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Google Updates and SERP Changes - June 2019

     
4:35 pm on Jun 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The following message was cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4944194.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 11:00 am on Jun 1, 2019 - (PDT -8)


Also, with the ad model a majority of people know that you are trying to get something out of them - a purchase, a signup etc - so there is a lesser level of trust there but if they find you through organic whilst they are in the research stage and you provide good info and value, then there is trust built and you get more sales.

On the other hand, people who are actively shopping for a product or service may regard ads as useful information. That was the concept behind Yellow Pages directories and magazines like Computer Shopper.



[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:07 pm (utc) on Jun 1, 2019]
[edit reason] Cleanup after thread split to new thread [/edit]

12:59 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre

I really don't think this is about content, more likely it's trust and authority related.

I have an article "benefits of [widget]" which covers the research spanned over 80 years. It's well structured, covers all the research in humans and is about 5000 words long. It was on the first page but now has been thrown to page 6. What is ranking at the top? News articles, covering one published paper, which doesn't nearly go into all the research conducted or the "benefits". It's just about 1 small finding in a study.

Most of my articles are between 2000-3000 words long. I focus on long-form content. Time on page is over 7 minutes with session time over 2 minutes.

I have another article: "how to start a [widget]" and it's a complete guide, about 3000 words long. There is a video ranking about the topic that is text to speech, 2 minutes long. And another article which is about 500 words long by a big brand.

I have my reddit urls (my blog posts shared) ranking way above my actual articles...

I haven't done an in-depth analysis, but I'd say around 80-90% of my articles (main keyword) rank #1 on duckduckgo, bing, and other search engines.

I have 16 years of study and experience in this area, I know what I'm talking about.

I can't believe this is actually happening right now :(
1:07 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre

I don't buy the content thing for a moment.

I have had a lot of time to experiment around and I have found a few things but mainly if you are in a competitive niche aggressive SEO will outrank a site even with good content. Sure there are many variables, if you are in a very unique niche and your content is incredibly good you most likely will not see fluctuations.

I have one site I am currently working on and its all scraped and spun content with a dropped domain and this update has favored it well. This is why I have a hard time believing content is king. (I used to though).

These last several updates over the months have given me a completely new outlook on how SEO should be done vs what has to be done in order to rank.
1:12 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just sharing a thought for all those with health related sites (as well as finance I guess). I believe that, if you want to send more trustworthy signals, you must not forget to cover both the positive and negative/risky aspects. Show your article/review is objective and can be trusted. If you say that "A" is amazing, because "x "and "y", but do not cover the side effects or risk to use "A" then it's sending a bad signal about the quality and trustworthy of your content. Today, there is a witch hunt after content which are presenting unhealthy risks without warming people of the dangers. This kind of content, I believe, are quickly being taken away from the SERP.

And the same can apply to finance related sites. If you say "oh it's great to invest in such or such thing", you must also warm your readers about the potential risks, etc ...

In other words do not forget to cover all the aspects of a subject, and be critical.
1:18 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I can confidently say my content at the very least is satisfactory based on the above.

Yes, but is it better than your competition? Does it do a better job of providing the information? Is it structured in a way that makes it easy to read for both your visitors and for Google?

Again, I have not seen your site so nothing I say is directed at you personally. But when it comes to information, Google is a question and answer machine. People type in their question and Google shows them what it considers to be the best, most relevant answer. So does your content provide the most relevant answers to the questions your audience is asking? Or is your competition doing a better job of answering those questions?

I have an education/information site. When I cover a new topic, I write as if I'm the one looking for the information. Am I answering the question? Am I answering the RIGHT question (very important)? Am I getting to the information as quickly and efficiently as possible? Am I staying on topic? Is the content readable? Does it sound like it flows naturally when I read it out loud? I could go on, but the point is, I focus on providing answers. Because answers, not SEO, is what people are searching for on Google.
1:19 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My website isn't even for desktop users, it's a mobile game website.

How is your website doing on mobile?
1:23 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I really don't think this is about content, more likely it's trust and authority related.

But how do you gain trust and authority? By providing quality content over a long period of time.

But hey, if people would rather believe in SEO magic tricks, so be it.
1:34 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182, Your articles may be thousands of words long, but you do need thousands of words to provide the information? The length of your articles may be what's hurting you. I've done much better lately with short, streamlined articles.
1:48 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For my test sites, the SERPs for main keywords remain unchanged, but user behavior appears to change drastically as does SERP page layout and listing format...which explains the drastic behavior changes. Its like one big A,B,C,D,E,F,G....test.

