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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...]
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.
4:07 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Milchan Same here but it's been this way in my niche for months now. Expired mostly medical domains with strong backlink profiles dominate the search. One of my domains that got nailed a year ago had been steadily climbing back to the top, gaining back keywords and this core update killed it, it's not visible anywhere now.

I'm so disgusted.
4:21 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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EAT for YMYL sites is just nonsense, all the advice google gives is nonsense.


Google is not giving the E-A-T advice about authorship signals and all that. It is certain SEOs who are wrongly using the Search Quality Raters Guidelines to search for ranking clues.
5:11 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This update heavily added results from the "News" section into the default search results. The next one may add sponsored results from the "Shopping" section. It only means less traffic for non-corporate webmasters.
8:03 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@StupidIntelligent Traffic is steady and it's a full recovery. Articles are ranking as well, so I doubt that filters concept.
8:18 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've been lurking here for quite some time but have just registered to throw my two pennies in, for what it's worth...
I'm not a tech expert much as I try to keep learning. I run an internet based business and hence my website is my livelihood.
My site has been around over 10 years. I had to rebuild from scratch after Penguin and so made sure that I was white hat all the way. Every link I've earned has been natural. Every visitor hard earned. Medic hit me hard. Gradually started to regain that lost traffic/ranking March through June. Was hopeful this update would allow me to continue recovering. Like many of you I have had 'zombie' traffic from no-mans-land when I am clearly serving one type of customer. Starting Sunday 22nd Sep and peaking on Wednesday 25th September, it was like 2017, loads of 'potential customer' traffic, lots of enquiries, some orders, and then boom. Back to zombies. My rankings have dropped(tanked), my traffic has dropped. What did I do wrong...?
My niche is spammy, no argument. There are a few genuine competitors but the rest buy their links and work from PBN's. You simply cannot naturally earn links in my niche quickly. I know as I've tried (I do accept there are things I may not have tried but am speaking in generalisations). I have found over the past 2 years that I can't compete 'white hat'. Google does not respect white hat. They talk a good game but don't actually give a damn. Search anywhere other than G for my main keywords and I rank #1, G has been demoting me now for 2 years and replacing me with churn and burn, bought link, content scraping, illiterate websites which are quite obviously linked together.
It seems to me that G has given up on organic. It doesn't earn them anything and they are already a monopoly. The less helpful the organic serps are, the more likely a user will click an ad. I don't think it has to be much more complicated than that.
But on a more positive note, I am inclined to believe that this update has not done rolling out. I have noticed (read fake) review stars disappearing from serps for some shady competitors and not for others. Gbot crawled my site more heavily than I have ever seen on the 24th and 25th and then demoted me in the serps. I was expecting an uptick when I first noticed it but alas, hope was dashed. Does anyone know if Gbot crawls more heavily when a core update is happening?
9:28 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This post from @Selen does not get much attention. Its exaclty what I had obsorved over the last core updates. I said many times in my previous posts, that pages rank me out with articles, where the main keyword is missed

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.


The main sing is, that with the improoved synonym algo, you have a lot more competitors to deal with.

I think google plays with 2 factors on their last 4 core updates:

- Ingoing Links and their value
- Synonym value

Both things have nothing to do with your content.

Sites that got hit on the march 2019 core update, benefit from that update. Sites that benefit from march 2019, has lost rankings in june 2019 and now.
I think in march 2019 the proportion of links was higher and in june + September they reduced this value. They also increased the synonym value in September.
10:09 pm on Sept 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The synonym thing has been for some years now.
2:16 am on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Selen posted...
This update heavily added results from the "News" section into the default search results

Several thoughts come to mind. One is that it might be a test or early implementation of Google's giving original news reporting better recognition, as noted in this very recent thread here...

Google News Ranking Changes and New Rater Guidelines
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4964081.htm [webmasterworld.com]

If you observe this and have thoughts about the originality of the news stories observed, it might be helpful to share your observations (w/o specifics, of course) in the above thread.

