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Google Updates and SERP Changes - September 2019

     
8:38 am on Sep 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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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]

2:12 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest
Well, then it must be some incredible coincidence that I haven't had a converting visitor in the past 4 days. That's a first in 20 years. Nothing but pure zombies. It's done.


Your site has been switched to Mobile First Indexing
The majority of Google's crawl requests to your site will be made using a mobile crawler.
Switch date: September 6, 2019


Are you sure that the switch was in 2019?
Where did you see the message? Was it a pop-up at the bottom right of the screen in GSC or are you referring to a formal e-mail/notification that was sent to you?

I have seen the pop-up re-appear on several occasions, telling about the switch but the date was always 2018 despite the fact that the pop-up messages have re-appeared in 2019.

That said, 4 days coincides closely with what @seomotionz is asking about:
I heard that there was update on 5th this month

On my end I have seen an increase of traffic on my secondary website of about 18% starting on September 6th. It is more than likely what you are seeing has little to do with Mobile-First indexing and more to do with yet another update.

Why Zombies? Google is probably pushing up more content and features that are skimming all the buyers so that the only users left that are still clicking are those that have visited the other links and remain undecided or unready to convert.
2:38 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@skaterpunk

My first company sites was one of the first 1,000 and we did extremely well simply because we were the only widget producer online.

Now how do we define the "average" Google user?

In the 90s we had Joe Public retail enquiries every day asking from where they could source our widgets for their use. My widgets cover several sectors of my widget trade. In the 90s and 00s one specific retail sector was huge, especially so in the USA, and globally it is still a very big market running into Billions of US Dollars per annum.

Another sector is obviously the construction sector which I have mentioned a few times, this can start with small domestic projects sourced from importers/wholesalers right up to the massive building sites we all see happening around the world.

All my widget sectors need the information I provide, in fact in Europe this information is compulsory under EU law, and will remain so even after Brexit.

Realistically it is since Google's introduction of localised results my sites have been decreasing in its SERPs however not in Bing, DDG etc, unfortunately that information in the USA is now to be found on US company scraper sites.

So yes, my widget information is not something JP would generally search for unless they were seriously considering its purchase and they wanted to know, maybe, just how genuine their local retailer's sales pitch and knowledge actually is but, at the same time, whty is G singling-out so many of my widget trade and placing them firmly in their country of origin?

This is a mass-manipulation of information, nothing less.
2:43 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@SI - there is a LOT of flux going on with my listings right now. My home page is now back in mobile and tablet, complete with the image carousel display....something other sites don't seem to get...but is very appealing for the user, or is was...
My desktop listing does not include any images and that's another recent change, so it looks like we are seeing at least two different data sets.
That's from my reference point. I'm guessing others are seeing something different.

All this seems to have precipitated on the 6th of Sept about the same time I upgraded my server and scripts from php 5.6.x to 7.3 compatibility. You'd think that would be an improvement. No bugs detected. Testing proves everything is working fine...except for traffic. I've never experienced a 5 day zero conversion stretch. Just feels like it's my turn in the barrel.
2:51 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have live chat installed and can see visitors online, analytics real time is busier than a Christmas market with people from all over the world, real visitors online not so much and no sales again in 2 days after an excellent selling day on Sunday
3:20 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Do I have to move to WordPress to rank?

I have just seen a keyword1/2/3 result with, on-page, only one keyword mention of the widget and one image, no product description or anything else, basically a blank page with the company info, YET in the WP coding the keyword is mentioned 26 times ... WTF?

And no, that was a rhetorical question, I'd rather remove all my sites than use WP BS.
3:35 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar - Don't bother, I switched 5 years ago and my site just tanked.

One other observation....the few visitors I manage to get to my site are "one and done" with no page to page transitions, yet the site is running faster. This looks like classic Zombie traffic again. Strange because we were doing fine for the past few months with daily conversions.
4:12 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The majority of my traffic comes from a certain keyword - which has gone up.

However, what my website is actually about and writes about most often - the keyword for it has tanked. It's a fairly competitive keyword and I've gone from 22 to 34 overnight. This is after being between 6-20 for years.

Obviously, there isn't that much traffic from the keyword itself due to how low it is, but the keyword brings me a lot of traffic when I appear in the Google News Carousel at the top of results after publishing a post. Does your ranking for the keyword tanking mean it's less likely to rank in the News carousel?
4:26 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Does your ranking for the keyword tanking mean it's less likely to rank in the News carousel?


I would assume so judging by what the Knowledge Box does however does anyone really know what's going on in their magical black box of stirred-up algos?
5:18 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@nmbrsk - on what date or month did this change from 6-20 to 22-34 start for you? This is important to know because we can then find out the dates and see if Google did actually tweak the positions across the internet.
5:28 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The change from being 22 to 34 happened in the past 48 hours.

I was around 15th five months ago, 20th around two months ago.

At the same time, my ranking for the other keyword was 1st/2nd five months ago, around 5th two months ago and itís gone back to being 1/2 in the past week.

