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Google Updates and SERP Changes - April 2010

 4:48 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

We are in the same situation, since March 15, 2010 our traffic is continuously declining with the average of 6% every week. In current week it gets worst, approx. 15% decline!

Overall, 30% to 35% traffic has been reduced compare to peak week of January 2010.

"site:" is also showing huge drop in index pages, though it only provide the avg. not actual.

Don't know what's going on, Is it really the effect of Caffeine roll-out?

[edited by: tedster at 9:46 pm (utc) on Apr 1, 2010]



 8:20 am on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I see it in the UK about 50% of the time.


 1:57 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

OK, all of the sites (ours) that went AWOL are back after 5 days this time, it was scary (though, I am getting used to this pattern now) when authority years old sites are treated like that. So, they disappeared on March 15th for almost 4 days, back with 20% improvement on most. Disappeared for 5 days on 16th April, back on the 22nd April (close to 6 days actually if you count all in hours) so far with 15% improvement, I am expecting or hoping for 30-40% improvement, because that heavy deep crawling probably wasn't just indexing more pages BUT having a second thought about sandboxed pages and checking for valid URLs. The heavy crawling is still going on, though easing a bit.

Looks like in most cases, and further to a collective opinion to which I seconded mine, when sites disappear for few days, heavy deep crawling starts going on for those few days, then those sites are back with improved positions and SERPs. The question as to why they have to disappear is, and as I suggested before, is to do with the switch between the old and new structure, further to that, it looks like one of the two or both is happening as well, filtering / sandboxing and /or de-sandboxing and / or SERPs adding / improving to those sites as well.

Now, few days maybe for very authoritative sites, such as WebmasterWorld or at least old established and Alexa top 100k sites, for others it may be weeks!

I am seeing a massive increase in gbot activity as well and been hit with a big downturn in traffic to the one site that is now getting massively crawled.

If I am right, and providing you sites are white hat, oldish and have some authority and mostly original / unique content updated at least weekly (or eternally useful content which does not need any updating), they will be back before the end of the month with some improvements.

dusky now that you said that yes I do remember that post. I think it was about the time we were getting all the updates on each and every ip Google owns where they could see Caffeine results and it was buried so fast it just didn't sink in.

Yes, I think they are still doing that, testing live likely and probably on the old DCs NOT the caffeine DCs this time, the consensus now is 70%+ IPs are caffeinated at least for North American audiences and 50% for Europe and the rest of the world, is a good reason to do the testing on older DCs.


 2:06 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope you are right dusky as this is getting really painful. Site has had sitelinks for hundreds of kw for a year, 1+mil page views, 3 years old and clueless why so much damage.

The gbot traffic has gone back to "normal" levels which is still 10's of thousands of crawls a day.

The rankings have been almost selectively killed as some things rank the same, others are not top 100, others dropping to page 2,3,4,5. its massive and widespread and painful as hell.


 2:33 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm getting the impression that Google's manual review team and the number of sites they get through has increased dramatically. They would need such for a good Caffeine/Freshness algorithm to be buffered between spam and reason.

Sadly, I think the newly hired people don't have a clue. Any site that has writing and adverts is a thin site to them I think, which is why even excellent forums are being dumped. We run about 200 sites for clients. Company sites are doing fine, it's only article sites with non-Adsense ads that are crashing.


 4:48 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would have to disagree internetheaven, as over the past 48 hours I have seen sites that blatantly buy links (along with keywords in the domain name) that are nothing more than thinly veiled affiliate sites get ranked VERY high.

This is spread out across a variety of non-competitive and competitive keywords and phrases.

If you're in the business of buying links, it's a wonderful time to be in business. Nothing can stop this wonderful time of milk and honey. </s>

Just my .02


 5:10 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Someone mocked me earlier in this thread when I said we had thousands of longtail term rankings lost and replaced with spam. The stuff im seeing IS spam that is replacing us.

We have very long articles on our site, like 2-3 scrolls at 1920x1200. Very detailed how to articles and tutorials with bazallions of natural links. The longtail traffic we have gotten over the years has been natural and makes sense. It is a good result for google to serve up and useful to people.

The stuff replacing us on the otherhand does not make any sense, pages and pages of what looks to be internal search result pages peppered with pretty blatant Word Tracker phrases.

No useful content AT ALL. We are still on page 1 for most of these longtail terms but the spam is pushing us down.

Maybe Google is letting the spam rise to the top during this so it can whack it out with a filter?

I just cant see how a listing page filled with snippets of spam searches could be more useful to a searcher.


 5:16 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it possible that while they are rolling out caffeine, they do not have one or more filters in place for the time being. Once they have completed the rollout, they will get back to their quality monitoring business.


 5:25 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

dusky, et. al. -- I am seeing quite a few of the keywords return, but thats now, in a few hours who know!

Gotta love this roller coaster!


 5:39 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

drall I have a strong feeling your content will return most likely in a better position as before. Please let us now when this does happen I would be intrested in checking some terms after your post back.

curioustoddler yes this is possible. I am sure google is monitoring the serps to a degree we can't and testing will continue really I don't think it will ever stop.


 5:40 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

BaseballGuy ... I agree with you ... I'm seeing TONS of spammy sites and MFA sites ranking very VERY high.


 6:06 am on Apr 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

gford, don't forget it's the weekend and most sites have less traffic unless your sector concentrates on weekenders!
So have a nice weekend and forget it until Monday, now your heart is not pumping so much!

According to many, less caffeine DCs are used on weekends!

