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Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2010

 5:27 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

I have been watching all of my competitors which pretty much live off of large amounts of longtail traffic loose overall traffic the past 4-6 weeks and that includes us.

I dont know whats going on but for big sites in my section of the web site page count has been dropping at a constant decay and new content is coming in very very slowly and not nearly enough to counter the drops.

Overall traffic seems down about 8-10% for all of us and those drops are graphing perfectly to the drops in page counts since mid January.

At the same time the crawl graph in WMT and my local stats package show a flatline since mid Jan with no deep crawls and about a tenth of usual crawl activity.

All of this for us and our competitors started mid January
1. dropoff of the googlebot deepcrawl with a flatline stable crawl at a much lower rate.
2. daily reductions in pagecount across a dozen sites by exact same percentages
3. similar gradual traffic declines matching page count falls
4. uber slow new page caching and ranking

When I see this happening to not only us but many pr6-8 sites in my sector it gives me comfort to see that it isnt only us but also concern because it isnt only us.

Just going to keep chugging along, not much you can do but sit back and watch this stuff unfold.

[edited by: tedster at 5:49 pm (utc) on Mar 1, 2010]
[edit reason] split from earlier thread [/edit]



 5:59 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

JohnMu mentioned the "site:" command is a rough estimate but even using this rough estimate the indexed URLs for ALL long tail sites are decreasing therefore traffic is down too.


 6:42 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

For us, site: (and links:, and all the rest of them) have been FUD for months and months. In the past 48 hours, our site:example.com results have jumped 20%. 20%! C'mon, we didn't add 20% of our total content since Friday nite. ; ) And the reported number, even _with_ the 20% added in these past 48 hours, is still only 1% of our total indexed page count. For me, whether it goes up or down, it is all still FUD. I am growing weary of using any google indicators like this, they are all FUD and just a distraction. And with all due respect to JohnMu over at the google forum, I don't expect him to say "It's FUD!" - the fact that he even went out that far on a limb and chacterized it as a "rough estimate" should tell you something about its real value. ; )

I am posting ad infinitum on this topic, SEOPTI, more for the lurkers, since I used to be one who took the site: and other stats from google as bible, and then would panic trying to find a corresponding explanation. I have wasted a lot of person hours over the years reacting to google stats, and would encourage anyone reading this to not bother. Hell, the fact that I even know what my own site: numbers are from this morning shows you that it is a hard habit to drop even for me... ; ) But it is all FUD. Perhaps my writing this post is thearapuetic, and designed to help myself off this statistic abuse. ; ) And for any lurker not sure what FUD means, it is a polite variant on "BS" - google "FUD" to read more. ; ) It will open your eyes, and make you think. ; )


[edited by: bill at 9:29 am (utc) on Mar 2, 2010]
[edit reason] Use example.com [/edit]


 7:09 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Does anyone but me keep track of the visits per keyword ratio for SE sourced traffic?

I've seen an increase for Feb from 1.32 to 1.38 that I can't explain otherwise (on site changes, market conditions, seasonality, etc). Visits -10% and KW -14%.


 7:40 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Visits per keyword ratio, this probably only applies for really small sites. Long tail sites can't monitor this because there are millions of fragmented search queries.


 9:58 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

At the same time the crawl graph in WMT and my local stats package show a flatline since mid Jan with no deep crawls and about a tenth of usual crawl activity.

Our problems, including a site hit by -40 to -60 (depending on datacenter) began January 11.



 10:02 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Interesting observation, you're saying it wouldn't it be visible at all?

Following your statement, I imagine the ratio would approximate 1.0001 because so many fragments are used only once - would have guessed that the top 20% keywords used are repeated often enough to offset this...


 4:07 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

crobb305 that is almost the exact day we started seeing problems. Our issues started on the 12th of January.


 5:48 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Check out our SERP Changes thread from January [webmasterworld.com] - lots being reported on Jan 12.


 8:07 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dear All,

I am the webmaster of example.com and I would like to discuss this particular issue about Google dropping its Search Engine traffic by 70%.

Since the last 4 days, the traffic of example.com has gone down DRASTICALLY by over 70%. The main source of traffic is Google.

I confirm the following to the best of my knowledge:-

1. No Changes were made in Feb.
2. The Servers were running fine without problems.
3. Pagerank has not changed or not yet changed. :/
4. Sitemaps are fine and updated regularly
5. Google Webmaster does not report any critical problem
6. Other Search Engine like Yahoo & Bing, traffic is Normal.

Please help me pinpoint/understand my mistake. Why would this happen all of a sudden within 2-3 days.

Thank you.



 8:35 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hey opaquetrap,

(1) Check for site:example.com (#1 must be homepage)
(2) Check for any duplicate content by looking inside Google Webmaster Tools > Diagnostics > HTML Suggestions
(3) Go to Google Webmaster Tools > Site configuration > Sitemaps and check if all URLs are indexed. (If your site has duplicate pages, they will show less pages are indexed as duplicate content got higher priority over sitemap listed pages although sitmaps' URL are indexed but kept in sendbox)



 8:43 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the forums, suratmedia. You made some good points. opaquetrap, if ou can do this with whatever analytics you have for your website, try to zero in on which keywords were bringing you Google traffic before but fell off. Knowing which keywords stopped working for you on Google can be a very useful step.


