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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...]
11:24 am on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think personalisation works like this:

Profile a buyer behaviour on many sites they visited in the past:

Is the buyer ready to buy after clicking to 2-3 ads then show our “special” Adwords accounts and bury the organic results under a map or on second page.

Is the buyer a time waster and generally clicks on many ads, goes and reads all reviews then show more Adwords accounts but not all ads in the same light try remove some ads extensions and so on...

And when the buyer searches direct in Amazon app I guess they still wish to show something but not sure to whom....
11:55 am on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar glad to see a recovery.

Problem is you shouldn't have been hit in the first place. I bet all of the extra work you did wouldn't have mattered as Google fixed what ever was the matter with the previous update. Problem is we are all caught in the whims of Google and while others see recovers still more see declines. Mean while Google adds even more of their junk widgets to the top of the results.
1:52 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have had to start reporting Google's junk widgets! The PAA boxes are showing answers from different countries that have no relation to the query or the country the query is made in. Its not effecting my rankings as I sit above them for most KW's. Its just a bad user experience - although I keep thinking am I shooting my self in the foot as they may draw customers away if they are relevant!
2:36 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My site is so quiet, I have been hit in the past but deserved it, it took me 9 very long months to fix technical SEO problems, modernise the site, resize and compress 2500 images, fix careless typos, reduce my 301 redirects etc.

Google rewarded me for these changes by sending me customers from search who liked the new easy to use layout so bought and increased my turnover considerably for the first 5 months of the year.

This is my quietest month because I am between seasons but it has just died on me but is the same website they increased traffic for before the core update. Nobody on the site for hours, I am sorta missing the ghost spam.

I think it has to be to do with backlinks after being penguined all those years ago I am wary about them so do not actively look for them but wait for people/blogs/companies to naturally link to me. My social mentions scored A+ so I am not sure if the algo even looks at social.
4:23 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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SEJ just did a story on the mysterious Bill Lambert: [searchenginejournal.com...]
4:25 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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John Mueller confirmed this morning that Bill Lambert is a fake, just as my article in SEJ concluded.

I updated the article to include a screenshot of the tweet.

Your interests are served by ignoring the baseless speculation about the Google Traffic Filters. It's not real.

The traffic filters thing was always total misinformation.

Good luck!

Roger Montti
4:46 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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id be inclined to believe Bill Lambert over John Mueller to be honest - he just feeds us BS but that article seems to take a simple denial from JM and turn it into "confirmation that Bill Lambert is not a contractor at google" - a very big jump from what he actually said and that was "There not from google"

I wouldnt expect Bill Lambert to be his real name of course so it is likely 100% true that "Bill Lambert" does not work for google , but whoever uses that name does seem to know something. To what degree we dont know and I cant be bothered speculating much but he has pretty much been shown to know when updates are coming out. Beyond that, though anything else we should treat with a pinch of salt
5:42 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just an FYI, I analyzed the IPs he used, he used multiple names over the years, his name was found not just in Europe, but the US, Asia and other places over the years. Plus John saying he isn't a Googler - all of that makes me believe he is not real. I wrote more at [seroundtable.com...]
5:46 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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...but that article seems to take a simple denial from JM


I can understand how you reached that conclusion but you are incorrect.
I just updated the article to make it clear. ;)

My article was written seven hours BEFORE Mueller made the statement and eight hours before Barry posted his suspicions. It was published two hours before Mueller tweeted the denial.

Once the statement came out, I added the Mueller quote.

Read my entire article [searchenginejournal.com], it lays a solid case for why Lambert is not a Google insider and why the "traffic filter" idea is misinformation.

Very important to understand this.
5:54 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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JM denies anonymous guy claiming Google inside information works for Google. Huge surprise. lol
5:57 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I don't think either of those articles shed any light, really.
7:15 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google has to profile every visitor in order to serve ads and that info can easily be carried over into what they display in organics.


