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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]

2:33 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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BushyTop so you're still seeing massive fluctuations that resemble an update in process?

I get rank reports monthly, so no idea about an update, but G organic traffic is down this week so far - excepting Monday.
4:06 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It also appears on my end that there is some updating brewing for the past couple days. Our traffic is up, rankings are stable and even got a boost in certain KWs. The interesting part is, however, SEMrush is showing a slight decline even though all other metrics are positive. Does anyone ever notice the same?
6:18 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@herewego123 Exact same here.
6:23 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Googlebot is crawling like crazy for the last 2 days and I now have tens of thousands of AMP errors due to articles without images.
7:46 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I don't use it but I think it seems highly likely that SEMrush and other tools are far less useful or accurate than they used to be and really don't give a true indication of things. Google has changed the algorithms so much that the things these tools measure and use to correlate their info just dont seem to match anymore, or if they do then most measurements dont really matter. SERP positions and impressions dont equate to traffic anymore, at least not anywhere like they used to, and I think that fact has reduced the usefulness of the tools.
8:12 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle

Your theory doesn´t fit ro my site. To use your example: I wrote about every breed, but still got penalized and lost 60% during that June Core Update.
8:33 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Traffic goes up a little, down a little more...story of our lives.
The only solution these days is to publish crazy stupid stuff or go totally BH.
8:41 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Traffic increased by 2% on June 19, 5% on June 20, a total gain of 7%.
1:03 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I’ve been hit again. Seeing insurance companies and shops who have created short articles on my topic sitting at the top.

I searched for my no. 1 ranking article and while there looked at the questions and short answers G provided. They were all incorrect and there’s not the option to provide feedback. My content is correct and I’ve been pushed down m.
1:29 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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[twitter.com ]

From google March update started
UP...DOWN...UP...DOWN....UP...DOWN...UP...DOWN.....
John Muller in reply said it is like morse code...
yes it is ..but is not morse code.. it is new google search impresions...from google march update
1:24 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is the only thing that matters now:
[ibb.co...]

It is the main explanation for everything, traffic and ROI. Google changed from partner to competitor.
1:53 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It is the main explanation for everything, traffic and ROI.

Isn't it the basis of business?

Google changed from partner to competitor.

Too many people assumed Google was a friend, they never claim that.
2:16 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just when you thought there was no more place for shoving more ads and more of Google's own content into the SERPs above the organic results there is this:
[seroundtable.com...]
2:23 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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google changed from partner to competitor.

That change happened on October 23, 2000.
2:29 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just when you thought there was no more place for shoving more ads and more of Google's own content into the SERPs above the organic results

If all ads on the SERP are grouped into a carousel, this should eat less "vertical" space on the screen, and may be the first organic results will start showing above the fold again ... or not ...

That change happened on October 23, 2000.

:)
3:27 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle

You may be right staying unique and exclusive may keep the site around
3:33 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'll chime in, and if I recall, @SamWest - we're in a very similar type market.

Generic site info: Around the 28th of May 2019, we saw our busiest traffic day since launching the specific site I'm referring to. It's a small site, less than 15 pages, but continually has top 3 rankings for more than 1k high value KW's for over 8 years now. In SEMR, the KW and visibility trends have continued the upward trajectory in a similar fashion to our traffic and earnings, so while it's not perfect by any means, it's fairly consistent as a measurement tool.

Around June 13th is when we noticed the first hiccup in traffic, and in our market, it should be going the opposite direction right now. Overall, we're running down about -%15 in traffic. Our rankings however are steady, if not better and for more phrases, including those in the top 3 positions. (27% increase in #1 positions on last update in SEMR)

The drop is primarily from mobile users versus desktop.

What I found is that the "search suggestion" that autofills in the browser when typing, no longer contains several of those phrases we are used to seeing. It's common though, and it generally refills with terms that drive more traffic after a major update like this core update.

I also found that the SERP's themselves have seemingly added a few more "You might like", or "others also viewed" style widgets, pushing organic results another few inches down the page. On mobile, you'd be hard pressed to even find an organic listing without swiping very far down the page.

For us, it's more about positioning loss, versus ranking loss, that is affecting the results this week. Who knows what next week will bring.
3:46 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If all ads on the SERP are grouped into a carousel, this should eat less "vertical" space on the screen, and may be the first organic results will start showing above the fold again ... or not ...


That is true but I think it is unlikely to be the case because why would google move towards encouraging more traffic to the organic results which would mean less clicks on the ads?
Far more likely is that this will be in addition to the multiple ads at the top of the serps further pushing organic down or just inserting it within the organic further down.

What ever they do we can fully expect it is to their benefit and our detriment.
3:51 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It seems that Google gave up on indexing the whole world wide web and focused on the 80% or less. They determined that only, say, 2% of searchers go beyond page 9 of search results. And to index results beyond page 10 costs them more than to index the first 10 pages properly. It's a simple financial decision. Spotting random / irrelevant results it's actually easy - on page 8+ almost always appear results from books.google.com which are an indication of irrelevant results.

Results on pages 10+ are generally totally random, unrelated to searched keywords. That could explain the new Chrome addon that marks sites not in top 5K as not worthy.
3:54 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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why would google move towards encouraging more traffic to the organic results which would mean less clicks on the ads?

May be to force advertisers to pay more ... it all depends on how ads are ordered in the carousel, let's say 2 ads are visible at once, and the third is partially visible , 4th and 5th require a scrolling... then advertisers may be forced to place higher bid to appear in the two first ads ... who knows. Google is certainly testing plenty of things, and brainstorming ...
4:28 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"...people also considered" ! - why not "more Advertisement" ? Are they afraid of the words?
4:35 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"...people also considered" ! - why not "more Advertisement" ? Are they afraid of the words?