This effect is also very likely to be query dependent and could be an aspect of QDF compounded with the reward for originality, or at least a test in that direction.

3:02 am on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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After being hit in June, this update looks like better for me.

[cdn.discordapp.com...]

I'm running an E-commerce website < snip >.

What I suspected to happen :

1 or 2 months before the June update, we messed up with some product attribute links (links removed but not the sitemaps) We ended up with 2x to 3x the normal amount of pages indexed but leading to 404.

I'm not sure it's this only but I'll describe what I did since June.

What actions I took since June.

- Lowered the footprint of all my products pages (less images, a lot have images in 2 different places but were the same).
- Disallow some Russian spammy links, just 3 so not sure it's related.
- I placed again the attributes links on pages, setup a correct no index meta robot.
- We made clear our contact informations (added a phone number even we never use it as we are located in Hong Kong and Taiwan and market in the US.

Before the September update I saw more connections coming from mobiles, this I think is faster product pages to load. Before the June update out traffic was not excellent but we had 1000 keywords. Went down to 250 after the hit, and now we are back to 600.

The gain is huge and this looks like a penalty lift. Which one? I can'y really tell. I really think it was a huge amount of broken links indexed showing a broken website to Google bots.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:08 am (utc) on Sep 29, 2019]
[edit reason] Removed product specifics, per forum Charter [/edit]

7:38 am on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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as said on another google update sep - I have not made any changes to one of our sites and it has also recovered ok. Not fully, could maybe come, is a ecommerce site with blog.
8:23 am on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Zeus

The synonym thing has been for some years now.


Yes, the synonym thing has been for years, that google say, "do you mean this, or this" and you "could" rank for other synonyms but since last year their is something different. I explain you what I have observed.

We run a big community for a specific disease. We have the biggest community and there is NO other forum on the market about this desease. You could think, when a person are searching for the disease + forum we are on the first position?

The domain is from 2001 and we were on the number 1 position for disease + forum until 2019. Then something changes. Its not, that our site is getting to old or does not have good links anymore. What happend is, that we are at the moment on position 7. On the position 1-6 are NO forums. There are medical articles about the disease and website with a hotline from the goverment about help with this disease. Yes, the serps are related to this disease but the users were searching for a forum and not for a article and NOT for website with a hotline. The medical articles and the hotline website does not have the word forum or community on the website or in the meta tags.

That means, google thinks, this pages are more relevant then our forum even when the user is searching for a forum about this disease. The same thing happends also for our long tail keys.

So what to do?
8:47 am on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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ahh a classic. Google prefer since 1 years medical sites over anything natural or forum that talk about alternative ways to get a cure. Im not sure I can post this link, go to duckduckgo search <snip snip snip> health sites - there you will see prove of what is going on if you have a site about health.


---
Mods note: zeus, I'm sorry that I do have to remove your search on DDG... not only leading to particular pages on at least one other "banned" site, something we generally don't do... but I should add that research I've done on this suggests the site leads to advice which has been found to be medically dangerous. If you're wondering about posting a search, as you were, best to ask before posting.

Over a stretch of time we've mentioned Dr Axe, Mercola, etc in the course of discussing medical results, and those... and this recent site... are contentious and well known... but the search submitted here is simply too specific.



Personal note on this... I should add that someone I know spent several days in the urgent care ward of a hospital last month, because of unexpected reaction to untested chemicals he'd ingested in a product he assumed was OK. It's still not completely diagnosed, and it was not at all clear he was going to come out of his coma. Another reason that I'd feel irresponsible publishing that particular search.

Members are free to use sticky mail for any private communications in which they'd like to discuss those sites, but please consider those discussions private, and not material for this public thread. It's clear that Google is coming down on the side of what some might consider conservative medicine, and clearly that sums up the trend. Complaining about it will not change that situation, though it may effect your choice of business model.

