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Google Updates and SERP Changes - August 2019

     
10:07 am on Aug 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 12 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4951811.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 10:33 am on Aug 1, 2019 (utc -5)


Can someone please write in few words, what we have learned from this latest update and what are the thigns that are now important?


1. Don't rely on Google for your income and 2. "They moved your cheese". What's important? quality time with friends and family.
7:58 pm on Aug 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It made no difference adding “buy” to the search query.

It looks AI was not able to profile me enough to predict how ready I am to buy, where to buy from and so on... Personalisation in one word
10:01 pm on Aug 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The vast majority of webpages are either spam or worthless garbage. For some search queries, there might not be anything better for google's algorithm to show. So it has to choose betwen worthless garbage or less-relevant results.
1:40 am on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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There difintely are better results and other search engines are showing them. If there is one thing I would say since all the recent updates Google has definitely broken the mold.
4:19 am on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Sometimes I wonder. Does the fact that you spend more on the creation of your content (i.e., paying writers to write content, the corollary being that you have more resources to spend more on your marketing), necessarily mean that your content is better? Google seems to think so.
8:45 am on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In my niche too, there are garbage websites or new websites with various issues and they are ranking above me after the June update. It also looks like a guy has created more than one websites and both of the sites are ranking.
9:29 am on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I stupidly made some improvements right after the June update.

My traffic improved a bit but I think Google just corrected my traffic back to previous levels. Squished all the benefit out of my improvements just to put me back to previous traffic levels, ignoring that I made any at all.

I hate correctional serp changes.
3:34 pm on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Our traffic (including Google traffic) has been up noticeably in recent days. When I look at the numbers for landing pages, it does seem that already-successful pages about our most popular [destination + theme] topics are driving the increase, but the pattern isn't 100% consistent.
3:49 pm on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Insofar as current traffic is concerned, August for my widget industry is always absolutely dire with many companies on complete shutdowns and with Joe Public doing likewise, it's a great time for doing site updates for when they all return to researching, enquiring and buying in September.

Bearing this in mind it's impossible for me to judge anything G has, or has not, done.
3:52 pm on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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There was a brief bump up in traffic at the end of July through August 6th...then whammo, right back down to previous levels. Google's algo makes no sense whatsoever these days, it strikes me as sheer traffic suppression and that's that
4:10 pm on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I just noticed another one of my sites is beginning to regain pre-August 2018 rankings. I have made no changes, it's in the health/fitness niche only time will tell if it continues the upward trend.
5:12 pm on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Bearing this in mind it's impossible for me to judge anything G has, or has not, done.

We're subject to the "seasonal effect," too. For the last two decades, our travel-planning site's traffic has consistently built toward a peak in early summer, then had a slight dip in August (when people are on vacation), usually with another peak later in August as other people are planning their fall trips. Because of that, I like to compare year-over-year traffic. (The comparison isn't perfect, but it does provide insights.)
11:58 pm on Aug 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is anyone else suffering from Google's own featured snippets (e.g. weather, flights, finance, sports, etc.)? I feel like it's getting worse and the percentage of search results that do not actually click through to non-Google websites seem to be increasing all the time.
5:18 am on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Article from a big site that was hit by Google about their experience over the past year with Google and these algorithm changes.
[selfhacked.com...]
7:07 am on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Article from a big site that was hit by Google about their experience over the past year with Google and these algorithm changes. [selfhacked.com...]


Very well written article, definitely a must read. Thanks for the share.

Lots of interesting bits of information, found this one quite interesting. Google seems to have penalized the author's website but ranks his article when it is on medium:

Taken from the SH article: "If we look at the actual content, we will see that the Medium post is unreliable, not sourced, and not thorough. (Interestingly, Google penalized his main site, but trusts his content when it’s on Medium for some odd reason.)"
7:44 am on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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*writes about their experience...

Yup, I thought that was a really interesting point as well. It's very similar to my own and other people's experiences.
10:31 am on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It is not only the health sector where this has been occurring. My own widget trade has seen a lot more of this skewing of information especially in favour of US company scraper sites meanwhile, as he said:

The result of this interference is that Google now delivers and promotes objectively bad information on health topics. Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo deliver much better search results.
10:54 am on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google isn't a simple search engine like Bing. It has always been controlling/regulating search results.
11:29 am on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I second @Redbar, not only health niches were affected by their recent updates. I have a tech info/news/tutorial site that was badly affected by the June update, and that is the first time the site have been penalized since it was launched in 2011. There may have been some pressure and questions about the motive of the June update and that's why Google is "talking more" about its core update, "more than it usually does". There was no much debacles and response of various manner from Google when the March and last year August updates rolled out, not to this extent.