When my traffic is thin, G's profit is high, so expect the AI to favor that condition...and start looking for a J.O.B.
2:03 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Mark_A it's doing very bad on mobile since the March update. Do you have any idea for what my site is going through?
2:12 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BangkokBaby - Good post on the previous page. One thing which you have already probably considered is that the factors you listed was giving you the increases initially probably did not have a whole lot to do with it. All those things are good but only help obviously in limited ways. It was something else that caused the increase and then the roll back.

@Cralamarre - You say content was his missing factor and in a way you are probably right though maybe not the way you think. Google says content is king but there is no way Google can truly understand your content and know if it is "good" and correct. All the AI does is take signals from others (ie backlinks), your website as a whole, and on page signals. Google doesn't understand the content it just takes signals (ie sentence structure, keywords, etc..) and determines some sort of total ranking factor. In a limited way it understand what the page is about in terms of keywords like "Review" or "Buy Now" and their synonyms. Google Search algo looks for patterns most likely in the same type of way that Google translate works.
2:15 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@cralamarre

I honestly don't think so. I make sure that it's easily scannable with clear headings, so people can find what they want. I have mostly info articles on my site, with affiliate content too. My metrics were consistently improving over the last few months, my traffic had been climbing steadily again, and my conversion rate was between 15-20%.

I frequently get a lot of comments and emails saying how good and really helpful my content is compared to other sites in the niche. I can see by how users flow through my site that they aren't just bouncing and not engaged.

I can't share my site, I know, so I guess you just have my word. Looking back at August 2018 update, I accepted that I had so many issues with my website and I made massive improvements in every area. All the user metrics showed major improvements too. So did conversions.

My traffic over the last 3 years: [imgur.com...]

Up and down since August, but this one might be the worst... Even with many new articles that I've written since.
2:16 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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so yesterday for me was a strange one. Traffic remained low , conversions remained next to nothing (I had 1 early am before I got up but was worth next to nothing) , then from a time period from 5.30pm to 7pm I got a burst of traffic (not huge amounts but basically to the levels I used to have a year or so ago) and conversions that put me over my target daily sales figures by a good amount, then after 7pm, the google intern must have realized he left the traffic tap on for my site and turned it off again.
Whilst this was of course welcome for the generated income it is so frustrating because it is another example that reinforces my belief it is not my site that is the problem - when people can actually find my site they come and they buy from me.
2:36 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182, I do know how you feel right now. I've been receiving compliments from my visitors for years, and truly felt I was doing everything right. And then in March and May of 2017, I was hit by two Google updates that combined to take away 50% of my traffic (and my earnings).

To this day, I honestly do not know why it happened. At the time, I thought it was all over. But I kept going, and I've been slowly but steadily recovering over the past two years.

From my own personal experience, I can say that no changes to SEO on my site over the past two years have made any noticeable difference. The only thing that works for me, besides adding new content, is updating and restructuring my old content so that it's easier to Google for scan, and easier (and faster) for my visitors to read. My days of the 5000 word essay are long over.
2:50 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Milchan - this is the exact same problem a lot of bigger companies face also. It's up to Google to decide whether to give you the traffic or shut it down.

@Cralamarre - Can't believe you're still going. Most people would give up if the sales are dead.
2:56 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else noticing far fewer ads in their vertical? We have some really competitive terms that are serving no Ads whatsoever? Anyone else seeing this?
3:00 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@StupidIntelligent, I never said my sales were dead. Earnings were cut in half after the updates, but they were so good before the updates that even half was still enough to survive. I was doing really well before those updates. Today, those good old days seem like a dream.
3:14 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Here things stay down.
Absolutely all my rankings went to 2, to 3 page.
Some competitors that work the same way, but with sites that have metrics lower than mine are now positioned.
It seems like a kind of penalty.
I do not want to believe that this is because, from what I see here in the forum, many are facing exactly the same problem as me.
In many places in the world.
Could all be penalized?
I hope it's a google error.
3:34 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have a page that is focused on a larger focus area but within one country, The site is two years old, from day one I have had a positive development with Google. I try to give as good material to the user as possible. I think nothing about google when I write because the material should fit on Facebook, pinterest too. I rank high on pages that have 100 words, but no more is needed. Would only look stupid if I wrote more there, then I have articles with 3000 words and those ranks okay too. Give what the people want, so it will probably be good in the end. If not, I survive without traffic from Google. Never put all eggs in the same basket...
3:38 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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it remains dead, no sight of improvements... is it even possible to recover traffic before the next update?

