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Update Maverick : Google Updates and SERP Changes - July 2019

     
3:09 pm on Jul 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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System: The following message was cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4947706.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 1:17 pm on Jul 1, 2019 (utc -5)


Many advocate that to combat reliance on visits through Google Search you need to build a brand. Obviously it is not enough.
3:52 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Our website will ping the search engines that the sitemap has been updated.

Do you observe that Googlebot is really fetching your sitemap, following this ping? and do you check when Googlebot is effectively visiting your new page?
3:52 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"churning out a lot of shallow low-quality content at a fast rate"
Can you explain about this one? Any documentation?
4:11 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Aristole Google has created algorithmic penalties as a counter-measure against people who try to "game"

Examples of what the algorithm might look for are:
-- too much keyword targeting
-- too much artificial link-building
-- churning out a lot of shallow low-quality content at a fast rate
-- subtle signs that the person is posing as more fo an expert and authority than he os she actually is


And its not working.

I have a few authoritative sites that have hemorrhaged traffic since last August. One of them I feel I improved greatly (no search rank improvement).

I could not sit and wait for Google to change their algorithm so I began doing those key things you mention above that technically should be penalized but Google seems to like it. Sad that it had to come to this using BH tactics but no sense going against the current. I'm sure my sites using less unethical SEO methods will eventually tank (I expect them to) but at least this way I can afford to feed my family.

I personally believe that whats ranking now is pitiful even my own sites.

As they say "When in Rome do as the Romans Do"
4:21 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Examples of what the algorithm might look for are:
-- too much keyword targeting
-- too much artificial link-building
-- churning out a lot of shallow low-quality content at a fast rate
-- subtle signs that the person is posing as more fo an expert and authority than he os she actually is

Isn't it possible that Google has simply neutralized such techiques by ignoring the signals that they send? If so, that wouldn't be an "algorithmic penalty," it would simply mean that traditional SEO ploys aren't working as well as they did in the past.
4:32 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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On the one hand, I agree with Aristotle that it seems like an algorithmic penalty because traffic is just flat, no growth at all. When it seems that a "penalty" has been lifted, I see natural upwards growth over time.

But then, I see the exact same rises and drops as some big sites who have millions of views a month and not just thousands. It's just the scale of the rises and drops were different, but they happened with the same core updates.

I feel completely lost and have no idea what to do anymore. But to answer some of Aristotle's points:

1. I write naturally and the only targetting I do is use the google autosuggest or autocomplete to find keyword phrases and use them as H1 and partially in other headers. I've never thought about KW density ever. And never needed to before..

2. Never built any links. Any links I do get seem to be from forums and new sites with new bloggers with no authority. Does asking people for links really work? JM suggested in a video (and I'm paraphrasing) just reach out and say: "I have a good site, you have a good site, and we have the same goal, maybe you could link to me." People will do something for nothing these days? All I can see coming from this approach is rejection in the health niche.

3. About 170 posts in a year (either newly published or rewritten). I also target topics that are not covered at all or covered properly. So, I would often rank in the top 10 within minutes after publishing. I can't prove my pages are quality here, but after 16 years of experience and research, I know my stuff.

A few things I can think of which might be issues for me:

- I discovered close to 200 Soft 404's created by Wordfence plugin (now 175). I only have about 170 actual blog posts. But the soft 404 pages were not indexed, so does it matter? Since I put up a URL parameter and deleted WF, it now shows over 1000 pages with the Wordfence URL but with a proper canonical tag. Still waiting for it all the WF soft 404 pages to resolve.

- I have a rel="canonical" tag on my blog spot to my WordPress site. Before recovery in March, these backlinks pointing to Blogspot disappeared in search console. They appeared again a few weeks later but didn't seem to negatively affect rankings. Many of the links are from Blogspot blogroll list on the sidebar. That was what people used to do back in 2006.

- I am not well known in the "____ community." I tend to keep to myself and primarily focused on writing content. Most of the well-known people are all on Youtube and live in the US. I'm not in the US and don't do YT... I'm just better at writing than being on camera. If people were to ask who I am.. most probably wouldn't know. I guess this is a problem.

I've started to join forums and post every day.. just helping people. I'm also commenting on other people's blogs. This is probably gonna take a while...

[edited by: whoa182 at 4:41 pm (utc) on Jul 7, 2019]

4:34 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"churning out a lot of shallow low-quality content at a fast rate"
Can you explain about this one? Any documentation?

This would be a variation of the old "content farm" strategy generally associated with Google's well-known Panda penalty.
4:48 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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the only targetting I do is use the google autosuggest or autocomplete to find keyword phrases

Well in my opinion google may not like that. Because it could mean that you only write articles about topics that you think have the potential to bring in a lot of traffic. That's actually what I meant by "too much" keyword targeting.
5:00 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I know plenty of sites that are using this method to find topics to write about and are doing amazingly well. They also happen to be hobby related sites, none of them in health.