I think something is definitely wrong on Google's end, and more so considering various bugs that have been plaguing the serp since the June update. But we can't expect them as a company to openly accept that. They are taking caution now, the next core update will determine the true fate of many websites. At the moment, there is nothing to worry about and there is still hope if you were impacted by the June update. I'm not even worrying.

There are unusual googlebots crawling of specifics pages on my site since June. The crawling does not appeared random - the pages are crawled in a list manner at least every three weeks. It happened yesterday again. The same pages over and over. These were pages that drove nearly 75% of traffic to my site before June after which they were demoted by the updates.

I think Google is working on something.
12:33 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Regarding SelfHacked:

Very well written article. While the medical niche was obviously targeted (they had an update named after them) they are not the only ones affected. Our niche (not even closely related) has been bombarded with big media websites doing fluff pieces and getting ranked above everyone else. Just like WebMD and the others John mentions in the Health niche.

The health niche in my opinion is no better off before than now after the update (I have on going issues and regularly search the niche for info). Health search queries could in some cases mean life or death, (unlike my niche where someone would just be out a few dollars if things don't work out) so Google had to do something. Obviously what they did, didn't help much, if at all.

Google has a lot of problems, ads everywhere, the serps are a mess and the latest widgets are designed just to keep you on their site with the endless circle of useless queries. John's post while well written and explains in great detail what is wrong with the main health institution sites fails to also state that before the update things were not that good either. 99% of the natural health websites out there are completely rubbish and are just trying to get you to just buy something (just like the rest of the web). Most natural health products are unregulated so you can't even go to the manufactures website and trust what they say, IMO medicine is medicine, I don't care if it is "natural" or cooked up in some research facility. If it works and backed up by the proper research then I will use it. The problem is a portion of the general public is not very smart (and when it comes to health) can be very desperate and willing to believe and try anything.

Google does need to move back to more what the intent of the users search is while still trying to keep the worse out.

Unfortunately/fortunately most of the information on the internet is free. While this was a boon in many ways it also created a lot of problems that no mere algorithm will ever solve completely.
1:41 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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John's post while well written and explains in great detail what is wrong with the main health institution sites fails to also state that before the update things were not that good either. 99% of the natural health websites out there are completely rubbish and are just trying to get you to just buy something (just like the rest of the web).

So that sector was (is) flooded with quackery and google felt that they needed to take action against it.
2:03 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Most natural health products are unregulated so you can't even go to the manufactures website and trust what they say, IMO medicine is medicine, I don't care if it is "natural" or cooked up in some research facility. If it works and backed up by the proper research then I will use it.

Adding EAT solves nothing, the beauty of the web is that it was uncensored. IMO what good is a censored web?

It should be up to the users to think for themselves (yes use their brain) and make educated decisions.

Searching the web for a medical condition should not be any different than being diagnosed with a severe illness and trusting the first doctor that makes the diagnosis, I'll be damned if I am not going to do my own research and get a second and third opinion from other doctors if need be.

Google does need to move back to more what the intent of the users search is while still trying to keep the worse out.

Google supposedly being the more advanced search engine should not have a problem keeping the worse out. The strange thing is why don't other search engines have these problems yet are "supposedly" less sophisticated?

So that sector was (is) flooded with quackery and google felt that they needed to take action against it.


Have you seen the sites that outrank the keywords mentioned in the article? Those ranking are pure quackery and Google has ranked them above better articles with detailed info and references.
2:57 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I had a better week last week, so it seems I haven't picked up any penalties or anything else serious, but numbers are still down YOY which is a concern. I suppose others could have been working harder than us in the period, quite possible.
2:58 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anyone starting to worry that this June Reversal might never come yet?
3:43 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anyone starting to worry that this June Reversal might never come yet?


Nope, it won't be reversed therefore stop worrying and try and live with whatever has happened to your niche.

I'm being realistic, that's all.
3:57 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I will wait for another core update before worrying/realizing that recovery is not possible.
4:33 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Examine got hit hard too

[examine.com...]
5:48 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Mayank the GA graph shown in the article shown in the Examine article looks almost identical to mine. Big drop in March 2018, followed by a non-stop slow bleed.
11:20 pm on Aug 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I counted at least (yes at least, maybe more) 7 ad units in a selfhacked article which IMO is quite a lot.

I wouldn't say they are intrusive as the articles are quite in-depth, making the ad-units reasonably spread out.

But wow, I don't know, Google algorithm's might not look at it that way. They might just scan the page and say SEVEN ad units! Low quality!

Having said that WebMD is also splattered with just as many ads and, IMO, more intrusive ones.
1:58 am on Aug 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My apologies if this update on Googles indexing issue was already posted.

But if not, here is an explanation. [webmasters.googleblog.com...]
6:37 am on Aug 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@jmorgan Pretty sure many other sites have more than 7 ads and even video ads, yet they do better on SERPs.
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