Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.81.29.226

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Featured Home Page Discussion

Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2019

     
12:04 pm on Oct 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 5, 2004
posts: 618
votes: 105



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 Even the stupid "People also ask" widget just regurgitates these same articles with information that is either outdated or completely wrong regarding my query.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)
6:52 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts: 1524
votes: 628


Rather interesting that when I switched to Matomo analytics, I am no longer seeing 30 min + dead spots. Seems GA is now doing sampled data rather that real time data and only when there's enough CPU to spare (as SI alluded to above). Makes sense. With nothing else to lose, I'm following 'Bill Lamberts' advice this month.
7:23 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 9, 2017
posts: 156
votes: 23


Regardless of who Bill Lambert is -- There is substance in his statement about “noindexing weak pages”. That is good common knowledge that can help sites immensely. That still doesn't give him credibility as someone being from Google. But still, it's important to noindex or completely remove pages that are thin, outdated, as long as there is no intention of rewriting them. An excessive amount of weak pages can drag your whole down as a whole, including some of your good content.
7:30 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts: 1524
votes: 628


@HWG123 - True, but the problem being seen by many is good rankings, but suddenly zero traffic, then just as suddenly great converting traffic, rinse and repeat. That indicates some type of filter, AI or otherwise, or some hereto unbeknownst network wide glitch. Whatever the cause, the effect seems to be common among many reporting here. It's a head scratcher to be sure.
7:43 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 9, 2017
posts: 156
votes: 23


@samwest - I agree there. I guess I'm coming more from an organic ranking perspective. I understand that removing old dead pages will not necessarily solve the issue with zombie traffic and the potential filters that people are reporting, but that's an entirely separate issue. I agree that it's a head-scratcher (and nail-biter) for sure.

In other news - I began noticing a lot of SERP volatility beginning late Thursday night, and all of Friday, and today as well. Something appears to be brewing, but again, at this point, it's typical. It shouldn't come as a surprise.
8:54 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 15, 2004
posts:620
votes: 119


Massacre weekend,

I am in shock the amount of zombie we’ve got.
9:39 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 27, 2019
posts:44
votes: 27


I only have zombie traffic which has wiped out my gains during the week, my hits are treble last year but my sales are down 50%, my bounce rate is crazy with no settings or changes happening on the site but higher non converting traffic.

[imgur.com ]
11:49 pm on Oct 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 9, 2017
posts: 156
votes: 23


I'm seeing crazy volatility with SERPs. I haven't seen something like this since the Broad Core Update.
12:30 am on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 25, 2018
posts:158
votes: 47


There is definitely something going on, I'm seeing a lot of movement.

And I've literally resorted to putting a PayPal link in my sidebar. Kind of embarrassing tbh but Youtubers do it a lot, so wth.

But it's that dire. Yikes... Thanks, Google. :/
3:23 am on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:756
votes: 453


I saw some nice conversions from Google earlier in the day then like a boomerang Google was back to heavily promoting Amazon. Really doesn't matter much to me since we're getting the sales one place or another (or by fax, email, phone). If Google wants to direct their users to Amazon, where they pay more for our products and shipping, have at it. Someone has to pay Amazon's 15% commission, and these costs are passed to the consumer.

I never could understand Google's love affair with Amazon anyway. Most of the products sold on Amazon can be purchased on eBay for less or on AliExpress for a fraction of the cost. Google must not like shoppers much if they are directing their users to the most expensive place to shop online.
7:21 am on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 11, 2017
posts: 121
votes: 31


Seeing big changes for both of my websites... Right now they are negative, but I hope it's too early to make some conclusions... Fingers crossed.
3:13 pm on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2018
posts: 382
votes: 215


Ive seen a spike in the last few hours that is continuing, plus bounce rate is down and session time up , plus had some decent conversions today. Of course I dont expect this to last but it makes for a more relaxing Sunday for me at least.
4:49 pm on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:756
votes: 453


Google's heavy and unprecedented Amazon favoritism/crowding in the SERPS persists. So much that we are logging our best sales day on Amazon ever. Thanks Google! I will call a meeting tomorrow morning, and we will explore substantially increasing our advertising budget on Amazon.
5:36 pm on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts:2738
votes: 837


I revisited my stats from Friday night to Saturday morning and it seems that what I was experiencing was a bout of referrer spam.

It turns out what I stated in my earlier post was wrong.
Furthermore, traffic landed on a wide random mix of pages as is the normal pattern for my site.

According to G-analytics, nearly all the the hits were specifically to my home page. Why I didn't notice this at the time is strange. Probably not enough coffee in me. Home page landings are a relatively unusual occurrence for this site. I consulted my raw logs to find the IP's were this traffic was coming from. It turns out, none of this traffic appears in my logs. This leads to the conclusion that this can only be referrer spam (i.e.: a bot making requests, to the GA endpoint without ever visiting the affected website).

Now this puts the "Bill Lambert" prediction into perspective too.
Watch out for analytics going screwy.

No Sh!t, accurately making such a prediction would be easy enough to achieve if you were initiating this spam attack.

Now the question to others that have seen this traffic spike (@Topaz, @TeresaD, @Milchan), have you checked your raw-logs to see if the traffic is real?