I donít have the exact dates with me at the moment, so thatís just the rough estimates.
5:48 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It does seem that Google is making a major shift and updating its lists. Their target are websites that have enjoyed traffic for years. Not an isolated case. Dozens of similar stories around.
5:51 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello-

Dozens of similar stories around.

Dozens stories, but over how many web sites in the World? Some gain traffic, others loose it, and of course, we hear more about those loosing traffic than those being "successful". Being successful is relative, a gain of traffic, might just be a piece of luck, and reverts at the next update.
6:04 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The issue is when a site does nothing different, yet is Ďpenalisedí in some way which makes no sense. If my entire site was affected, it would at least make a shred of sense. However, when my site is optimised for a certain keyword, yet that drops and another keyword elevates, all in the same week, there has to be more transparency.

It makes no sense for Google to think a page deserves to be in a certain position for years, then suddenly drops it down over ten places, when nothing has changed. All at the same time as another page going back to its top position.
6:27 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The issue is when a site does nothing different, yet is Ďpenalisedí in some way which makes no sense.

You are not alone. You website is part of a dynamic system that include many other websites. On the web, there is no such a thing as doing nothing. Not changing anything is an action, a choice. While you may not change, others around you are, adding pages, gaining links, being penalized, new competitors are coming online, etc. All these things can have impacts on how your website ranks. I'm not saying that you need to change for the sake of changing, but one needs to be aware that not changing a website can impact you ranking, positively and negatively. Which it will be is anybody guess.
6:33 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I understand that and thanks for putting it down better than I could have.

When I say nothing, Iíve still added daily content (itís a news website), which is written originally and under the keyword that Iíve always ranked high for, and until this point, Google has always rewarded my content well. The jump from top 20 to now 34 overnight is a bit extreme, is my point.
7:14 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@nmbrsk - even with the 20th position, I highly doubt anyone would get any traffic. Most traffic usually goes to the top 3 results anyways. The rest are just crumbs.

Positions 15, 20, or 30+ have little significance in the overall picture.
7:19 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If it affects my appearance in the News Carousel for that keyword, then it certainly affects my traffic too. About 70% of my visits are Organic, out of which 60% is from the carousel.
11:02 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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That Carousel really impacts traffic. We previously had it on a news website for branded searches and main keywords but it's now missing.
Oddly, it's only missing in US/CAN search. Internationally it's there.

Have tried everything to get it back...
11:32 pm on Sept 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google is getting quite manual when it comes to news websites. The recent whistleblower's leak of their internal political alignment is a testament to that.
1:49 am on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Results are still being jacked around. Now I have three different layouts, one for mobile, tablet and desktop. Mobile now includes #2 as a cornerstone content page with one image, #3 as my home page with no image Tablet is the same except #3 includes all my slider images in a full row, which is nice. Desktop is plain Jane on both the 2 and 3 positions with no images' which is strange. Regardless of these page 1 positions, I'm still getting squat for traffic. Good test case...but how to test? In 20 min it will be different.
1:55 am on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In 20 min it will be different.

Why 20 minutes? If two people make the same query at the same time the result will likely be different for each person.
2:23 am on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@nick...no doubt
11:36 am on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well, there it is....next day results are even different and of course worse. Home page and image carousel gone from all devices. Pinterest now occupies position 2. Everything in flux.
Zero traffic. Record bad week. End of site.

Nobody else seeing this on their sites? Looks like Iím the .00001% affected this time.
Thanks Gorg.
11:59 am on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest Thousands of webmasters are seeing this. Either it's either ego that stopping them from creating noise; or they don't have the confidence to.
12:16 pm on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think this domain has run it's course. It's finally time to change the model and 301 everything to a new domain. Anyone have any good resources for doing this with the least amount of upset. (lol)... It's going to take time, but watching this poor site slowly die is just a waste of time. Running stale and outdated scripts like aMemeber and Coppermine just has to end.
12:46 pm on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest Today was devastating for us. I mean what the he**?

Almost 45% of our traffic fell today.
1:12 pm on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Multiple data sets are cycling...by the minute. This looks like Google Dance all over...but this is no waltz, more like a Google Boogie.
1:13 pm on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Running stale and outdated scripts like aMemeber and Coppermine just has to end.


You're still using Coppermine?

Yikes, the Gorg killed mine several years ago, it went from being #1 in my widget sector to complete oblivion in a matter of weeks/months, I can't remember exactly now since it was what, 7-8 years ago at least? The G hated Coppermine just as much as it seems to brown nose WordPress!
1:41 pm on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I held on to it far too long...going to offload all that content to Pinterest and Instagram. Why not get some mileage out of it, nobody is using that gallery anyway and it's not ranking for anything, just a big boat anchor.
2:39 pm on Sept 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest My sites that were beginning to see a slight traffic boost only lasted for a few days. Most of my sites are now dead. being still outranked by PBN, expired domains and scrapers.

The only way I am making a trickle of money is from high ranking web 2.0 like Weebly, Medium and Tumblr "go figure". Never seen anything like this before.

It's funny how Google search goes from non relevant results on page one followed by garbage on page two and beyond.

People using Google for search must truly be in Zombie land.
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