I'm not saying that I use it word for word, but to get topic ideas. And I only pretty much only go for keywords that are under 250 US searches a month. Usually, I'd go for any between 10-250. So I wasn't exactly expecting massive amounts of traffic lol... but as you probably know, you would start ranking for shorter variations if relevant that would add a lot more.
5:07 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well in my opinion google may not like that. Because it could mean that you only write articles about topics that you think have the potential to bring in a lot of traffic. That's actually what I meant by "too much" keyword targeting.


So looks like the new SEO is to make sure your titles are not SEO optimized. Keep the titles confusing and convoluted instead of to the point. And write about topics that no one wants to read about. :)

Or perhaps, 80% non-keyword focused articles that no one is searching for, 20% keyword specific articles that people are searching for.
5:16 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So looks like the new SEO is to make sure your titles are not SEO optimized.

Or write titles naturally and optimized for human readers ...

Keep the titles confusing and convoluted instead of to the point.

So if a title is not SEO-ed, then it's confusing?
6:00 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Or write titles naturally and optimized for human readers ...


You also have to keep in mind that you need to be descriptive in as few words as possible so the title is not truncated.

If you're using Google suggestions as a topic idea, you're literally giving people what they want.. what they are searching for. As someone who does a lot of research, it's not gotten easier to find what I want.. because Google is ignoring keywords. Seriously, just give me what I want... what I typed in... Maybe I'm the only one who does a lot of research that finds it harder than before to find relevant articles.

If you're a news website, writing a natural sounding headline is probably easier than if you're a health or ecommerce website and want to be 'to the point'.

Do you think that sites like Healthline aren't using similar methods and tools to SEO their titles? I'm not really doing anything that fantastically different from them or any other major site when it comes to making my SEO descriptive enough to make it searchable.

Some examples:

"how to start a red widget for beginners". Is that too SEO'd now?

"top widget 3s without/with pink paint"

Is that too SEO'd?

I have a couple of articles like that where I have done the research for people because the products are fairly difficult to find. And providing them the only widget products without pink paint. Now, there are no articles on the first page which answers this question. And even more funny, all the ads at the top include widgets with pink paint.

If I walk into a shop, I want the product to tell me what it is. Same with the SERPs.

Anyway, the method I described is used by a couple of guys who have a lot of sites, many of them over 400K to millions of views a month. They've never been hit by an update.

And if it were related to titles, why up and down like a yo-yo? despite not changing...
[imgur.com...]

[edited by: whoa182 at 6:32 pm (utc) on Jul 7, 2019]

6:30 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Or be Quora.

They can do whatever they want and still rank first for everything.
6:38 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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As an ecomm site my impressions and CTR used to resemble a mountain range, the peaks and troughs were linked or crossed over each other at various points.

Now you could sail a ship between impressions and CTR, I am also getting traffic from random countries inside and outside outside Europe like Egypt, I only target my home country due to the postage costs.

The other difference I have noticed with my non converting traffic is they are only landing on category URL's not product, this applies to Google shopping too which has also tanked but was working well. The search queries do not match the clicks and landing pages.

From a look at GSC Google are serving up the wrong URL even though the products are indexed, watching "analytics tv" has become my new hobby
6:41 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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As someone who does a lot of research, it's not gotten easier to find what I want.. because Google is ignoring keywords. Seriously, just give me what I want... what I typed in...


Have found the same thing. It almost looks like the result pages are a bit stubborn.

For instance, when I search for 'sitename keyword', I am looking for results from that particular site. But instead, I get link to a different site as the first listing. The site I am searching for is listed second. I don't care if the site is penalized or not, just give me what I am searching for! But it looks like Google insists that it knows better than you at what you are 'really' looking for.

I have also found that for some websites, when I search for the 'sitename', I actually get the first result to the most linked to page on that site. The homepage of the site is listed 2nd. It's clear that I want to go to the homepage of the site and not some internal page, but Google insists that it knows better.

Imagine going to a shop and asking for a hamburger only for the shopkeeper to tell you, 'nah, nah, nah, here's a veggieburger', I know that's what you 'really' want.
7:14 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So if a title is not SEO-ed, then it's confusing?


Wrong choice of words, my bad. Let me rephrase. I would say SEO titles are straightforward and to the point as compared to creative titles that can be a little more wordy and even click-baity.

Here's an example:

1. 5 Proven Ways to Cure a Cold Instantly! (SEO)
2. Your Cold Will Vanish In a Few Hours If You Use This Amazing Technique! (Non-SEO)

I would say there is nothing wrong in either of these titles, but if Google wants the non-seo version, who are we to say no.

Interestingly, when I write NON-SEO titles (from here on), I am actually doing SEO, cause I am simply catering to what Google needs.
7:40 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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You should try to choose the title that best conveys to searchers what the article is about.

You should also write your articles for your readers, not for Google.

This is what I've always done, and I'm pretty sure that it's never hurt any of my sites' google rankings.
7:58 pm on July 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I would write it :

"Cure a Cold: 5 Proven Ways & Amazing Techniques"

Optimized for human readers. Put the "important" information first; then the details, no matter where the title will be truncated, the core of the subject will be seen first.
1:36 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Or write titles naturally and optimized for human readers ...