I have not seen any indication that such a thing has been researched. But if I see it I will discuss it.

There is supposedly a firewall between the two sides.

Data Only Use
It is an intriguing What If scenario regarding the use of confirmed conversion and user profile information on the paid side to improve the performance of the organic algorithm.

PPC Tracking Use
It may be a scandal if Google used anonymized PPC tracking information to directly influence the SERPs. It seems rather risky.

I know of NO research or patent that studied the use of PPC data for improving the SERPs. So right now this is pure speculation with no basis in fact.
7:17 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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No, they don't.

The "filter" term is being used here for two different things. The patent filter is used in real time based on what is being searched. RE: SEJ article. Satisfying user intent.

The patent type of "filter" is not the same as what is being described that happens during and after an update...such as what Bill Lambert is referring to and has been discussed here many many times. Though argued for and against its existence.

For those sites that get continuous traffic throughout the day but only get a small window of time (an hour or so) where traffic actually converts, that selectiveness of quality traffic has also been referred to as filtering.

It doesn't affect all websites so those who it does not affect may not believe it exists. But as many on here have attested (@samwest comes to mind), it is SOMETHING that affects SOME websites.

If your website reaches its goals (or gets sales for e-commerce) throughout the day, then you are in a different basket than those who get the same amount of traffic throughout the day but do not get any sales until a small window opens and you get sales just for that window period of time.

Just because it doesn't happen on your website doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It may not be something intentional on Google's part, but the algo does apply certain things to some websites that it doesn't do to others during and after and update.
7:25 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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First a little disclaimer - I am neither a believer or dis-believer in the oracle that is Bill Lambert , but just someone who is often a little OCD with facts and absolutes.

@martinibuster thanks for taking the time to try to explain but I tend to agree with @paulphin and think that neither Barrys or your article offer anything completely conclusive.

I think the main red flag though , which you mention in your article, is BLs use of the phrase "that take your traffic away" in relation to filters - which does sound like pandering to conspiracy theories.
I would though question your statement of "Google can’t win by being a poor search engine." - I disagree. It seems to me that the quality of search and the overall experience has declined in recent years yet the profits of google have soared. All of this coincides with the appointment of Sundar Pichai as CEO and he is clearly running the business with profits in mind ahead of user experience. The reason the can still win with a poor user experience is because they already have so much control over the digital attention space so the point that people use their brand name as the preferred verb instead of the word search.
7:45 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In the past, Google would only use keywords actually present on the landing page. Today, each word is treated as a popularity-derived synonym or one related to X other words. For example, if you type in the term "best {something}" then pages that have the words: "good, nice, pretty, cool, excellent, positive, winning, super, rewarded, top, Oscars, Jordan (as best basketball player), Oprah, Samsung, Ferrari, etc." will appear on top, even if they don't have the word "best" in content.

That allows Google to make seemingly irrelevant pages to compete with relevant pages.
7:58 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Milchan for your well reasoned response, I appreciate it.
;)

Roger Montti
8:08 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"It may be a scandal if Google used anonymized PPC tracking information to directly influence the SERPs. It seems rather risky."

What if it is the other way around? they are using organic searches to measure intent with AI which is then used in smart bidding to in theory make the user experience seamless and search relevant for each hit with the paid ads showing when they "think" a consumer is ready to buy.

Google shopping breaks with updates and smart bidding has become like an unruly teenager, something in the testing and updates has gone wrong, as someone replied previously on the thread the algo has got too smart for itself .

Organic traffic could be an unintentional casualty of trying to be all things to all people while still keeping profits high from ads.
9:55 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Nearly recovered all my traffic back. Got huge bump today. So far, I've got back 60% out of the 75% traffic I lost in June and the improvement still continues on a scale of about 10% to %15 per day since Monday.
10:10 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Glad some people are seeing improvements.

