See the entire conversation

Site admins, is anyone else seeing a huge drop in traffic in the last several days (since Saturday)? @AndroidPolice is seeing a devastating 50-70%+ drop. We're suddenly not getting any meaningful @Google traffic anymore, feed, search, or otherwise, and I don't understand why.
98 replies and sub-replies as of Jul 12 2018

This image sucks.
I have not been able to get a hold of anyone at Google to help figure out what is happening with our traffic. Just filed several posts in these support forums:!topic/…!topic/…!topic/…
For example, referrals from @googlenews dropped by 95% between Sunday, July 1st and Sunday, July 8th. It's an absolutely devastating drop.
Must be nice being at their whim. Hopefully you didn’t upset the Google Gods.
Google giveth, Google taketh away.
It probably has something to do with you guys not using AMP - or Google was messing with the algorithm and your site was depreciated. I highly doubt Google is purposefully suppressing your viewership. [P1]
Note: I no longer see your articles naturally in the Google News app - in both the “For You” and Headlines > Technology tabs. [P2 | END]
Cloudflare could be the reason
Cloudflare helps us in many ways. Why would they be the reason? They speed up a lot of things.
in my country (Morocco) there was a bug.. i guess. everyone before visiting a website with Cloudflare got a captcha
Did u check if they switch your website to mobile indexing? Maybe your mobile site is not well structured?
Also check if there are any manual strikes on your site
have you guys tried the new URL inspection tool from the new Google search console? Might be worthwhile on old pages that have whose traffic dropped significantly
There is no longer recommended story in my googe news from your website
I know, but we're not even slow. The pages load fast, especially on mobile. 80-85 mobile index on page speed reports, which is marked green. The post said it would only affect the very slowest sites.
This might be fairly minor but it's notable that AP scores mostly 'average' or 'medium' on the Page Speed Insights page at the moment:…
Mobile is what's getting penalized the most, and we're at 89/100 there with an Average speed. That should not penalize us with a complete removal from news, feed, etc. That's just crazy.
You're right - I checked my GNews and I have lots of @Ausdroid articles but they score very poorly on the test site:… further, I have AP as a favourite source yet none of the tech articles I checked give me your article. See screenrecording in next tweet
AP story not appearing in coverage feed despite being a favourite source.
This is sad to watch.
It's also really annoying as a user. I have AP as a fave for a reason and not being able to rely on the Google News feed for access to your content frustrates me.
It does not seem like favorite sources affects the news feed at all.
More anecdotal evidence for you guys: Absolutely nothing in my feed, nor in For you or Technology in google news. I didn't notice since i follow AP by rss, but I still follow news and feed links to you from time to time.
I used to get AP link on my Google feed everyday , but since last two weeks the amount of link of everything else multiplifold and hard to find even one AP link.
Didja try turning it off and turning it back on?... i'm sorry.
Did you check links? Seems like someone bombarded with spam links on u!
Did you see this? Worth looking into. I am literally saddened seeing this. AP is one of the Android blogs I have followed since years.
Write a piece on AP about it like you did with the phantom touch issue on your Home Mini to get a faster response.
If Play-Store support has shown me anything it is that only robots work at Google.
what about @LiamSpradlin , he works at Google right?
Crap... This needs urgent attention from @Google
I heard something about getting a penalty in search rank when your mobile site is slow to load. Maybe that's a direction to look into?
I thought it could be the reason, but the site is fast on mobile and we have no warnings anywhere in the @googlewmc Search Console.
🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔 Maybe other sites are simply faster and therefore appear higher? That or there's some other algorithm change that Google never mentioned, which I'm leaning towards.
It's possible, but that's not what Google said. "The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries."
It also doesn't explain why AP would suddenly stop getting into the Google Feed and Chrome, which has been a tremendous source of traffic for us.
This unfortunately could be AMP related, their news redesign had something AMP related going on AIAIK ... Post it to Ask HN, see if anybody knows there. I've been trying to keep AMP out of my life.
oh wow, came here to recommend the same thing, thought i cracked the code. still blaming google tho
If you know someone at Google you can ping to help us look into it, it'd be tremendously helpful. Here's the traffic dip. Actually started Friday, July 6th.
Just kidding. Had to 😁
This is so so sad. I hope you guys figure it out soon.
How is your sitemap performing? Any errors/404s/loss of indexing?
I just added the https variant of the site to Search Console because it apparently counts http and https separately, but from what I can tell, no issues like that.
Yeah you want both properties there. Where it shows you the number of pages submitted are 90% of them indexed? I’m mobile but I think it’s under “sitemaps”
You should see something similar to this screen grab from google search. Except thousands of pages 90% also indexed
Yeah, it's showing tens of thousands indexed.
Okay hmmm that is odd. Do you pay for g suite? You should be able to get premium support
We're on the grandfathered free Google Apps tier. Not sure they'd support anything unrelated to G Suite anyway, let alone let us get close to a properly located engineer.
