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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.
12:30 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So going back to my post above, Google's original (albeit tongue-in-cheek) motto was "don't be evil". Is hogging more than 50% of searches for your own internal "walled garden" not "being evil" so to speak?

I mean, you're denying the small publishers some much-needed traffic by hogging them to yourselves. Is that not "evil"? Also, is discouraging the development of quality content, by showing publishers that it is harder than ever to get traffic through search, not "evil"?


I don't think it is a coincidence that since Sundar Pichai become CEO things have taken this turn (at least in a much stronger direction). His earnings are strongly tied to bonuses depending on profitability and share price (his wage is consider low for a CEO of a large company at 650K) and if you take a look at the Alphabet share chart you can see it has increased dramatically. His mission is clearly profit above all else.
1:00 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Im seeing changes in the serps in regards formatting etc. Last night I saw that desktop serps where showing favicons next to results and reduced length text descriptions, smaller titles etc and today im seeing no favicons, longer text etc (although results seem about the same). Might just be some kind of A/B testing .
1:52 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Bill Lampert on Seroundtable: "There should be a big update dropping on the 29 or 30. Last weekends test rollout passed all tests. All that I can say is try to get your website visitors to spend as much time on your website as possible."
This will impact affiliate websites, that aim to get visitors out of the website. So, dwell time is a ranking factor now.
2:04 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Bill Lampert on Seroundtable: "There should be a big update dropping on the 29 or 30. Last weekends test rollout passed all tests. All that I can say is try to get your website visitors to spend as much time on your website as possible."


You have a link for that please? Cant find it on SEroundtable
2:15 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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There you go: [seroundtable.com...]
2:30 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is the link I believe [seroundtable.com...] if bounce rate and time spent on site is going to be a potential ranking factor we all know how easy it is to be manipulated.
2:35 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's actually hard to manipulate dwell time because Googlebot is now pretty much a clone of Chrome browser. It can detect real users from robots all the way to a user's home address.

Bad times ahead for the online marketing world.
2:44 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Why do you trust Bill's comment ?
2:49 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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There you go: [seroundtable.com...]


Ok, so it is a comment on an article and not something in an article piece itself.

Forgive my ignorance but is that commentator known as someone that is knowledgeable/proven/? Just trying to gauge if there if there is any merit to that or not.
2:51 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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There is a guy that operates under the name Bill Lambert that has correctly predicted updates in the past, yes
2:54 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's impossible that Bounce Rate will affect rankings. For content like Recipe or Definition it's normal that people found what they want and then leave..
2:55 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's actually hard to manipulate dwell time because Googlebot is now pretty much a clone of Chrome browser. It can detect real users from robots all the way to a user's home address.


I think it would easy enough to create automated users to browse your site in a way that would be very hard to detect. I think I could do it and im not really a programmer (a bit of python knowledge, some proxies and selenium would probably do the trick) , so proper programmers would have no problem.
3:06 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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There is a guy that operates under the name Bill Lambert that has correctly predicted updates in the past, yes


Thanks for that - lets see what happens!


It's impossible that Bounce Rate will affect rankings. For content like Recipe or Definition it's normal that people found what they want and then leave..


Sites/pages are competing in the same niche then the read time should be similar levels for things like recipes, so it might just be in those niches that other factors are used to rank the serps, but in other areas it might be applied.
Problem is though (and this is what your also saying) is that dwell time and bounce rate are always an indicator of user satisfaction. A short dwell time -> bounce could indicate that the user found what they wanted quickly and has no need to stay. A longer dwell time on a page could also indicate that the user is having to wade through lots of information in order to find what they want, sometimes clicking onto another page to see if that contains what they want (Im thinking sites like stackoverflow for instance) in search of their answer.

It is certainly a can of worms and if true will surely add to the myriad of current issues googles search has.
3:27 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For content like Recipe or Definition...

It doesn't matter..., the information is already right in the answer box of the Google SERP, or personal assistant devices, ...
4:32 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google has repeatedly said bounce rate is not a good ranking signal [seroundtable.com ]

I'm doubtful of this rumor, unless the algo would be looking at bounce rate + time. There are a lot of useful sites that probably have high bounce rates e.g JavaScript debuggers and CSS minifiers.

I remember Matt Cutts saying if someone quickly returns to the SERPs then that could indicate a problem, but he also gave the impression that such signal is easily gameable. If this is true, then maybe they've found a solution to that.
5:25 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well, I hope Bill is correct and an update comes out.