I didn't get hit by the June update, but looks like Google decided to come 'round and take a baseball bat to my traffic this time. We'll see how it shakes out. Ah, well.
10:31 pm on Sept 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is Bill Lambert real ? Maybe. But he's not in the search team. Maybe someone who has ears, but can not ear everything, if you know what I mean.
For me, this is a good update. My traffic is 25% up. A competitor, from those who buy old domains just for the sake of the backlinks, and rewrite other's content is going down down and down. This is cool.
12:33 am on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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No recovery. Took about an 80% hit beginning of the month. On average many rankings dropped 50%, but some, including main keyword for site, sent into oblivion. 10 year old site, last hit was 2013. No big SEO changes to site, only user experience improvements.

Almost everything related to how Google works is speculation. It’s simply impossible to make any correlations between your SEO efforts and changes you observe in the rankings! In fact, reaching any kind of conclusion will likely lead to your own destruction as you waste time chasing the endless possibilities. “Maybe if I do xy&z, I can survive?” It’s not up to you. The game is rigged, you don’t even understand the game, you're probably not even invited to play. In this day, if your business needs Google to survive, you're simply a high risk gambler. It's not fair, you should be able to rely on them to some degree. In this world internet search is critical infrastructure, just like a road, or a phone. But they have to be up de-monopolized and regulated first.

It’s painful to see so much human effort wasted in vain attempts to please the master. We really are search engine slaves. I would like an economist to tell us how many Billions of dollars have been wasted in meaningless busy work, all in an attempt to get a little recognition from this greed machine. This is not making the world a better place, and I place all the blame on Google for that. Just think of all the things you've done in attempt to please master (rewriting content to be 4th grade essays, HTTPS, nofollow, ratting out others sites, redesigning for mobile, hours spent trying to understand SEO).

The fact is this billion-dollar search engine is a piece of #*$!. It’s no better than it was 15 years ago, and arguably worse. Do a search in your field of expertise and note how dumb the results are. I have to wade through 4 ads, then 5 “rich” snippets “from Google's partners”, Then 7 “natural” results from big business (many repeating the previous 9), then 3 "related questions" diversions, then 3 more results, then 3 more ads! Somewhere between Page 3 – 6 is what I’m looking for, if I can stomach all the crap in between. And if I'm on mobile my fat fingers are going to accidentally touch one of those ads (AKA Google's "print money" buttons).
1:38 am on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The results in Google are just awful. I seriously cannot comprehend how Google's search team and engineers can think the results since these core updates in 2018 are providing relevant results. In the health niche, you get so many irrelevant articles that are quite generic and thin, but they are ranking based on their domain power and authority.

For example:

You now have Forbes knocking out articles about the "best widgets for aliens without flying saucers." (not literally that, but you get the idea.) But they are product pages aimed at specific products, with like 4 powders, 1 paragraph under each of them (probably not even 400 words in total for the whole page), and a "buy now" link.

And then on the 2nd and 3rd page, you got lots of websites who literally have WHOLE websites completely about the topic, niche, or whatever. They've clearly put in the work, tried to be as helpful as possible, have the actual products...

Google SERPs is now ruled by big corporations, big business, and they are running small publishers into the ground.

I do I a lot of research and most of the time now I can't find what I want. These days I just go straight to Pubmed or I use Bing. It's gotten that bad.

Youtube isn't going in a great direction either. I do enjoy commentary about independent publishers about news topics (Not the conspiracy stuff), but you set the filter to 'today' and all you get is mainstream news. Corporate Tube. :)
2:04 am on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@grainofsand - How much time did it take for you to recover when you first got hit by Google in 2013? Or did that traffic never come back and you were in continuous slide for the past 6 years.
6:20 am on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The results in Google are just awful. I seriously cannot comprehend how Google's search team and engineers can think the results since these core updates in 2018 are providing relevant results. In the health niche, you get so many irrelevant articles that are quite generic and thin, but they are ranking based on their domain power and authority.