Has anyone noticed WebmasterWorld's sitelinks updated with the new titles, one of which is this thread's (G... SEO News and Discussion), took a bit of time though considering how busy this thread gets at times!


 8:17 pm on Apr 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's something odd I've noticed. On phrases I'm watching where I also look on page 2, I'm finding that one or two of the page 1 results are repeated on page 2. I don't think I've seen that before.


 9:32 pm on Apr 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

dickbaker, that happens a lot. Set your results to 15 or 23 a page and the phenomenon will not occur for the same sites. Or just it to 100. Normally this occurs when Google is making a significabt update for the day.


 9:52 pm on Apr 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Normally this occurs when Google is making a significabt update for the day.

I've never seen this before, but now I'm seeing it every single time--no matter what the time of day--for a particular phrase.


 10:02 pm on Apr 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

If the URLs are exactly the same, and I mean character for character identical, then I have seen that particular bug before - but it's only been very occasional. The times I saw it it disappeared in a couple days.

I feel like there might be something to learn in it because the non-standard result is evidence that something has run amok - just as when 3 different results show for the same domain. But so far for me, it's just a very odd data point.


 12:04 am on Apr 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

OK, March 15th gone for few days and back stronger, April 16th gone again and back stronger after few days yet again, now gone on the 24th (yesterday) and I mean they are buried beyond the 4th page for any keyword except the company name. Site links still there, all is OK on WMT, third time now since March 15th, I kind of like it in a way, as when this happens, sites will be back even stronger, as long as it's not more than a week and only happens once every 3 months that's fine, now it seems is regular and can hit at any time!

One positively correlated characteristic, gbot goes absolutely merciless on the logs, watching the cp*nel's latest visitors to one site, you see that page as 90% all gbot hits when you refresh after processing the stats logs from WHM from scratch and wait few minutes, not a single search query from G* on all the 300 last requests....scary! this was the same on all the last three AWLs


 4:35 am on Apr 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tedster, they were the exact URL's. I'm not seeing them tonight, though.

I was checking on more key phrases. For "Acme widgets," where the widget is a metal and wood object used for hunting animals, there were two results for rugby teams on the first page. Never saw that before. Of course, there was also the MFA site for toy cars that's been on page one for the last week.

Just for the heck of it I did searches for all of these key phrases for the same different niches over on Bing, and the results were 1000% better. Again, I'm searching for phrases outside my niche as well as some within it.


 6:13 am on Apr 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been seeing what you mention on a regular basis past three days dick.


 7:53 am on Apr 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

It often happens when a URL is 10 or 11. Again, it diappears if you just reset your results per page.


 1:41 pm on Apr 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

It often happens when a URL is 10 or 11. Again, it diappears if you just reset your results per page.

I've noticed that, too. But, in looking at my charts, I see one where the same URL was at #6 and again at #14, and another where the same URL was at #7 and #12. There's more.

In a post from a couple of days ago, Whitenight said that these were the new results. I can't see how they could possibly be Google's new end product. If I'm searching for "orange rubber balls" and I get two sites on the first page that are about trees, or when the returned sites have tons of Adsense ads and very little content, I'm eventually going to think about using another search engine..


 6:30 pm on Apr 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Search is getting frustrating. On one search Google kept serving up “VPS” when I was clearly looking for another abbreviation. Plus a lot of the spam is attributable to this exact thing. Many of the keywords don’t even appear in the returned sites. Seems like a lot of link buying is being revealed.

Overall it seems like they’re serving up a “randomness algo” more than flux in my areas. Again the exception is the first page results that seem to only switch positions on that page.


 12:10 pm on Apr 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

i can confirm this same url repetition bug or whatever it is..on 11 , 21 and so on number google was showing the last result of previous page. :)


 5:02 pm on Apr 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am noticing that Google's Autosuggest feature doesn't seem to be up at the moment.

Anyone else?

Robert Charlton

 5:16 pm on Apr 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

gouri - Yes, I just noticed that too. It kind of jumped out at me.

Whether having the feature off is intentional or not on Google's part, Google will probably make good use of the search behavior data they collect while it's down.


 5:16 pm on Apr 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Same here, no suggestion.

I am still seeing the results pop in/out from normal top page 1 to drop to page 2,3,4,5 - it hasn't stopped yet for us.


 6:28 pm on Apr 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Same here with the page 2 bug, noticed that a few days ago and it seems to happen on most serps I test.

Googlebot pounded away 700,000 hits on my biggest site this past week. Still no longtail changes improvements.

Nother strange thing, Google now lists a section we orphaned 2 years ago as one of our most popular sections even though it most certainly isnt. Really wierd stuff going on.


 3:39 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well I think Google wins - this thread is DEAD. SEO's, gone on to work on other projects.


 9:43 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Currently it seems that there are two datasets triggering for any query. Just hit the search button for multiple times and you can see entirely change serps for that same query


 9:50 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Gorgwatcher: I can confirm this.

Any idea whats the difference between the two? Is it still the "old" and "new" SERPs or "Caffeine" and "Non-Caffeine" or what do you think we are seeing?


 10:01 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)


well there is a big difference between these two datasets. especiall slot no 2, 6 9 and 10 are changing.
However I don't have enough data to confirm regarding caffeine or not caffeine for now. :)


 10:29 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well I think Google wins - this thread is DEAD.

That doesn't make any sense. As long as there is a ranking algorithm there are things you can do to rank.

When organic results are 100% controlled by user actions rather than site content and backlinks there are still important things for SEOs to do.

If our names were Keyword Stuffers then yes, crawl away and die. I'm a Search Engine Optimizer. There are still search engines.

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