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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2019

     
8:38 am on Sep 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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- Split out of...
Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2019
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4957935.htm [webmasterworld.com]
by robert_charlton - 1:31 am on Sep 2, 2019



I've seen a comparable drop to the first of June. Like alot of people on here (I'm becoming increasingly frustrated) I feel like alot of the drops are down to the size of our brand and not the state of our SEO. Conversations internally in the business mean that i am going to have to lean away from some of the principles that i have leaned on and tweaked for maybe 10 years. I'm going to redesign the site.

We have a high proportion of non indexable pages. Whilst these obviously dont rank, I'm starting to wonder whether the high numbers of these pages proportionally across the site are maybe having an impact on our indexable pages. I know that might sound crazy. In my head, I dont understand how that would be an issue, but maybe Google thinks i'm trying to hide something?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:56 pm (utc) on Sep 2, 2019]
[edit reason] cleanup after splitting & combining threads [/edit]

10:56 pm on Sept 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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average CTR 5.2%, average position 6.3 on mobile, 2 sales in 3 days.... google shopping conversions 5 sales in 7 days when it used to be 3/6 sales a day plus organic so I am down 5-12 sales a day
11:34 pm on Sept 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Astonished at the silence here.


@samwest, I responded to an earlier post of yours, but no response of any kind.

This thread and a few others I follow seem to be a place to lash out, complain, and self obsess. But, I'm not seeing any mature and cool-headed problem solving, so people like me go silent.
1:17 am on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Definitely something has been cooking this past week. Perhaps, what Google would classify as a “test” (Per Danny's statement released in August) prior to a core roll out. Yesterday, we experienced crazy traffic for about 2 hours, resembling numbers that we had prior to the March Core update (which we got negatively affected by). Today the SERPs were quieter, but still slightly out of the ordinary day-to-day shuffles. A test is a test, and no point in getting hopes up, as it's too early, but it would be great if what we experienced was a small sneak peek into what we may experience after the next core update.
1:57 am on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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A test is a test, and no point in getting hopes up, as it's too early, but it would be great if what we experienced was a small sneak peek into what we may experience after the next core update.

I don't think what is occurring is a test but rather what StupidIntelligent posted about a potential Google Insider's comment about flash rollbacks:

You're seeing a flash rollback. It's typical. They're gearing up for the big url on top release. We really hate it.

Word to the wise - during updates and rollbacks like we are having now - it would be a good idea to do routine updates to your sites and content.
12:07 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Other than selected targets; it seem nothing has changed for the most. Otherwise the noise would be a lot louder.
12:22 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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What do you attribute to the fact that positions are moderately improving but it doesn’t translate into higher traffic or even lower at times?
12:29 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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What do you attribute to the fact that positions are moderately improving but it doesn’t translate into higher traffic or even lower at times?

Ads, image/video blocks, news panels, local blocks, etc. all push organic listings beneath the fold where they are never seen. I have #1 ranked keyword positions that get 10% of the traffic Google used to send five years ago.
3:10 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@skaterpunk - yes, WP. Last week and for years past, Google used my specific SEO meta description. Now they are using image captions. Seeing the same on other unrelated sites. That looks like a bug...or a test...either way it makes for terrible search results and many position losses.
5:20 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is well down today, after 18 hours of my Google day I've only has 25% of my normal number of PVs.

I have #1 ranked keyword positions that get 10% of the traffic Google used to send five years ago.


Likewise, a couple of months ago I did some considerable updates and additions to one of my sites and most of those pages are all seeing ranking improvements yet no noticeable increase in traffic. Bizarrely I have some pages, about 60, I added several months ago and nearly all are on the first page yet no one appears to be searching for them whatsoever so few are their PVs.