I was just coming to say the same thing. I just searched for an article I ranked no. 1 for a long time. G says I'm now 1.4, but when I look at the results, the first one is related to the 'unicorn' as a whole, not the the 'unicorn horn issue' my article covered, the second result is the same, covers the unicorn as a whole, not the horn (food company, and this is a health topic, not a food topic), the third one is actually on the topic, and I sit in place at no. 4. So I just tried Bing and Duckduckgo and I rank no. 1 for the topic, and the two results directly below also cover that exact same topic. Unbelievable.

I am seeing domain clustering has returned stronger than ever. I hope over the next few days they will tweak this. Even if my site doesn't recover from the 25% hit it's had, the results are horrible.
6:40 am on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@StupidIntelligent - slow and steady recovery from 2013, but by March 2019 had only recovered to 50% of 2013 peak, however the trend in the past 12 months was positive. In 2013 we ranked #6 for our main keyword, which was fair. Our ranking of >100 today is a clear "eff off" message from Google IMO. The traffic they are sending now is kinda forced (when you have pages with 1000+ facebook likes even Google feels a little too stupid if they don't throw you some left-over traffic).

And I don't do any serious link building, or purchasing (occasionally get a link from friends or associates), so this is not a penalty move. Although natural link building does not work IMO, except in niche categories, or for huge volume searches, or perhaps non competitive categories where web masters link more freely.

As an anecdote - I'm a self proclaimed expert on a certain topic. I have more info. and knowledge on this topic than anyone in the world (who writes about it publicly anyway). The topic gets 100,000 - 200,000 searches in Google per year. So, I published an article on my site about this topic, and it was related to the focus of the site. The article was important because it had the potential to save lives (people have died, and the unique knowledge I had accumulated could help).

Once the article was published I asked some friends to link to it, and did a small amount of publicity including on forums. Initially I got maybe 5 followed links to the article and I'm sure that was more than anyone as the search was not monetized and had little competition. After a few months I ranked around 10 in Google. I also published a Youtube video, receiving about 100,000 views per year, with a link to the content on the site. The article settled at about the #6 position in Google after a year, and then just stayed there. In combination with the youtube traffic, internal traffic, google traffic, and links traffic (many nofollow forum links, mentions in reddit), the article received around 20,000 views per month. That should be enough traffic to generate the requisite buzz and natural links.

Well, it took about 6 years for the article to finally reach the number #1 position in Google! And sadly, only because of several deaths in the meantime, and a lot of people researching the topic, and finally being mentioned in a national paper (with a followed link). Today we're at #3. The top sites are discussion forums with many comments, so the ranking is appropriate. But in this case Google hardly has a choice to push us any lower. I bet we have more links than all the other search results combined. If that's what it takes, and how long it takes, in terms on natural link building to outperform big brands, it's really quite pointless.

Well thanks for listening to my rants :) Somewhat therapeutic really.
2:14 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I can confirm the “filter off” pattern that “Bill Lambert” foretold. Site had a very nice volume and and user quality stretch on Thursday...by Friday it was dropping back to drip traffic...and today, typically the busiest day of the week, it’s back to 30 min zero stretches. Site dropped 1 position usurped by a Pinterest page no less. Ridiculous.
2:33 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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i have lost alot of traffic also, and sales have been extremely low. The serps show that my competition that uses black hat techniques has gained even more and now pretty much have the top 4 spaces for everything. If this is how it is , then they have won and Im done. Google has awarded those that use black hat and misleading info and doorway pages - EAT for YMYL sites is just nonsense, all the advice google gives is nonsense.
3:13 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is the update still rolling out? Semrush sensor looks quiet.
3:38 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar I am also looking for the same thing. But nobody has confirmed yet.
3:58 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar - Are you still steady as she goes for your site? This is important because it can confirm or deny the existence of filters.
This 389 message thread spans 13 pages: 389