Also looks like UK's popular news site is hit hard.

[seroundtable.com...]
4:03 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am not seeing changes in traffic in Analytics. But i see big changes in SEMrush.
4:06 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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3rd day, another 10% loss compare to yesterday. Almost at the bottom of organic traffic. A matter of days for Google.
I'll check the other search engines.
4:44 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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But how do you gain trust and authority? By providing quality content over a long period of time.


I dont post often but I hate to see people still being falsly led to believe that "content is king" - That is a lie people! Content has never been king of anything.

It's all about ranking, and with google ranking has always come from lots of links with the correct keyword density. Content quality means nothing, take it from someone with 20 years of experience and just about 100% of my hundreds of sites use spun but readable content. My sites all do just fine through any update and have for many, many years.

All those trackers like ahrefs are blocked by most professional SEO's so no-one can see how many links the top sites have. But if you see what you think is low quality content ranking above you then they have better links and know the proper anchor densities and onpage densities to use to beat you.

Note: I do not tell my paying clients what I do to keep them ranking in the top spots for years so if you message me looking for free advice then you will not get a reply.
5:23 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It seems like there's 2 separate updates going on right now.

There's the main 2019 June update, which by most reports seems to be an update focused on mobile page speeds, this is why a lot of people are reporting noticeable shifts in desktop/mobile traffic ratios. Its also why sites like Daily Mail lost half their traffic overnight this week, going from 10 million to 5 million daily users. Their pages are ridiculously bloated with ads, scripts, popups, widgets, images, each basic news article clocking in at 15 mb - 20 mb.
[seroundtable.com...]

There is a second smaller update which rolled out right before the June update, but it went under the radar for most of the people it seems, its the removal of local business results out of organic SERPs and pushing comparison sites, directories and review aggregator sites towards the top. A lot of local SEOs are reporting being overtaken by sites like Angies List, Home Advisor, Thumbtack, etc.
[onlineownership.com...]

I dont do a lot of local searhc to comment, but I'm definitely seeing some terrible, Geocities 1999 looking sites now ranking for big money keywords on P1. They are terribly written, have horrible formatting and look like someone's first webpage ever made, but they are very fast because its basically nothing more than a text page with zero bloat.

Are you guys seeing the same things? I see a lot of comments about garbage content outranking now quality content, but how fast are the page loads for garbage content vs. your sites?
5:27 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Very interesting @ybendiks. My business is heavily reliant on geo targeted queries like "Widget repair in <city>" and we took a big hit around Thursday or Friday (May 31st). Not too many people talked about it.
5:31 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like you might have gotten hit by the Local update then, do you see directory sites in your former ranking positions?
7:22 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@milchan - same patterns being seen here. Odd conversions very early AM on trickle of traffic, like one guy in one hour. Then if lucky, an evening conversion at almost the same time each day. Must be the bridge troll's shift change. Sporadic and sparse conversion patterns very similar to the old Google Dance days.
9:13 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I survive without traffic from Google.

Poppycock! No online venture, whatever its nature, can survive or has survived for long without good traffic from Google, not even the likes of Amazon - that's why they spend huge amounts of money for ads and promotions either on Google itself or distributed by Google.
.
9:26 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Probably wishful thinking here, but does Google ever go too far with an update and dial it back in days or weeks after? My Traffic is back to where it was after Medic update in Aug 2018, or even worse.

I'm wondering now if I should even bother with the health website. Do I want more punishment from Google?

Probably time to look at another niche outside of YMYL?

Would something within the pet niche be just as affected?
9:40 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Another update/change has also been rolled out that aims to make search results more diverse by not repeating articles from the same site.

[twitter.com...]
9:41 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182 I've been reading a lot of your (and @southernguy) posts, and your (And his) situation seems very similiar to mine. My site got hammered during Medic and the October update, and it seems like no matter what I do, the big G is just not happy with my site.

I've gone into a totally different niche using an expired domain, and have been doubling traffic literally every 3 weeks. It's not a very high paying niche, but it's nice to see an up and to the right trend for a change.

PM me if you want to compare notes on our health sites.

P.S. To answer your question, Google almost always goes too far with an update and dials it back at some point.
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