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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]

8:32 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Funny how Google liked my site for years and suddenly found it bad.
9:21 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Following this update, is anyone's mobile friendly on search console playing up? Mine is showing tons of errors, but then when i live test them they come back as mobile friendly?!?!?
9:27 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think various site affected by this core update also mine.
9:30 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This update has finally returned the traffic to 80% of pre-August medic update levels. I still suspect that thin content of Glossary was responsible, though there is no way to find that out, and my site was penalized for that.

I removed Glossary pages about two months back. Deleted them all. They formed about one-third of the site.
Since the beginning of this update, I have a surge of traffic which is still showing an upward movement. Overall gain with this update is 50-60% of pre-update [June] levels.

But there is a lurking doubt that it might vanish again. :-)

Health niche, ad-supported, 152 backlinks per Alexa.
9:40 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Funny how Google liked my site for years and suddenly found it bad.


Google did that to my site last year. I can empathize but it seems that we are at mercy of Google unless we wriggle ourselves out.
9:45 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Funny how Google liked my site for years and suddenly found it bad.

My observation over the years is that Google has been upping the threshold of what it considers to be a good link. I think I've seen your site here years ago and it didn't have that many high quality links compared to its competitors. Check it on Majestic and compare your trust flow(this metric is better than what Moz, Ahrefs and others have IMO). Even if you recover from this, that site still stands on a shaky ground especially considering what Google is up to.

Back in 2008, Eric Schmidt said the web was turning into a cesspool of misinformation and that "Brands are the solution"[adage.com ]. The fact that Google is still pursuing this direction means they think it's working, the have the data.
10:39 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've been outranked by forum posts, new sites, scam sites, keyword stuffing sites, and sites with various spelling mistakes. I know my site is not perfect, but it is still far better than those rewarded in this update.

I've 4,870 referring domains as per Semrush. I've got links from big organizations like CBS-owned websites and others (they've 90+ domain authority on Ahrefs).

All my backlinks are for original reporting and they're natural. In the technology niche, all publications link back to the sites that reported a story first and this could be termed as the natural link (I guess?)

I don't know how I can generate more backlinks. I am getting new backlinks almost every week. And I have hundreds of backlinks from my competitors.

Competitors haven't tanked. It's just me.
10:40 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Those impacted by June 2019 update have aggresive ad placements? I have one ad pushing content below the fold on mobile and 'download now' green ads on desktop.


We are in the mobile-first index era since a while. This means that Google is evaluating a site based on its mobile version. So, Google is taking in consideration how the site looks like on a mobile device screen. When the content is pushed bellow the fold, it means that Google "sees" that the whole first screen is not presenting content to the user. So I let you think about it, is it good or not?

Also, I believe that the value that Google carries to the text/content fades as you go down to a page. For example, a "string/paragraph/keyword" near the top of the page, certainly carries more value, than a string at the bottom of the page. Also, I believe that Google divides a page into "screens", each screen being roughly the height of a mobile device. The first screen receives more weight, the second less, and so on. So, if your first screen doesn't bring any content , then you waste the higher weighted measure, and your content starts with the second level of weight, and its shifts all your content's value.

Now from a user point of view, think about what users are feeling if, after clicking on a link they see a whole screen of ad, navigation, etc... and have to scroll once in order to finally access the content. This is the same as when you have to watch an ad clip before you are able to watch a Youtube video for example.

So I don't know how it can affect your ranking, but I am not taking risk to say that it's sure not helping.

This are just thoughts/common sense.
10:51 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BushyTop I'm seeing the same - spike in errors for 'Clickable elements too close together' and 'Content wider than screen' since Sunday, but shows up as 'Page is mobile friendly' when inspecting URLs (also when testing Live URLs). Nothing was changed on the pages showing the errors
10:56 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samsseo exactly the same!
10:57 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samsseo @BushyTop and others did you try the Audit tool of Chrome ?
11:02 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@dimitri lighthouse?
11:03 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Yes.
11:26 am on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Not seeing any spike in errors for 'Clickable elements too close together'.

I have faced this before a number of times and I noticed that culprit is ads. You won't see any errors in the lighthouse, live tests. Check back after two-three days, it'll be gone.
12:02 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've been outranked by forum posts, new sites, scam sites, keyword stuffing sites, and sites with various spelling mistakes. I know my site is not perfect, but it is still far better than those rewarded in this update.


My comment was more about long term sustainability of your site. Sites like those you mention come and go all the time.

I've 4,870 referring domains as per Semrush. I've got links from big organizations like CBS-owned websites and others (they've 90+ domain authority on Ahrefs).

All my backlinks are for original reporting and they're natural. In the technology niche, all publications link back to the sites that reported a story first and this could be termed as the natural link (I guess?)

I don't know how I can generate more backlinks. I am getting new backlinks almost every week. And I have hundreds of backlinks from my competitors.


