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Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2019

     
12:04 pm on Oct 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 5 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4962430.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 5:42 pm on Oct 2, 2019 (utc -5)


Dealing with Google as a business is tough and dealing with Google as a normal user is becoming a huge headache as well. I was trying to find some info about some software on the latest Smartphone I just bought and it was insane how stupid the search engine is now. It blatantly ignores keywords and uses synonyms for others which was not my intent and important for the search. It just returns articles of general information that are 5 or 6 years old. Even the stupid "People also ask" widget just regurgitates these same articles with information that is either outdated or completely wrong regarding my query. My whole mobile screen seems to be filled with either ads or search widgets.

I disagree with the use of all these widgets, and see a lot of it as content theft (people work hard to provide this information). It would be one thing if Google actually returned the correct information but in a large percentage of queries it does not making these widgets and the AI behind a huge failure.

Google please become a real search engine again instead of trying to be an information provider on the backs of other peoples businesses. (I know this will never happen unfortunately unless the government steps in)
2:10 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@seomotionz
@Milchan are you suggesting that I should be looking into log files?


You could start there to see if you can spot the details of the conversion you had for instance but it might be a good idea to trying a different analytics system in conjunction with GA so you can compare. There will very likely be differences and they can be quite a bit. Bear in mind though that some of those differences can be bot traffic that GA has filtered from the stats whilst another system might not filter those. For example I use Tawk.to live chat widget and the admin dashboard for that also has visitor stats and they are massively different from those in GA, but quite a few are bots that GA filter outs (some are not though)
2:23 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My live chat is the opposite it shows humans only so while GA can be very busy my visitors online is empty.
2:53 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@teresad - thats another example that shows there can be lots of differences between analytics systems.I would say my chat dashboard usually shows about 20 to 30% more traffic levels than GA does.

Probably the most accurate way is to set up you own systems
3:00 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@TereaD- all I see are zombies. [gph.is...]

traffic is totally stale and static...no page transitions and mostly from foreign countries. Filters clearly in full effect.
4:21 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Milchan Well I also use Clicky. Anyway thanks for the suggestion! And today traffic is low that I am not thinking about GA.anymore.
4:37 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The good thing about the human chat visitors is that they convert and I can watch them in real time. I have given up with GA it just makes me sad
5:09 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@TeresaD - are you saying that you see human visitors in your chat but they don't appear simultaneously in GART? I'm getting clusters of On/OFF traffic. It's like a game of roulette with Google and I think it has to be by design. In 20 years I have never seen patterns as obviously controlled as this. Not sure how, but as usual, with no transparency whatsoever from the plex, all we have to go on is the appearance of traffic behavior.

My positions have returned, #1 and #2 for my top volume key phrase, yet 95% of my traffic is direct. Apparently Google has very few users.

I also wonder why the real time display includes "Top Keywords" because I have never seen anything displayed there...ever.
5:31 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello-

Something odd. Today, several times, I had not a single visit from Google during a period of 30 minutes, (each time the first half of an hour), and, when it happened, I had a surge of traffic from Bing, DDG and Yahoo. As if Google was off-line, and people went to other search engine. However, Google was not off-line, of-course, but it's odd pattern certainly due to something else, but it's very clear in my stats. (and no problem of connectivity of my servers).
5:36 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@samwest + I could be watching GA with 5 people, pages changing, products being looked at but nothing added to the cart or conversions. At the same time chat visitors online is empty. If I see something added to the cart in GA I can see them as humans in chat.

GA are ghosts, if I get genuine search traffic I can see them in chat.
7:12 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@TeresaD - Yep, just saw something very similar. A sale came in and yet nothing tracked in GA real time. Either people are blocking google or it's a bug. I still have not removed GA, just out of morbid curiosity to figure out what is going on.
@JorgeV - it seems you are not hallucinating, because I just hallucinated the very same thing. I am also experiencing those 30 minute outages. Not sure what to believe...Google now has me doing this > [youtu.be...]
Guess it fits the season. :o
8:01 pm on Oct 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am having 30 minute outages too it is very strange
9:35 am on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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A lot of search bots have started following nofollow, so one can get clicks, increased traffic to target areas without conversions. Expect more bogus movement from now on.
9:39 am on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I read an article about user intent, my site is very user friendly and easy to navigate. I did an experiment with my 14 year old daughter and a couple of her friends who used phones or tablets.

They found it easy to use but all agreed that "pages" were old fashioned, I shrunk the product images on the category pages to 100 per page so most categories are 1 page, some are 2.

Now in chat I see literally 23,30,40 products being added to the cart then products being deleted when they decide which widgets they prefer, this is how the younger mobile generation shop (I want it all and I want it now :) ) I have only had 3 sales in the last 3 days but all of them were substantial with 6 or more widgets.

