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Google September 2019 Core Update

     
12:32 pm on Sep 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 22 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4962430.htm [webmasterworld.com] by brett_tabke - 9:39 am on Sep 24, 2019 (cst -5)


Holy #*$!, official core update will be rolling out later today!

[twitter.com...]
12:08 am on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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No movement here on my end. Same with my competitors in my niche. Didn't see any changes.
12:33 am on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld Donukaps

Where are you based / country / target market(s) / local / international?

General widget niche, no need to be specific?

Some sectors, especially what I have seen such as localised, have not been touched much however many global sites have seen a lot of turbulence .. and then again, some haven't noticed a darned thing!
4:09 am on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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News niche fluctuations are cooling down.

@MayankParmar is your traffic back yet?
9:05 am on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Googleapis.com (Discover) traffic: [imgur.com...]

A part of it did come back.
10:35 am on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar. Good to hear that.

One of our main sites gets plenty of Indian traffic and today to expect traffic is foolish.
10:46 am on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Something happend yesterday around 2pm. Since traffic dropped like a stone and sales stopped again.
1:14 pm on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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google must be playing around with an old index to some extent, because i deleted my entire site last june and have watched the number of indexed pages steadily drop from 300,000 to 2,000, but a couple of days ago it suddenly jumped back up again to 15,000 again.
and the site has been completely inaccessible since june.
1:33 pm on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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google must be playing around with an old index to some extent,


That's a possibility since I deleted AdSense off all my sites in April, in August it was showing zero PVs for ads however in September it started showing PVs again and has done every day since then and primarily to the USA.

The way my widget SERPs are still bouncing around is ridiculous.
1:54 pm on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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September Statistics

Users 5.5K Decrease 17.58%

Revenue €xxx Decrease 41.81%

Ecommerce conversion rate 0.86% Decrease 28.11%

Sessions 6.1K Decrease 19.63%
4:33 pm on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My Google analytics have been all weird since the weekend.
5:48 pm on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have reason to believe Google isn't done "screwing around". I'm getting massive amounts of direct traffic (not from SERPs) to my site today. No campaigns, ads, emails, etc. My SERPs are bouncing wildly again, too -- only this time, my top keys jumped back up to the top 5 spots from bottom of page 1 / top of page 2. That'll probably last a day or so, before they jump back down. Rinse, repeat. And even if SERPs are messed up, I'm sure I'll see a bunch of inexplicable traffic like I have been (with no conversion). This latest core update also appears to have played heavily on reevaluating backlinks and link profiles of sites, too. I've seen my sites' Ahrefs ranks steadily climb because of all the new, high-DR links I've won over the last 3 to 6 months, then they'll suddenly tank a million spots in an hour. Then climb, then tank, then climb... Over and over.

Let's not even get into the discussion of link-farm, blackhat sites with PBNs and thin content hitting the top spots, while actual authorities on a widget / niche get relegated to page two. Never mind comparing content side-by-side and the latter is, by all measures, better than the former. Google is incompetent (and money-hungry).
3:43 am on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Checked in SEMrush. Its stormy SERP changes in the news nice today.
8:29 am on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@TeresaD, simmilar to us. I even could sell 10 bucks for 2 bucks and no one will buy it.

But if you look at it: google did it right form their point of view. Feel free to invest in google shopping ads
i bet last quater will be again 25% increase for google shares.....
8:42 am on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Martin Ice Web + I switched off google shopping ads, they tanked too
9:25 am on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Never mind comparing content side-by-side and the latter is, by all measures, better than the former. Google is incompetent (and money-hungry).


That is the thing that infuriates me, we are told to create compelling content, and add unique content or data other sites don't have. You do that, you create a great article about unicorns, with tonnes of unique content, you include everything, colours, personality, potential health problems, and images to back up. They show a crappy 200-word post from an insurance or food company which offers literally nothing. If Google really were practising what they preach and prioritising unique and truly useful content, which goes beyond what other sites are producing, the search results would be much, much different. It is all spin.
1:14 pm on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Travis - I am seeing the exact same thing early this week. Direct traffic from 'who knows where'. My mobile and desktop position and images have slipped or been completely removed and yet I suddenly get direct desktop traffic from the Gods. I'm not complaining, but it sure is mysterious. Looks like the filters will kick back in today since I've already hit conversion quota for the week with this excellent quality & converting direct traffic. But this morning, nothing but a trickle of mobile tire kickers again.