Speaking of bounce rate, I have noticed some sites that used scripts to enable homepage redirects on back button clicks performed very well in SERPs, though they dropped last year and have probably started new sites.
6:14 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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There is a guy that operates under the name Bill Lambert that has correctly predicted updates in the past, yes
I too can confirm that a person going by the name of Bill Lambert has leaked the release of an update well over three weeks in advance. I don't visit SER often, but I think it was almost two years ago when I saw his post and had to go back to it after the update happened. I couldn't believe it myself - it was a dead on bullseye for the date. It's not like he was predicting updates that never happened, so this was no coincidence. He has to be on the inside, and I'm grateful for such posts.

+1 to StupidIntelligent and BushyTop as I never would have known if I did not visit this thread on WebmasterWorld.
8:01 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Quick Q on site duration.
I had a look at at site I manage and the session duration for the past 28 days is 1min 16
I then pulled out some data from GA, and my page duration for all my blogs is averaging around 3-4 minutes.

It's all my optin pages, landing pages, store pages and resource pages that bring down my average. Is there a way to remove these from googles calculations?
10:08 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In February, SERT quoted Gary Illyes saying dwell time doesn't matter:

[seroundtable.com...]

IMHO just do what's best for your site. If you can keep users on the site longer, great. But deliberately trying to manipulate the bounce rate/dwell time may be counterproductive.

Case in point, pretty sure those spammy one-photo-one-liner-keep-clicking-next websites that Taboola likes to promote have excellent bounce rate and dwell times.
11:14 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My guess is that Amazon.com has a pretty big average dwell time. I just spent about two hours on it looking around for various odds and ends I need to buy. I only order from amazon about every six months, so usually buy a number of items at the same time.
4:07 am on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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From SEJ:

"1. Dwell Time Is NOT Bounce Rate
2. Dwell Time Is NOT Average Time on Page
3. Dwell Time Is NOT Session Duration

One other thing dwell time is not: a publicly available metric you can measure with a third-party tool. Only the search engines have access to dwell time."
[searchenginejournal.com...]
7:13 am on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Dwell time is not bounce rate they are completely different
7:20 am on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well, let's see if "Bill Lambert" has announced the good prophecy.
9:31 am on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I just 'Googled' a phrase which included abuse (in regards to a guy who was abusing a passenger on the London tube and a bystander intervened), and Google returned results which included full-blown #*$!ography (with stills). I'm no prude, but I had no idea Google did that. That is not cool.
10:57 am on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My guess is that Amazon.com has a pretty big average dwell time.

It's impossible to compete with Amazon in Google. With Amazon crowded SERPS, when combined with all the ads, images, etc., it's next to impossible to be seen above the fold. The only way to deal with this is to either advertise in Adwords or sell on Amazon. At the moment, my company is doing both. But when you sell in the Amazon swamp, you are subject to even more blatant antitrust abuses (product review steering) as I discussed in the thread at [webmasterworld.com...]

I don't know if bounce rate, dwell time, etc. would have much impact on my ecommerce business should Google include those data points in their algo. Thanks to Google, Amazon has owned pretty much every product query in the SERPS with domain crowding for years. And with search engines only getting 15% of shopper traffic for first time product searches, Google does not have much buyer traffic to give anyway.
11:20 am on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"Dwell time" likely means the time that the user continuously spends on a website. Google can use the Chrome browser to measure the average dwell time for a site over thousands or in some cases even millions of users.

For me, Amazon.com doesn't provide an especially good user experience. You spend a lot of time doing comparisons, reading reviews that often contradict each other, and scrolling through clutter.

I generally prefer to buy in stores, but some things are hard to find in stores and Amazon has them.
12:20 pm on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well I just saw a new type of listing in the serps. It is a regular listing with an actual question/answer widget connected to it. The questions and answers all come from the same page as the listing page. On the question you can click the down arrow to expand to see the answer. 3 questions are listed below the listing but there is a "Show More" which expands the list to 10. The question/answers on the page use the FAQ structured data format. At the end of the questions Google displays "View more on example.com".

I have been thinking of doing something similar on my site (adding structured data for the questions and answers) for a few years now and have not gotten around to it. Not sure if I want to now. While the listing in the serps is now a lot bigger the problem is that it answers a lot of questions and the user most likely will not have to leave Google to visit the site.

Plus the site that Google does this for uses grey hat SEO techniques. It changes the dates on their pages every month to reflect the current month and they spin their own content so they can have their website span multiple regions (like example.com, example.co.uk, example.au, etc....). Not very trustworthy site.

All in all it is another step Google has taken to keep users on their site by displaying more of our content in the serps.
2:02 pm on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@JesterMagic
this method is known for months now.
Nothing new and already many websites are using this in order to occupy more space at the serp page. Especially if they already rank in high positions, they can throw some competitors at the 2nd page by taking more space from the 1st page.
2:12 pm on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Seo's who use this FAQ method are killing themselves because, there is again more information in the SERP so, less clicks to their websites..
3:14 pm on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anyone seen a shift this week (Entertainment news niche) or is it just a few of our popular keywords dropping off?
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