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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]

8:16 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's indeed worse in 2019 as those 16 companies have now acquired more sites. We can really do nothing about that. Corporates will dominate search and YouTube. And this will only increase.
8:37 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Of course it is much worse. They had 3 years to additionally branch out.

For the first time in my life, I opened up Cosmopolitan site and clicked on a random article.

Articles are literally written like any PBN expert would recommend it :)

"Kendall Jenner did something she also did last year (internal link). We caught her doing it like we did last time(internal link). Someone else caught her doing something else(external link - most often to their own network site). We now know what Kendall Jenner did because she did...................

That my friends is SEO writing for PBN sites 101 :)

Sidenote..
Just imagine the power that google gives to such dominating NEWS websites.
With such visibility and ranking, and with "small opinions" silenced, they can model the mind of the people in no time.
Don't tell me you don't see it happening already.
9:10 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@stonesolid - yes see what you mean , I just checked out Cosmopolitan clicked on an article and it was basically an article that is just created around links to other articles and keywords, an excuse to embed some instagram and twitter widgets and nothing else - It certainly wasnt an "article" as we would have ever defined it in the past. They seem to use clearly defined "templates" also like 2 bullet points , followed by opening text with a few internal links, image, twitter or instagram and always ending with a questions and two buttons to click yes or no type answers.
The internet is completely broken in so many ways now thanks to big tech monopolies and marketing companies.
9:16 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,

Another angry webmaster here with a 95% drop in search traffic on a site which hires a number of people full time and many more part-time

We've been doing some analysis and have spotted a number of potential culprits. Was hoping others which have seen significant drops in this core update could chime in and answer the following questions. Maybe we share some similarities and can work out some possible culprits for this drop.

Here goes:

1. How many URLs do you have indexed?
Search the following: site:domain.com

2. GSC -> Links -> Top linked pages
Manually check the domains linking to some of these pages, particularly subpages. Any signs of spammy free TLDs linking? (.cf .ga .ml .gq .tk)
The won't show in ahrefs/majestic (the sites linking are cloaking), so important you check in the search console.

3. GSC -> Coverage -> Valid (click it so it goes green)
Any big jumps in indexation on the chart over the past few months?

4. GSC -> Coverage -> Excluded (click it) -> Duplicate without user-selected canonical (click it)
Any jumps in the graph here? How many URLs total?

5. Affiliate Links
If you use them, how many do you use per page? Do you repeat the same affiliate links multiple times through the article? If so, how many times roughly?
Do you use an affiliate disclosure on pages with affiliate links?

6. AMP
Are you using amp? Are any amp URLs indexed in Desktop search? If so, how many? (Search the following: site:domain.com inurl:amp)

7. Pagination
How many paginated URLs do you have indexed? (Search the following: site:domain.com inurl:page)

8. Company Info
Do you show your company info clearly on contact pages, footer, etc?

Really appreciate anyone who can take the time to answer these. Be interesting if there are any commonalities here.

Thanks
10:01 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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a 95% drop in search traffic

Such large traffic losses are usually due to the site being hit by an algorithmic penalty.
10:15 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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[pressgazette.co.uk...]

"We are working together constructively to figure out what is happening..."
10:16 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've lost a similar amount of traffic too. Look at this graph and how my traffic responds to each core update.

Traffic over 16 months
[imgur.com...]

Did Google process anything beyond the H1 tag? :)

I've looked at search console, can't see any major red flags. I do have a rel=canonical tag pointing to my site from a blogspot page (2006-2014)... I've wondered if this is an issue.

Affiliate links, about 1 per 300-500 words on affiliate pages, which represent about 30% of my blog. Other pages funnel traffic to these posts where relevant.
10:23 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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whoa182 -- That chart of your traffic suggests that your site MIGHT have been shifting in and out of a penalty situation. Possibly it's near the edge or boundary line of penalty territory.
10:35 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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That's what I'm thinking. I don't have many good backlinks and I keep getting lots of spammy ones, so I'm gonna start working on that. I already fixed all my content between August to February. And then as you see, traffic went back to almost normal in March.

Please, can anyone answer this...

The redirect/canonical tag: Does that stop Google from crawling my blogspot pages? Sorry if that is a dumb question, I assume it does?

Because that old blog still contains hundreds of very poor-quality posts, which were copied over to the Wordpress site (now deleted or re-written). The algorithm will only take into considering what is on my wordpress site, not the blogspot pages?
11:32 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@StoneSolid i looked at that article and the domain mentioned that they boostedwith anchor links on the footer.

And it doesn't rank for any of the keywords mentioned.