It does not sort out the ghosts or reduced organic traffic but maybe I need to change my mindset and what my age group are used to with online shopping and younger generations who never use desktop.

They also use very few words when searching as they expect the phone to know what they are looking for! all of them used voice search when they did not find what they wanted, they were looking for my unique long tail widgets so I am going to look at my keywords with fresh eyes.

On the plus side they did find my widgets in voice search, some easier than others so that I need to work on.
11:33 am on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed the last few days it seems like zombie traffic has increased also. My bounce rate has increased by 20%, number of pages per session and page views dropped also dropped - i.e. quality of traffic significantly worse even though I have a slight up tick in actual visitors.
12:12 pm on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hell just happened today with the traffic?

Are filters triggered on converting traffic without any transparency and ads money still being spent on “something” !
12:36 pm on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is just not targeted now that I can say. Not zombie like they stay, visit pages and all, but no conversions.
12:37 pm on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello-

it seems you are not hallucinating, because I just hallucinated the very same thing.

Good to know :)
2:50 pm on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I assume due to the recent rich snippets update: [webmasters.googleblog.com...]

The last surge of bot activity my site received must have dealt with this since I just got some warnings dealing with structured data from Google Search Console.


Search Console has identified that your site is affected by 1 Products issues:
Top Errors
Errors can prevent your page or feature from appearing in Search results. The following errors were found on your site:
Either "offers", "review", or "aggregateRating" should be specified
We recommend that you fix these issues when possible to enable the best experience and coverage in Google Search.

I love the vague warning that my pages can be pulled from the search results. I am not doing anything black hat and I am following the structured data examples from schema.org.

Googles Structured Data Guidelines [developers.google.com...] specify certain additional requirements for featured snippets etc which don't fit with the specific products I list. That is fine I don't expect to be listed for Featured snippets for these things but to threaten the removal of the pages from the search results that meet the guidelines from schema.org is a little much. Google is using a big hammer to shape the internet how they want so they can make the most money.

I am not to worried about being pulled as all my competitors suffer from similar issues as it looks like no one knows how to list the information/reviews about these specific products properly without generating errors and warnings in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
3:49 pm on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I get this message and have had it for months - its just the feature/rich result that wont show. It has never caused ranking problems.

Specifically it relates to the product tags in Google images at the moment
11:14 pm on Oct 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anyone's Analytics Real Time Traffic sts not reporting correctly? Ours is not reporting correctly right now. And yesterday Bill Lambert wrote this on Barry's site:

Watch out for analytics going screwy. Just like the filter drop when a role out happens GA will not report correctly. All computung resources go on the update NOT the free services.


I was an advocate for just ignoring him, but this is way too strange at this point.
12:47 am on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Seeing a spike in traffic this Friday evening. Update ?
2:04 am on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Topaz it is looking dead-ish right now but I have already surpassed my Friday stats from last week. So it looks positive, but it's way too early to call. Let's see what Sunday holds.
8:36 am on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google News got some problem? Articles are there in Google News, but Google News Hub/Feed for my site/publication is not showing the latest articles on both web and mobile.
1:49 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Seeing a spike in traffic this Friday evening. Update ?

It appears so. Go back to page 4 in this thread and you will see StupidIntelligent quoting Bill Lambert. I see flux myself, and yesterday (Friday) had some really bad traffic coming out of Google. Today traffic quality/conversions are a little better.
2:14 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Bill Lambert Update: Very real Barry. Data push on going. Not sure of detail but looks like next Tuesday could be a game changer. Remove GA and noindex weak pages.
2:15 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Bill Lambert: Watch out for analytics going screwy. Just like the filter drop when a role out happens GA will not report correctly. All computung resources go on the update NOT the free services.
4:23 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just checked my stats since my last post. Friday 11pm (EDT), I saw 5x increase in traffic. The bounce lasted until 3am, then returned to "normal" then at 9am the traffic jumped again up by 2x. This is not a viral spike (big spike followed by a progressive decay). This was a sudden increase in traffic that remained steady, followed by a sudden drop to the previous level. Furthermore, traffic landed on a wide random mix of pages as is the normal pattern for my site. This is opposed to a viral spike pattern where all the traffic lands on one single page or small group of related.pages.

This "Bill Lambert" person clearly has some inside knowledge, I'm not sure if that helps in any way.
4:33 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just to add an update... Looking at real-time stats it appears things have switch back to normal mode from 12 noon (EDT). I'm really curious to see how all this plays out.
4:35 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm more leaning towards Bill Lambert being good at guessing.... My news site experienced the exact same thing Nick described.
6:27 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Mods Note: Your unpaid volunteer moderators would appreciate if we can keep this thread on topic aka only discussing Google Updates & SERP changes.

Want to talk about something else? Start a new thread.
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