Yeah I’ve asked them questions about SERP before and had them remove flags from websites for various things. But you can definitely rattle some chains through the support channels
Sometimes they give you phone support if you push hard enough through chat.
Tested some searches on google, using mobile browsers on my phone. And even for queries with text copied from the title of the AP article, AP links only showed starting on page 4. Something is definitely pushing you guys back. Pages took about 4s to load, about 3s on the last 10%
That's crazy. Our site isn't even that slow.
Left is AP, right is AC. Both on chrome. Even though AC loads almost 3x more data, the DOM finishes in about 2/3 of the time. Total load about 3/4 of the time. AC is consistently showing as first page on mobile searches.
That's hardly the reason why. The differences are marginal, and the test should be done across many pages (especially article pages) multiple times. AC also shows up on mobile more often because of AMP, which we don't have.
Why don't you have AMP?
Because I hate the idea of AMP - basically maintaining 2 versions of the site, 1 of them basically a feature-incomplete version. Also the AMP plugin for WordPress is still under actively development and changing all the time. Not even at 1.0 yet.
Did you notice a difference between mobile and non mobile traffic? I sure hope it’s not AMP related
I honestly think that you are way more competent than me to fix this problem specifically, and agree that one sample is not enough for final conclusions. But 25-33% is not marginal. For algos that rank by speed, that could be a lot actually.
Also, AMP can die in a fire.
I don't know if this is important but I used to see a lot of AP articles on the Tech page of the "News & Weather" android app but lately I've seen none. It was one of the main ways I'd end up on your website.
I've recently switched from the news and weather app to the new Google news and have noticed the same.
Well, that sucks.
Anyone who can help?
Looking at the Network tab in Chrome's dev tools, site performance seems pretty bad. It took 23+ seconds to load the AP homepage (from an empty cache) with my adblocker disabled. With the adblocker enabled, the performace goes way up; only takes ~1 second to load.
That's a pretty common issue when you have ads enabled though, you are at the advertisers' mercy. Most of our ads are Adsense too.
I'm shocked that you consider a 20 second page load normal. Pages should load in under a second. If it were my site, I'd want to know what was causing it. You're not even sure which ad network is responsible? Yikes. This is why people block ads.
It's really unfortunate. I love AP but their ads take forever to load and are one of the few sites that cause my fans to rev up to high gear if I don't block
With this load time no wonder everyone is using adblocker.
The load time *WITH* adblock is more
do you use any keyword tracking tools? have you run a lighthouse audit? i just ran one against the Nokia 5.1 Plus article, and depending on Google's definition of what a slow site is, there could have been an effect?
are you sure the problem isn't due to Google using page performance to affect Google search results like you reporter earlier?
I'm going to guess it's a combination of the mobile first index and page speed being an indicator for search that were recently activated. Pure speculation though
It must be heart wrenching to see the drop … I would strongly recommend implementing AMP .. has it affected both your desktop and mobile traffic or just mobile … then it is another strong indicator ..
It may be the "speed update"?
Any robots.txt changes? Any recent plugin updates? What about Links - have you suddenly lost lots of backlinks? Changed any settings that might affect whether links on your site are no follow?
Check your search console for any manual flags. Looks like a major red flag is causing something. Duplicate content, AMP, SSL, malware etc.
The app @Appy_Geek has been down since Saturday on @Android devices. That's a source where I would come across a lot of Android Police articles, so with it being down this could affect the traffic coming to your site
Nah, that's not it.
Isn't your ex colleague Liam in Google? 🤔
This is so sad. Please don't worry - AP will bounce back soon. How about implementing AMP tho? The Google News, Google (now) app, Chrome suggestions are your main source of traffic and it's dominated by sites with AMP. We're using and it works good.
Setup Google AMP on WordPress - Make your site faster on Mobile
Enable AMP on WP with just one click. The easiest way to setup Accelerated Mobile Pages support in WordPress for delivering faster mobile user experience.
I am trying this plugin now, and while it seems nice, it's not even close to being ready to be rolled out without many tweaks, which I'm not sure how to implement right now. It's also really slow for some reason, especially if I enable featured image support.
It's easy. You can customize the look and everything else from the settings of this plugin. Devs are also avail for help. We experienced the same drop in October and the installation of AMP helped me recover the traffic. Though it's still not as good as it once used to be.
I noticed this weekend yall werent popping up on a search i was doing. Just did a "pixel 3 rumors" test search and AP was the last result on page 4.
It also could be seasonal. Less people in general want to read on their vacation.
This graph is similar to the one I saw for @droidmenblog and I was told that it's a quality update where my site got screwed. Android Police is one of the best sources for android news, this shouldn't be happening to it. 😭
I'm assuming this is a silly question, but your Google News feed / sitemap / etc is working right? Things in Webmaster Tools / Search Console are all ok?
Next port of call here might be @dannysullivan ... Danny, are you able to help?
Hey Artem, DM me, maybe I can help you find the root cause.