 8:58 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure if you can do some valid analytics of the situation right now. I watch domains which vanished 4 weeks ago and are coming back now - without any visible reason and without doing anything.

This is really difficult: You don't know if you did something wrong or if it's just a Google hiccup.


 9:22 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

All looks as usual. Nothing different. Everything was fine since the last 2 years. This is the first time and the traffic & keywords targeted by my site on Google are in THOUSANDS.


 10:12 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some strange things happening with some sites I watch in the last few days :

What seems to me to be experimental listing with deep links below the URL in 1st and 2nd position. It's almost as if Google is testing position 1 against 2 click through activity - can they see more revenue ?

Sites that are moderately optimised appearing in top positions ( 3 thru 5 , front page ) on erratic, but popular terms in a competitive vertical , in non related geo specific Google areas e.g. Canada , UK. It's almost as if Google is randomly splitting up results on specific sites to separate their overall effectiveness - but i sense it's an early experiment with some monitoring going on.

Just a theory .


 3:15 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

march 13...the PR update date :D


 3:39 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Whitey - We're definitely seeing this too. There's some definite fluctuations around 2nd and 3rd position, which appears to have been happening since the 8th or 9th of February. I'm wondering whether it's an extension of the Vince update that's effecting these SERPs


 3:55 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think my site's got penalized. Thats the best conclusion I got. I got some extreme analysis done by my friends, fixed some settings and sent a reconsideration mail to google about it.

Fingers Crossed! X


 4:19 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

opaque. I understand your frustration, however try not to change too many things on your site, by doing this, you make it harder to zero in on what the cause of the problem is and you may do something unintentionally that might set off another penalty/filter.

Think of everything that you have done for your site both internal and externally in the last 30 days, no matter how minor it may seem.


 4:46 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

thanks for the in-valuable suggestion brinked. I will keep this in mind.


 6:41 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Uber_SEO We are still seeing Vince type insertions in the usual 6 to 8 spot. Not often but from far enough back and same sites as per Vince. Thought Vince was dead ;)


 8:59 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

...however try not to change too many things on your site...

Probably good advice, and something that is very hard for me to do (I just get bored watching and waiting). I imagine I have made things worse by making changes in the past 60 days (although my Bing rankings have improved as a result). I sent a reconsideration request to G last week inside WMT, but I have seen no indication that it has been reviewed yet. My hopes are not very high.



 9:15 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Got a traffic increase yesterday and today.


 11:09 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

The cache date on dozens and dozens of websites (some mine, most not) are EXTREMELY OLD, 2-4 months. Very old cache dates and google is not adding any new pages. In 9 years of doing this, I've never seen it take so long to get a page indexed, nor cache dates that were more than 2 months old on pages that were cached in every 2 weeks. And, it's a lot of sites I am looking at now (to see if they have the same problem, and they do).

My guess is Google is myopically focused on rolling out their Caffeine search/index, and the rest of it has gone off the rails.


 12:01 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)


Another thing I am noticing is that when a page does get a new cache, it is taking 4 to 6 days for that cache to appear in the SERPS. Today, for instance, I see an "updated" cache appear that is dated February 26. That's just ridiculous.


 2:15 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Another thing I am noticing is that when a page does get a new cache, it is taking 4 to 6 days for that cache to appear in the SERPS. Today, for instance, I see an "updated" cache appear that is dated February 26. That's just ridiculous.

I have noticed this for over a year. Does this mean something?


 3:18 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you see this behavior with new pages too? We posted a new article yesterday. It's showing in results already with a cache date of yesterday. So there certainly isn't a delay with new pages. Not sure why this would happen with older pages. The process should be the same.


 4:11 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have seen this with websites and also for articles in article directories but for the article directories I noticed this before Caffeine began.

After the changes that Caffeine is supposed to bring began to appear I have not looked for this in articles appearing in article directories.


 4:31 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)


I can't make heads or tails of it. I think it's just odd to cache a page, and not display that cache until 5 days later. I only noticed it about a month ago, but if you have seen it for a year, it must not be anything new. Everything is just so slow on G right now, and I haven't had a deep crawl since January 9. The pages are getting cached very intermittently, a couple of pages are crawled here and there, but not a deep spidering.

I have new pages that were added mid January, not cached until February 9. That is still the current cache date showing.


 7:31 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Can anyone who is experiencing Vince type results per the above, claim to have had no branding activity [ e.g. Twitter , News etc. ]

None of the above pages that are ranking relate to anything that we have seen promoted in any way.

Vince : [webmasterworld.com...]

Strange this is occuring out of the blue now.

This 468 message thread spans 16 pages: 468 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... 16 > >
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