surprise, I could not find my site. I panicked!

I rushed over to Analytics to check my traffic and realized it was down 40%. I was totally confused. I had not made any major changes on the site. I thought things would get back to normal. 8 weeks later, things are getting worse.

My site has phone descriptions, and has been doing pretty well over the 5 years it has been in existence. I have always worked hard to improve it. I have faced a lot of challenges, related to Google in the past but I have always been able to identify the problems, fix them and bounce back. However, the current issue that I'm facing seems to be beyond me. I have tried everything I know.

Pages for older phones are doing okay, but not as good as they used to. However, the same thing can't be said about newer pages. This is obviously very frustrating for me since I'm in a dynamic niche, with new products being launched every other week.

Google seems to pick the wrong pages from my site to display on SERPs. For example, you may search for "Huawei P30", and the first page that Google will show from my site is a page for "Huawei P20", an older model that was released last year. Keep in mind the fact that I have a page about the former.

Sometimes, pages drop from the index. They only show up after I fetch and resubmit them using the URL inspection tool.

I dropped many keywords that I used to rank highly for. I've been overtaken by sites with poor quality content, some that have even stolen content from my site.

About 95% of the articles I published before February are on the first page for the target keywords. About 95% of the articles I published after February 1st are nowhere to be seen on SERPs for the target keywords. I many cases, Google chooses to display pages from my site that are not related to the query. If this was as a result of a penalty, why would some articles (especially the older ones) rank well, while others (the new ones) not show up at all?

Important pages on my site are updated on a weekly basis. They are thorough and they have the latest information. However, since the fateful day, the pages are being outranked by pages with outdated information. Why Google?!

I've been improving my site, improving articles but I see no changes. My site has no technical issues, I have done a thorough investigation. I'm doing okay on Bing, Yahoo and others except for Google.

Lastly, all images from my site were de-indexed. I'm not seeing any images from my site even from articles that are on page 1. It hurts to see sites that copied some of the images I created on the Image results page while my site is nowhere to be seen.

Is anyone facing a similar problem?
12:00 pm on Apr 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Same situation! This may be a sign of a penalty. I think the main reason for this situation is that you have a niche site and similar keywords can pass in many places. In this case, if your back links are not strong, it seems normal that you encounter this situation.

Also google may have recently made changes to distinguish spam.

From what I can see, when the host sites in the same ip block provide a back link to each other, this seems to be a very important reason for punishment.

Also, if the page inbound links are used in many places, this is also a cause of spam.

Another important indicator, however, is the paid links. If you are complaining about paid links, this may cause a problem.

sorry for my English.
1:00 pm on Apr 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld Aswaluta!

I'm doing okay on Bing, Yahoo and others except for Google.


Like many, many other posters on this forum board so many are having similar/identical issues and have been posting about it especially since 14th March 2019 and, yes, others have been experiencing it since the third week of February.

Google is banjaxed, broken if you prefer. It is useless and they have lost control of whatever it is they have tried to achieve.

The only consolation is that there are thousands, probably millions, of sites with people scratching their heads asking WTF?

I'm sorry to say that, at the moment, there does not seem to be any resolution whatsoever except hope that users get so fed-up with the awful state of Google that they start to use other search engines instead.

And if anyone who has a site that has not experienced any issues whatsoever, then count yourself as extremely fortunate.
12:30 am on Apr 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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What about make more anchor link from to "Huawei P20" your "Huawei P30".Or you tell the google your sitemap from <changefreq>monthly</changefreq> to <changefreq>weekly</changefreq> because of yours telling"Important pages on my site are updated on a weekly basis". Sorry for my pool language
12:40 am on Apr 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'd resist making any imediate changes without first gathering more data. Guessing at a problem and making changes without any actual data can sometimes make things worse, a lot worse.
3:09 am on Apr 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com], Aswaluta!

have you tried drilling down in analytics to see if that reveals anything?
for example is your drop similar on desktop vs mobile?
11:59 am on Apr 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am not seeing this in my sector.

G SERPS are still on topic and quite relevant.
6:48 pm on Apr 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you all for replies. I'm glad to be part of this community. I don't know where I have been all this time.

I've never paid for links or engaged in any link exchange schemes. I've checked my links, disavowed all the bad links created by others.

I forgot to mention that I have not been able to submit a sitemap successfully over the past 8+ weeks. When I submit a valid sitemap, I see "couldn't fetch" error. I asked about this in GSC forum sometime back and was told GSC had a bug that made it show the error when the real status was "pending". I was advised to let it sit there for a few days. Was told the status will change to "success". Weeks have passed. The error message still persists. I have other sites in different GSC accounts and I've been able to submit sitemaps without any problems. I use WordPress on the affected site and the sitemap submitted was generated by All In One SEO.

Like I said before, my main problem is that 95% of my latest articles (most published after 1st Feb) are nowhere to be found on SERPs. My site has more than 600 articles. I've check Robots.txt and there is nothing blocking Google. I've not used the noindex directive on any of my pages. Up to now, I still can't figure out why Google de-indexed most of my images and show an older post instead of a new one that is more relevant on SERP.
7:59 pm on May 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My site has phone descriptions

Do you buy these phones and test them in your hands before you write the descriptions?
9:56 pm on May 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Aswaluta ... Welcome to Webmasterworld!

G, in recent months, has made a number of changes to the presentation (serps) that continues to confuse. Leaning toward big brands, deprecating anything UGC, thin, or "duplicate". Much of this appears to have no rhyme or reason. Meanwhile, check serps presentation in Bing. If the same problem is there something on (your) site is causing the problem. If not the same then it is probably related to g in some fashion.
12:23 am on May 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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G, in recent months, has made a number of changes to the presentation (serps) that continues to confuse. Leaning toward big brands, deprecating anything UGC, thin, or "duplicate"


Sorry, but I bolded the wrong part - google does not care at all if text content, picture, video or whatever else is a "duplicate".
They will simply rank the piece with most backlinks, regardless if it is an original or not and regardless if original site had it years ago and stronger site republished it yesterday.
12:39 am on May 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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google does not care at all if text content, picture, video or whatever else is a "duplicate".


Good to know! Apparently I did not get the memo.