Google update again?!

Leith

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From the data we have available it's pretty clear Google is constantly changing the SERPs every so often, which probably means there is a potential split test going on with various tweaked versions of their algo update. This explains why the rankings are changing so frequently in certain niches (some niches are updating every few mins, crazy). Looks like Google is going back and fourth with different versions of their split test (constantly tweaking things) trying to figure out which one produces the "better" SERPs.
 

Gravity88m

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that's easy. "gel fingernail" gets 260 searches per month. "gel nail" gets 201000 searches. Google doesn't care that much about those small keywords. they kicked us out from the bigger keywords.
we're out.
but we got crumbs left on the table.

maybe they don't care about them at this point. or maybe they take that as well after some time.

The problem in this theory is my competition. There are some onepager with low power which are ranking in the top 10...
 

mtj85

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Been #1 for this keyword for 3 years (6000 monthly searches), except a little hiccups around may 2016 (jumping from position 1-2; the scale is not linear). Now down to 18, losing rank every week, now closing to #20. So I've been number 1 for 3 years and now i'm basically page 3 material. You know, you don't stay on position #1 for 3 years by accident... Now everything is just messed up.
And this is not the only keyword that experienced something similar. Many of keywords that I track have been on #1 for years, but then after 1st of August went to page 2,3,5 or even out of top100 and not reappearing ever since.
It just doesn't make sense anymore... In the meantime, about 80% of daily traffic is gone.

Maybe google should issue post-august2018 webmaster's guidelines because it seems that those tips don't work anymore.

This is what happens if you hire monkeys to do engineering.

6tYUmd.jpg
 

fb3003

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Been #1 for this keyword for 3 years (6000 monthly searches), except a little hiccups around may 2016 (jumping from position 1-2; the scale is not linear). Now down to 18, losing rank every week, now closing to #20. So I've been number 1 for 3 years and now i'm basically page 3 material. You know, you don't stay on position #1 for 3 years by accident... Now everything is just messed up.
And this is not the only keyword that experienced something similar. Many of keywords that I track have been on #1 for years, but then after 1st of August went to page 2,3,5 or even out of top100 and not reappearing ever since.
It just doesn't make sense anymore... In the meantime, about 80% of daily traffic is gone.

Maybe google should issue post-august2018 webmaster's guidelines because it seems that those tips don't work anymore.

This is what happens if you hire monkeys to do engineering.

6tYUmd.jpg

i have asked few people about this and those who lost their top ranking have confirmed my assumption. Can you please check the top ranked websites for the keywords that you lost ranking and see what is the percent exact match backlink ratio for the primary keyword is? check semrush for this, since it ignores robots.txt and .htaccess file!

it seems that google is now ranking those pages who have more exact match backlinks ratios higher in serp. This could be a temporary thing and also one of the reasons why a lot of spammy sites are suddenly ranking higher than the solid sites who have stayed away from hard core blackhat methods.
 

mcshammer

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i have asked few people about this and those who lost their top ranking have confirmed my assumption. Can you please check the top ranked websites for the keywords that you lost ranking and see what is the percent exact match backlink ratio for the primary keyword is? check semrush for this, since it ignores robots.txt and .htaccess file!

it seems that google is now ranking those pages who have more exact match backlinks ratios higher in serp. This could be a temporary thing and also one of the reasons why a lot of spammy sites are suddenly ranking higher than the solid sites who have stayed away from hard core blackhat methods.

You could be on the money. I have a competitor that spun up 800 backlinks in September, all from the same 3 spammy domains and is now comfortably ranked #1
 

fb3003

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You could be on the money. I have a competitor that spun up 800 backlinks in September, all from the same 3 spammy domains and is now comfortably ranked #1

mind sharing actual numbers based on semrush for your primary keyword. want to know what your competitors exact match % backlink is compared to yours. also, numbers for total referring domains helps as well.

looking for the following numbers for both your domain and also your primary competitor
[1] total referring domains
[2] % of the referring domains that have exact match anchors for the keywords that you care about

semrush provides both of these numbers
 

mcshammer

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Woops sorry it wasn't 800 backlinks, it was just over 8000.
I'll PM you the info
 

fb3003

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Woops sorry it wasn't 800 backlinks, it was just over 8000.
I'll PM you the info
thanks for the PM. I am doing some analysis.