May be the evolution of the semantic will make its way to Adsense publishers, and soon we'll be able to put a label before ads saying "people also considered" , "more resources", "you can also be interested by", etc... instead of "Ads" or "Sponsored Links" ...
4:49 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Tyler Bishop of Ezoic has just published a blog post titled "How The June Google Core Update Impacted Digital Publishers (2019)." It's based on an analysis of data "from over 5,000 digital publishers that generate the majority of their website traffic from Google’s search engines. It includes a mix of publishers, from small blogs to major media brands."

Key quote:
As a whole, digital publishers seemed to come out slightly ahead on this update. 55% of all the publishers we observed saw some kind of non-seasonal increase in organic pageviews starting on June 4th.

That leaves 45% of publishers that no impact or a net negative impact overall. Only 27% actually saw a measurable decline in organic traffic.

There are plenty of other nuggets worth reading at:

[ezoic.com...]
5:34 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If all ads on the SERP are grouped into a carousel, this should eat less "vertical" space on the screen, and may be the first organic results will start showing above the fold again ... or not ...

if you see the gif shown in the article it clearly shows that the organic result is below the fold.

But it is not about physical space, it is about what format the content appears in and how much content paid or otherwise Google includes between the page load (top of the page) and when the user sees your organic link. More content equals more distraction and a greater probability that the user will click on something else. It is unclear from the post whether there are any more ads shown than those that are visible but I suspect there must be. What is visible is the main ad, followed by carousel of 3 ads, so 4 total. In which case, there is no more ads added than was there initially.

The key difference is that carousel ui is certainly more eye catching than just a bunch of links marked "Ad". In my view this further obfuscates what is an "Ad" and what isn't. Once in ad is placed in the carousel I think the user will be more focused on scrolling than the "ad" icon.

The mobile SERP is a mess, there are ads, then 1 organic result, then people asked, then video carousel, the a few more organic results, then see more, then ads on and on... Some of those items scroll horizontally, some are accordians, some have images, some have logos, some is text. I doubt that this is an accident, this is by design. There is so much content jammed into to the small screen it makes it impossible for any user to focus or pay attention to the smaller details.

This is Cognitive dissonance by design. What's an ad, what's a Google link, what's legitimately organic is secondary, if not impossible see. The only thing that remain constant are the links, same color same font (size can vary). The links are the same for ads, for youtube carousels, image carousels, rich snippets, knowledge graph, organic results. So what does user do? The user focuses on the link text and tunes everything else out.

This brings us back to the issue of the brand icons. Previously one had the green "ad" icon on the ads and nothing on the organic and other results. Simple, green == ad, not green != ad. But now they introduced the brand icons, now every website has an icon of a different color, this essentially makes all these icon invisible to the user.

I'm predicting FTC intervention here at some point in the future.
5:49 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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i am agree with all what you are saying @NickMNS, I would just add, do users mind taping on an ad or on an organic result?
5:52 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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do users mind taping on an ad or on an organic result?

As it stands now, I doubt that the user even realizes the difference. The user simply clicks on a blue link and it takes them to content.
6:11 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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with google continuing down this route trying to serve more and more ads and trying to make them less and less distinguishable to the user from organic results it is and will have several effects.

Taking into account that a large percentage of users do not know the difference between an ad or an organic result:

- the perceived quality of results for the user will get worse and worse as ads are often not relevant or as relevant to the user than an organic result. Ads are always, without exception, trying to gain something from the user and are served against targeted keyword , not how suitable the content.

- The more the ratio of ads / organic is skewed towards serving ads then the less of a "Search engine" google becomes. Surely this in combination with all the camouflaging tactics to make ads seem like organic is higher misleading and should have legal consequences. A company that is known as a search engine but in reality is mostly just presenting paid adverts to people yet doing its best to disguise the fact must surely be in breach of several laws. Yes they can and will argue against that but there is so much data there that proves otherwise. They should change the law to require ads to be set off to the side like before, limit the amount of above the fold real estate it can occupy and enforce much clearer rules (or the FTC should actually enforce their rules) for indicating when it is a paid ad.

If you check out the guidelines page on the FTC site [ftc.gov ] you Im sure many of us can spot areas where google could be argued to be going against these guidelines.
Further more , it could be argued that due to the fact that such a large amount of people do not know that the ad links are actually ads and just think they are search results that the landing pages of the sites should be required to clearly state that the user has arrived there via a paid advertisement - that would be very much inline with the FTC guidelines.
6:29 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google It's out of control. Things are reaching the level of scandal if they have not already hit. Common sense tells us that this can not be legal. Only lobbying can explain the silence of the authorities.
6:42 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Milchan
If you check out the guidelines page on the FTC site [ftc.gov ] you Im sure many of us can spot areas where google could be argued to be going against these guidelines.

This is the brilliance of this whole ruse. All the ads are clearly marked as ads. No one can argue that they didn't know it wasn't an ad. It is written there in plain site, just above each link. But of course this a slight of hand on the part of Google.

The link below is for a "selective attention test". It is a simple test, you watch people throwing a basketball and you need to count the passes.
[youtube.com...]

Spoiler Alert! --- If you have watched the video, please don't ruin it for others.

The theory behind the video, was certainly applied in the design and testing of Google's UI. They have always bragged about how much they test and are constantly improving the UI.

Given this, and the current political situation in terms of regulatory practices I think it would be very unlikely that FTC would even question this.
7:10 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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A lot of “researchers” on my website
This 910 message thread spans 31 pages: 910