That whole article about core updates and quality is bunk. I now see the Interesting Finds block contains the same sites as the first four organics which is utterly ridiculous serp spamming...and it's being done by Google themselves. Something is still very broken.
1:45 pm on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My Google analytics have been all weird since the weekend.

@cattie Could be due to daylight savings in Australia.

Actually, a few other countries are due for this at some stage in the next few weeks which may result in some analytics confusion.
2:02 pm on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Discover/News traffic returned back to normal today.

I am not seeing any movements now. All is good after three months of darkness. And yes, recovery is definitely possible.
2:06 pm on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar - full recovery
4:35 pm on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar you are lucky to see full recovery. Most of the site owners to whom I have talked 99% of them said partial or a certain amount of recovery after this update.
3:22 am on Oct 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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No recovery here. In fact Google besides losing my home page in the serps, they have removed every one of my images but are still prominently displaying all the sites that have SCRAPED my images. This looks like a manual penalty for some unknown reason.
6:35 am on Oct 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Great traffic yesterday, continuing today. Not sure what it's related to. SEMrush sensor not suggesting much changing.
8:59 am on Oct 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest - I was thinking your issues looked like a penalty of some sort, what your describing is not normal
9:07 am on Oct 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest surely you would have a message though in webmaster tools. homepage removal sounds really fishy though. You appearing for branded searches? Or do you think its something more granular and thats why you are assuming its a manual penalty?
12:35 pm on Oct 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@ BushyTop - Just checked and no issues detected for manual actions, or so they say. Sunday Monday and part of Tuesday were incredible, I had thought everything reverted to 2007. Three conversions within an hour, but strangely I had pretty much evaporated from the SERPs already...it was all direct traffic. (as documented on the 9th, above...)

I used to have many images in the top image search for my keyphrase, in fact the result usually featured at least two of my images. Those are all gone across the board, even for much less competitive and specific searches, hence the manual penalty assumption.

In the past 20 years, I did enjoy a very good page one double position, usually #1 and #2 (although traffic seems extremely filtered). One was for my home page and one for a cornerstone content sub page both of which are evergreen. Now only the sub page remains. I seem to recall this happening long ago during another major update and when your root page (index.html, or index.php) disappears it's a major penalty...but nothing to allude to this in WMT.

When I see two pages on a result, I think there may be a keyword focus issue. When one disappears, I tend to think that as confirmation. I hate to bring up the dreaded "keyword cannibalization" topic, but that is what this appears to resemble. But 20 years of stability? Guess that's called "moving the cheese"...again.

I'm in the middle of a family crisis, so this is not any time to be wasting time chasing Google's shenanigans. I guess the chips will just fall where they may. I'll look into the cross linking mechanics of the two competing pages or just demote the sub page by removing any internal links to the home page or making it's content less palatable. Sounds like shooting myself in the foot. Any ideas are welcome.

Recently adding the affected sites URL to my WebmasterWorld profile was probably a bad idea. It may just be my hallucination, but it tanked withing a week or two of doing that. If Googler's reads this forum, and I'm sure they do, that's like asking for a manual review.
10:05 pm on Oct 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest +

I am rising in the serps but no conversions so not sure what is going on, I have genuine traffic back, maybe they are window shopping?

I think you should just leave the site as it is, I have competing pages for categories and products but see it as a good thing, my meta is strong enough to put me on page one twice but I am products, not sure if that is your niche.

Best of luck with your family crisis I hope it all resolves with a happy ending.
3:27 pm on Oct 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So after Sep 26th my sales dropped like a stone to next to nothing and traffic fell about 25% (on already drastically reduced levels over this last year or so). As I have posted before I suspected at least part of the update was Geo based as my USA traffic and serp positions all but disappeared completely and before it was often around 40/50% and gives me probably 30 to 50% of sales. All that went away over night so was clearly a problem.