They are widget trade popular so this has me slightly confused at the moment because they are not cheap widgets.
6:22 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Keep in mind - it’s the first day of NFL season today and a few games are on. If you’re traffic is US audience, it may be affected
8:23 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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FWIW my traffic goes up during the Superbowl ... Anything can marginally affect traffic levels unless it's a truly global catastrophe or celebration such as Xmas or New Year in the west, Diwali in India or Spring Festival in China etc.
8:38 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing some nice gains yesterday and today. Have done a tonne of work on the site, worked hard to gain a large social media following and moved away from health-related topics, not sure if they are a factor or if it's just a temporary improvement which will reverse in a day or so. Hoping it's not the latter.
9:29 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Search traffic ranking is a zero sum game. One man's bankruptcy is another man's fortune.
9:35 pm on Sept 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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5 sales today and constant traffic all adding to the bag (my customers can take 5- 28 + days to convert) site tweaks done I corrected a few typos, spotted a category with large older images so resized and compressed them but no big major work done on the site.

I am very grateful for the sales, this morning I was quitting!
12:46 am on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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No joy here. Nothing but a handful of mobile clicks all day. No conversions for the past three days. This one is baaad for my vertical. Looks like content farms are the new authority. Probably some of this too: [youtu.be...]

FWIW. I recently upgraded from php 5.6 to 7.3. No errors found and site is faster' but no improvement in user interaction and just the opposite effect as you would expect from Gorg. That's the inverse expectation portion of the AI me thinks.
10:35 am on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone else feel that G cannot cope with a one make, in-depth website?

One of my sites is totally dedicated to a trademarked, exact name widget product. We were the originators of this widget some 40 years ago and it is now, certainly, in the top 5 widget global products, it may be #1 but that's not my question.

This site used to be #1 across all search engines and still is except for G. The past couple of years has seen its G traffic reduced to almost nil meanwhile every site that does rank for the keyword has blatantly scraped all our information etc.

So, this site has been there for years and is regularly updated every quarter with new information and images, G knows it is there, G SURELY knows when I originally posted this information yet G not only ranks everyong ahead of it, G doesn't even rank me ANYWHERE now ... Well, unless I am 150+, I couldn't be bothered to look any further.

My question ... Can G not cope with a dedicated, 20 page, 100+ images, one widget subject website?

Is it seen as too much of a threat to G's own scatter-gun results?

Is there a built-in bias or has someone, internally, manually downgraded the site deliberately?

I've posted this in the monthly updates since from September 1st this site has lost yet another 66% of its ever-declining G traffic however if the mods which to separate it to a new thread, fine.
11:11 am on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@redbar - agreed. Core content sites have been the seed for every eager scraper and content farmer. Now, it appears G in their ultimate attempt at “inclusivity” have decided to reward these scrapers with the top positions. It seems the key is to slap as many on page ads to your aggregation to win today. Guess it’s still the Wild West when G can’t or won’t detect the original content creator. They really have moved (hid) the cheese this time.
11:42 am on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Original content...puff, that's so Matt Cutts era. Cheat your way to the top or Google will disown you. Fact of life.
11:52 am on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Summer holidays are more or less over. Labor Day is typically a cutoff point for me (and my site). I expect traffic to gradually rise until Thanksgiving.
11:58 am on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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im not sure if it is related to the same effect that @redbar is talking about but also I am increasingly noticing that it is harder and harder to find out out information for tech questions (like stack exchange type solutions). It is something I do lots on a daily basis and have done for decades but since about a year ago or so there has been an absolute steady decline in relevance of the results. Now I pretty much just use duckduckgo for those searches as if I try google the results might have some of the keywords in there but usually do not provide anything like the answers Im looking for , but answers to comletely different problems, or not answers at all. I would have thought that this would be something a tech company like google would see for themselves quite easily as im sure their own employees search for tech questions and must see the same kind of results - or are people just now accustomed to google not providing you with very relevant results?
12:41 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Its awfully little traffic for a Monday. @samwest I feel your pain. Its like why do all these php and other stuff upgrade if there is no one to notice. Or, in this case traffic or conversions!
12:54 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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it is harder and harder to find out out information for tech questions


Definitely, it's not often I do search for tech answers but I have noticed that DDG does usually give them on their first page and when I cross-check with G the quality of answers are either lower or not there at all ... It did not used to be like this.

It's almost as though there are two wwws, G's pre-selected version and the others with, quite often, totally different and more relevant results.