Despite what is noted above, I'm still seeing about a 30% increase in traffic. I'm investigating...
5:47 pm on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member

joined:Oct 31, 2010
posts: 22
votes: 4


I've actually obtained the featured snippet again. Position 0, page one alongside appearing in the top five organic results (keeps on jumping positions in the top five for some reason), so pos 3 one min, 5 the next, four, two etc etc. for a keyword I know converts and has done for years.

Yet..........................conversions are virtually non existent! and have been for days. They are either filtering converting traffic somehow and sending it to wherever gets them the most $$ or something is broken.

I've had much better conversions with much worse SERP positions in the past.

Been running this site 10 years and never had so low conversions with such a high rank......EVER. I hope things improve soon, Mondays are usually good days for me conversion wise so we will see what tomorrow brings.
8:18 pm on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 10, 2017
posts:349
votes: 155


Really weird, I just searched for a disease and the first four results were articles from state government health sites (four results, four different Australian states), the fifth result was a national government website, followed by Who. I've not seen that before, maybe one link to a government health site, but not so many. It would usually be WebMD, Wiki, maybe a government site.

My site has not improved, the September update absolutely destroyed my site. It's been a horrendous few weeks with absolutely no sign of recovery.
8:25 pm on Oct 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 27, 2019
posts:44
votes: 27


NickMNS + my ghosts land on product pages, I have 1 bot that goes straight to my thank you page and another that goes to 1 widget page, that url only comes from google shopping, its an add on widget so not a page that anyone would click on unless they have been on the main widget page on the site.

I have never looked at raw logs so will investigate how tomorrow.

This screenshot shows how the bounce rate has been manipulated, the more I look at this the more I say wow!

[imgur.com...]

[edited by: goodroi at 11:54 pm (utc) on Oct 20, 2019]
[edit reason] fixed url [/edit]

1:05 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Aug 7, 2019
posts:6
votes: 6


Newbie here, what is Zombie traffic?
1:31 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2018
posts: 382
votes: 215


Newbie here, what is Zombie traffic?


basically traffic that isnt real people that tends to land on a page , stay there and not do anything / browse
3:58 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from IN 

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 10, 2013
posts:106
votes: 43


@StupidIntelligent Bing is not a copycat. Or, not atleast entirely.

As Google's traffic has fallen, Bing's traffic has risen somehow. And I am seeing this from the June update.
7:06 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 18, 2018
posts:97
votes: 87


@seomotionz - If you lose traffic on Google; you're bound to do the same 3 to 4 months down the line on Bing, DDG and others.
8:57 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 25, 2017
posts: 173
votes: 47


Returning from a dreadful weekend. Low traffic and literally zero conversions, as we walk into our busiest time of the year. Brexit will be inevitably having an effect on us, but its much more than that. We had so few enquiries, its more than just a brexit anomaly.
9:33 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 27, 2019
posts:44
votes: 27


Here is an example of zombie/ghost spam, they are still on my site after 28 minutes

[imgur.com ]

Edited to add they have been joined by another one from Thailand. I GEO target my own country only
9:51 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from GB 

10+ Year Member

joined:June 17, 2003
posts:46
votes: 2


There was talk a while ago about never seeing a crawl by duckduck bot. Well I just had a short visit this morning. Strangely almost every page visited was shadowed by gbot.
I did a whois and it seems to be using the amazon network. Does that sound genuine?
10:37 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:756
votes: 453


There was talk a while ago about never seeing a crawl by duckduck bot. Well I just had a short visit this morning. Strangely almost every page visited was shadowed by gbot.
I did a whois and it seems to be using the amazon network. Does that sound genuine?

Compare the IP address to what DDG claims to use at: [help.duckduckgo.com...]
10:43 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from GB 

10+ Year Member

joined:June 17, 2003
posts:46
votes: 2


Yes it's listed - thanks.
11:59 am on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 3, 2014
posts: 1524
votes: 628


Ive seen a spike in the last few hours that is continuing, plus bounce rate is down and session time up , plus had some decent conversions today. Of course I dont expect this to last but it makes for a more relaxing Sunday for me at least.


Same thing happened here Milchan.
Between 11am and 12:30pm had three conversions spaced at exactly 20 minutes...then zero the rest of the day. This is the classic ON/OFF we are all observing. Back in the day, when traffic was unfiltered, it would be conversions all day spaced at about 20 to 30 mins... from sun up to sun down.
You would think, with more people on line today, that trend would have continued, but now we have the 800lb Gorilla to deal with.
12:11 pm on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User from JP 

joined:Nov 6, 2018
posts:3
votes: 5


If you are really paranoid about "zombie" traffic, install Hotjar and it will let you record the first 100 visitors for free. You will be able to literally watch what they do on your site like you are standing over their shoulder, its most likely a UX issue for a lot of you.
12:16 pm on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 25, 2017
posts: 173
votes: 47


@yaaiseo i have mouseflow which is essentially the same thing. I can tell you, that most are not user experience issues.
12:28 pm on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2018
posts: 382
votes: 215


and today they have reverted me back to lasts weeks traffic type of higher bounce and lower session time / pages per session etc. It ridiculous - my site is exactly the same as it was yet all of a sudden people find it 30% less interesting/useful etc. Google is just a mess nowadays , the whole situation is infuriatingly unreliable, unpredictable and manipulated.
12:51 pm on Oct 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:756
votes: 453


its most likely a UX issue for a lot of you.

Since zombie traffic is isolated to just traffic from Google, it's not a UX issue.
This 317 message thread spans 11 pages: 317