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Google Updates and SERP Changes - May 2019

     
10:41 am on May 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 12 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4940766.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 12:25 pm on May 1, 2019 (utc -5)


For my main current site, Google Organic accounts for 28% of sessions.

I swear it takes up 80% of the effort though!
1:39 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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After some detailed checks and double checkes I can solidly confirm 3 things about the March update :

1) Super-authoritative websites with keyword stuffed URLs perform much better. I have seen 1.13 ranks up from 3.37 to 2.24 average position for the test group of 100 URLs compared to control group and then compared to "suggested" URLs (like same as H1 title) for money landing pages, spanning 1.5 million visits and 4 million impressions. The impact was global as in it affected much in the same both .com sites as well as .de and .co.uk, etc.

2) Less text did not hurt the page performance, especially on mobile. I am unsure how Google's mobile-first ranking is doing things but they are pretty OK with having 400 text symbols on a page and still rank well, so long the interlinking is fine and the on-page SEO is spot-on. My personal suspicion is that image SEO plays a slightly bigger role for rankbrain to determine the validity of the mobile page in question, so don't neglect that aspect. I know you want to!

3) New-school gateway pages got hit bad. You know the ones that give some info or gateway service (like calculator) but then once you press get results/see more/CTA button you get directed to the actuall money page. Boy did those pages got smacked. Of course I can't speak on behalf of everyone watching the SERPS but from my vintage point where most SERPS are/were dominated by such results, its clear skies now.

So do with that knowledge what you will, but I was hesitant to post anything more before I could analyze as much data as I could.
2:16 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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May 29th it happened that google is showing 50% more pages indexed for every website and after google is back to the old ... so that's why there have been some changes
and changes was for short time
Google has version with more page indexed for every website.
What are they doing? Maybe testing something? Who can know it...
5:33 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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today seems even worse than other bad days recently - wondering if there has been another change
8:37 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@JesterMagic

Yes, Bing follows Google in every bad step. It's a disappointment.

@Nutterum

Unfortunately ranks don't mean more traffic anymore. I wish my uBlock O had a way to navigate immediately to second page in G SERPS.
9:54 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Face it folks, the latest generation of humans doesn't even know about the internet we are using. They think Facebook, Snapchat and all that social garbage IS the internet. The company I work for just hired two "kids" fresh out of college and wow, talk about clueless. It's frightening. This is a large part of why we have zombie traffic or no traffic at all.
10:22 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest G has more than 60 billion visits per month. Surely, it can't all be zombies. Question is where does that traffic go to....ads? Don't think so. It could all be a scam with G faking numbers as 90% of it could just be bots. Not one news agency has done an independent investigation on these numbers. The media gas no choice but to believe what they tell them. Two billion queries a day...yeah right, my a**.
11:09 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest

Personalisation of buyer behaviour it is called some of it here [cnbc.com...]

This is just gmail but analytics and so many cookies out there can make very easy to predict a sale.

What you see as search result is not what a potential buyer sees.
11:29 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@stupidintelligent - 60 billion a month might sound a lot but is it that much considered the size of the user base. India has over a billion people with close to half billion online and the US has about half that amount. Add just those 2 up and add on brazil and you pretty much have a billion internet users that are mostly likely to google as their search tool. Of course not all use the internet everyday but on the other hand im sure many do and search far more in excess of once per day. So with number like that plus the fact there are many many other countries and the figure of 2 billion a day seems highly realistic. It is also highly irrelevant as no site or business can be exposed to all those searches anyway as they cover a range of languages, areas etc so it becomes purely a marketing or pr statement.
11:31 pm on May 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Maybe we thinking that traffic goinng to "big players"
But if you see results from example alexa for some website is not like we thinking
ok...let see about time and date website
[timeanddate.com ]

Since april this year traffic going down and not grow... and this website is maybe in first 700.. or 800 in the world
Everyone know about this website? Yes?
They are really monster in traffic
So why traffic not grow for them
Something is strange,..they losing traffic with new update too?
Maybe "job" from google working in way
"Are you sure you want time ? "
"Are you sure?"
"Maybe you want pizza?"
"Or maybe want see new Huawei phone?"
Oppss...
Not huawei anymore...