Most likely hit by penguin (now core) algorithm.

They were gaming the system and they got penalized for it.

Never do what they do, linking on the footer to your other sites will get them penalized both.
11:38 pm on June 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@woah182 if the page exists and is not blocked by robots.txt google will crawl it.

Google doesn't know your blogspot and your wordpress site are the same site: if domains are different they are different sites to them. Google will consider both sites. If the content is the same google will consider one of them copied the other. Probably check timestamps and rule that Wordpress riped off blogspot and penalize it.

When moving from blogspot to self hosted wordpress one usually use a WP plugin (Plugin name; "Blogger To WordPress") that handles redirection from blogspot posts to the corresponding Wp urls. If you don't have redirection but duplicated posts you must create the redirection.
12:44 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@SweetPotato.

Right, I used the Wordpress to Blogger plugin, but later, when I got a new theme, it didn't seem to play nice and would slow down the backend of my WordPress so much that it was simply unusable, so I had to disable the plugin.

Now the rel=canonical tag on blogspot just sends everyone to my WordPress site home page and Google set a URL parameter in Search Console to "b2w" and says that it doesn't change the page. The majority of links I gained were pointed directly to the home page of my Blogspot site, not individual pages. But no one is surprised cos the backlinks direct to my homepage anyway.

To make it clear again though, years after migrated all those blog posts to Wordpress, I deleted the majority of them on the Wordpress site, but they still remain on the Blogspot domain. I just can't access them as the canonical tag redirects all pages to my WP site.

So, the important question is:

Will those very poor-quality posts which now only exist on my Blogspot page affect my WP site? Or does the canonical tag on Blogspot header discount all pages on that site and only look at the Wordpress site and whatever exists there.

Hope that makes sense? :/

I'm assuming that if none of these blogspot pages are in the Google index (site:url), and none of the low-quality pages are still in the index on my WP site, then it isn't an issue.
3:07 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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And it doesn't rank for any of the keywords mentioned.

Most likely hit by penguin (now core) algorithm.


@sweetpotato Interesting that you think they have been hit by penguin. Similarweb shows almost 4 million visitors a month, 85% coming from search.

I think not and it was easy to check.
4:53 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Down another 20% today so around 75%~ drop total now.

I got hit side-wide so I'm guessing it's some sort of penalty on my site and I assume others have got the same who have faced big drops.

I don't think it relates to thin content for me based on read-time of my articles, blog comments and that I get linked from on forums who discuss my articles. I could be wrong.

I think it may be a link spam penalty as I have over 75k worth of spam links from Russian sites, but penguin now works in real-time so not sure if that's it along with Google saying we don't need to disavow spammy links. I have decided to manually disavow these links for now.

Not much I can do right now, going to leave my site as-is until the end of this month and then see what action I can take moving forward in case Google over optimised for something in this update and gives me a jump in the next update.

[edited by: BangkokBaby at 5:02 am (utc) on Jun 10, 2019]

4:59 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is this possible that the update is about links?
6:47 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I lost a huge chunk of traffic too.

I disavow links, but only the ones that Semrush marks as toxic/potentially toxic. I have never really looked at the top linked sites on Console to manually find the bad links.
7:48 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I know a very established jokes website with a very huge and clean backlink profile, next to perfect design and content with no ads in them just a very small ad above the content and one after the content, probably the fastest in it's niche but lost 98% traffic. There's definitely a big problem somewhere at Google.

[edited by: Halaspike at 7:55 am (utc) on Jun 10, 2019]

7:55 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@halaspike can you share the URL?

More bad news for me this morning... i am becoming increasingly concerned that these results might stick, but rather than try and re-route my mindset, I'm just going to find other ways to go to market. I'm a constant contradiction at the moment though. If i cant make it work and the conversions dry up, I'll probably have to revisit my thinking..
8:07 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I lost a huge chunk of traffic too.

I disavow links, but only the ones that Semrush marks as toxic/potentially toxic. I have never really looked at the top linked sites on Console to manually find the bad links.


Worth checking in GSC. We've been hit by thousands of spammy free domains which are cloaking, so only Googlebot can see their existence. Hence they only display in the search console and not in ahrefs/majestic/semrush.
8:30 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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1. How many URLs do you have indexed? 
36,300

2. GSC -> Links -> Top linked pages 

There’s a .dk site that no longer exists linking to 2,754 of our pages (that ones comes up as fifth on the list) - the others looks ok. Not authoritative sites though.