So first thing I did was spend Saturday 28th moving my server to a US location as before it was located outside of the US and did a request to google to reindex the homepage. I also tidied up some schema errors and changed how my schema is created a bit to improve it as it was being reported for the products that some had errors (google seems to move change the requirements on what they accept with schema so worth checking this regularly) and sent for validation.

So obviously cant know what if any of the above had an effect or if it was just google changing something again but since Oct 3rd Im seem improvements both in traffic levels (regained that 25%) but also conversions overall. The number of conversions similar to pre update levels but most importantly the products that are converting are the better higher ticket ones I used to reply on , were as right after the update the few conversions I had were nearly all for the same low profit product. 40% of my sales have come from the US again and are distributed with other locations around world in similar percentages like they were pre update. The GSC numbers are finally moving upwards again instead of following the downward trend that I have seen so often this year.

Nothing conclusive of course but it is possible that my moving the server to the US has helped as before that and post update all my traffic was very localised and Id lost nearly all from US, Europe, Asia etc. Thought is was worth posting in case it can help anyone else.

Also , it raises some concerns about how google is sculpting traffic in this way because (if my theory and observations are correct - but this is purely conjecture at this point) it would suggest that if your server is located in say Australia , yet you have a .com domain and target an international market, you will perform poorly in the non Australian SERPs. Some could argue there is logic in that BUT if your server is US based you perform better across ALL regions.
4:06 pm on Oct 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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BUT if your server is US based you perform better across ALL regions


I do not know the answer however a year ago I moved a .com from a UK server to a US server, after about 8 months I moved it back to the UK since it had no effect whatsoever. This specific site used to reign supreme across all G.tlds but 30 months ago G decided to send the index page into obscurity even though it is the de facto trademarked widget industry site that has been in existence for years.

Sometimes this site re-appears at #1 in Google.co.in, it is an Indian product exported globally, however most of its traffic is my widget trade requiring necessary information. All other search engines list it as #1.

it raises some concerns about how google is sculpting traffic


I feel you're being kind calling it sculpting, I prefer deliberate manipulation in favour of US companies. So many SEOs outside of the USA are seeing this and it will come back to haunt G and bite them extremely hard if they don't rectify their ways.

At one time I considered my loss of US traffic was the "localisation" of their US SERPs however if this were to be true just WHY would widget US importing companies rank so well in "foreign" Google.tlds ... Quite simply localisation cannot be true, outside of the US, since these US companies ought not to be appearing IF localisation were a critical factor.

One thing I will say in G's favour is that whilst searching for my keyword1keyword2keyword3 term it's a mess however when I search for kw1kw2kw3 +my county area or city, the results are absolutely spot on, all good local suppliers and not a US one in sight and no, I am not ranked but my sister's business which is the area's pre-eminent retail supplier, is.

So, they can get it right but how many of Joe Public use 4 keywords in a search?
5:54 pm on Oct 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I had previously ran my server in the US and moved it a few years ago and saw no detrimental effects when I did. It was just that I saw that after Sep Update all of a sudden all my US traffic disappeared and I dropped in US serps but was top in more local searches still(with same competitors that appear above in US , below me in local - they all had servers that were US based). By moving my server to US , I have recovered some positions in the US serps, not complete recovery but at least I am getting US conversions again. Prior to the update , this wasnt an issue which is what led me to the above theory.

And yes, I was holding back by calling it "sculpting" - I am actually even wondering if there is some kind of manipulation with the longer term aim of trying to get more people locating servers/internet businesses in the US in conjunction with trying to force people to buy ads but in such a way that the Ad purchasing is a US based purchase in order to try to avoid the imminent stronger taxes coming from Europe and probably other countries. Just a random thought that I would have thought would have sounded like a conspiracy theory a couple of years ago but it says a lot that these kind of thoughts come to mind easily nowadays in relation to googles activities.
7:12 am on Oct 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I was also hit by this update, but now recovering slowly.
This 389 message thread spans 13 pages: 389