SBI! Internal Stats, Google Analytics, StatCounter and other traffic tracking systems. Discuss your traffic stats, and get help understanding them.

Moderator: Antoinette from Bedford

#1389140 by Peter from Kaohsiung
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:05 am
Did anyone experience a change in traffic since early December? Or note a major change in search results?

Google made a major change in search engine search results sometime end of November or early December. For me as a searcher this is the biggest thing since Penguin. I will kick Google out for my own searches anytime soon if this remains, as they are not usable anymore...

This one is affecting my own searches, but I do not know if it is worldwide or limited. If it is, it might affect website searches in the long run.
Has anyone noted that you can not search Google versions of other countries anymore with similar results as before December?
Here Google now presents search results based on the geolocation mainly, ignoring which country you are searching in. I wonder if those living in the UK or Australia, etc. do get more American search results now, or if those previously used to searching French Google search engines in other countries do now get predominantly search results in their own country?
My geolocation is Taiwan. Until November I could search Google JP in Japanese and get predominantly Japanese (domestic) results, or Chinese (Taiwan, HK or China) results according to the specific place's Google version.
Now, if I search on Google JP in Japanese, I get predominantly Chinese search results from Taiwan, containing similar terms/characters I used to search on Google JP. This is not a glitch. I can consistently not get search results from Google JP anymore; I may have to resort to searching using a VPN or Tor to hide my IP.
If others experience the same, that could mean that our websites in future may provide local results first, even if a site is positioned at the top in international searches, thus reducing visitors.

Any changes in search results noted elsewhere?

Last edited by Debs from SiteSell on Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Moved from Water Cooler to here.
#1389152 by Debs from SiteSell
Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:04 pm
Peter, have you tried incognito mode in your browser? See if that allows you to search regions again.

Your uniques (visitors) in traffic has had drops from November to December every year for the last 3 years. That seems to signal a seasonal drop vs any algorithmic change. Yes, your traffic dropped but you should compare the same months for the last 2 years to see if it is something that happens every year, as is the case here, vs. a drop that is substantial (20% or more) and new.

**Edited to add - search October of last 3 years, then Nov of last 3 years, then December to see the drops I mentioned.

Hope this helps,

All my best,

#1389160 by Juri from
Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:42 pm

Hi Peter,

This is hardly new -- Google et al. have been doing it for years. Here's a TED talk on the topic from February 2011 [runs 9 mins, but Google is covered in the first 3.5]:

Incognito mode may hide personal details from your Google profile, but it still will position you in the world, use the information about your ISP, your browser and its settings [primary language], etc. Perhaps they just rolled it out in Taiwan, too :roll:

Peter from Kaohsiung wrote:I may have to resort to searching using a VPN or Tor to hide my IP.

Try searching with DuckDuckGo. They don't personalize your search results, and, on the results page, you can explicitly select what site origin to prefer.

Kind regards,
#1389208 by Peter from Kaohsiung
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:52 am
Hi Debs,
Thanks, but I'm not concerned about my current traffic. Despite not doing much on the site in 2017 traffic has been increasing slightly overall. And SBI traffic does not include that of the external forum which seems to be rather better in December.
If, with incognito, you mean something like "private browsing" in Firefox, or similar, that does not help, as Juri said. That does only prevent caching, cookie-setting, etc.. You need to completely get your IP changed. A common proxy would not help much either, I think. Only a VPN can prevent others (Google) from finding/using your actual geolocation and thus presenting mainly local results.
I have been using Tor sometimes which anonymizes you completely, but it is much slower, of course. It is the only of the several browsers I use that can do real incognito browsing. I want to avoid Google-ized results.

It has always been possible for me to search local Google searches in other countries, both in the west and east.
Now I can not get genuine Japanese results anymore by selecting the Japanese Google. . If I enter a Japanese search term on Google JP it returns Chinese pages from Google TW with the same terms anyway. But the resulting content is mostly not what it was before December.
Before I could get search results in Japanese on Japanese Google. Now I get Chinese pages even if I search Google JP. This reduces the accuracy of search results more than it did after Penguin. It looks as if Google has pooled the databases of countries using Chinese characters (includes Japan) in a single database and automatically lists TW pages at the top. That means I get only local pages as results on the top pages, when I need information from Japanese sources.

The rubbish that Google brings up now is completely unusable. If this remains this way I will have to go back to using other domestic search engines that do only local searches in Japan.
I cannot say I will be sad if I have to get rid of Google for good. I am just concerned that if others experience the same, a good international ranking on Google is worthless in future.

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