[1] One interesting fact: your competitor has 58% exact match for your primary keyword.

can you tell me what your number is. take a look at this url
https://www.semrush.com/analytics/backlinks/overview/YOURDOMAIN:root_domain
replace YOURDOMAIN with your own url
look at the bottom left panel and gives you that percentage

[2] also, when I use VPN and do search from different countries, i get a different result for the competitor that you mentioned. I think this is another culprit. Depending on IP of the majority of the backlinks, it impacts your search result. in the same URL i gave you above, check the country box and compare the top 3 countries to yours and see if there is a major difference.

[3] also, if you have friends from other countries, please ask them to search for your keyword and tell you what your competitor is ranking and also what you are ranking.

p.s. reason why i am writing this in public and not in PM, is that we call can better understand what google is up to.
p.s.s. your competitor sitting at 58% is probably the primary reason why they are ranking well above you. you could not be ranking at the top for 3 years, if you had 58% exact match anchors!
 

mcshammer

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mind sharing actual numbers based on semrush for your primary keyword. want to know what your competitors exact match % backlink is compared to yours. also, numbers for total referring domains helps as well.

looking for the following numbers for both your domain and also your primary competitor
[1] total referring domains
[2] % of the referring domains that have exact match anchors for the keywords that you care about

semrush provides both of these numbers

thanks for the PM. I am doing some analysis.

[1] One interesting fact: your competitor has 58% exact match for your primary keyword.

can you tell me what your number is. take a look at this url
https://www.semrush.com/analytics/backlinks/overview/YOURDOMAIN:root_domain
replace YOURDOMAIN with your own url
look at the bottom left panel and gives you that percentage

[2] also, when I use VPN and do search from different countries, i get a different result for the competitor that you mentioned. I think this is another culprit. Depending on IP of the majority of the backlinks, it impacts your search result. in the same URL i gave you above, check the country box and compare the top 3 countries to yours and see if there is a major difference.

[3] also, if you have friends from other countries, please ask them to search for your keyword and tell you what your competitor is ranking and also what you are ranking.

p.s. reason why i am writing this in public and not in PM, is that we call can better understand what google is up to.
p.s.s. your competitor sitting at 58% is probably the primary reason why they are ranking well above you. you could not be ranking at the top for 3 years, if you had 58% exact match anchors!

58% / 40,000 backlinks. Can't compete with that.

I no longer rank for that keyword, my percentage is 5%.

Using your theory I've looked at 10~ competitors top anchor to see if its consistent, and each of them are comfortably in first position, all with (tens of) thousands of spammy backlinks.
 

djshy9785

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The SERP's truly are a cluttered mess.

1. Shopping widgets

2. Ads

3. Youtube block

4. Wrong Answer Boxes

5. Images Block.

6. Yes, No.6 is the new No.1 for organic result.

F*ck G00gle
 

nakamura

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Guys, don't even try to understand whats going on with the SERP's or what is Google on about. They probably don't even know by themselves.
 

Unreliable Witness

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thanks for the PM. I am doing some analysis.

[1] One interesting fact: your competitor has 58% exact match for your primary keyword.

[2] also, when I use VPN and do search from different countries, i get a different result for the competitor that you mentioned. I think this is another culprit. Depending on IP of the majority of the backlinks, it impacts your search result. in the same URL i gave you above, check the country box and compare the top 3 countries to yours and see if there is a major difference.

[3] also, if you have friends from other countries, please ask them to search for your keyword and tell you what your competitor is ranking and also what you are ranking.

Just from observation, Google is no longer sending as much traffic from countries that aren't either:

the country targetted in the header of the page, or
countries where referring quality sites (topically relevant, high traffic) are based

I've also noticed that sites that rank highly for competitive terms have a higher proportion of exact match anchor text for external links. Not 58% but around 15-20%.

