Friday, July 28, 2017

July Algorithm Updates, New AdSense Rule, GSC Data Anomoly & RIP Flash: Weekly Forum Update

Over the last couple weeks there has been extensive discussion around potential algorithm updates in July.

Webmasters were reporting issues with Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console reported a data anomaly in search analytics data.

We also say good bye (or good riddance depending on your point of view) to Adobe Flash, and more.

July Algorithm Changes

Read full discussion here

This months Google update thread on Webmaster World reported a number of possible updates, starting late June. Webmaster reported shifts in early July.

Some webmasters reported increases around June 25th

EditorialGuy: “We gained from the update (if it was an update), with a fairly significant jump in Google traffic on June 25, followed by day-over-day improvements during the rest of the week. Some of the gains appear to be sticking. It’ll be easier to tell next week when the effects of the July 4 holiday in the U.S. are over.”

Other webmasters reported a drop around July 10th.

Ionguy reported on July 3rd
“another drop in traffic since ‘not an update’ update
about 40% down; nice; may i keep my shoes guys?”

Barry Shwartz of Search Engine Roundtable also noted unusual activity,

“There are some early signs of a Google search algorithm update over the weekend, around Saturday and Sunday. The chatter is still very quiet but it was the weekend and that might kick up over the next day or so. Plus, pretty much all the tools are on fire, showing huge volatility around June 9th.”

Shwartz added that he attempted to analyze over 70 websites that may have been potentially affected but could find any meaningful patterns.

Increased Domain Crowding

Webmasters also noted increased domain crowding, multiple listings of a single domain,  in results.

Samewest: “wow! is Pinterest the new flavor of the month? or is Google about to buy them? They now dominate every SERP in my niche. Page one is ads, ads, ads, pinterest, pinterest, pinterest, 1st organic well below the fold. With all due respect, anyone who contends there was no update recently is off their rocker.”

Google recinds confirmation of Fred Update? Hard to say.

A member shared a post that in a Webmaster Central Office Hours Hangout, John Mueller, denied that a Fred update occured after an abeit indirect conformation at a conference by Gary Illyres.

According to Mueller, “How did the Fred update impact the e-commerce websites? Why did so many e-commerce sites see a drop in ranking? What can we do to kind of recover that loss?

So from our point of view there was no Fred update.

This is a name that was given externally to a bunch of updates that we’ve been doing over time. So it’s not the case that there’s this one thing that is changing in search. We make changes in search all the time and we’re always working on trying to find ways to bring more relevant, more high-quality content to users, and that can be affecting a variety of websites. And variety of areas where we show content and search.”

From what was shared regarding Illyres statement, there was only an implied confirmation during an Ask Me Anything session at SMX. Attendees shared on twitter:


No More Pop-Up and Pop Under with Adsense – New Rule

Read full discussion here

In a recent announcement to simplify policies, Google stated that pop overs and pop unders were no longer permitted using AdSense. Ken b did note a non-trivial point by highlighting the aspect of the new policy that Google is passing the mandate for websites to also enforce this on ad networks and for affiliates.

Google Search Console Data Change

Read full discussion here

If you have seen a lower average position or increased impressions around July 13th or 14th in Google Search Console, it is possible that it may be due to a Data Anomaly reported in Google Search Console that changed values. Webmasters were pleased overall to have better data.

Bing Webmaster Tools Broken?

Read full discussion here

Shared on Threadwatch, was speculation that was shut down, since its returning a broken page. When we tested it on our end, it seemed to be working. Users also chimed in on the general usefulness of Bing Webmaster Tools, a couple years after it was made available. The over-arching sentiment seemed to be the interface is not the greatest but webmasters are grateful to have additional data.

RIP Adobe Flash

Read full discussion here

It was announced that Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla will stop supporting Flash in 2020. Member wiser3 commented that it may seem like a long time from not but it is recommended to apply necessary changes early, since browsers will stop supporting it prior to 2020.

Has Spammy Content From Others in Google Ruined a Webmaster’s Livelihood

Read full discussion here

As reported on Threadwatch, a Webmaster World member reported that they lost their livelihood after 15 years of investment  in a web property

“I sit here right now having just told my child we are going to lose our house and we need to find homes for our pets. I fought so hard to keep going, it’s a good site, the content is great, but now 120 word articles outrank mine. My husband is yelling at me, my daughter has just run into her bedroom. This is how it is. My site is 15 years old, I always put the user first, and we are now facing bankruptcy. My whole family hates me for the failure of my site.

We’ve lost it all :(”

Members offered many kind words and some wisdom. I highlight just a few here

From member jori: “whatever you do from now on, don’t unplug your site. Maybe, just maybe, in a near future, Google put things back to “normal”.
It’s all a matter of “user satisfaction” and money earned by G. If user is not satisfied, and less money are earned, Google will change things.

And for now, I don’t see how in the world users can get satisfied with current results, at least on my niche. Or how Google can earn more revenues this way. Let’s wait.”

SamWest Added, “ I feel your pain, however, my longtime saying is “enjoy it while it lasts, because it never lasts” It’s the same in the brick and mortar business and jobs world. Things change. The bottom line is that they moved your cheese. Giving in is not the solution. Waiting for the cheese to return is not the solution. Reinvention and realignment with the current trends may help.. After 17 years online, my six figure site has also died the same slow death (since 2010). I myself had to take a part time J.O.B. and I’m still barely able to keep above water.
Probably like you, my site looks fine in the SERPS, but nowhere near the user interaction as before. Is it by design or is it just that trends have changed? I suspect a little of both. I will say this, in my niche the current “flavor of the month” Pinterest crowding is really pushing a lot of valuable content down below the fold or to the page two graveyard, especially on long tail. I am wondering if this crowding is intended to push users to explore page two and beyond. If so, it’s not working.”

Google Pays Professors As Part Of Academic Influence Campaign

Read full discussion here

Found on Threadwatch was a discussion surrounding a story from the Wall Street Journal that Google is paying professors as part of an Academic Influence Campaign to get research created supporting various strategic public policy positions that favor Google.

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