Exactly. Think of a search result as a free ad: It needs a headline (in this case, a title) that will draw readers in. Clumsy, keyword-stuffed titles designed for crawlers just encourage searchers to look elsewhere on the SERP for something worth clicking.
2:44 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Who is saying anything about keyword-stuffed titles and titles designed for crawlers?

Of course, I would modify the Google suggestions to make it grammatically correct and for the reader. Many of my top articles in position 1-3 would have 40-50% CTR (or more!). Even articles lower down had a really good CTR. People were clicking just fine. And my conversions were very good (20% on Amazon).

The titles are just descriptive without too much fluff. And the ingredients (mc) is what's on the tin (so to speak).

Yes, Dimitri... that's similar to how I structure titles. I don't copy and paste from Google suggestions. You guys are misunderstanding me. I make sure they are for users and grammatically correct... that they make sense and give the user a clear idea what the article is about.

yikes! lol.

I went through quite a lot of my posts tonight and 90% of the articles (main keyword) ranks number #1 on Yahoo, Bing, and DDG.

Anyway, I'm working on offsite efforts. This is what my competitors did when they were hit with core updates that wiped out all their traffic... They focused on links and outreach and now they're doing very well because of it.

I'll report back when I recover.
3:34 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The SERPs right now look like a mixture of exact and related results.

The first 2 results are exact (keyword matched) and directly address the user's query. Then there are a few results that are indirectly (horizontally) related to the user's query. After that, again there are a few that are exact match and so on.

Not sure about others, but I did rather prefer that all results are directly related to my query.
8:18 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Are those people that saw a lift last week stills seeing that trend. it feels very quiet at the moment.... disappointing to see no signs of a reversal.
8:23 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The exclusive or original content actually used to rank 1st before the June update. It's a news story and its position doesn't matter on SERPs, but my point is that I am not even able to rank for a story that I published first and others linked back to me.

Speaking of Google News, every article is at the last position of the last page.

It doesn't really matter how I write the article, how many backlinks it receives, it's not ranking anymore (on SERPs or Google News). The update is deliberately pushing me down... to the bottom of the page.

On the other hand, articles are ranking on Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo :)
8:54 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I haven't been outranked by scrapers. All are legit and good sites with millions of monthly visitors, and DR of 70+ on Ahrefs (if that matters).

It's happening to every single article after the update.
10:42 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Do you have AMP Mayank? It's a requirement for news sites nowadays.

Do you also have some syndicated content on the site from elsewhere? If you do, noindex those. There was a Google News update earlier this year that targeted publishers that repost content. Large publishers still get away with that...sites with lower authority don't anymore.
10:47 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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aristotle - You should also write your articles for your readers, not for Google.

thats was true about 5-6 years ago, now if you do NOT make the article for google you will rank no where.

ex.
Title: Brownies receipt
Text maybe 100-200 words, thats enough to describe how to bake it. 1-2 images.

Do you think that would rank, NO. Would this be in the best interest of a user, YES, easy to read right to the point.
10:59 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@topaz Yes, I have AMP and News schema. And I don't have syndicated content.
11:42 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@mayankParmar - Does @topas mean by repost syndicated content or content that has been spun into new content? (ie Forbes posts an article and then you post a similar article with a linkback to Forbes with your own opinions etc. included in your article)
11:57 am on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Dimitri - I haven't checked in a while but Google use to visit my sitemap soon after a ping of new content.

In reality the only way Google can reasonable be sure who owns the content is where it finds it first along with the reputation of the site. It can't trust published dates.

My content gets scrapped all the time but for the most part I don't find the scrapped content ranking in the first few pages anymore compared to 3 or 5 years ago (why it ranks at all I don't know). Then again my content is not time sensitive news. Google probably ranks new content it finds using a more simple algo that is not processor expensive and then goes back later and does a more in-depth ranking where it does a more detail search on duplicate content etc...
4:59 pm on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar Google probably thinks that you are engaged in buying paid links and hence has kept your site under the scanner.


@equidistant Simply not true. If Google thought a website was 'engaged' in buying paid links they would get a penalty notification. That is very rare unless you are one of those SEOs that uses mostly black hat techniques extensively. If Google finds no value in back links to a site they will ignore the links. @MayankTarmar has other issues most likely that are affecting the site.

Google is having an extremely hard time figuring out natural links from unnatural links. One of the main reasons for this is that people have figured out ways to make unnatural links look so natural. So much that it is the Natural links that have started looking Unnatural!


Not true. One of the main areas of focus for black hat SEOs this year has been protecting PBNs from Google because they have gotten so good at uncovering them. Penguin has been around since 2012 and it has evolved to be very good at distinguishing sites with good back links from sites with bad back links. How do I know? Because many of my black hat sites with authority that was mostly just from spammy back links have been devalued over the past years and no longer rank.
5:15 pm on July 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In reality the only way Google can reasonable be sure who owns the content is where it finds it first along with the reputation of the site.

Exactly, and it sounds easy, but ...
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