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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]

12:14 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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We were getting around 2 Million a month and it's Million now its around 4000 a day WTF, the site is 4 years old website with a thousand of authority links and really well updated content.
Now what's ranking
The site with with a lot of link ads and outdated Content the funniest thing is that I have seen some idiotic sites which don't even have the correct information just writing for so called SEO keyword optimisation thing are ranking above us.
So basically it means there is no mean of authority, updated content and better site staructure.
12:33 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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We were getting around 2 Million a month and it's Million now its around 4000 a day WTF, the site is 4 years old website with a thousand of authority links and really well updated content.


4000 or 40000 a day?
if 4000 a day so your month has 300 days (1 million a month).. are you on planet earth or jupiter?
1:29 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Trying to index some new posts but getting an error message from Google...

I just was checking a few articles and interestingly, an interview I did with someone was #1 on Google for the keyword phrase, but now instead of my article in the SERP, a Reddit share and forum shares of my post are ranking instead of my actual post that was shared. Edit: and a snippet from an interview he did in... 2009 with a big news website. My interview is from 2019.

Also, a problem I was having before has shown up again: copied content that links me as the original source is ranking instead of my article.

Seeing so many issues again now. :( Perhaps some of these are just because Google is still processing everything?
3:23 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is a long post but if you're suffering from a traffic drop, please read.

I am writing this post in order to gain more information on what is happening in the SEO space with Google right now, and to help members get a better grasp on the state of SEO in 2019.

After being active in this forum for a few months (lurking mostly), I have come to the conclusion that in 2019 the way our sites rank in Google have less to do with us making SEO changes and more to do with factors outside our control.

This is why.

Here you can find screenshots of my site traffic from December 2018 to present day: [imgur.com...]

Here you can see the biggest algorithmic change to my site by month: [imgur.com...]

Some background: After the big medic update in October my site lost 30% traffic.

I took a deep hard look at my site and I had to agree with Google, my site wasnít as optimised for SEO as it should be and my rankings lowered. I wasnít paying attention and was just coasting along while others sites were improving.

I waited a few months to see if things would change but they didnít. So in December I joined Ahrefs/SEMrush and took action on my site.

I did all of the following:

* removed 35% of pages from my site that were causing bloat and no organic traffic
* created a whole internal link building strategy to ensure every page had at least 3 relevant internal links to each article (you can see the results of this below)
* upgraded to HTTPS
* installed a CDN with cloudfare
* got my website load time down from 3 seconds to less than 1 second
* got my Google Page Insights up from 60 to 85 on mobile and 60 to 99 on desktop (see photo)
* changed web host to reduce my TTFB from 2.2 seconds to less than 400ms.
* decreased bounce rate by 10.40% (photo below)
* increased average session duration by 44% (photo below)
* Increased pages/session by 23% (photo below)
* updated older articles
* wrote articles about super relevant things and during these months I got quite a few relevant backlinks from high quality sites.

I did not hire anyone or do any black hat marketing. I have no manual penalties and never have on any of my sites.

After making all these changes in December and early January I made no other major SEO changes to my site.

You can see my on-site website performance increased after these changes were made: [imgur.com...]

Here is my Page speed insights: [imgur.com...]

I could post my TTFB and response times to show they are under 500ms but I think you get the point.

You need to ignore sessions/new users/users/page views as the comparison is from current day to November before changes were made, and at current day Iíve lost quite a lot of traffic. As you can see my site has -22% less users NOW after making the changes above.

Since making these changes the following has happened to my site:

December = 34% increase
February = 11% increase
March = 22% increase
April = 14% decrease
June = 46% decrease (and going lower)

After doing all that my website is 22% lower than before I made any of these changes and its going lower. Today is not over and Iíve lost another 20% on yesterday which was a 40%- down.

Iím not here to bash Google because for the past 5 years Iíve been able to make an income because of their platform and Iím thankful.

But for me after listening to what Google has been saying for the 9 months, following Ahrefs/SemRush/Brain Dean and the other big players in SEO, after the improvements I've made to my site, I don't get how I'm doing worse. My site today is better, faster, updated, more relevant and has more relvent backlinks today than pre 2019.

How can I have 4 months of great increases followed by a huge thud that knocks me lower than before I improved my site? That doesn not make sense unless Google is using something to rank sites that I don't know about (if I missed anything do let me know).

Iím an info site and I run no adsense, I donít sell products and less than 1% of my entire site has affiliate links. No pop-ups or email forms.

Iím not doing any of the newb things like having dozens of external links on the home page or anything like that. Itís just an info site that is 6+ years old. Of all my competitions I rank #2 in terms of PA and DA for my site overall. I'm the second oldest site in my niche with the second best backlink profile based on Ahrefs and Semrush.