One site in paticular (that ranks at position 1 for most terms it is targetting) uses the same exact match anchor text multiple times on a page for internal links.

I don't think that Google is valuing exact match more than it used to. I wonder whether it has relaxed the criteria that it judges spam sites on, because its now weighting other types of links (country specific, topically relevant) more heavily, and doing that weeds out spammier links that are likely to use exact match.

It wouldn't matter if you have a high proportion of exact match links to your site if Google devalued or ignored them completely. If all it is judging a site on is 30% of the total link profile, it is likely that most of those links aren't exact match. It is going to be the spammier ones that are exact match, and they won't be counted.

SEMrush and ahrefs show us most of the total link profile. Even WMT / Search Console does. But that doesn't mean that Google uses all of it for every part of the crawl and indexing processes.

As the web grows, I think Google is having to be pickier about what pages it spends it resources on. The more data there is out there, the more processing power Google needs to make the judgments as to what to show - usually with diminishing returns. If you wanted to keep processing power down, you'd start limiting what you process (you would use a smaller dataset), and accept that although it won't be perfect, it will be mostly right.
 

asker1

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I am getting mad right now. Its jumping up and down every day. My rankings were solid and changed very slowly over the last 3-4 years as you can see on the image below. Its an average from more than 150 keywords. The last few days its going for some keywords from #1 to #40 back and forth many times a day.

Anyone still seeing this? Whats the cause?
 

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vanquishie89

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I am getting mad right now. Its jumping up and down every day. My rankings were solid and changed very slowly over the last 3-4 years as you can see on the image below. Its an average from more than 150 keywords. The last few days its going for some keywords from #1 to #40 back and forth many times a day.

Anyone still seeing this? Whats the cause?
That graph pretty much mirrors one of my sites that I did zero Blackhat tactics on, only the occasional guest post here and there. Every single one of pages took a nose dive into the 15-20 page. This isn't an E-A-T, MEDIC or whatever the community is calling it. It was more of a multi-niche that didn't touch anything medical/health.

My opinion? it'll be back. I'm seeing constant serp fluctuations.
 

Leith

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I am getting mad right now. Its jumping up and down every day. My rankings were solid and changed very slowly over the last 3-4 years as you can see on the image below. Its an average from more than 150 keywords. The last few days its going for some keywords from #1 to #40 back and forth many times a day.

Anyone still seeing this? Whats the cause?

Split tests going on with the algorithm(s) and tweaks are being made each time, causing frequent fluctuations across the SERPs. Seeing similar on thousands of keywords we track. For years I've been tracking clients' rankings with all our services (close to 40k keywords tracked daily). Although I don't think anyone has quite cracked this recent algorithm update, it's pretty clear Google are jumping in/out of different "versions" of their update.

Since there's been several "versions" of this update [multiple instances throughout Aug, Sept and now Oct) it's quite tricky to pinpoint the exact cause of what they're tweaking/targeting. It would be silly to conclude that anchor optimization was the solo reason, because it isn't (it's not that simple). Far too many variables with this update at the moment which is evidently making it quite a challenge for SEOs to deduce. Waiting to see if the SERPs calm down anytime soon.
 

starki

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it's pretty clear Google are jumping in/out of different "versions" of their update.
Yep, what makes me scratch my head is two things: First, Google never tested something that big "in the wild" before. Penguin, Panda, all huge updates, they weren't "beta" when released. Makes me think this must be related to user behaviour/signals in some way, because that's the only thing you can't test in a sandbox. Second, this algorithm seems to have some sort of "impulse control disorder" to stay with the medical comparisons.
 

ohmydog

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Since there's been several "versions" of this update [various "versions" throughout Aug, Sept and now Oct) it's quite tricky to pinpoint the exact cause of what they're tweaking/targeting.

Couldn’t agree more.

I have been seeing at least 2 versions in one of my niche since August, where my rankings are either in the top 3 or 50 plus. Sadly, most of my high traffic kws are on the later.

Been waiting for 3 months to see if the storm will settle...but nope...and don’t know if it ever will. The only thing i can control is keep pumping out good content and hope for the best.
 
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