Obviously ads rule the waves!
1:07 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest, A WP coder may be able to help answer your question, perhaps reach out to your theme developer. I do know that I have learned from experience, and therefore avoid using featured image captions, subtitles (when a theme allows them), and WP excerpts field because those always seem to override and take priority over the custom meta description. As I said, I focus on the opening paragraph text, then use that for the meta description field too. That way my search meta description has a much stronger chance of being what I want it to be.

But, as far as google not using a proved meta description, this has been the case for years. Use any search engine with the phrase "google doesn't use my meta description" and you'll find the answers as to why.
1:18 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"google doesn't use my meta description"


Interesting however I have to say that 99% of the time Google does use my meta descriptions. I am not saying 100% since I have thousands of pages but I am pretty sure they probably do.

What I do know is that G sometimes completely misses out an entire page and images and even though that page may have been there for years and is on the sitemap, it continues to avoid ranking a specific page no matter what I do.
1:34 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Original content...puff, that's so Matt Cutts era. Cheat your way to the top or Google will disown you. Fact of life.

preaching to the choir SI

As far as the meta description, my point is that a week ago Google WAS using my meta description, now they are displaying the slider image descriptions and it eliminated my home page from page one....in fact from the entire index. That's a big departure and indicates a major algo change afoot...at least from my point of reference. As EG would say, YMMV.
2:20 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I haven't seen any massive movements since June update. Positions are same, and the sites that were negatively impacted haven't recovered yet. 1/3rd of September is over and there is still no signs of Core update.
2:59 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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1/3rd of September is over and there is still no signs of Core update.


In all seriousness, what could they do?

Every update seems to make things worse and worse with some reasonable SERPs outweighed by lots of garbage. Just why is their algo promoting so many extremely poor pages and sites?

Let's get this right, this is not a new phenomenon, G's SERPs have been gradually getting poorer and worse for several years yet they seem to be unable, or unwilling, to rectify the situation.

Do they simply believe that ever-rising search numbers equates to user satisfaction when it actually may be the exact oppoiste, the user's inability to find what they're seeking?
5:00 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@redbar and @milchan, you guys are absolutely right. I've seen the exact same thing in the supplement niche. It's literally the worst results I've ever seen, especially when it comes to 'enhancement' type products.

Literally 1/2+ of the search results will be 404 errors, blank pages, pages that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic (apart from having the keyword in the meta title), pages that had automatic malicious downloads, and in some cases straight up redirects to other sites.

I actually posted a youtube video demonstrating this last November, which caught the attention of Danny Sullivan over at Google. He thanked me for the analysis, and that was the last I heard from them.

It's been nearly a year later, and the issues have STILL not been fixed.

It makes you wonder, is it deliberate? I mean, here I am pointing out the EXACT issues. It seems like it would be a very simple tweak to the algo to get it addressed, yet it's never been. Astonishing...

System

7:57 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Off-topic discussion split off to new thread...

50 US States launch Google competition probe
https://www.webmasterworld.com/goog/4963576.htm [webmasterworld.com]


Mods note: Folks, your volunteer mods have only so much free time to do things like split a thread, rearrange the pieces, and move discussions to where they should go. This effort to preserve your off-topic discussions doesn't scale well, and, in the future, we may simply decide to delete them. So if you maintain an off-topic conversation in the Updates and SERPs threads, and don't report it as we are begging you to do, please don't be surprised if you find that we've taken the easy route, and your posts have been deleted..... If you don't see your posts when you return, that's maybe what happened. Or, the discussion may have gotten unnecessarily political, or both.... Most of you have been around here long enough to figure it out.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:00 am (utc) on Sep 10, 2019]
[edit reason] Splitting off-topic posts to new thread... [/edit]

9:21 pm on Sept 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Happening now. Crazy analytics behavior...large numbers displayed that do not match top active pages display...very strange. More bugs?


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:10 am (utc) on Sep 10, 2019]
[edit reason] Cleanup after thread split to new thread [/edit]

This 323 message thread spans 11 pages: 323
 

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