With these experiences, I believe something wrong with the Google Algorithm, or they are ranking sites using new metrics that nobody knows about, in which case it would be wonderful of them to tell us.

When I search on Google today I do get directed to the right pages so I donít think Google is broken totally, but something is going on with their algorithm and updates that doesnít make much sense.

This drop has killed my siteís revenue by 90%, the revenue it made would be enough to cover a family with 2 children. I am lucky that I still have other income steams (a digital marketing agency) so I can still put food on the table and Iím fairly young with no children. But now I need to get more clients as Iím living pretty thin if things stay the way they are.

But thereís are people out there with children and bills to pay and this has is how they feed their family. I cannot imagine what they are going through.

Iím not saying Google should not make changes to search, they have to do become better and stay #1.

But in the eyes of most web masters (based on the comments in this forum, SEOroundtable and other SEO forums I donít think I can mention) most people have a negative perception for the Google Search term.

And that should not be the case, admins and Google should be on Good terms because they need us just as much as we need them.

I think this can be resolved by Google letting us know what their algorithm changes are focusing on so people like me and others who depend on their website to feed their family, a chance to make a living.

Saying itís a board update which doesnít relate to any one thing doesnít help a single webmaster, and pretty much leaves Google off the hook, which is why they say these types of things.

As a web admin I am sitting here thinking what can I do to improve my sites rankings, I honestly think the best thing I can do is to do nothing and see what happens in the next update, based on all the comments of websites going up and down on this forum.

If the level of communication between web admins and Google does not improve, I donít think Google is going to dominate search in 10 years.

Google is isolating the people who made their search what is it, I think when you start burning us without advising us on how to improve our sites with better information youíre in a dangerous place.

I donít want Google to roll back the changes or give me my traffic back, I know I'm not entitled to the traffic and I don't want it give to me, I want to do the best I can with my site so I get the traffic I deserve. But in order to do that I need to know what caused this huge drop of and how I can remedy it.

I don't think I'm alone in this either. So Google, can you please start communicating with us better and become human being rather than being cryptic and distant.

I have the following theories based on what I've seen and experience in the last 9 month:

1. Google is using something to rank sites that most of us including the expert don't know about.

2. Google search is broken. This is based on my site seeing high surges in traffic after making positive SEO changes, only to be at record lows today

3. Google search is fixed. The past updates that shot my website up were algorithm update that made search worse, and the latest algorithm update fixed them. But if this is true that means Google made errors in past updates.

4. Roll out is not fully rolled out and everything will go back to normal. This is the least likely theory based on how many people are seeing huge drops based on sentiment online.

It would be great if more people posted what they did and what changes they have saw so we can get a better idea on what we are dealing with. Feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do my best to answer.

:)
4:02 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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And that should not be the case, admins and Google should be on Good terms because they need us just as much as we need them.


Really? Google needs us as much as we need them? (waaaahaaaahaaaahaaa!)
They are a monopoly and we live or die at their whim.... That's the reality. You're assuming that Google will naturally prioritize the best content for their users over the highest profit for themselves, and that hasn't been the case for a while now.

I've been at this 16 years with Google and feel fortunate to get in early and make my money. But at this point Google is not to be trusted in the slightest. If your site dies there is an endless supply of content to replace it!

None of us will be able to survive just off organic anymore, the field is being strongly tilted toward the big brand players who have huge budgets and ad spends and the environment is becoming hostile to small business and independent sites.

Google is really a utility now, but it's operating as an unregulated corporation which exists to maximize shareholder value. Unless that changes its only going to get worse because Google is under relentless pressure to raise quarterly profits. The rest of us are going to be the collateral damage that's all.
4:29 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar Hold on it might improve today!
4:32 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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We can only talk about google that's it and cry.
we follow google because it has big ocean and we are fish and brands are big fish.

we can't do any thing about it. if big fish got hit than will somthing happen . other wise do or die.
4:39 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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google calculating that need publishers less and less..and more earning from search in google..this is ok for understand...but ads on search on google is more expensive so google will be pushed with time by competition..and big competition players who has same big money ...they will attack google over regulators...goverments etc...things started in this direction...(EU..USA) enough for start is pay few billions a year..with time who know what will be..competition has people in important levels in goverments..google really can finnish in bankrupt if try all time escape from regulators and ignoring publishers..line beetwen much earning and all losing is very weak..tiny...and costs for resources are fixed or bigger every month...
4:47 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well, I saw a noticeable drop in traffic despite my rankings mostly appearing stable. Unfortunately the search console is a few days behind so I can't perform any analysis until a few days later.
6:45 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My site was hit by Medic update. Took 50% of the traffic. Barring minor fluctuations, the site has stayed the same way till May update which brought the traffic down by 25% further.