3. GSC -> Coverage -> Valid (click it so it goes green) 
April it jumped around a bit. There were 49k valid early April, which jumped down to 46k mid-April. May was 42k. It then slightly rose to 43k at the end of May and has (so far) remained at around 43k since then (last date it shows is June 7 @ 43k)

4. GSC -> Coverage -> Excluded (click it) -> Duplicate without user-selected canonical (click it) 
Do you mean “Duplicate, submitted URL not selected as canonical”? (that’s the only option I see that vaguely matched that). Since June 1 there is 1 URL in there.

5. Affiliate Links 
N/A

6. AMP 
Yes I am using AMP. Yes, there are 551 indexed in Desktop search.


7. Pagination 
5,960.

Some of the results are just showing normal articles that happen to have “page” at the end of the URL/title.

The rest of them seem to be showing really messed up pagination. Its showing my news URL and OLD url (we moved domains a year ago and pointed the old URL to the new one)…

E.g.
https://newsurl.com/category/entertainment/http:/oldurl.com/caterogy/pages/1206 


(that’s literally one of the results I see, including the weird single slash on the old URL)

8. Company Info 
Yes, all contact info/company info is clearly shown.
8:53 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I personally think worrying about backlinks (building, disavowing, etc.) is a waste of time. Just focus on improving your website. If it's a good website, people will naturally want to link to it.

But maybe that's just me.
8:59 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If it's a good website, people will naturally want to link to it.

This.
But maybe that's just me.

Your are not alone :)

If a site is good*, people will find it anyhow, will link to it, will share it, will return, etc...

However, yes it takes time, and I think this is the main problems of todays webmasters. They want huge traffic fast. The fastest you gain traffic, the fastest it can collapse.

*good = interesting content, pleasant to browse, friendly, original with its own personality and style.
9:14 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@jmorgan I have natural links (via/source) for original reporting, but that really didn't save me from June update.

But negative backlinks is still a thing, isn't it? Thousands of bad links can bring down rankings.

Bing recommends disavowing links > [seroundtable.com...]
9:20 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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7. Pagination
5,960.

Some of the results are just showing normal articles that happen to have “page” at the end of the URL/title.

The rest of them seem to be showing really messed up pagination. Its showing my news URL and OLD url (we moved domains a year ago and pointed the old URL to the new one)…

Interesting. We have similar issues - where canonicals have been ignored (probably our fault due to a HTTP header from the CDN). It's the first thing we're working on to try to clean up.

We have all sorts of junk indexed. E.g. homepage pagination, random query strings, thousands of amp urls, pagination + query string. If I search site:domain.com/some-article I get between 3-5 results, which can't be good.
9:32 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm trying to figure out what has caused the weird pagination issue with the old url showing up. I'm thinking there may have been some custom code made years ago on our old URL with paginated pages that has some how carried over to the new one.

Either that, or Google is messing up.
10:09 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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GSC just updated with June 8th stats.

Total clicks on overview is slightly up from June 7th, but discover data is down (virtually non existent)

[edited by: paranoid_android at 10:13 am (utc) on Jun 10, 2019]

10:11 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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But negative backlinks is still a thing, isn't it? Thousands of bad links can bring down rankings.

I don't know. But John Mueller has stated many times not to worry about it and I get the impression that the disavow tool was just something provided to give mental relief to webmasters who were still stressing about bad links despite John Mueller repeatedly saying not to.

Picture this:
Webmaster: John, some bad sites are linking to us!
JM: Don't worry about it. We know how to handle it.
Webmaster: But these sites are very bad, very spammy, they must be affecting my ranking.
JM: Don't worry about it. We know how to handle it.
Webmaster: But these sites are very bad, very spammy. Very, very, very bad!
JM: Don't worry about it. We know how to handle it.
Webmaster: But these sites are very, very, very bad, very, very, very spammy. I'm completely convinced they causing my rank to drop.
JM: Fine! Just use this disavow tool we have here.

[edited by: jmorgan at 10:27 am (utc) on Jun 10, 2019]

10:21 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Placebo
10:37 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I get the impression that the disavow tool was just something provided to give mental relief to webmasters who were still stressing about bad links despite John Mueller repeatedly saying not to.


At a PubCon back in the fall of 2012 I had a meeting with Matt Cutts who was talking at the event about the then new disavow tool. He very candidly told me not to waste my time with the tool and only use it when a site gets a manual penalty. It wasn't the first meeting I had with Matt and I've spoken with him enough to believe him. Don't use the disavow tool unless you get a manual penalty. It's just that simple.
10:46 am on June 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@paranoidandroid Google Discover is exactly zero for me after this update. Zero on June 6, 7 and 8.

Google News is now 98% down and I did contact Google News support, but their response was not helpful enough.
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