Also, I note, the sites don't seem to be "banned"... but they don't rank for competitive medical searches.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:02 pm (utc) on Sep 29, 2019]
[edit reason] removed specifics, added note... [/edit]

10:15 am on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Zeus, having read the post you're talking about, I agree 100%. I no longer use Google for search (unless I'm testing my own site with Google), I have switched to Duckduckgo for far better results.

G made a fatal error when they decided it was their job to censor sites (well, heavily demote), and most of us don't want to see webmd over and over again.
12:01 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Zeus

thank you very much for putting me on the right track. I have read the article now and I can confirm, that the part "Search Intent" in the article describes my observation.

Google’s algorithms can guess what you want to see based on your search terms. But they recently decided to ignore your search intent, showing you what they want you to see instead.
12:11 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Im glad I could help.

To Robert, what you describe has happen to a lot with chemicals in medicine, of cause I hope your buddy gets over this. Also there is bad sites and good sites in all categories, but people has to decide for them self what is good and not, I dont want a Company to choose for me.
12:55 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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zeus, yes, of course... a lot of "vetted" precription meds have side effects. The point I'm making is that many of these underground supplement "cocktails" have already been shown to be dangerous.

I've done a bunch of travel to many places off the beaten track, and whenever I come back I mentally kiss the ground and say god bless the Food and Drug Administration. I by no means think they're perfect, or that Google is perfect, but without some regulations it's unbelievable what some people or companies will put into the meds and food you eat and drink.

At the same time, I've used a lot of holistic practioners for physical therapy, inlcuding sports medicine specialists... but not trying to push the boundaries of performance.

Google, as they've self-described, is expressing an editiorial opinion, and E-A-T presents some of G's longterm goals based on their core opinions. These aren't ranking factors, but they are the guidelines for shaping the goals of Google's algorithms. If I were going to set up an online business, I certainly would not try to go in the opposite direction.

If I currently had a contrarian online business, particularly in health, I'd definitely be looking for alternatives to Google.

1:50 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google, as they've self-described, is expressing an editorial opinion, and E-A-T presents some of G's longterm goals based on their core opinions.


I think this is Googles biggest failure in trying to implement their own opinions, I don't know, I guess maybe people truly don't have common sense anymore. Its Googles business and they can do what they want, but it is no longer a place to go and look for information, too much censoring everywhere.

This, in my opinion, is when the fun stops. I love the internet because its a place of diversity, freedom, and information allowing us to use our own judgment and use the information we find at our own risk. Google has taken that away but fortunately there are other players who have not.

I just feel fortunate I have other search alternatives that still give me unbiased results. Yes, let me make my own decisions "even if it means risking my health" I don't need a search engine telling me what's good for me or what may harm me.
3:01 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just wanted to share the amazon traffic spike (grey bar) that appears to have been related to the "Lambert Effect" predicted when all filters temporarily turned off. Pretty dramatic increase that didn't last once the "filters" kicked back in. Rather disheartening to now confirm these filters really do appear to exist.
[imgur.com...]
3:21 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The real question is: should "dangerous" information or ideas be banned from the public? If you ban certain sites or information, you are a publisher?
4:03 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well I would never ban such thing, freedom of speech. Then you could also ban chemo where the side effects is HUGE. Well thats another topic, I do understand what Robert means. I would also never start a new site about Health or a ecommerce site, if Google dont get some competition.
5:27 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Yes, the serps are related to this disease but the users were searching for a forum and not for an article and NOT for a website with a hotline.


This is just one of many things that have been very annoying over the past year. If you try to look for discussion on health topics and add on "forum" at the end, it's often the case that no forum results show up at all, you just get sites like Healthline.

This is a clear example that Google is ignoring you and hand-holding, trying to be guardian, protector.