This update has resulted in 40% increase from pre-update levels. I am not sure though how long would this last.

Earlier, I was thrilled when I gained traffic. It stayed. Now a danger of being struck lurks.

I did not do major changes in the site. But I did revise all of the articles for language and grammar. I do not think that helped.

Last month, I took off my glossary pages because they had thin content. And they formed about one-third of the site.

I am also not sure if that was the reason for earlier hit and the increase is due to taking those pages off.

Let us see how long it lasts.

Its a health site.
7:18 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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well and truly limping this morning. We've been hit hard by this. I hope it doesnt last at all.
8:20 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@whoa182 I am on the same boat. Irrelevant posts are ranking above, new sites with crappy content are ranking because they did keyword stuffing in bold text format.

The update is deliberately pushing me to the last position. I fail to understand how horse racing, American racing, and other random topics should be ranked above me for technology keywords on G News.

It is as worse as a manual penalty.
8:56 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ichthyous,I'm talking about a magical Utopia of course. Without webmasters updating their sites and and creating value, people will stop using Google and turn to social/amazon and other networks to get the content they are looking for. Of course this will not happen overnight but over the space of 5-10 years.


They do need us in the long term if they want to stay on top, in the short term if they ignore us and keep doing that then they will be overtaken by someone who is willing to listen.

[edited by: BangkokBaby at 9:04 am (utc) on Jun 6, 2019]

9:04 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,

I have recently noticed my website keywords visibility down 5-10%. Is there any Google Algo update between June 02-05 2019? Please explain.

Regards
Paul

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:59 am (utc) on Jun 6, 2019]
[edit reason] read forum Charter [/edit]

9:14 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BangkokBaby: Your post really hit a nerve with me. My website has gone through exectly the path you described.

It is like I'm reading my own story, eerily similar (except maybe for site age: my website is even older: almost 15 years). And after nine months of endless improvements, increasing frustration and often questioning my own judgment, I am just happy to read your story. Maybe I'm not going crazy after all.

Like you, I don't expect any favours, I don't expect my site to always be number one - I have some very good competitors and that is fine. But now to be constantly overtaken by four or five demonstrably questionable websites (several not "in their own lane" as Google instructs us, hardly any content, one not on https, one other not mobile-friendly), just sucks the life out of me.

The more so because I have to feed people with my websites.

I take these things seriously, I have to. I work hard for better content, better interface, better code, higher speed, better you-name-it. And I have always liked Google, I don't mean to bash them. But to have the people there acting as if everything is fine, telling us to "just build great content", is now just insulting to me.

End of rant :)
9:21 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is best explained by the air conditioner analogy.

I knew weather would work it's way into this one way or another. ;)

The only traffic increase I see is the mad dash to WebmasterWorld to post questions confirming a collective nightmare.

Oh, and BTW....EG never gets negatively affected by updates. YMMV.
9:28 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Paul_Belly:Is there any Google Algo update between June 02-05 2019?

Nope ... :)
9:32 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Bangkok Baby - you're doing one thing wrong...not spending enough on ADWORDS. Of course I am just pullin' your funny bone there. The cause of all these losses has got to be AI. BUT, Google, being the paragon of 'Black Box' will never reveal the smoke and mirrors they employ. +1 for your post tho.
Enjoy what is left, because after 20+ years online, I'm afraid to say this is the "new normal" for online "free" enterprise..
9:53 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi Everyone,
I have read the post here and i can say that even i'm not untouched by this issue. My website is also recording an unusual drop in traffic and ranking all of sudden and even i'm not able to figure what's wrong. 19th May was a date when i first noticed any change.
Pls suggest me anything which i can make on the website.
10:10 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Bangkok Baby - That was a good write up, but there are issues I see in your post.

1) "Big SEO Players" - Meh, most of them just spout the same old rubbish and suck up to Google. I stopped reading their rubbish and BS YEARS ago and survived well :)

2) Google Communication - There's absolutely no chance they will tell us, or anyone else what this update entails. John, Gary and Danny are just puppets to get all us webmasters to do what they say. Salesmen basically.

3) Google needs us - Lol, they don't. They never will. They will only need you when you start paying big money through their ad system.

Google is becoming more and more like a directory each day. You gotta pay to play. Google it will just become a shopping ad engine, trying to compete with Amazon.

Yes, Google has allowed us to make a decent living, but there's a cost attached to that, and anyone that relies solely on Google is at risk. At any point.

Google says jump, and all these "experts" say how high?