It's getting harder and harder to rank now and it's gonna get worse. It's also not just about the number of links, quality too. I mentioned Majestic because I haven't found anything that matches their trust flow, other tools are easily fooled by a large volume of links. My point is that your site is at risk even if it recovers from this update.
12:16 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@dimitri, lighthouse shows we are extremely well optimised (I worked really hard on this)
1:20 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Following this update, is anyone's mobile friendly on search console playing up? Mine is showing tons of errors, but then when i live test them they come back as mobile friendly?!?!?

This is not a new issue. Same thing happened to me late last year. [webmasterworld.com...]

Tested my "error pages" with Google's Mobile Friendly Test tool and they were all fine. All the errors were 'Clickable elements too close together' and 'Content wider than screen' and happened on pages without any ads as well.

After a few weeks the errors should disappear. It may take Googlebot several times crawling the pages with the supposed errors before the warnings are removed.
6:01 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I just found 198 Soft 404's from Wordfence plugin in Search Console. This is more than the number of blog posts I have.. would this be an issue and cause a drop in rankings? Why is Google crawling these pages?

Example of the URL's: mywebsite.com/?wordfence_lh=1&hid=E04BF1EADA089CC3DC14B45ECA31

If I edit robots.txt and disallow, should this resolve the issue?

Disallow: /*?*wordfence_lh
7:22 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have same problem, but with other URLs (not wordfence).

Around 200 soft 404. Some are images. But they open fine.
7:43 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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whoa182, look into implementing canonical urls on your site if you have that many random indexed urls.
11:16 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I ended up just uninstalling it and used something else. The page was actually blank, nothing on it. Now the plugin is gone, the pages display content (nothing changes on the page at all and is the same as the home page), so I've set a URL parameter in GSC as: wordfence_lh. Hope that is right. :)

@Mayank, if it's a small proportion relative to the number of pages you have, I heard there wasn't really anything to worry about? I'm reading different opinions on whether or not soft 404 matter that much.

I'm not going to get too excited about this finding.
11:22 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182 and @mayankparmar - you should use the URL Parameters tool in google search console. It is not available in the new search console yet (they are apparently going to do a new version of it that will be different ) so you have to click at the bottom to switch back to the old version. Once there it is under Crawl -> URL Parameters.
Add patterns that match the urls that you dont want indexed in there for example ?wordfence_lh=
It can take a bit of time for things to tidy up but I have used this before to exclude lots of files from indexing such as category pages with sort filters on with lots of options so therefore exponentially huge amounts of different urls with essentially the same or similar content. Ive also used it to stop Pagespeed urls being indexed when I used that.
It is a useful tool but you need to be careful with it and make sure you exempt stuff you want indexing.
11:24 pm on June 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182 - seems you beat me to it already!
12:55 am on June 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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so Mon, Tue I saw a bit of recovery but today seems to have fallen back down again to the 30-40% loss from the update.
6:35 am on June 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My health website hit by this June core update. Before this update, Most of the keywords were in 1st page on Google SERPs. But now nowhere ranks. Please suggest How can I recover my website's ranking back.
7:26 am on June 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182 Yes, I don't think fixing that would bring back our rankings.
7:31 am on June 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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More backlinks Forbes and others. And my article is nowhere on Google. I like how Google respects original work.
8:02 am on June 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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More slides for us. I'm in real panic mode now. Its the first time I literally have no idea how to fix it.
8:11 am on June 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For people asking "How do I recover from this?" you're going to first need to do a pretty good SEO audit of your site. You can do this yourself through Deep Crawl or a similar service that will provide you with detailed reports about how your site looks from an SEO perspective. (I was genuinely surprised by my first audit many years ago -- it showed me things I had completely forgotten were still even a part of my site.)

If you don't want to do this yourself, you're going to need to bite the bullet and hire an SEO consultant or expert to do one for you. I've done this as well and while it depends on the size of your site, generally in terms of price, it was well worth the expense.

Or you could take the advice of many which is to simply "wait and see." Sometimes sites recover with little or no work. But some sites (like the Daily Mirror, for example), clearly have serious and multiple usability issues which were the cause of their drop in the SERPs. You're probably not the best judge of your own site, so it helps to get a second set of eyes on things if you can.

There is no simple, "Oh, if you do A, B, and C, your site will come back." Nobody has ever had that happen.

I agree with many here that these updates are getting more difficult to understand, especially for older, well-established sites that don't have any serious structural problems.
8:24 am on June 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Of course, i have deepcrawl and i create funnels in mouseflow and analytics to map out any UX issues. I dont want to beat my chest, because its not in my nature, but I've never worked another job and now been in the industry for 9 years. I've seen alot, worked with some talented people and learnt along the way.

Dips in traffic don't scare me, I've been there before and bounced back. Thats the nature of the beast. But when I cant see a pattern or subscribe to a theory, its tricky.

I do agree though another set of eyes does help.
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