Even for keywords time and date is almost no exist ads
Where traffic going? What is wrong on internet?
1:59 am on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest Nine months ago I had strong traffic and plenty of inquiries on a daily basis...a pattern which more or less was the same going back to 2003 when my site started. Fast forward to September 2018 and my site falls off a cliff over the course of two days and never recovers. It falls again in March of 2019 and now my inquiries are down to every other day at best...sometimes three days between inquiries. You're telling me that this great generational shift happened in 9 months flat? Of course not! Google is a MONOPOLY, and it is killing off the organic SERPS to drive revenue into its own pocket...just that simple.

We all knew this time was coming...Google has been sending us warning shots since 2011 with each consecutive punitive algo update. There's nothing any of us can do about this other than complain vociferously and demand the break up of the monopoly. By the time that happens we'll all have moved on to another business, retired, become bankrupt, or died.
2:10 am on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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ichthyous do you have adsense on your website too or just own products?
2:50 am on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Universenet... No adsense at all, just my own "products". I put that in quotes because my site is has no e-commerce or checkout capability, and it shows no prices. It's more like a huge portfolio and customers can inquire about pricing if they are interested. It's an art gallery type site...been at the top for years, with normal ups and downs, and has a strong backlink profile. The weakness is that the content is thin... There are no articles it's mostly text describing the products.
8:56 am on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Begining on 29.May we see a big loss in traffic ( >50% ).
We didnīt change anything. Ranking positions seems to be unaffected.
I know that we had fathers day in germany yesterday and today is free day form most poeple. But we never had 50% off because of a long weekend.

I donīt know whats up with google but in latest times they donīt communicate only the same old "compelling website" #*$!. The new webmaster console is even bad. Erros should be fixed where are no errors. Very old pages are 404 that are offline since years.....
10:16 am on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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ok , i just took a look in webmaster console and found that google is not able to render the apges correctly.
Nearly all resources have a "sonstiger Fehler" ( unsupportet error ).
It is the css and pictures that googlebot canīt read/find whatever.
I realy donīt know if this is an error in URL insprection tool or if googlebot realy canīt read the resources. If so, then no wonder that our site loses traffic. Because without css the over the fold pictrue that googlebot get is all the same for 50.000 pages.
Has someone the same problems?
12:19 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have the same problems in webmaster console also that I noticed yesterday. I didn't even look into too much because it seems to be problem after problem with google that we can do nothing about and im simply tired of it all. And yes , since 29th things have been terrible.

@ichthyous - do you use instagram? as it sounds like that might be a better platform for you to promote on than google organic? Yours is just yet another example of a site that might get punished for "thin content" when it doesnt require text content - google defining what should or shouldnt make up a webpage.
Also "By the time that happens we'll all have moved on to another business, retired, become bankrupt, or died." this is true - I think many people will move away from making websites and content and the internet will simply become a bunch of sites controlled by huge companies, ultimately though that will be google shooting itself in the food as it wont have content to style anymore but I suppose by then they will simply have AI writing any content they need anyway so they dont care.
1:00 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Would it be legal in my industry to reproduce paragraphs from other sites, including images, instead of producing my own content? - I don't think so.

Why do we accept it as normal when Google does it?

We webmasters, do we have any association that defends our interests?
1:34 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Super-authoritative websites with keyword stuffed URLs perform much better.

From my casual observations over the years, "super-authoritative websites" rarely have keywords in their domain names.

But there is a trend on major news sites to put the whole title of an article into the URL. For example, just to pull something out of the air:
https://widget-news.com/a-new-improved-type-of-widget-could-soon-dominate-the low-priced-retail-consumer-sales-market.html
1:34 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Milchan I've been selling online solely through Google organic search for 16 years and have done very well. Social media has been a big zero for me. Lots of wasted time posting and it does not bring actual sales. Not to mention the fact that if you aren't an influencer, or have infuencers talking about you, then nobody cares about or sees your posts anymore. With Google people find me when they are looking for what I actually have.
2:04 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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ichthyous you need use google ads if you working with selling some "products"...
Even if you have good traffic you are more safe if you using google ads.. people will find you more easy
Of course nobody do not like pay for ads... I do not like too.. ok .. even I do not sell products
All depends about what you selling
Sometimes investing in advertising products can be good.. in other way google even can do mistake and ignore your website if you calculating only in free traffic
Google has too many websites in list for crawling and indexing.. so if you do not have giant website is not always good trust in google that will calculate on your website
If you have some special "product" you will not pay even much for ads because not many competition on interent to you
2:13 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ichthyous yeah I get what your saying about wasting lots of time posting for no returns - ive kind of stopped bothering with all that also - im better off using more time more constructively. Was just a thought as it sounded like your niche would be a match for instagram, but as you say it is all about influencers etc.

