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Was there a Google update in April/May 2019

2:18 pm on Aug 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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We have a well-established site (20+ years old) in our particular niche, which provides industry news, jobs, event details, etc. Pretty standard. One section is a "guide" which has 100's of articles relating our industry and has traditionally ranked very well (in fact 50% of our traffic is to this section of the site). The "guide" pages have lots of backlinks from a range of sources all of which *should* be fairly natural (we've never engaged in any sort of link-building activity). Most of these articles rank page 1 and for a handful of popular keywords rank #1-3.

From the end of April/start of May I started to notice a steep decline in the number of clicks reported in GSC for this section, while the number of impressions has remained almost level. Average position has seen a slight decline. This has been exacerbated by the launch of a completely new site at the end of June (which was pre-planned from Q4 2018), with new structure and architecture. We've been careful to ensure that all pages are correctly redirected and monitor 404 logs, etc.

I'm struggling to understand why, for an (almost) constant number of impressions, the number of clicks would just drop? We haven't changed content, titles, etc, so can only its something on Google's end.

So, was there some algo update which could have affected the site?
1:58 pm on Aug 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Have you checked server logs to see whether the decline is in actual clicks or just GSC reported clicks?

If your server logs show an actual drop in traffic, anything could have made a difference (layout changes that put your link beneath the fold, for example), but an algorithm change that hasn't any strong effect on position wouldn't be high on my list of suspects. I would first look at what the sites immediately above yours in the results are doing: is there something about a competitor's descriptions that is now taking first bite from searchers (or, worse, has a scraper moved one place above you)? However, it is difficult to think of what might have that effect across all pages and results, so GSC reporting is where I would look first.