It almost feels like my hands are tied and I can't reach for the things I want anymore. I've wondered to myself if this is just my own perception because I'm aware of what happened, or if regular people who don't know SEO and not involved in building websites notice the same thing.
7:13 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well I do see more and more websites, have a little pop up or a little box on there site where it says we support duck.com and ecosia.org as search engine. on all our site we also do that and dont use any google related tools on our site for user Privacy. I feel I can not talk about I want competition if I dont do anything for it myself. As said I have seen that on a few sites now.
9:45 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I just tried another search with Google, looking for my own article because I need some information. I used to rank no. 1. It is a very specific search for a particular anatomical part, but G returned a general anatomy result, which is not what I was looking for, especially when I was so specific in my search. They did show my image in the answer box alongside the irrelevant article.

DDG managed to give me the result I was looking for, even if it hadn't been for my site (which it was), I still would have found the information I was looking for.

This is beyond frustrating that G will no longer provide relevant results the searcher is asking for.
10:20 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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well it will not be possible to deliver good results anymore if you censor specific content in a few categories. That will impact the general results.
10:50 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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We are not average searchers.
Google is a search engine for average Joe.

Think about it.
11:19 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am a day or 2 behind some of you but human hits are up, sales are down, this time last year I was in the middle of the site update so only 45 - 80 hits a day with 1-3 sales, now 300 hits a day with none to 2 sales.

My ppc €2 a day with max 0.08c is interesting I have had 4 conversions in 7 days and 2 phone calls leading to off site conversions and noticed that a cpc click in analytics look at my about page then shipping both in a different window from shopping, that is followed by an email facebook or live chat message.

Is this a user version of E.A.T without them knowing the SEO terms or are searchers now verifying sites are legit before they buy, I am now getting phone calls instead of emails to check where I am based and general chit chat to check me out which is new behaviour.
11:41 pm on Sept 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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zeus, it looks to me, from a chart in the site whose articles you want us to see, that what almost all of the med sites that lost traffic since the "medic" update have in common is bad SEO.

They appear to have used third party metrics, which had been calibrated to correlate with high ranking sites that used out-of-date, spammy techniques to achieve rankings. Commentary on the chart by the owner of the publishing site shows a complete misunderstand of what's being shown.

The ecommerce aspects of the sites may also raise some questions about conflict of interest.

I see all that as a separate thread, about the aftermath of "medic", which may or may not relate to the current update. These topics, and discussion about censorship and free speech would certainly overwhelm the current topic.

Our mod squad will look into linking to key articles in a separate thread about the aftermath of medic.

Not that we will never allow a "search" to get around our linking guidelines, and I should add that the mindset behind that thought is what, IMO, gets many members in trouble with Google in the first place.

Right now, though, this volunteer mod is trying to get out to take a walk while it's still sunny outside, and I then need to shop for some fresh produce. Both of these should be recommended by medical experts of any stripe.

12:54 am on Sept 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've switched to duck, and will start recommending it to others. In my field of expertise I can clearly see the results returned are better than G. I also did some medical searches recently and was pleasantly surprised by the results (seeing alternative view points early, which I want to know about).

Google's days of total search domination are numbered, that's for certain. 10 years from now their dominance will be gone, and 20 years from now search will be a completely different experience than it is today. They're being crushed by their own greed and hubris. Of course their execs don't care, by that time they'll have cashed out. 10 years ago Google and it's "do no evil" mantra was being worshiped by most. I think that facade is gone, and although the average joe may never clue in, people in tech will eventually.

Internet search is a vital component of life and that will only increase in the future. Humanity needs an unbiased and transparent interface to the world's information. This is actually something that AI can accomplish in our lifetime (compared to the many other fantasy notions of AI that ain't happening anytime soon). Once the AI gets there, it will become cheap enough that even small players can participate. I bet governments, NGOs, and many private variants will emerge.
7:19 am on Sept 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@TeresaD

0.08 c per click bid may be the reason. When running ads and sales disappear most webmasters put the bids up cause they think competitors outbid them. But no the problem is the traffic.
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