@universenet problem is google ads doesnt work for everyone/ Ive tried it and gave it time, studied in depth how to do it etc and it simply didnt get the click through rates or conversions to make it worth while
2:21 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@universenet problem is google ads doesnt work for everyone/ Ive tried it and gave it time, studied in depth how to do it etc and it simply didnt get the click through rates or conversions to make it worth while


Milchan did you use image in google ads?
or just text?
If you did not use image is more dificult.. people are more interesting and faster see things with image
but of course can be google ads problem too
4:32 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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yes Ive tried text ad, image ad, carousel ads, google network and serp ads, highly targeted funnel etc - I tried lots of things, took course in google ads to learn it to a good depth etc and gave it a good amount of time also. I have run remarketing campaigns, facebook campaigns etc etc - non work for me , well at least not enough to produce a ROI good enough to justify it. The remarketing seemed to be the best overall, adwords was useless.

On a side note , if anyone has the time could they reboot the internet - it seems completely broken today.
5:01 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@universenet I second what Milchan says. Over the years I tried running google text ads. It brought traffic but no sales. Same with Facebook ads...lots of traffic but no sales. That's because my average pricepoint is very high. People come to the site expecting one price and suddenly find out it's much higher and don't buy. The art world doesn't follow the same rules as regular commerce unfortunately. I am now thinking about experimenting with display ads instead, placed in high-end news sites etc that have a higher end user.

@Milchan Rather than investing in things like social media I opened a very expensive account to advertise my works in a site specialized for art galleries. It costs an arm and a leg, but they have the brand and supposedly the type of user I need to reach. So far I have spent a fortune with no sales and no inquiries. A lot of supposedly effective branded sites are based on hype unfortunately. That's why Google organic search is effective for me...90% of the traffic is not useful to me, but at least I don't have to pay for the useless traffic I get from Google now. My business exists on the 10% that I can actually sell to at higher prices. The profit margin is very high so it's been a good business for years.

Instagram and Facebook are good for brand building, and for selling low priced goods. But these days you will never build a following without paying to boost your posts or paying influencers to talk about you...that is very expensive and not particularly effective in my niche. I still post to just keep a presence though.
5:18 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have sites with very low and very high price points. Nothing works, because Google just doesn't have the traffic. It's mostly just bots mixed with repeat visitors.
8:27 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I do not agree with your statement, please explain how the site with the same number of visits has excellent conversion every time when Google apply updates.
9:48 pm on May 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ichthyous I am in no way claiming that the generational change is the sole cause. This is a perfect storm of many factors, Google and their algorithmic tinkering being the primary.
1:46 am on June 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if this will move things forward [wsj.com...]
1:50 am on June 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if this will move things forward [wsj.com...]


First pressure from European Union and now USA
Seems some power companies from USA decided about it
Maybe pushed by microsoft and yahoo
5:21 am on June 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have been running ads on Facebook and IG for 4 years and doing SEO for even longer.

If you sell a product or service that adds value to a customers life or solves a pain point they have, your product will sell on Facebook and IG. If it has not worked for you then that's only because you don't have the experience of running successful Facebook ads. There are just as many factors to running successful social media ads as ranking factors for SEO.

Having done both I'd say social media paid ads are harder then SEO because you actually have to spend $, where SEO you mostly invest time.

For anyone who is saying social is crap, it's not, it's where over 40% of the population spend most of their online time, and regardless of what you sell, your audience will be in that 40%. I've sold both low and high ticket items with success and failures on social. It's all about creating the right sales funnel which takes months and $$$$.

I'm talking purely about Facebook ads, not organic posting.
5:39 am on June 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BangkokBaby it all depends on the type of product... Cosmetics, fashion, jewelery perhaps. But not big ticket fine art. Social media helps to build a brand and the brand helps you sell, but I have only had a handful of direct sales from social media, and I built following with thousands of followers on Facebook, Google plus, and insta. Once Facebook started forcing me to pay to boost the same posts my followers were already seeing for free I refused and basically that platform sits abandoned. Instagram is even less effective since it's a very shallow platform where people want to follow the lifestyle of the influencer... Its better for actors, musicians, celebrities. But perhaps your product is in a niche that works on SM.
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