UPDATE: Forgot to add, that I'm not seeing anything major for the Financial Services sector in the UK., apart from the usual ranking flux.

V
10:40 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Clickby, I am glad it hit a nerve and resonated. I wanted to post and let others like me who are doing their absolutely best that you're not the only one. It's easy to go crazy when your revenue goes to zero which can impact other areas of our lives. The more people I know who resonate with my post the more I think that Google are getting a lot of these algos updates wrong and are going to improve it.

At the end of the day Google is only guessing what they think is going to work and they can get it wrong, I think they may have gotten it wrong too many times this year and with the AI I think we will see pretty much the same for the next year or two.
10:53 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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google trying get more leads to their product. that product is Google ADs.

WHEN they push Algo push button. Google ads get more and more customers. and they Enjoy this moment since 2011.
11:00 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BankokBaby: Reading your post and recognizing so much in it actually made me feel better. That's a first in many months! Which is sad really, but hey :-)
I hope you are wrong about the next two years, but I suspect you're not. In any case, I wish you all the best!
Kudos for a very sensible post.
11:13 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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According to SEMrush I gained 30 new top three spots in the last week... From 61 to 91 in total. That's a huge jump, and I'm back in the number one spot for most. But traffic is still down week over week, and at a low point for the last year. What the heck? It seems crazy that now top three ranking refers no traffic.
11:39 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ichthyous What the heck? It seems crazy that now top three ranking refers no traffic.

It depends where your good organic ranking actually appears on the results page, is it even visible in the first screen? Quite possibly not because G is putting a lot of other sites and ads before the organic content now.
11:39 am on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google has been playing with my traffic it's really disgusting.

June 3: 80% BOOST for desktop
June 4: 80% DROP for desktop
June 5: 80% BOOST for desktop
June 6: 80% DROP for desktop

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

What type of update is this people? This just doesn't make sense. Someone please help explain this trash Google is doing. Thanks
12:01 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BangkokBaby

Sorry to hear that.. :(

Same situation. I made all those kinds of improvements, very happy with my site after making them, and thought it was smooth sailing from here.

It's getting worse... about a 60% drop today. Pretty much destroyed my income and site.
12:16 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BangkokBaby,
Google is using something to rank sites that most of us including the expert don't know about.

I would argue that Google is using something that most of us don't want to care about.... Content.

All of the changes you mentioned in your post are technical in nature. Everyone here turns to SEO for the answer. And then everyone complains that none of their SEO changes made any difference and Google should be ashamed of itself for being so terrible.

I have not seen your site, but I have to guess that the problem is your content. If Google does not agree that your content is better than your competition, nothing you do to improve your SEO will help. You can't SEO bad content to the top of the SERPs.

I'm not saying your content is bad. As I said, I have not seen your site. But if you've made every possible SEO improvement and you are still losing traffic, the problem must be the content.

Making SEO changes is easy. Anyone can do it, and everyone does. Yet 99% of people still complain afterwards that nothing they did helped. The other 1%? They focused on content. That's what I do, and it works. The day content takes a back seat to SEO is the day Google really does become lost.

[edited by: Cralamarre at 12:37 pm (utc) on Jun 6, 2019]

12:18 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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According to SEMrush I gained 30 new top three spots in the last week.


I dont really trust any of the tools any more. I started noticing they didn't seem too accurate a while back and I guess it is worse now. I think the problem might be something along the lines of all the tools using a single point in time crawl / check to get their data whilst I believe google results are more fluid/dynamic (I dont have hard evidence for this but it is my gut feeling) based probably a few factors like time of day, amount of traffic your site has already had (I think it is throttled) and things we know about like number of ads, searchers location and others.
In short , I dont think you get a set serp position and what we see (either in normal mode which we know is personalized result or incognito mode) can be very different to what others might see based on all these possible factors. Also, we need to take into consideration that because most people don't use incognito mode they are getting personalized results and we have no way of knowing what those might look like. I think all this is enough to skew any of the tools results to make is something we shouldnt rely on too much.
12:58 pm on June 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre you raise a good point. I could tell you my content is good but that is subjective. My site gets mentioned in forums frequently, I receive emails of thanks and around 4-5 comments per day (well I did before this update :)). My backlink profiles and the site that link me also suggest that my site has somewhat authority and provides value ( I have gained some good links in the past 6 months).

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

If my content were poor I would except to go down with each and every coming update, but as I reached record highs this year followed by a three year record low, I don't think the issue is with my content.

I do agree with your statement that there are lots of web owners low quality content and they are not aware of it and wonder what happened to their rankings.

[edited by: BangkokBaby at 1:00 pm (utc) on Jun 6, 2019]

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